5 Tools to Streamline Your Business, Go Paperless and Work Remotely

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Are you drowning in paperwork?   Can’t find your notes?  Sick of lugging your laptop around? Overwhelmed by keeping up with social media?  

5 Tools to Streamline Your Business

Note to Self: Use these Tools.

If this is you, and you love the “idea” of being organised, going paperless,  travelling “light” and being able to work remotely and blog from any coffee shop or patch of sun in the world, then come on my journey.  That is my mission and these are the 5 of the Tools that I am using to get me there – 5 Tools that will Streamline Your Business, for sure!  

Last year I had purchased an iPad and I to be honest I didn’t really know how it was going to fit into the whole scheme of “technical” things, but I got a little over excited and knew I would find some use for it to justify the expense.  Even if it was for merely watching movies and playing apps (ok, well that was my children for some of the time, but you get what I mean!).  I had purchased a new desktop iMac and still had a decent HP laptop  - it was just a little heavy with a lot of extra cord and clunkiness to carry around if I was on the move.

I had already started to move towards working “in the cloud”, but I didn’t start to use my iPad seriously until I read a blog post by one of my blogging mentors, Nikki Parkinson. As always, Nikki inspired me to give my little iPad a serious go!  You can read Nikki’s article here and another of her great posts about blogging tools here.

Here are 5 Tools that I am using to streamline my social media business to go paper-less and work remotely  (I say “paper-less” because I am still a fan of an old fashioned notebook from time time, but less paper than I have been using is awesome in my book!).

#1  Dropbox
Dropbox - always have your stuff when and where you want it!

Dropbox - "Always have your stuff, when and where you want it!"

It took me a while to warm up to Dropbox and now I can’t do without it. Once I made the decision to use it for all of my files and move everything to Dropbox I can’t believe I didn’t do it sooner!  Now I can access all of my files from any device, even my iPad or iPhone…from any computer, anywhere in the world (well, a girl can dream). No more trying to save docs onto USB sticks or moving files between computers – it is all synced seamlessly. I can “share” folders with co-workers and clients.  I pay the $10 per month for extra storage and believe me, it’s worth it. In fact DropBox just recently doubled my storage size without me even asking – I couldn’t possibly fill it up now even with hundreds of photos!  I love that all files are kept on my hard-drive as well as in the cloud.  Peace of mind and accessibility.

#2  Evernote
Evernote - Remember Everything!

Evernote - keep track of those notes, documents, websites and ideas in your head!

I have used Evernote for 2 years now.  I love it.  It allows me to organise my ideas, thoughts, ideas and projects. I also use it to save web pages and blogposts that I want to come back to.  Here are some of the things I love about Evernote:

  •  By installing the Evernote web clipper on your browser you can capture information anywhere and save it to Evernote.  This is great for websites and articles you find on the hop!
  • You can access Evernote from any device (including mobile) and find things FAST!
  • You can search easily on documents in Evernote by title and tags. Everything is easy to find again!
  • If you use Google Chrome, your Evernote files will come up on “search” when you search on Google!
  • You can clip photos, notes and pdfs – just about anything can be saved in Evernote.
  • Evernote is very committed to adding more and more products that sync with their main product – such as Evernote Hello (helping you to browse and remember contacts via experiences, encounters and shared history) and Evernote Clearly (makes blog posts, web pages and articles clear and easy to read).
  • Evernote is Free but I recommend that you upgrade to the Premium Account for $5 per month or $45 for the year.  It gives you more storage space and lets you keep files offline which is handy.
  • Want to know more about Evernote?  I highly recommend you follow Michael Hyatt’s Blog. In addition to fabulous articles about productivity, leadership, publishing and social media, Michael is a huge fan of Evernote and has written many articles about using it productively (search “Evernote” on his blog).  If Michael can use Evernote to go completely paperless in his office (yes, you heard me correctly – completely paperless) then trust me, his articles are some of the best on Evernote that I have seen.
#3  Gmail

I know that many of you will be familiar with Gmail as your email system, but this is something that I had not experienced until the constant hassle of working between a desktop and laptop (and worse still a Mac and a PC) got the better of me.  I needed to be able to access all information from any computer at any time. Yes, Dropbox has helped with that but I hadn’t quite worked out the whole email thing. Once I started to play with Gmail and set up my alias accounts (so that all of my “professional” accounts were redirected through Gmail) – it was a breeze.  But the best part was the integration of Gmail with other Google Products – such as my Google Calendar, Google Analytics, G+ and YouTube.

A word of warning:  YouTube is now partnered with Google. Which means that all YouTube accounts are now heavily linked with your Gmail or G+ profiles.  Unfortunately for me, I set up my original YouTube account via a different email address, so I can not automatically log into it via my current GMail account. I have to log out of my Gmail and into my YouTube account under a separate profile.  A slight hiccup and one I can work around, but I would highly recommend that if you are setting up accounts from scratch, use the same Gmail or Google profile for all of the following:  G+, YouTube, Google Analytics, Google Calendar (and if you use Google Docs – for that too!).  And if you are reading this Mr Google – please allow us to change primary email addresses and/or merge G+ profiles!
#4  Kensington iPad Case and Keyboard

This is my new toy.  I loooooove it.  Everything works seamlessly, it packages up nicely and my  bluetooth keyboard is all packed in and ready to go.  The keyboard is rechargable (which I like!) and comes with a USB cable.  And all of the ipad controls are accessible through the case, so there is no need to take it in and out. These types of cases can be found at any good Apple store or on-seller.

Kensington iPad Case and Keyboard

Have keyboard will travel...light...and in style!

