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Productivity with Tablets: Paradox or Reality?

Productivity with Tablets: Paradox or Reality?

No one can deny it. In 2010 we saw that the idea of a tablet computer take hold with the iPad. Consumers love the idea of using a tablet to watch video, browse the web, read e-books, and of course just use Facebook. But, even with all of those consumption actions there is a hint of making yourself more productive with an always-on, always available device.

The iPad is a phenom really, and it has been chosen by consumers as the tablet to get right now. Mostly because they don’t really have a compelling choice of anything else. Because of this adoption of the iPad, this article will concentrate on the idea of being productive with the iPad rather than another tablet, but really it could be applied to any tablet-based form-factored device.

The question: is the iPad just a consumption device or can we actually use this thing to make ourselves more productive?

The Window into Your World

One of the best things about the tablet form factor is that it provides the user with a bunch of screen real estate that their smartphones can’t and the portability that their laptops lack. This allows for viewing information and media to become something enjoyable and easy as opposed to something annoying on a small form-factored device.

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      The extra screen space gives the user an expansive view into their data. With the extra screen size, developers can take advantage of newer ways to interact with the apps they create. For instance in the stock Mail app for the iPad, users have the ability so view their inbox or selected folder on the left while they read their email on the right. This essentially doubles your perspective giving you an easier interface to use.

      The idea of a larger screen only works if the productivity apps you use take advantage of it. Some of the best iPad productivity apps that exploit screen real estate are the stock Mail, Calendar, Contact apps, as well as apps like Toodledo, Omnifocus, Goodreader, Dropbox, Pages, Keynote, Numbers, and Evernote.

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      The Input Dilemma

      I remember watching the live blog on Engadget when the iPad was initially released and seeing Mr. Jobs’ hands tip-tapping away on the landscape on-screen keyboard. I also remember thinking to myself, “there is no way I could ever be productive that way!” Well, I have to say I was partially right.

      Input on the iPad, to put it bluntly, is a drag. For short replies and quick edits to documents it works fine, but if you need to pound out an essay for school, proposal for work, or even just a nice email to your mother, the onscreen keyboard just doesn’t do it.

      There are two arguments to this:

      1. The iPad isn’t made more input. It’s a consumption device.

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      I can’t stand this remark. If the iPad was a “consumption” device as so many tech pundits suggest, then why would Apple release a keyboard stand to go with their device? Which brings us to the second argument…

      2. You can always get the iPad keyboard or a Bluetooth keyboard.

      This argument makes more sense, but in practice destroys the portability of the iPad. That is if you have to carry the keyboard around with you. I opted for this solution but found after months of experimenting, the bluetooth keyboard just sits at home.

      So, the input dilemma is very real on the iPad and any other tablet sized device. What I have found that is after getting acclimated to the iPad, that input isn’t as irritating as it used to be. I wouldn’t go out and right the next great American novel on the thing, but for simple task, calendar, email, and notes entry, the iPad works OK.

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      At Long Last

        There is no way you can be productive with a device if it’s battery dies half way through the day. Luckily, with a device like the iPad you don’t have to worry about this at all. It feels weird to say that a device gets unbelievable battery life, but it’s true; the iPad, if used intermittently can get you anywhere from one full day to almost a week on battery.

        This is something to definitely take into consideration when purchasing an iPad or any tablet device for that matter. Just how long does that battery last? I believe that the iPad has set the gold bar for battery life on a device this size that performs this well. I couldn’t now imagine using another tablet that gets less battery life than it, as I use my iPad for reviewing projects and email constantly throughout the day.

        Conclusion

        So, how does the iPad stack up as a productivity tool?

        With its awesome battery life, screen real estate giving you a large window into your data while being portable, and being better than OK at inputting data, the iPad shows us that it isn’t only for consuming content, it can be used to organize and make available your data to you at any time.

        Although the iPad is great for reviewing and organizing your data, it still lacks in the area of actually creating things. As more and more tablet devices start shipping this year, it will be interesting to see what manufacturers come up with to correct this problem with content creation on the tablet form factor. But, for standard review of documents, quick edits, list organization, email, and information review, the tablet form factor is extremely promising and may just end up making your more productive over time.

