The other day I was at a party and I could not find my Blackberry anymore. I thought I had lost it. I exclaimed to the person that I was speaking to “My whole life is on that device!” In truth, my whole business life is on that device, as I have carefully set it up in a way that allows me to run my business from anywhere in the world, without the need to have a computer or to look for an internet connection. I can do it all from my Blackberry. Here is how I have set it up to provide me with incredible productivity “on-the-go”:
I have discussed previously about how I have set up all my email accounts to go through Gmail in my article Email Management Via Gmail, as I wanted a remote way to access my emails that Outlook simply did not provide me. With the Gmail app for the Blackberry, I have full access to all my emails, where I can search through archives, find what I need, all at my fingertips. This provides better service to my clients, and an easier way for me to be fully connected and know exactly what is going on at all times.
GPS & Maps
If you have a GPS enabled Blackberry, you can literally use Google Maps or other maps as a full fledged GPS navigation system, free of charge. Wherever I am, I can put any address to get to, and I will instantly get directions. I can then switch to the “view map” mode, and I will see the cursor move on the map as I am moving, so I know exactly where I need to turn and what I need to do. A cool new feature I have tried out recently is Google Latitude, where you can see your friends on the map and know where they are at all times. This can be good for meetings, as it allows you to see if you are close by or if your friend is running late. I feel this particular feature will become more and more popular as it becomes more well known.
With full access to MSN, Gtalk, Yahoo, and so on, you can be connected to your contacts at all times. If you use IM frequently to stay in touch with your clients, then there is no better way to go about it. The interface is pretty much exactly like the computer version, and there is no lag. There is also the Blackberry chat, where you can have a more robust chat system with other Blackberry users. I feel that it provides instant access to your very important contacts, thus increasing communication and getting/providing better service overall.
I have installed Opera Mini, and the browsing experience is pretty much the same as on a computer. You see pages exactly like they are as well. The way I run my business is via intranet control panels as well as many other online portals. This allows me to access any information from any of my control panels at any given moment. So if I am required to change something or need a particular bit of information, I don’t have to wait to be back at the office. I can get things done right away on the spot.
If you use social networks like Facebook, Myspace, or Twitter, you can easily access your accounts via each specific application for them. This allows you to be alerted whenever you have new messages, new requests, new invitations, etc. You can also upload, update, and change your information on the spot. If you do alot of business on such networks, or if you social networking is vital to your business, these options are a must-have.
I am an avid reader of many RSS feeds about a variety of topics. On my Blackberry, I use the app called Viigo, which allows me access to all my favorite RSS feeds on the spot. They are instantly updated, and I can read them exactly as they are. So whether I am waiting for a meeting, in line at the bank, or stuck in traffic, I can catch up on my readings from my favorite blogs and news site around the world. With this app, you can never get bored, seriously.
Calendar & Google Sync
One of my favorite features, which also happens to be the most crucial one to my productivity, is the ability to sync my Google Calendar with the calendar on my Blackberry. I’ve written before about how I am a big fan of Google Calendar in A Cool Productivity Calendar From Google but to have it available to you at all times really makes a difference. Changes that you make online or on your phone are instantly synched, so it is always the same information. I don’t have to wait to be at the computer to make changes, so for example, I can be in a meeting and instantly make a change on my calendar, which will automatically update on my online calendar. My assistant can see the changes right away back at the office so if a client or associate calls to set up a meeting, she knows my availability in real-time. It’s really an amazing tool that exponentially increases the level of productivity as a whole.
What are some of your favorite methods to increase productivity with your portable device?