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Five Apps That Will Increase Your Productivity

Five Apps That Will Increase Your Productivity

The success of smartphones and tablets over the last five years or so has been helped in no small part by the huge number of apps available to users. These handy little add-ons make life easier; there are apps for grocery shopping, banking, social networks and pretty much anything you can think of.

The thing is, how many of these apps are actually productive? Do they enable you to perform your job better? Does it give you the ability to work on the move in a way that hasn’t been possible since, well, ever?

Take advantage of modern technology to increase your effectiveness in, and outside, the office.  Here’s five apps which have been proven to increase the productiveness of people at all levels of business.

 

Wunderlist

Wunderlist

    Compatibility: Web, Apple and Android

    Cost: Free

    More info: www.wunderlist.com

    Wunderlist is a fantastic app for every area of your life.  As the name suggests, its main function is making lists which may sound simple but it’s incredibly useful.

    So what’s so great about Wunderlist? Well first, it’s free (although they do have paid options) and it’s extremely easy to use. You can create as many separate lists as you want, and file them accordingly to ensure your life remains organized. The iPhone app is nicely designed and easy to use, whilst they also have apps for iPad, Mac, Windows, Android and the web.  However, there are perhaps two fundamental reasons why Wunderlist stands out from the crowd.

    Wunderlist allows you access your lists from anywhere and on any device. Once you are signed up, any lists you make are saved in the cloud. So you can make a list on your computer at lunchtime and access it on your iPhone screen when you get to the supermarket in the evening.

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    This leads me to second main reason why Wunderlist impresses me so much – the ability to share with multiple users, which I frequently use at work.  For example, you can create a list of to-dos for a certain project, then if you’re out of the office you can assign tasks to other members of the team from your phone. You can then set a due date for that task and request a reminder to be sent if the task has yet not been ticked off.

    “Wunderlist is a fantastic tool, as well as being a useful, but standard, list making tool, it can also function as a piece of project planning and management software – not bad for something that costs nothing!” – Mark Hughes, Electric Dialogue

    Keeper

    keeper

      Compatibility: Web, Apple and Android

      Cost: Free

      More info: www.keepersecurity.com

      Ever had one of those days when you can’t remember your passwords? Have you had to wait until the IT department gets back to you with a replacement? Or do you just go straight for the reset button? Well this app takes that onus off your shoulders, so you can deal with the things that really matter.

      One of the great things about Keeper is its ability to synch across devices, which means you don’t have the frustration of repeatedly entering in the wrong password and locking your accounts or having to reset them. It keeps everything behind a single ‘master’ password that wipes your secrets if a hack is attempted.

      If your office has a number passwords for various tools, programs, accounts etc (as I’d expect) Keeper also has a group option. Group administrators manage the accounts and users to control what goes to whom. There’ll be no more asking around the office for the password or post it notes with passwords scrawled on stuck to computer screens.

      All in all this app enables you to work hard without having to take involuntary breaks you hunt down missing passwords.

      “When our office was broken into eighteen months ago and my desktop was stolen I panicked. Everything I owned was accessible from that note list on it. My mortgages, my shares, my savings accounts; someone could basically have accessed each and every part of my life and my business.

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      I decided something more secure was needed because I’d got too used to the simplicity of having everything in one place. Keeper was the answer to my prayers!” – Scott Seaman-Digby, Hawtrey Dene

      Speek

      Speek

        Compatibility: Web, Apple and Android

        Cost: Free (data roaming fees may apply as an internet connection is required)

        More info: www.speek.com

        Conference calling is an important part of how most businesses operate. It enables teams, and individuals, working in different offices around the world to brainstorm, plan and discuss. But it’s such a fiddly process isn’t it?

        Fortunately, there is an app for that! Speek is a specialist conference calling app that cuts out the fuss and lets you get on with the work.

        All you have to do is pick a personal link which takes the place of the traditional PIN or phone numbers. Then send it to the other callers, when when want to join the call all they have to do is click that link from their tablet, smartphone, desktop etc to join in – it’s that simple.

        There are no third parties involved, hold music or dodgy lines. So next time you’re turning your desk upside looking for the dial-in PIN or struggling to interpret the crackling voices on the other lines, remember it doesn’t have to be that way.

        It’s an app that every modern business needs; and to top it all off, did I mention it was free?

        “Being able to share information with our team, often when we are out on the road, is a crucial part of our business.  So Speek allows us to do that with minimum fuss” – Lorraine Barker, Workfish

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        Highrise

        tour-contact-redesign

          Compatibility: Web, Apple and Android

          Cost: Free

          More info: www.highrisehq.com

          Highrise is a CRM app that helps you to manage your tasks and objectives as well as those of your team. It integrates with all of your email accounts and calendars as well as tracking all of your leads and proposals. This means with you can pull in a whole wealth of information and updates wherever you are and on any device.

