Advertising
Advertising

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.

    Advertising

    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.

    Advertising

    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.

    Advertising

    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.

    Advertising

    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.

    Design Is Important: How To Fail At Blogging 7 Tools to Help Keep Track of Goals and Habits Effectively 6 Unexpected Ways Journaling Every Day Will Make Your Life Better Why Getting Things Done is the Best Productivity System For You How to Beat Procrastination: 29 Ways to Beat It Once and for All To Automate or not to Automate Your Personal Productivity System

    Trending in Technology

    1 7 Tools to Help Keep Track of Goals and Habits Effectively 2 7 Clever Goal Tracker Apps to Make the Most of Your Business in 2019 3 10 Smartest Productivity Software to Improve Your Work Performance 4 18 Best Time Management Apps and Tools (2019 Updated) 5 16 Less Known Gmail Hacks That Will Super Boost Your Productivity

    Read Next

    Advertising
    Advertising
    Advertising

    Last Updated on February 15, 2019

    7 Tools to Help Keep Track of Goals and Habits Effectively

    7 Tools to Help Keep Track of Goals and Habits Effectively

    Now that 2011 is well underway and most people have fallen off the bandwagon when it comes to their New Year’s resolutions (myself included), it’s a good time to step back and take an honest look at our habits and the goals that we want to achieve.

    Something that I have learned over the past few years is that if you track something, be it your eating habits, exercise, writing time, work time, etc. you become aware of the reality of the situation. This is why most diet gurus tell you to track what you eat for a week so you have an awareness of the of how you really eat before you start your diet and exercise regimen.

    Tracking daily habits and progress towards goals is another way to see reality and create a way for you clearly review what you have accomplished over a set period of time. Tracking helps motivate you too; if I can make a change in my life and do it once a day for a period of time it makes me more apt to keep doing it.

    So, if you have some goals and habits in mind that need tracked, all you need is a tracking tool. Today we’ll look at 7 different tools to help you keep track of your habits and goals.

    Joe’s Goals

    Advertising

       

      Joe’s Goals is a web-based tool that allows users to track their habits and goals in an easy to use interface. Users can add as many goals/habits as they want and also check multiple times per day for those “extra productive days”. Something that is unique about Joe’s Goals is the way that you can keep track of negative habits such as eating out, smoking, etc. This can help you visualize the good things that you are doing as well as the negative things that you are doing in your life.

      Joe’s Goals is free with a subscription version giving you no ads and the “latest version” for $12 a year.

      Daytum

        Daytum

        is an in depth way of counting things that you do during the day and then presenting them to you in many different reports and groups. With Daytum you can add several different items to different custom categories such as work, school, home, etc. to keep track of your habits in each focus area of your life.

        Advertising

        Daytum is extremely in depth and there are a ton of settings for users to tweak. There is a free version that is pretty standard, but if you want more features and unlimited items and categories you’ll need Daytum Plus which is $4 a month.

        Excel or Numbers

          If you are the spreadsheet number cruncher type and the thought of using someone else’s idea of how you should track your habits turns you off, then creating your own Excel/Numbers/Google spreadsheet is the way to go. Not only do you have pretty much limitless ways to view, enter, and manipulate your goal and habit data, but you have complete control over your stuff and can make it private.

          What’s nice about spreadsheets is you can create reports and can customize your views in any way you see fit. Also, by using Dropbox, you can keep your tracker sheets anywhere you have a connection.

          Evernote

          Advertising

            I must admit, I am an Evernote junky, mostly because this tool is so ubiquitous. There are several ways you can implement habit/goal tracking with Evernote. You won’t be able to get nifty reports and graphs and such, but you will be able to access your goal tracking anywhere your are, be it iPhone, Android, Mac, PC, or web. With Evernote you pretty much have no excuse for not entering your daily habit and goal information as it is available anywhere.

            Evernote is free with a premium version available.

            Access or Bento

              If you like the idea of creating your own tracker via Excel or Numbers, you may be compelled to get even more creative with database tools like Access for Windows or Bento for Mac. These tools allow you to set up relational databases and even give you the option of setting up custom interfaces to interact with your data. Access is pretty powerful for personal database applications, and using it with other MS products, you can come up with some pretty awesome, in depth analysis and tracking of your habits and goals.

              Bento is extremely powerful and user friendly. Also with Bento you can get the iPhone and iPad app to keep your data anywhere you go.

              Advertising

              You can check out Access and the Office Suite here and Bento here.

              Analog Bonus: Pen and Paper

              All these digital tools are pretty nifty and have all sorts of bells and whistles, but there are some people out there that still swear by a notebook and pen. Just like using spreadsheets or personal databases, pen and paper gives you ultimate freedom and control when it comes to your set up. It also doesn’t lock you into anyone else’s idea of just how you should track your habits.

              Conclusion

              I can’t necessarily recommend which tool is the best for tracking your personal habits and goals, as all of them have their quirks. What I can do however (yes, it’s a bit of a cop-out) is tell you that the tool to use is whatever works best for you. I personally keep track of my daily habits and personal goals with a combo Evernote for input and then a Google spreadsheet for long-term tracking.

              What this all comes down to is not how or what tool you use, but finding what you are comfortable with and then getting busy with creating lasting habits and accomplishing short- and long-term goals.

              Read Next