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Using my iPad at Work To Get Things Done

Using my iPad at Work To Get Things Done

    Editors note: This article speaks about two apps, Notesy and OmniFocus for iPad. Although the author uses these to get work done, these are by no means the only apps that can be used to be productive at work with an iPad.

    When the iPad was initially released the tech media touted it as a “consumption only device”. This was mostly do to its lack of fast input that you would normally experience on a notebook computer with a hardware keyboard. The touchscreen input on the iPad is a tad bit awkward, at least at first, but after a few days and weeks the input isn’t really that bad. Not to mention you can hook up an external keyboard with all fo the new keyboard docks and cases to get entry as fast as any laptop or desktop.

    I program in a Windows shop but use a Mac, iPad, and iPhone personally. Because of this I tend to have all of my “systems” set up on my Apple devices and consider my Windows work environment a “context”. At first, I was trying to use my Mac so I had access to full-strength OmniFocus, but with a small desk added complexity I decided to try and use Microsoft’s suite of productivity tools; OneNote and Outlook.

    That didn’t last long. So, it was time to employ an iPad-only type of work plan.

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    Can this once deemed “consumption only device” be used at work to get things done?

    Portability

    The best part about using the iPad at work is its size and shape. It fits perfectly next to my main keyboard at work with its Incase Convertible Magazine Jacket propping it up so I can input into OmniFocus or Notesy. I can also easily tear it down and put it off to the side if I need to jot down some mind maps or a possible software design in a paper notebook.

    Because of the size and shape I can easily take it to meetings where I may need access to project notes or agenda items that I need to bring up. It works well in our daily team meetings as well; I load up issues that have come up since the last meeting and can easily go over them when the time is right.

    I don’t feel locked down with using the iPad at work. I don’t have to worry about writing something down or printing it out from Outlook when I need to leave my desk. I just take the iPad and a notebook with me.

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    Battery life

    The 10+ hour battery life on the iPad allows it to be heavily used throughout the day with little worry about it dieing on you. In fact, if I am just using OmniFocus to guide my day I can easily get two or three days out of one charge. Try that with any laptop.

    The battery life of the iPad alone makes it the ultimate productivity tool as you can keep it by your side all day. The only other device that is comparable to this type of battery performance is the iPhone.

    Ubiquity

    This takes the portability and the battery life of the iPad and smashes them together. If you have something you can take anywhere with you that is on all day you can truly use it as a device to carry your ubiquitous, trusted system. And even if you can’t hit a hotspot all day, you can sync your data when you do.

    Using my iPad at work with Notesy and OmniFocus I have a system that is rock solid and can be fully trusted. It helps me get more done throughout my day as well as allows me to sleep like a baby at night.

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    Still awkward input

    The only thing that still is an annoyance with the iPad is the weirdness of input. I will never go as far to say that the iPad, because of its lack of solid input, is a “consumption only device”, but I can say that input can be a true pain. I tend to only use the iPad to enter quick actions, waiting fors, etc. If I want to get into project planning and organizing mode I do that on my Mac. Also, tools like myPhoneDesktop are nice if you have a constant WiFi connection and lenient IT policies at your work place.

    myPhoneDesktop allows you to send text from you desktop (either Mac or PC) straight to you iDevice. It works surprisingly well.

    Yes, you can use a bluetooth keyboard and case stand, thingy, but being the Mac fanboy I am I want to keep my iPad experience “clean” (you may flame me in the comments). iOS 5 should clear some of this up as the OS allows the landscape and portrait keyboards to be split in two seperate sections on either side of the screen. This allows the use of thumb typing like you would do on your cell phone which can be much faster and natural feeling then the touch-typing you have to do in landscape mode.

    Solid work and life device

    So, does the iPad stand up to be worked with? For this nerd, absolutely. Even with its input shortcomings, the benefits of a portable, always-on, ubiquitous device is just the thing that many knowledge workers need to augment their productivity.

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    I can’t express how much using an iPad at work has helped me keep track of important things as well as get things done.

    Do you use an iPad or other tablet device for work? If so, how is it working out for you.

    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 October 16, 2019

    11 Meeting Scheduler Apps to Boost Your Productivity

    11 Meeting Scheduler Apps to Boost Your Productivity

    Automations are key to improving efficiency. Set the system up right from the beginning and you’ll reduce the amount of no-shows and cancellations.

    Whatever your business is, with automations, meeting scheduler apps do more than just streamline appointment setting. They prime your workflow for maximum results.

    Meeting scheduler apps are awesome if you use them right. Use them wrong and you can look like an arrogant elitist.

    In this article, I will share with you 11 great meeting scheduler apps you can start using today to boost your productivity.

    1. ScheduleOnce

      ScheduleOnce is an industry leader and robust solution. Whether you work alone or have a large team, ScheduleOnce can support you.

      ScheduleOnce allows you to create multiple users and multiple calendars. I use one calendar for booking podcast guests with automations set up to prep my guests for our interview. I use another calendar for strategy sessions and coaching calls.

      ScheduleOnce also has embeddable widgets so you can keep the scheduler inside your own website.

      Starting at $7 a month and a 14 day free trial, ScheduleOnce can fit a variety of needs in business.

      Available on Web

      2. Calendly

        Calendly stands out for its clean, easy to use interface. If you like clean design, Calendly might be your choice. It too has robust automations and integrations for individuals and teams alike.

        You can try Calendly free for 14 days. Their basic plan is free while their most robust plan is only $12 a month.