          A simple feature we like is the ability to link photos to our clients’ profiles as well as any LinkedIn or twitter accounts they may have – it builds up a personality of each person, rather than just a load of statistics.

          You can also custom tag companies and individuals within the system for quick and easy grouping of contacts. As we can work remotely from one another the app allows us a very quick and simple way of staying connected.

          Although the basic plan is free there are paid plans which enable you to add more users to your account, increased storage and thousands of extra contacts.

          “The Highrise app is indispensable for us as a business – it’s the first thing we look at in the morning and the last thing at night.  It allows us to get a near instant snapshot of our company activity and helps ensure that we do not fall behind with our client management.  

          It’s a vital finger-on-the-pulse of the organisation that we rely on in order to best serve our staff and customers alike.” – Michael Miller, Edison Red

          Shoeboxed

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          Organize-Receipts-Shoeboxed-Scan-Email-or-Mail-Receipts-1

            Compatibility: Web, Apple and Android

            Cost: Free

            More info: www.shoeboxed.com

            Claiming expenses can be a time consuming process, all those forms to fill out and keeping track of those receipts. Let’s just say it’s not a task for the faint-hearted.

            That’s where Shoeboxed proves its worth. This free app (a running theme I know) is great for people who frequently find themselves out and about in the name of business. It enables you to scan your receipts into your phone as you go, it then collates and organises these receipts for you.

            That’s pretty great in its self but when the time comes to generate an expenses report Shoeboxed comes into its own. It does all the work for you; all you have to do is send it – which you can, of course, do straight from the app.

            There’s also a handy feature on the app if you find yourself with countless business cards after that out of town conference. Much like the receipt function, you just scan the business card with your phone and voila, the information is pulled from the image and then stored in a personal contact list. Impressive, is probably the word you’re looking for.

            “Shoeboxed is an app that businesses of any size should be using. I don’t have to hold on to endless amounts of receipts when I’m away on business anymore or spend time putting an expenses report together when I’m back – Shoeboxed does it all for me.” Andrew Strain, No.1 Traveller

            Round-Up

            The apps on this list are generally fairly simple. Nothing extravagant or overwhelmingly complicated, they just make time consuming or inefficient tasks quicker.

            It is their usability as well as functionality that set these five apps apart from the rest of the market.

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            Published on November 9, 2018

            How to Improve Your Computer Skills to Get Ahead in Your Career

            How to Improve Your Computer Skills to Get Ahead in Your Career

            Technology has taken the business world by storm. People and businesses are progressively reliant on technology world these days. As a result, the people with impressive knowledge and experience with a computer are in demand.

            Considering this growing market trend, if you too wish to bag a profitable job, this article is apt for you. Here, we will dig deeper into the business and technology world to look into what are the best computer skills one should invest in and what resources to get help from.

            So, are you ready? Here we begin.

            6 Most-In Demand Computer Skills This Year (and Beyond)

            When talking about computer skills, following are the 6 computer skills that can fill your mailbox with endless job opportunities (besides, having an English and Hindi typing speed of 40+ WPM):-

            1. Spreadsheets and Databases

            Considering the treasure trove of data companies are handling these days, Spreadsheet and Database management skill tops the list. It is considered the most wanted job skill in the market, with a salary of around $53,129/yr for an entry-level position. However, the spreadsheet skill does not confine to auditing data from cells.

            To get hired based on this computer skill, you need to become a Spreadsheet ninja. From storing data to organizing them, applying complex mathematics formulas, and creating complex macros, you need to be an expert at all.

            In other words, you need to have an expertise at working with:

            • Microsoft Excel
            • Microsoft Access
            • Statistics
            • Data Analytics
            • Adobe Campaign
            • Quickbooks
            • XML Database management system
            • Filemaker Pro
            • MATLAB
            • Hive
            • FORTRAN
            • RDBMS (Relational Database Management System)
            • SAS

            2. Social Media, Email, and Blogging

            Though people are socially active, not everyone knows how to use the social media tools on the professional front. In such a scenario, having an expertise at writing engaging yet professional emails, writing blogs, and managing social media activities is a ticket to entry in reputed organizations.

            Some of the skills related to social media, email and blogging that will have a leg up in the hiring process are:

            • Content Management System (CMS)
            • Google Analytics
            • Cascading Style Sheets (CSS)
            • Email Marketing
            • Web Page Design
            • WordPress
            • Digital Media
            • Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
            • Campaign Management Software

            3. Graphic Design and Word Processing

            A solid grasp of skills to present the gained information in the much readable form is another market need. When considering this computer skill category, you need to enhance your skills at:

            • Adobe Photoshop
            • Adobe InDesign
            • Adobe Illustrator
            • AutoCAD
            • CorelDRAW
            • Microsoft Visual Studio
            • Maya
            • Microsoft Word
            • Microsoft Publisher
            • Operating Digital Cameras

            4. Software and Hardware Design and Development

            The Software and Hardware development, in simpler language, means designing, implementing, and testing the computer software/hardware applications. It is the most profitable computer skill, with a different job opening, including Software Architect, Software Analyst, Software programmer, Hardware configuration, etc.

