From lawyers to librarians, we’re all asked to shoulder more responsibility as prior staffing levels become relics of bygone economies. We are also becoming more mobile, working remotely, traveling to meetings and speaking at conferences.
In this environment, applications that aid in our productivity have become increasingly important as evidenced by the popular 60 apps in 60 minutes drills we see at many conferences. Last week I was involved in a similar presentation at the ABA Annual Meeting, and although I’m not a fan of the shallow, rapid fire format, it spurred me into sharing a few of the apps I’ve come to rely on.
Instapaper – Every day we come across heaps of interesting posts and articles. Some we skim and share on Twitter and Facebook, and others we save to digest later. The free Instapaper browser extension provides the opportunity to save web pages with 1-click. And it syncs to mobile devices with offline access to articles during a flight or a subway ride.
Evernote – From recording ideas as they occur to creating blog posts, this application does it all. And, it syncs across the desktop, mobile and web. For a more in depth look, check out the recent discussion on Lawyerist about this invaluable (and free!) tool.
Buffer App – Just about everyone who uses Twitter in a meaningful way will tell you that a third party app is essential, and although I’ve tried many, including TweetDeck and HootSuite, I keep coming back to the beautifully simple Twitter.com web interface. Now, with the new Buffer App, I don’t have to leave.
With a simple browser extension download, you can tweet from inside Twitter. Have a busy day ahead with little time for Twitter? Queue or Buffer your tweets and they’ll go out at evenly spaced intervals throughout the day. Or, if the idea of scheduling tweets make you gag, then access your Buffer during free moments throughout the day and click on “Tweet now” since you’ve already queued the meaningful posts you want to share.
Analytics App – Most of us have a blog or web presence and need to track metrics to determine what’s working and what’s not. Or to feed our ego about that awesome post that garnered viral worthy traffic numbers. There’s no better way to track these number than with the free Google Analytics. Throw in an additional $6 and get the terrific iPhone app.
Zosh – this mobile app eliminates the nuisance of printing, signing and faxing documents. And for those of us who truly went paperless and ditched the printer, it’s essential. I’ve used this app less since I bought the pricey Adobe Acrobat that allows me to fill-in forms, append signatures and create PDFs, but it still comes in handy on the road or when I don’t have access to my computer.
Google Apps – This is by far the most important suite of applications that I use — from email to documents, spreadsheets and presentations. It’s all stored in the cloud, allows for collaboration on projects…and it’s free! Upgrade to Google Apps for Business for only $50 a year and get additional storage along with a few other perks.
Dropbox – For the few documents that I store on my local hard drive, I gain some peace of mind by synching it to the cloud with Dropbox. Paid versions provide 100GB of storage and more, but I’ve only used the free 2GB version as Google Docs and other cloud storage applications pick up the slack.
Most of these apps I use daily.
Instead of 60 apps in 60 minutes, I’m more inclined to do 15 apps in 50 minutes the next time I present for a proper discussion of each and with the last 10 minutes reserved for a collaborative sharing of other useful apps.
So here’s your 10 minutes to share the applications that you find useful.