You’ve spent over six months planning your event, and your email box proves you covered all of your bases. Now it’s time for you to catch your flight to your meeting which is far away from the office. Sure, you have your laptop with you , but you can’t lug it around wherever you go. How do you manage to have access to all of your event orders, contact lists, changes, and flight manifests among other things? You are the lead planner, sure you have other people handling various segments but you need to keep up with them too. How do you manage to have it all under control?
Enter the binder. Or does it? Where do you stand in this controversial debate? For me, paper-free is carefree. Using tools like Dropbox, Google Drive, and other applications help me have access to my information on the go. I can access from my laptop, Ipad, or phone and have everything synced so if I make any changes, everything is updated and synched on each mobile device that I carry.
Setting yourself up for success digitally can really benefit how productive and efficient that you can be. Where you do you start? You can start by evaluating the current tools that you use. After doing this, you can ensure that these tools are available in the form of apps on the device of your choice. Lastly, test the app to prove its capabilities. Make sure that the apps function in a way that will be suitable for you while out and about. Remember that not all apps are made equal, make sure you place it in a location or device that will prompt you to use it the most, otherwise it could go unused.
Taking Notes? Here are the quick start tips to get you mobile:
- Evaluate the tools you use
- Find the app for the tool on your device
- Test the app
- Ensure the app location is the best for your use (ie. phone vs tablet)
Before you leave to go onsite, try to test your apps to make sure that they work when in a mobile environment. Make sure you know which apps need an internet connection to be effective. If going on a long trip and you don’t want to worry about obtaining internet, perhaps download your documents prior to leaving might help you reference them easy during your trip.
Share away. If you are in a team environment where you can share your apps with your colleagues. Share away. It can be great to have all of your colleagues accessing the same documentation in the same place. This can be extremely helpful onsite when changes always seem to hit the picture.
Using applications that you can access via your laptop is also a plus. Sometimes when an event day is over, you go back to your hotel room and work away on the next day or even the next event. Making sure that the places where you store your documents is accessible and syncs across your mobile devices (including your laptop) is very important. Otherwise it can be a pain to make changes in multiple areas or doing more downloading and uploading to ensure everything is in the places that it needs to be.
Have you tried using voice-to-text? Sure, some people still think it is cheesy, but I love it. At times, when you can’t text, or have a pen and paper to jot down a note, using voice-to-text is a great option. Try it out. Using voice-to-text can save you a lot of time, when you can just say what you need, record it in your notes or text a colleague and hit the send button. Extra tip: Make sure to proofread before you hit send. I’ve fallen victim to sending things that make absolutely no sense because my handy device couldn’t pickup on a word that I said. Take my advice.
So, here are some binder-free applications that I feel are very useful on the go, and across devices. Take a look, possibly download and test them out to see if they can provide you with a great easy way to have access to items while you are out on the go:
Sometimes you just need a place to download your pictures from your event, event orders, receipts, and other items. Securing a decent storage application might be just the trick to be able to store and have access to this information on your devices. Here are a few of note:
My personal favorite. Dropbox is a cloud-based service that allows you to save documents, photos, videos, and more. The nice thing about dropbox is that it integrates well with applications on your phone. Easily download, upload and reload if you need to.
Google Drive is cloud-based service, and the benefit is that it is made by Google. This can be very handy many small businesses as it can integrate into many of the Google services including Gmail.
Like to use Outlook or Hotmail? OneDrive is the cloud storage service associated with these services. The unique positioning of this app is that most organizations use Outlook as an email service. So, OneDrive for most organizations, might be an option to allow employees to access their documents on-the-go.
Are you a note taker? These handy apps really are effective in taking notes and annotating!
Everyone loves Evernote. Whether taking notes for your event, or just jotting random to-do items this app helps. By using tags, you can classify every note that you take in Evernote with the vision of seeing everything underneath that categorical tag should you want to look it up in the future. It’s pretty impressive when you start to accumulate notes. Evernote can be downloaded to your desktop, and is available for smartphones and tablets.
If you are a true binder-phobe, then Microsoft’s OneNote might be for you. OneNote is a great note-taking tool that integrates nicely with Outlook, Word, and other Microsoft applications. The great thing is that you can save your notebooks to various locations, including on OneDrive in which you can then retrieve while mobile. OneNote acts like a virtual binder, which works great for brainstorming, long-term, and group projects.
Need to review and mark-up event orders while you are on the go? iAnnotate PDF can help, and does just this. View your documents in PDF form, and make any handwritten changes that you need. When finished reviewing, share and send off as needed.
Other Applications of Note
OfficeSuite is a application that allows you to view and edit your Word, Excel, and PowerPoint documents while on the go.
WebEx and GoToMeeting
These two popular screen-sharing tools are available on mobile devices such as smart-phones and tablets! This means, that early morning meeting that you just listen to, could possibly be taken on your morning commute.
Are you jet-setter? Completed your meeting and off to the next one? Perhaps you would like the Uber App. Uber has implemented in over 50 countries to provide transportation with the click of a button. Register to reserve your car and find your driver at your location to take you to your destination. Don’t have time to stop at a cash machine or hate asking for a receipt? You can pay directly through the Uber app for services. What a planners dream!
Final Tip: Check out the technology tools that your organizations uses for expense reporting, screen-sharing, or even document storage. You might be surprised that there are apps out there that you can use to make your life a little easier. Not sure if you are able to use? Have a conversation with your IT department. Having these discussions could either grant you the access you need, or at least let the department know that the need for these mobile tools are increasing.
Do you have any mobile tools that you used to help you ditch your binder? Would love to hear some suggestions below!
Photocredit: Ashish via Flickr