Stop your commute or business trip travel feeling like a waste of time. Here’s how to get stuff done on the go.
Thanks to advancements in publicly available technology, you can jump online from more or less anywhere. The same Wi-Fi, 3G and 4G coverage that allows your mum to try (and fail) to FaceTime you every morning means you can get on with work, such as replying to emails or conducting research, more or less whenever and wherever you desire.
But any Tom, Dick or Harry can tickle their touchscreen and take care of their electronic post – and you don’t need an article to remind you that you can sit on public transport and send emails. No, you want more. You want to know better routes to doing the things you already do, and ways to do things you never thought you could. Well, you’ve come to the right place.
It takes zero brain cells to realise the smartphone you carry everywhere can be used to make business calls, but maybe a few more to think to use it to manage all your company’s social media accounts from a single app. Platforms like Hootsuite and Buffer allow you to do just that.
It means you can get all your Facebook messages and Twitter mentions sorted before you even get through the door in the morning.
Off the grid?
If your journey involves going without mobile or Wi-Fi signal, you might want to save things like blog or news posts to read offline for such occasions. Sounds like witchcraft? You can easily do this using apps such as Instapaper (iTunes or Android) or Safari’s built-in Reading List feature, if you’re using an iOS device.
By doing so, you can read the material that keeps your company one up on your competition even when your signal drops out, and don’t have to desperately avoid making eye contact with the person sitting on the other side of the train.
Alternatively, if you’re using a laptop, you can invest in a USB dongle, which can keep you connected to the internet even when you’re in the sticks or if your train’s (or bus’s) Wi-Fi either proves too expensive or too unreliable.
Working doesn’t have to mean writing or reading; there’s listening, too. With things like podcasts and downloadable educational talks, you can drive or navigate the underground while someone educates you on an area of your work you’re not familiar with, or discusses your industry’s latest news.
Downcast and Pocket Cast are two excellent podcast managers that let you subscribe to and download any and all shows applicable to your profession. TED Talks and iTunes U are great starting points for finding lectures and discussions that can get you ahead at work.
Mein name ist…
So, you’re having dinner with a German client and you think knowing a little Deutsch could look good. Problem is you spent most of German class staring at the dreamiest person in school and don’t know your spielen from your schnitzel.
Well, this being the 21st century, you’re not just tied down to audio CDs and phrasebooks; there’s always an app for this and that. Duolingo is available for Android and iOS phones for free. It covers pretty much all of the big European languages, such as French, German, Spanish and Italian, plus more. Memrise is also free and can teach things like Japanese and Russian. If you’re willing to go the paid route there’s Babbel and Rosetta Stone.
Make a note
The wonder of note-taking software such as Dragon Dictation means you don’t even need to use your hands to write things down these days. It’ll simply turn your speech into an email, report or anything with digital words in it.
You can get it as standalone software for your laptop or desktop computer or as an app for your iOS device. We’d recommend giving it a read-over after you’re done just to make sure it’s got the right end of the stick, but it could potentially save you a lot of time.
There you have it, a heap of ways to work even when you don’t necessarily have to. Hey, you asked for it.