The only constant in life, it seems, is that everything changes: The world of work is the same - new technologies are transforming the structure of our activities. We spend a large portion of our working time at computers, and the Internet, an enormous repository of knowledge, has become one of the most important sources of information. Many people complain about the difficulty of stemming the flood of data and feel overwhelmed. And no wonder; people are supposed to keep up with ongoing changes while also dealing with their constantly overflowing e-mail inboxes.
However, there is some good news: there are very easy-to-use tools that help us to turn digitalisation to our advantage and to filter out elementary information from the data jungle. We’ll introduce you here to a few practical tools that can simplify your professional and personal life.
Have you ever forgotten your USB stick with the important presentation for the boss at home? Dropbox makes these problems ancient history: it allows you to save files in a folder that can be accessed from other computers or mobile devices. Important documents, photos and videos are always at hand. An additional plus: Dropbox files can be shared easily with other users – nothing stands in the way of productive teamwork any more.
Basecamp is an intelligent, easy-to-use project management tool: groups can work together on projects, enter work hours, assign tasks and upload files that are relevant for the project. The advantage: all important project information and materials remain in one place and can be called up at any time by the entire team (or customers or external colleagues).
Evernote is a tool for advanced users: it enables you to save and manage both notes and lists as well as interesting links, photos and appointments. Because individual documents can also be shared with other users, Evernote is also well suited for collaborative planning and project work.
Are you also one of those people who writes down their to-do lists on whatever scrap of paper happens to be nearby? Very charming. It’s certainly more practical and efficient now to do it online, for example with Remember the Milk (free for iOS, Android and Web). The app enables you to manage tasks quickly and easily, to remind yourself of upcoming deadlines by text, Skype or e-mail, and to share the same with colleagues and friends. Or just write good, old-fashioned lists.
Doodle is helpful for coordinating an appointment with multiple participants. Just create a meeting (also works without registration) and propose a few different times. Each participant also sees the preferences of the other invitees, making it relatively easy to set up a time that works for everyone without non-stop e-mail exchanges.
When you can’t close your wallet any more because it’s so stuffed with customer, discount and service cards, then maybe you should switch to the free Stocard app (on iPhone Passbook): all of your plastic cards are added to the app in one easy step and can then be scanned at any cash register. Practical, isn’t it?
It’s certainly happened to you: you stumble by chance onto an interesting article, but you have absolutely no time to read it at that moment. Later, when you do have time, you just can’t find the article.
You can use Delicious , for example, so that nothing is ever lost in the vast expanse of the Internet: Delicious is a bookmarking tool that helps to save and organise interesting links that you’ve discovered. Very practical for research work, as an archive of ideas, or for collecting helpful, useful links, both for professional and personal purposes.
Another option would be to save what you find by using Instapaper. Then it is available at any time, both in the Internet and on mobile devices, and can be sent via e-mail. Especially practical for making sure you have enough to read on long train journeys.
If you would like to stay abreast of new developments and constantly follow updates to your favourite pages, you should check out RSS. Just subscribe to the website’s RSS feed and then you can use a special RSS reader (such as Google Reader for the PC and Mobile RSS for the iPad) to call up all updates to the chosen platforms in a compact, collected form.