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iPad For Productivity

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iPad For Productivity

Do you struggle with Productivity? Are you unsure what IT systems you should have in place? Would you like some insight into what may work as an alternative to the traditional systems? Well then, this might just be the post for you!

Productivity, a measure of the efficiency of production, can also be referred to as a measure of output from a production process, per unit of input. It is the ratio of what is produced to what is required to produce it. Usually this ratio is in the form of an average, expressing the total output divided by the total input.

A misunderstood buzzword

Productivity has become quite a buzzword in recent years, and is often referred to in terms of time management, stress management, employee assessment and self-development. It is clear that we can only be as “productive” as we believe, and it is often mistaken for effectiveness, whereas it is merely a measure of efficiency.

“Efficiency is doing things right; effectiveness is doing the right things.” Peter Drucker

This is one of the many reasons that people often fail to be as effective as they intend to. I have discovered it is more than the WAY we do our daily tasks, be they business or personal based. It has as much to do with HOW we tackle those tasks. With this in mind I began to explore the value of changing my IT strategy in terms of doing computer, online and personal tasks (like writing this blogpost).

My story

I had been operating with a laptop and large external screen for working in the office, and then taking said laptop with me as I travelled or worked away from the office (in training for example). However, most of my training is with Microsoft systems, and as I use mainly Apple products, this posed a major problem, which I solved by buying a Netbook to take with me on the days I needed Windows. I had previously tried virtual PC and VMWare with little success.

It’s amazing what technology throws up for us. With the onset of BootCamp, Tablets and the App Store, my IT systems have been transformed. I now carry an iPad (that fits in my handbag), laden with productivity Apps for when I am away from the office, and all of the tools I need to manage my email, calendar and contacts and create documents in a space that I specifically don’t have to secure (the “cloud”).

So what are the major benefits to re-addressing our IT systems as a small business?

  • We can move our work to the cloud (or iCloud)
  • We (and our Accountant) can manage our books remotely
  • We can access email, calendar and contacts through the cloud
  • The cloud can be infinitely safer for the small business owner
  • The iPad and certain other tablets allow for complete productivity
  • A tablet / phone is far lighter than the lightest notebook
  • We do tasks in shorter spurts than previously, and tablets allow quicker access to apps

Another major breakthrough for me personally was the fact that an iPad can only display one app at a time. This has completely cut down on having 20 tabs open in my browser, and allows me to focus on one task at a time.

So while looking for productivity tools to download, I realised that actually the iPad itself is a supreme productivity tool, in terms of effectiveness. [I have yet to find the perfect solution to allow me work with both OS systems, without using a separate machine to the iPad. The Netbook still has a spot in the office for now, and also fits in the handbag]

Have you changed the way you manage your IT systems as a small business owner?

Please share your suggestions below…

“Main Image from Olivier Le Moal & Image 2 from Yabresse/Shutterstock.”


Elaine Rogers is a Business Trainer, Coach and Writer. She takes pain away. She helps soothe the rough and tumble of running a business through education, information and coaching. And a bit of entertainment. Elaine hangs out at The Smart Train She provides online training and coaching solutions in the areas of MS Office Skills, Business Skills, and Soft Skills. She also provides exclusive content for her ever growing email list. http://www.thesmarttrain.com

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Comments
  • Although I am not using my iPad for business (yet) I do find it gives me the flexibility to work ‘smarter’. Like you, I love that only one-at-a-time apps can be open. This forces me to focus and get the job done in a timely fashion. And the iCloud is liberating. 

  • I really like the point you make about the iPad only displaying one app at a time! Also, because this is a real world explanation of applying cloud, it will give it meaning for many. Well done, Elaine! 🙂  

  • As a person who continually has 10 tabs open at a time on a couple of different browsers, I can see the benefits (yet wonder would I become frustrated) by having one app at a time. I attended a talk recently on cloud accountancy and thought it was brilliant. A brilliant post Elaine.

  • Thank you kindly Lorna.

    Hand Up!!! I also did the 20 tabs open – it never improved my productivity, they were left open as reminders, and sometimes meant I never shut down my laptop for days!!
    Change the system and tabs will feel like a distant past 🙂
    Of course I understand developers and SEO types need to have different browsers with multiple tabs open, but they wouldn’t rely on an iPad in that case anyway

  • Thank you Niall, it’s a matter of finding something that works effectively. It’s not for everyone, however I believe exploration and ability to evolve is critical

  • You said it Mona, thanks for sharing your experience. 
    One thing I didn’t mention is recording on the iPad while another app is running is not yet possible (as far as I know) so further development needs to be done to provide me with better functionality in recording training sessions on the iPad.

  • Chris Winning

    I completely agree – ipad is the way to go! With (free app!) remote access, I have access to everything I would have if I were sitting in the office working on my PC and I can enlarge the print in a flash! it’s a fright to be getting old!! Well done Elaine.

  • Chris,
    That is a hugely inspiring comment – thank you for sharing! I am pleased you have found a device and a system that works perfectly for you!

  • Hi Elaine,

    Great article about iPad for productivity. For teams looking to use their iPads for secure mobile collaboration, you might want to take a look at the newest version of our product, which supports accessing, sharing, and discussing documents stored in Sharepoint, Dropbox, and BOX.net:

    iTunes link (free download):
    http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/coaxion/id433322390?mt=8 

  • Verbal Kinane

    A very relevant piece for a rapidly changing mobile market. Personally the lack of easy multitasking is one thing I have against the iPad myself, I eventually decided on the iPad after much deliberation on cheaper android equivalents like the Motorola Xoom which have better multitasking but still aren’t quite there yet on reliability and the new iCloud service which is fantastic with my iPhone. I went with the iPad but I do believe android will surpass it in the coming years in both business capability and price. Regardless of the platform, tablets are changing how we work and are an excellent addition.

    I’d be interested in seeing the percentage of work that a typical user can perform in their working day without accessing their PC? The corporate application reliance on Windows has meant many businesses can’t yet take advantage of the mobility offered by a tablet without supplementing already costly equipment with yet another device that has to be both purchased and maintained. Do people think Windows 8 will solve this problem or are Microsoft too late?

  • Ezhan1

    A brilliant post Elaine.

  • Amazed

    So you feel that being forced to having one app open at a time is a breakthrough? Going backwards aren’t we? The key to productivity is to have all the information available to you as efficiently as possible to allow you to complete your task in a timely manner. If you like the iPad, that’s fine.. But your “breakthrough” comment confirms you have no idea what you are talking about. Time for a career change.

  • I’m seeing more and more of my colleagues use iPads for business purposes – though I’m not completely convinced it’s worth the investment for me right now. But one of the things they love about it is that it’s really useful to bring to a meeting with a client instead of bring your laptop. 

    Plus I think it seems less rude/annoying to take notes on and iPad with a stylist pen than typing on a laptop when meeting with a client/prospect. I really like how Brad Farris uses it – think you might, too: http://www.enmast.com/2012/05/07/ipad-business/

  • I know now what to work on 🙂 Great article and also a bit scary for those of us who have no affinity towards the financial side of the entrepreneurial life.

  • Brigitte T. Murphy

    Insightful article Elaine. Thank you. It is frustrating that there is incompatibility within technology platforms and products now that technology moves so effortlessly with us between private and work space.




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