            To be capable of developing and testing the software and hardware, you need to peruse your users’ needs and build an application that hits their pain points. You need to work with different web and mobile app coding languages for gaining the attention of your audience, some of which are:

            • HTML
            • C/C++
            • Java
            • Python
            • XML
            • UI/UX
            • LINUX
            • CISC and RISC architecture
            • Embedded Processor Hardware Design
            • Memory Management
            • PCB Layout
            • SQL

            5. IT Troubleshooting

            Working on computers is one thing and having a knack of looking into the associated issues and resolving them in real-time is another. There are various employees and graduates who work with computer systems in their daily lives, but get confused when it comes to dealing with frozen programs and performing routine maintenance.

            So, if you are familiar with the basic anatomy of computers and machines and know the tricks to perform such tasks to streamline the working process, enter the IT support arena. The prime IT troubleshooting skills one needs to work upon are:

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            • Backup management
            • Diagnostics
            • End User support
            • Client-Server management
            • Installation and configuration
            • Issue tracking system (ITS)
            • System administration
            • Tech support

            6. Enterprise Systems

            Many Enterprises have their own enterprise solutions like PeopleSoft for managing their data and operations.

            Becoming a master at using the enterprise solutions mentioned in their ‘Requirements’ area can also lessen the barrier to get a job.

            The Roadmap to Excel Your Computer Skills

            Now that you know the 6 most popular computer skills in the market, the first decision, you need to take is which computer skill you want to work upon. All the skills are equally considerable for making a career ahead. So, choose one as per your interest.

            Once done, look forward to the following resources for boosting your computer skills and getting a reputed, handsome job.

            Depending on the computer skill you opt, here are the online courses you can turn to for elevating your career opportunities:

            1. Become a Spreadsheet and Database Ninja

            a. Microsoft Excel Training Online Course – Basic & Advanced

            Whether you are a beginner, intermediate or expert at working with spreadsheets, this online course has something new for everyone to become excel efficient users.

            Divided into 48 interesting lessons, the course empowers you to learn the technique of using mathematical, statistical, logical and text functions, sorting and filtering the data, creating Pivot Tables, building macros, finding a value with VLOOKUp, and much more.

            b. Excel- Online Courses, Classes, Training, Tutorials on Lynda

            This is another impressive course to unlock the power of Excel. Designed for people from all walks of life and familiarity with Excel tools. This course helps you gain in-depth knowledge from the experts about this data-analyzing tool and make the magic in spreadsheet creation and management process.

            c. SQL & Database Design A-Z™: Learn MS SQL Server + PostgreSQL

            Build a successful career in the data analytics world with this online course.

            Revolving around the two top databases, MS SQL and PostgreSQL, this course will give you a comprehensive knowledge of the working of the databases and understanding of all the related elements, including how to create, update, organize, and safeguard the data.

            2. Rule the Social Media World

            a. Free Social Media Course by HubSpot

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            Introduced by the top experienced inbound professors from Hubspot, here you will get a comprehensive knowledge of Social media marketing.

            From understanding how to build relationships on different social media platforms to creating a perfect strategy to engage them, leveraging the benefits of social advertising, and analyzing your social media ROI, this course will bring out the best out of you.

            b. Write Professional Emails in English by Coursera

            This online course will be the right weapon to look into the differences and similarities between different email styles, improve your English writing skills, write effective subject lines, maintain the formality tone in emails, and more to make a powerful impact on the receivers with your email.

            c. Ninja Writing: The Four Levels of Writing Mastery

            Founded by Udemy, this online course will excel your skills to build a masterpiece everytime you write.

            Here, you will get the guidance from the editors of the top newspapers and websites, and understand what kind of words and tone to use for leaving a spellbinding impact on the readers.

            3. Launch Your Own Software or Hardware Equipment

            a. Hardware and Software Courses by Coursera

            From Big Data to IoT, Sensor Circuit Design, Embedded Software and Hardware Architecture, and Motor Control Circuit, this course will give you a glimpse of all the hardware devices, equipment, and programming languages to build wonders.

            b. Free Software and Web Development Certifications Online by Alison

            Become the software developer market demands with Alison’s Java, C#, Python, R, PHP, or MySQL database course. From backend to frontend development and software testing.

