iWonder what my life would be like without my iPad. I love technology and I love gadgets, but I really didn’t think much about how tablets, or the iPad for that matter, would make a difference to me. It was on a lark (you’ll have to buy me a drink to hear the back story) that I ended up with an iPad, as the iPad 2 was making its debut. I didn’t think I needed a camera and the first generation iPad was $100 cheaper. So, I ended up with a 16GB iPad Wi-Fi, first generation.
Apple technology was slowly creeping into my life via my boss’ iPhone (for some reason her contacts wouldn’t automatically update so I had to do it manually, thank you iTunes), so I thought I should give this iPad thing a shot and see if it could improve my productivity. In the few weeks prior, on numerous occasions, my boss would ask me something specific about a meeting on her calendar. I thought to myself, “Well, you are looking right at your calendar on your computer screen, you tell me.” I felt like she was testing me. And to tell you the truth, I didn’t feel it was my job to memorize every detail of her schedule since that’s what we had Outlook for… and her iPhone… and the paper copy she made me print out weekly. In any case, I thought that having her calendar at my finger tips would alleviate those awkward moments. And, it did! I set up the iPad to receive my email, calendar and contacts and was able use the wireless network in our office building to log into the web version of her account and view her calendar as we sat and discussed upcoming activities and meetings. It was fantastic. In fact, I think it was a bit annoying to her that I now could come up with all of the answers at a moment’s notice. [Please Note: references to my boss are frank due the nature of her no longer being my boss. My current boss kicks ass.]
The iPad has been great for taking notes in meetings and then emailing them to myself so I can follow up on action items. (No more post-its all over my desk. However if you are fond of them, down load a post-it app.) I’ve been in meetings where the group has had questions about a certain company, or what exactly our website says on a certain topic, and I am able to open the safari web browser and answer those questions on the spot. No need for follow up conversations. Makes me look smart and efficient.
I love listening to Podcasts. My favorites are The Adam Carolla Show (thank you Adam for signing the back of my iPad!) and This Week with Larry Miller. But in terms of work productivity, there is a wealth of knowledge available in both the Podcast and iTunes U sections. From business management to economics to web design, business professionals and prestigious universities are posting Podcasts on topics that will improve your knowledge of the business world. Right now my play list includes many downloads on creating, launching and marketing a small business. Very cool and very free.
There are a ton of business apps that can be downloaded or purchased to create efficiency at work. I’ve tried to stay with the free ones to begin with. I recommend starting with AppStart which is a terrific overview of how to use the iPad and the best apps to start using right away. I recommend starting slow and learning how to use what comes already loaded on the iPad and then determine your needs. The iPad, depending on the model, only has so much memory, so it’s not good to download a bunch of apps in the initial excitement and then never use them.
As I continue to use my iPad, I will update this blog entry with cool new and useful apps. I ask everyone reading this to get in on the conversation and send me you tips and tricks to share with the other readers.
iHope you get the opportunity to start using this great technology. Even if you can’t afford the iPad, look into other tablet technology to help make your life easier and more productive.