        More by this author

        CM Smith

        A technologist and writer who shares advice on personal productivity, creativity and how to use technology to get things done.

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        Last Updated on January 25, 2021

        How to Become a Person Who Can Visualize Results

        How to Become a Person Who Can Visualize Results

        So you have a dream, but you have no idea how to get there? Don’t worry. You’re not alone. Many people are in the same boat. They know what they want, but sometimes they don’t even believe it’s possible. So what happens? They either don’t try, or, if they do, they give up before they achieve their goal.


        If you’re one of those people, here are 7 things you can do to visualize your results and make them happen:

        1. Focus on what you can do now.

        Let’s say you have no money in savings because you are literally living paycheck-to-paycheck. How is it possible to ever imagine having a few thousand dollars in savings when all you see is money going out the door? You may not think it is. But you don’t have to start big. Reach in your purse or pocket and grab that spare change. Put it in a jar. Make a habit of doing this. If you do it long enough, it will add up. Then move up and put a dollar in the jar–then five. If you get a tax refund, stick some of it in savings. I think you see the point. Just do something. Any little action toward your goal makes a difference in helping you get there.

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        2. Break down your goal into small steps.

        Maybe you want to start your own business. And you might be great at seeing the end result. You get excited about it, but then you realize that your big vision is at least 10 years off. Then you get overwhelmed, frustrated, and you convince yourself that you can’t do it. Think in terms of baby steps. Start by building a website. Educate yourself on how to attract clients. Slowly, you will make your way toward your end result. Remember, it’s not a race. No one is judging you for how fast you get there.

        3. Turn your steps into a chronological plan.

        Once you have the small steps broken down, prioritize them. Maybe you want to lose 50 pounds. You have already completed the first step by eliminating one particular food from your diet that will cut out a lot of calories. Then you listed out the other foods you can eliminate and calories you can count. Now, for step three, put them on your calendar. For example: “by June 1st, I will have eliminated these three foods from my diet. By July 1st, will be eating 1,700 calories a day.” You get the point. Put your goals on a calendar and stick to it.

        4. Pretend that it has already happened.

        With any of the three scenarios above, you can act like your goal is already accomplished. Get your bank statement out and write in the amount of money you want to see in your savings account. Hang it up somewhere. Talk to yourself about how awesome it is to have $2,000 in your savings. Or pretend that the business you just started is a smashing success. Clients are breaking down your doors. Or see yourself feeling great after losing all that weight. Trick your mind into believing it has already happened.

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        5. Figure out what proof you need that you have achieved your goal.

        It is so easy to get frustrated and give up. But if you do, you’ll never get where you want to be. How much money do you need in your savings to feel like you are actually making progress? How many clients or website traffic do you need to feel like your business is on its way to success? How many pounds do you need to lose to get excited and feel like you don’t want to give up? It’s up to you. But you need to figure it out so you don’t quit.

        6. Visualize it.

        If you are visual person, close your eyes, and see it done. Do this in the morning before you get out bed, and when you go to sleep at night. Or meditate on it at your convenience. The key is to do this every day. The more you can do it, the better. Not only does it get you into the habit of focusing on the end result, it really does trick your subconscious mind into thinking it is reality. If you’re not a visual person, write down affirmations and repeat them every day. However you choose to do it, the key is consistency. Keep doing it.

        7. Talk about it to everyone.

        Telling other people about your goals makes them real. And it represents a commitment. If you tell your friends, “I’m starting a business,” then they will keep asking you how it’s going. Or if you want to lose that weight, your friends and family will most likely support you. The more you talk about it, the more you get caught up and excited about the end result. It will go from fantasy to reality.

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        Remember, everyone gets discouraged at some point when they try to achieve a goal. It’s normal. But the difference between the people who succeed and the people who don’t is commitment and consistency. They don’t give up. They keep going. You can too, if you follow these seven simple steps.

        Featured photo credit: on a way to horizon/Shutterstock via shutterstock.com

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