            The course helps you to learn how to design, develop and test software and working in a team while contributing to the team success.

            c. Free Online Software Development and MOOCs Course by Class Central

            The Class Central online course will make you a master of software development. Here, you will learn the basic concepts of development like Agile, Design Patterns, and Version Control with Git, along with gaining experience of working with the top programming languages.

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            4. Live and Breathe Creativity

            a. Udemy: Introduction to Graphic Design

            It is a top-rated program for the new learners and designers to explore the Graphic Design world.

            From the history of communication to the design principles, the course will help the students to learn everything specifically and implement in the real world.

            b. Canva Design School

            From a beginner to advanced level, this course will provide you with an elaborated and comprehensive knowledge of graphic design. In the form of 4 modules, this course will help the interested graphic designers to try out their skills at Graphics, ranging from fonts to colors, backgrounds, images, shapes, and layouts.

            c. Microsoft Word – Basic & Advanced

            62 personalized lessons, premium video tutorials, and unlimited tests and quizzes – this certified course has everything that will make your entry to the business world easier.

            d. Microsoft Office: Word, Excel and Access Productivity Bundle

            The course will make you productive in Word, Excel, and Access through video lectures, articles, and various other supplemental resources.

            Besides, it will offer you exclusive tips and tricks to enhance your skills at using Microsoft office.

            5. Raise Your Reflexes to IT Troubleshooting

            a. IT Troubleshooting Skill Training by Udemy

            IT Troubleshooting Skill Training will upgrade your logical concepts over technical components to find and repair faults.

            It will provide you with a methodological approach to learn the basics of troubleshooting, practice them via exercises and drills, and enhance your IT troubleshooting intelligence.

            b. IT Help Desk Online Course on Lynda

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            The Lynda’s IT troubleshooting online course will train you how to respond to the issues related to Windows 10, Office 365, JIRA software, and more, from a local as well as a remote location.

            Mobile Apps and Websites to Enhance Computer Skills

            The aforementioned online courses will undoubtedly train you for a successful career ahead. But, in case you want a long-term support, turn towards the following websites and mobile apps:

            • Duolingo – Duolingo app will improve your spoken and written communication skills in different languages. With the magic of gamification added to the study, the app will make learning a fun and addictive task.
            • Hemingway – Hemingway app defines the length, complexity, and common errors associated with the sentences. In this way, it helps you to write effectively and go ahead in the career.
            • Udemy – The Udemy, with its 2000+ courses, is a great platform to master new skills, advance your career and explore the newer technologies and programming languages. Enrol a course as per your budget and make a brighter future.
            • eDX – eDX is yet another commendable platform you can look forward to. The platform offers you the best of the tutorials prepared by the business professionals and technology experts, ensuring a great boost in your computer skills.
            • Excel Easy – Excel Easy, as the name depicts, will make working with Excel easier for you via their detailed tutorials and 300+ real-life examples.
            • GCF LearnFree.org – It is a one-stop platform for accelerating your future in the computer world. From graphic design to Microsoft Office, resume writing, enhancing adaptability, and much more, the top experts will guide you with everything on this platform.
            • QuarkXPress – The QuarkXPress will aid you to add soul to your design with its unparalleled collection of font style, size, and typography. The best part is that it is avails all the options in different languages, including English, Spanish, German, French, and Italian to name a few.

            Bonus: Tips to Accelerate Your Approach For a Better Career Ahead

            Though these resources will make you stand out from the crowd and get hired at once, you need to focus on various other things, such as:

            1. Practice, Practice, Practice

            It is common to forget what we learn. To ensure that you do not miss any opportunity just because you forgot, keep practising.

            Make it your routine. Polish your computer skills and you will surely end up getting an offer letter from a recognized firm.

            2. Work on Your Efficiency

            Remembering what you learned is not enough; practice to enhance those skills to do better.

            For example, if you take around 50 minutes to create a design, target for 40 minutes.

            3. Look for Shortcuts

            Smart work rules over hard work more often. So, look forward to learning shortcuts to do any task. This will increase your chances to crack an interview and get selected.

            4. Apply for an Internship

            Last but not the least, apply for an internship to see what’s trending in the market and how much you are ready for it. While doing an internship, pay attention to your weak points and work on them. This will ensure a success when you apply for your dream job.

            By the late, it’s never too late to be an intern or grab whatever opportunity to learn something new! Here’s how:

            How to Start Over and Reboot Your Life When It Seems Too Late

            The Bottom Line

            Seeing the current market scenario, it is evident that having computer skills is a boon for a better career ahead.

            So, rather than struggling with thousands of other things and trying to crack interviews, focus on the computer skills mentioned in this article. Utilize the resources and experts’ tips shared and look forward to having a successful and prosperous future.

            Featured photo credit: Glenn Carstens-Peters via unsplash.com

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