#5  Boostcase iPhone Charger
Boostcase - case and charger

Boostcase - the stylish way to give your iPhone a charging boost when you are out and about!

Thank you again Nikki Parkinson for telling me about using an iPhone battery booster… and I have wanted one every since.  Do you think I purchased one in time to avoid more battery “incidents”?  Nooooo. That would be way too sensible!  But, on Monday I drove myself to the closest Apple supplier and purchased a little gadget called the Boostcase.  It comes with its own sturdy case which the “Boostcase” slips on to the back of…so essentially it still feels and looks like an iPhone, just a little thicker….while it charges your phone battery!  Now I can double my battery life and know that it won’t run out for the day. And if it does, then I can recharge easily on the go! It easily plugs into a computer or laptop via USB or via a standard iPhone Charger. There are a few different types on the market that all do the same job.  Note to self:  listen to Nikki!

So there you have it – 5 ways I am attempting to go paperless (or at least paper-reduced) and be able to access everything at any place anytime on any device.  Seamless and fun!  I will let you know how it goes, but I have high hopes for all of these products and can’t wait to see how productive they can help me to be!  The results already?  LIKE.

Postscript: I still use my laptop – but I now have a choice re what I take away with me and what I carry around.  If needs be, my iPad is a pretty robust little option for blogging and working on the go!  My next target for purchase?  An “Evernote Compatible” Scanner.  To find out more about this little beauty read Michael Hyatt’s blog post about how he truly went paperless.  And while you are there, check out this one as well.  

What tools do you use to reduce paper clutter and work more efficiently online?  If you work away (or even in a coffee shop) what is your favourite – ipad/tablet or laptop?  What else are your “must have” tools when working remotely?  

  • http://twitter.com/shawnrsnyder Shawn Snyder

    My hubby bought me a tablet for Christmas and here it is 6 months later and I still don’t use it for the business. I just don’t get it so I am going to look into some of your great tools. Thanks.

    • http://www.sociallysorted.com.au Donna Moritz

      Hi Shawn! I hear what you are saying – I was playing with mine for 6 months too! My first experience using my iPad was at a 1 day blogging conference and I was able to tweet, facebook and take notes with it. It is much better now that I can log in to my email via safari (using gmail) and keep up with business emails. Obviously a laptop is still preferable if you are doing loads of work while away, but for the odd hour here or there, I find it much easier to take my iPad. Good luck with it!

  • http://www.stylingyou.com.au/ Nikki | Styling You

    Hi Donna – great post and and thanks for all the link backs! Was wondering about GMail and alias accounts. Is this pretty straight forward and a way around getting an out of office on account when travelling? 

    • http://www.sociallysorted.com.au Donna Moritz

      Hi Nikki – thanks! I finally got myself sorted with the phone charger ha ha! Yes, re email, our business has a microsoft exchange server where I used to have all my emails hosted for socially sorted. I recently switched my email over to host with my web guy for socially sorted and have them hosted on the same sever as the website. (not sure if that makes much difference – I think you can do it for any server)…I eventually bit the bullet and set up a gmail account. You can easily set it up so that your emails are “sent from” your domain rather than from Gmail – in the settings you can give permission for gmail to send from your domain (I think I had to give username and password for the server/host to do it). Then you can set up signatures etc like normal and also you can choose from a drop down as to which email address you want to send from. ie I have my personal email for socially sorted, + info@, and my gmail. I also use Nimble as a social CRM which has been great. I will write about it soon but it allows me to pull in emails (as it is linked with Gmail), facebook, twitter, and notes/activities/tasks all in the one platform. $15 per month.

      • http://www.sociallysorted.com.au Donna Moritz

        Here is some info about it – it is pretty straightforward once you get into your gmail account under settings and accounts:  http://support.google.com/mail/bin/answer.py?hl=en&ctx=mail&answer=22370

  • Kathryn H

    Thanks Donna.
    I have a new iPad, again bought for the business and for blogging, and these were really useful tips.
    I went and downloaded Evernote straight away.
    I think I’ll need to re-read this one a few times, so that as my use increases, I am make use more of the tips.
    Again, thanks heaps!
    K

    • http://www.sociallysorted.com.au Donna Moritz

      Oh Kathryn – you will loooooove Evernote! It is so handy and my favourite part is that if you install the Evernote Web Clipper you can just “clip” any web page into Evernote and find it easily again later. For creative types (like you!) it is such a handy tool – and I love that I can access it from my ipad or phone or any computer. I would definitely consider upgrading after you have a play with it as for $45 per year it is a pretty good deal! I agree – one tool at a time is a good way to go. You will have fun playing with Evernote alone to get started! Let me know how you go! It’s like having google for your own brand ha ha.

  • Foodthatsings

    Thanks Donna…as always, your research is awesome & much appreciated. Have just started learning about dropbox…so much to learn :)) love Roni xx

    • http://www.sociallysorted.com.au Donna Moritz

      Thanks Roni! ha ha I wouldn’t so much call it research but trial and error….but I am always glad when I can help you save the “trial and error” part. Enjoy playing with Dropbox! I love that it keeps a copy on your computer as well as in “the cloud” – extra back up! x

  • http://www.facebook.com/irespectonline Fiona Lucas – iRespectOnline

    Very timely as I sit surrounded by bits of paper!  I already use some of these tools.. but that iphone booster is really appealing!!  Thank you Donna for another fun and informative post!

    • http://www.sociallysorted.com.au Donna Moritz

      ha ha yes I will be glad if I can reduced the bits of paper in my life! The iPhone Boostcase is awesome! Love it. It will definitely travel with me from now on, even for the day! Thanks Fiona!

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