“Man, getting iPads was like discovering fire,” Lance Morgan, CEO of Ho-Chunk Inc., told me years ago. It’s still true that tablets can revolutionize business, but they can also be a boost to your personal productivity. We talked about ways to use tablets in retail businesses, and this time we’re talking about ways you can use them to be more productive.
1. Separate your personal email.
One reason your monster inbox is eating your lunch is because it’s a mixed up mess of personal and business, important and trivial, urgent and “whenever.” Get your personal email out of that by setting up a separate email account for non-work email. With an iPad, you can set up an iCloud email. For any tablet, you could use a separate Gmail or other webmail account. Then setup your tablet to access that email account. Start directing all personal and non-business email to that account. This cuts down on the number of emails in your business inbox. You’ll be able to better manage important business emails, while handling personal emails separately at a time that works better for you.
2. Read it later.
You come across dozens of great articles each day. Well, potentially great, anyway. The problem is in finding time to read them without interrupting your work day dozens of times or leaving them stranded in a sea of browser tabs that weigh on your mind while you work. Set up a read-it-later system like Pocket, Instapaper, or Evernote. Put the clipping tool in your work browser and the reading app on your tablet. Now you can read in the evenings, during your commute, or at any other time that works better. And if you don’t get them all read, you’ll know where to find them later and be assured they didn’t interfere with your work.
3. Move social networks off your computer.
A tablet is a great social media tool. You can access many social media management apps. You can choose to get notifications of mentions and other important events. Plus, when you need to focus on other things, you can move the tablet out of sight (and hearing) or turn on Do Not Disturb mode. This cuts down on the temptation to check your networks every other minute while you are working.
4. Use it as a second monitor.
I’ve heard that larger monitors may make your more productive. If you need to add screen space without adding a new monitor, you could use your tablet to extend your existing computer desktop. There are plenty of apps for both Android and iPad to handle this, and some to even use your tablet as a kind of remote control for your computer.
5. Become a more productive speaker.
If your work involves speaking or making presentations, you know that takes a lot of time, from writing, designing, editing, practicing, revising and then doing the actual presentation. A tablet can help you be more productive here, too.
My friend Leslie McLellan mentioned wishing she had a teleprompter to help her with her new series of two minute marketing tips videos. Turns out, there are bunches of teleprompter apps out there for Android and iPad tablet users. Just be sure to practice reading from them. Any teleprompter takes some getting used to.
Don’t need your full text? Just put your few keywords to prompt you in big type on the tablet screen. Better than a sticky note stuck to your monitor!
There are also a bunch of speaking timer apps available to help you keep from going overtime, whether it’s in a video or an in-person speech.
If you’re preparing for a big speech, your tablet makes a great rehearsal tool. You can work with your slides or from your notes. Use an office program to open your presentation, use a timer or stopwatch (on the tablet, of course) to check your timing, and practice, practice, practice.
You’ll save time of printing out, then reviewing, then running back to the computer to make changes.
Bonus: Take a break.
Goodness knows tablets are great for a quick game, puzzle, or just a relaxing browse through your old photos. Take advantage of that strategically when you need it. You’ll be more productive when you take a break when it’s needed. Just not when it isn’t.
Pick just one of these and start implementing it this week. Me? I’m going to use Evernote as my read-it-later tool. You?
The Evernote link in this story is an affiliate link that gives me credit if you choose to become a paying customer.
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Becky started Small Biz Survival in 2006 to share rural business and community building stories and ideas with other small town business people. She and her husband have a small cattle ranch and are lifelong entrepreneurs. Becky is an international speaker on small business and rural topics.