I like to be able to work from anywhere. And that’s not just from a travel/trip sense. I love the remote worker life and the freedom it gives to me to pick my work location, even if that’s just somewhere around town.
So for those days when I decide to head to Oxford Exchange or Armature Works here in Tampa to knock out some work, I often opt to keep my laptop at home. Instead, I’ll grab my phone along with my tablet and Bluetooth keyboard. I’ve found that the single-screen focus that working from a tablet offers can help eliminate some of the distractions found on a laptop with multiple windows/programs opened at once. (Because let’s be real, technology has shortened our attention spans to those of a goldfish.)
I’ve been able to take this route largely due to the following 7 apps that allow me to work from remote locations without sacrificing much-needed functionality and flexibility.
1) GSuite Family of Apps
So while I am counting this as one, GSuite actually consists of a multitude of apps. Within Gsuite, I spend the majority of my time using their cloud storage system Google Drive and its own family of products like Google Docs, Google Sheets, Google Slides, etc. It’s within this family of apps that I spend my time producing presentations, tracking data or writing content (I even wrote this blog in a Google Doc).
Having everything I do based in the cloud where I can easily look up/edit something on my phone/tablet has been a lifesaver in many, many cases. For example, there have been times when I have been out and have had a client urgently need a document I created. With Drive, I can easily access and share the document with them directly.
These tools have also allowed me to start working on something while at home on my laptop and pick up when I am out. Long gone are the days where you might “forgot it on your desktop” or need to transfer it by emailing it to yourself or putting it on a USB drive.
Buffer is a simple, no-frills social media management platform that allows me to quickly add content to a queue of posts for various social accounts. If you are viewing this from one of my socials posts, I scheduled it on that platform using Buffer. With the Buffer app on my phone, I can quickly add things to my queue, manage my queued posts, etc.
When you operate in the digital sphere, it’s pretty much a requirement to do a lot of reading to keep up-to-date on the latest trends, platform updates or client news. Getting all this information could mean looking at content from a ton of different sources. Moving between sources can be time-consuming and a huge hassle.
Enter Feedly. I love this app because I can add all my favorite websites’ RSS feeds into one place to easily follow and read their articles. Feedly allows me to organize my feeds by topic as well so I can group all the social media platform blogs into one folder, all my trade publications in another and other random topics into yet another.
With the app, I can quickly catch up on the news while I am waiting in line at the grocery store, sitting at a coffee shop or waiting for a meeting. Combining Feedly with Buffer allows me to quickly schedule articles I read to be shared across my social channels.
Feedly also has a way to custom tag articles to store for later viewing. That has allowed me to save blogs or articles by topics that I can easily reference in the future instead of Googling to try and find it again.
4) Boomerang for Gmail
Boomerang for Gmail allows me to schedule emails and set reminders for when certain emails should be pinged in my inbox. That means I get to remove all those reminders I used to have to set on my todo list to “follow up with so and so about such and such.” Now, I can just set a custom time for when I want to be reminded about the email, click send and forget about it until it pops back in my inbox. This has helped ensure that any email I send that needs a response doesn’t fall through the cracks or gets forgotten.
While Boomerang for Gmail’s desktop version integrates directly into your Gmail Inbox, they do offer a standalone mobile app that I use as my default email sender. It offers all the functionality that Gmail’s mobile app offers BUT with the added reminder/send later features.
I like lists. And I like crossing things off my lists. While I have tried multiple different todo list programs, Todoist has been the best and one that I currently couldn’t live without. While it offers some features as a project management software, I use it as a traditional todo list.
The feature that attracted me most to Todoist was its ability to integrate with so many different programs. The Gmail integration is particularly handy and I use it add emails to my todo list if needed. These email todos are hyperlinked so when clicked, they open the email directly.
In addition to that, I had trouble finding a todo list that allowed me to look at how many todos were scheduled on a certain day. Most would show how many todos I had today and tomorrow but if I wanted to look at next Monday, I just had to scroll through a list and eyeball from that list what was due on that date. Todoist allows you to set up custom filters for not only dates but a lot of other characteristics to segment your todos quickly and automatically.
From the mobile app perspective, not only is it powerful, but it also integrates into iPhone’s native sharing options so whenever I see an article or have something I want to remind myself to do, I can quickly add it to Todoist.
Slack has become the new, work-approved version of AIM. Billed as a way to cut down on the email communications, it allows you to instantly chat with others within the Slack environment. It’s a great tool to communicate not only with your team but with your clients as well. Slack allows you to be signed in to multiple Slack accounts within one app, making it easy to switch between an office account and client-specific accounts. For those willing and able splurge for a paid version, the user settings allow you to set up permissions per user so you could theoretically have clients and coworkers all within the same slack environment (at a per-user cost).
The mobile version of Slack operates just like the desktop version, so its easy to stay connected wherever I find myself working for the day.
Sidenote: Make sure to integrate Giphy into your Slack. This will just make everyone’s day much, much better.
Be it for work or just internal/personal projects, I like to track how much time I am spending on various activities. Toggl helps me get a good look at where I am devoting my time and if I need to adjust my priorities. While offering paid levels, I have found the free version is more than enough for my needs to track time, keep things sorted correctly between projects/tasks as well as offering export features for reports when needed. Best news? It has integrations with Todoist so with one click, I can start tracking individual items on my todo list.
Have an app that you use that helps you stay on track while you are on the move? Let me know by tweeting @JonFWilliams or in the comments below.