Technology is everywhere these days…and sometimes that’s not necessarily a good thing.
Technology is extremely useful in our personal and professional lives. It helps us stay in touch with people. It allows us to work from places that aren’t our offices. And it enables us to network with people we might not otherwise meet face-to-face. Yet being constantly plugged in to all our gadgets, gizmos, apps and programs can lead to a serious case of tech overload.
Taking time to unplug is important, which means you need to be as productive and efficient as possible when using technology. Fortunately, there are some tools out there that can help you do both. Here are some of my team’s favorites:
1. Social media aggregators – Are you logging into multiple social media platforms to post updates to your personal or company pages? Social media aggregators allow you to read, post and respond to social media updates all in one place. These free programs require some set-up time, but it’s minimal when compared to the time saved. We use Hootsuite and TweetDeck at All Things Admin, and both programs have really cut down on the amount of time we spend on social media. (Hootsuite also has a paid subscription if you want to link more than five social accounts.)
2. Subscription email aggregators – Email subscriptions are immensely valuable in helping admins stay up to date on the news and information that’s relevant to our careers. However, all those emails flooding your inbox can be overwhelming, and some may even be messages you didn’t subscribe to. A subscription email aggregator, like Unroll.me, can help you weed through email pile, unsubscribe to the ones you don’t want, and keep your inbox clean.
3. File-sharing programs – Sharing files with your executive, team members, and co-workers is a necessity in just about every workplace. Yet sending files via email or using a USB drive can be time-consuming and unsafe, especially when sending larger files. File-sharing programs eliminate the need to wait for files to load in an email or walk them over to the recipients. They’re also excellent for those who work remotely as they provide a secure way to quickly and easily transfer files. Two of our favorites here at All Things Admin are Dropbox and Google Docs.
4. Collaboration programs – Collaboration is important for any team. Yet with people in and out of the office, working remotely, and operating on different schedules, it can be a challenge to keep everyone on the same page. Collaboration programs solve this dilemma. From shared calendars to project management to messaging capabilities, collaboration programs make it possible for everyone on a team to work together, regardless of their locations. We use Teamwork to collaborate with members of our team, but Basecamp and Microsoft’s SharePoint are also great collaboration options.
5. Note capturing programs – Note-taking is a key part of most admins’ responsibilities, but keeping these notes accurate and up to date doesn’t have to be a big chore. There are several programs out there that are extremely useful in for capturing notes and other information, such as to-do lists, agendas, and more. A couple of my favorites are Microsoft’s OneNote and Evernote. Both programs allow you to take, update, and store notes that can be accessed across all your electronic devices. These programs are also awesome for capturing great ideas you come across on the web because they allow you to save them so you can find them again later.
I’m a huge proponent of technology, especially for administrative professionals. But it’s just as important to recognize that technology has its time and place…and it’s not anytime and everywhere. Give some of these tools a try and give yourself a much needed tech timeout.
© 2014 Julie Perrine International, LLC
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Julie Perrine, CAP-OM, is the founder and CEO of All Things Admin, providing training, mentoring and resources for administrative professionals worldwide. Julie applies her administrative expertise and passion for lifelong learning to serving as an enthusiastic mentor, speaker and author who educates admins around the world on how to be more effective every day. Learn more about Julie’s books — The Innovative Admin: Unleash the Power of Innovation in Your Administrative Career and The Organized Admin: Leverage Your Unique Organizing Style to Create Systems, Reduce Overwhelm, and Increase Productivity. And request your free copy of our special report “From Reactive to Proactive: Creating Your Strategic Administrative Career Plan” at www.AllThingsAdmin.com.