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        Available on Web | Google Chrome Extension

        3. Assistant.to

          For those who use gmail, Assistant.to is a super simple solution.

          From inside an email, you click on the Assistant.to icon and pick times your free. Assistant.to embeds the times directly into the email so the recipient can quickly pick a time that works for them.

          While it doesn’t have all the bells and whistles of apps like Calendly or ScheduleOnce, Assistant.to is completely free.

          Available on Web

          4. Acuityscheduling

            Acuity is a robust meeting scheduler very similar to ScheduleOnce. It integrates with CRMs, Email Marketing platforms, Analytics tools and accounting software.

            It comes with a 14 day free trial. They have a free solo account but if you want the benefit of the integrations, you’ll start as low as $15 a month and can cost up to $50 a month.

            Available on Web | iOS | Android

            5. Pick

              Built for simplicity, Pick is direct and easy to use. You can create your own url extension like pick.co/yournamehere and it integrates with Google calendar and Office 365.

              At $3 a month, this is a great tool for quick scheduling.

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              Available on Web

              6. X.ai

                For those who are early adopters of AI, this may be the solution for you. X.ai created two AI assistants they call Amy and Andrew Ingram. After setting up your account you simply CC them on your emails with the person you’re wanting to schedule and the AI assistants will email your guests from there until your appointment is set.

                This type of scheduler feels more personal because of the dialogue. There are stories on their site of people thinking Amy and Andrew are real people. X.ai integrates with Google, Office 365 and Outlook.

                Starting at $29 a month for an Individual account and $39 a month per user for a Team account, Amy and Andrew are ready to schedule meetings for you. Want to try it out first? They do have a free trial.

                Available on Web

                7. YouCanBook.me

                  is another competitive solution for scheduling meetings online. You can manage the calendars of your entire team, configure booking forms, and integrate with your calendar.

                  They have a free account branded with their company name or you can have some control over your branding and appearance at $10 a month for all their features. Either way, this company is worth a look.

                  Available on Web

                  8. Doodle

                    Doodle is unique in the space of meeting schedulers because it helps groups of people find a time to meet that works for everyone.

                    It integrates with your calendar and allows you to send a poll to all invited. Once people vote on the poll you can see which time works best for everyone.

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                    You can also run polls for food preferences if you’re scheduling a lunch meeting or a section of town if people are coming from all over.

                    While there is a free account, you’ll unlock it’s potential starting at $39 per year.

                    Available on Web | iOS | Android

                    9. WhenAvailable

                      WhenAvailable is another scheduler that works for groups of people. You can use it to schedule a pickup game of basketball, decide on your next book club or book your family reunion.

                      Their free account allows up to 20 guests, unlimited events and one contact group. For $15 a year you unlock all the goodies including reminders and chat messages.

                      Available on Web

                      10. Rally

                        Like Doodle and WhenAvailable, Rallly is helpful for scheduling meetings and events with multiple people involved. You create a poll and everyone votes. It’s quick and easy.

                        Unlike Doodle, it doesn’t have as many features, but it’s entirely free.

                        Available on Web

                        11. NeedtoMeet

                          Finishing strong, NeedtoMeet is our last app that allows you to schedule meetings or events for multiple people. It has mobile apps, custom urls, easy polling, notifications and commenting.

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                          NeedtoMeet also allows 1:1 Meetings for things like performance reviews for your whole team. You send out the your calendar slots to your team and they can only pick 1 slot, minimizing the amount of emails and scheduling you have to coordinate.

                          While they have a free account, you can unlock all features for only $19 a year.

                          Available on Web

                          Bonus: Don’t Make These Common Mistakes When Using Meeting Schedulers

                          In the excitement of streamlining your scheduling process, it can be easy to forget the feelings of those you’re inviting to meet. I know. I’ve done this.

                          To say “Hey, schedule time on my calendar” feels colder than “Hey, here’s my calendar. To avoid all the back and forth, pick a time that works best for you.”

                          Always make sure to frame your invite with your scheduler app with the benefit to them and why we’re doing it this way rather than the old fashioned, personal way.

                          A little finesse goes a long way. Without it, you risk seeming transactional and cold.

                          Some meeting scheduler widgets you can embed in your site can take a couple seconds to load. If you go this route, make sure there’s text just above the widget that lets your guest know the calendar will appear below and to wait for it to load.

                          If you use an online meeting tool like Zoom, it’s also important to explicitly let them know the meeting will take place on Zoom and include the Zoom link in the email reminder. Many make the mistake of not clarifying where the meeting will actually take place which can create last minute chaos at the time of the meeting.

                          Should you require special settings, like ethernet, external mics or lighting, let your guests know that on your thank you page and reminder emails so they are prepared for the meeting and you end up with the best meeting possible.

                          With clear communication in your automation, your meeting scheduler tools can almost perform like a virtual assistant for a fraction of the cost, or free, depending on the app you choose.

                          The Bottom Line

                          Meeting scheduler apps are diverse in features and unique in design. Before committing to one and realizing it’s not a fit, I recommend exploring which 3 might best fit you and then doing a trial with each of them at the same time so that you can see how they feel as you use them side by side.

                          Scheduling meetings the old fashioned way can be tedious. Conversely, finding a scheduling app that works seamlessly in the background is heavenly.

                          Like cell phones, meeting scheduler apps are moving from a nice-to-have luxury to must-have necessity in the lives of productive people. As you explore your options, stay true to your brand and the tools that have worked well for you to this point and simply find a meeting scheduler app that plays well with what you have created.

                          Featured photo credit: rawpixel via unsplash.com

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