Tech and sanity – You can have both!

tech and sanityThere’s a lot of talk right now about the need to disconnect from technology and how social media overload is making everyone crazy. I totally get that. All of that constant buzz can be annoying, distracting and keep us from doing what really matters in life; being real and connecting personally with people.

It’s not impossible to be mindful of what’s important and still run a business though, and here’s how technology works more for me and less against me. This may not work for everyone, but it works for me most of the time and after years of working like this I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Tech is a tool that enables me to work with clients around the world, juggle meetings, speaking schedules and manage to get work done with my team even though they are spread out across the US. I work remotely, so I video chat with clients and co-workers and move seamlessly (mostly) around the world from wherever I happen to be. I take conference calls on the treadmill, in a hotel lobby, at a conference or sometimes on my horse.

My team manages their own time and report in with a tweet, updating a timeline or project in Slack, Asana or Basecamp, a text or an email and I know things are getting done. It all depends on how they work which app they use or if they use an app at all. Flexibility is key in this business.

Want to know what’s in my toolkit?
Here are a few of the apps that allow my business to be mobile, always on, and productive wherever I am and almost all work across multiple devices, crucial for a mobile workforce.

  • Evernote -I keep all my notes in Evernote and shared folders and files allows the team to see what’s going on easily. I also dictate blog post ideas, client meeting notes and other info I need on hand wherever I am.
  • Skype -Video, conference calls and texting world wide.
  • Asana -Team management for real people with less email back and forth, Asana combines collaboration tools, data storage and project management in one slick interface.
  • Google Drive -Managing documents everyone can edit and update without having to download. I use the app on all devices and easily switch between accounts.
  • Dropbox -Data storage and a great way to communicate with our blogger teams with project focused “Blogger kits” as well as storage of mission critical files for the whole team.
  • Meeting Hero -Syncs with your calendar. Add attendees and agenda items and everyone is notified of the upcoming meeting and can review and manage the agenda and check each item off as you go. Note decisions made in real time on the app and everyone can download the results in a text file.
  • Slack -Instant communication with my team and integrates into several of my other apps. Text messages and threads are searchable, and you can switch between teams easily from within the app.
  • Basecamp -Like Asana, Basecamp is easy for teams to use, though it has less integration with other apps like Slack.
  • BuzzSumo -Keyword, brand and news monitoring, locating influencers and interacting with them on Twitter right from the dashboard.
  • Hootsuite -Schedule posts and monitor multiple social networks from one dashboard. Hootsuite is still best in class for managing all accounts in one place.
  • SproutSocial -I prefer Hootsuite’s dashboard but SproutSocial is still a keeper for awesome reports and archiving important posts. Scheduling is quite similar.
  • Scoop.it -Quickly browse the most recent blog posts on the information that’s important to me and share it to social networks over time through Buffer.
  • Buffer App -Share your important social posts over time to avoid flooding your network all at once with easy scheduling. Configure the best times for each network and trust Buffer to do the rest.
  • Sidekick -Thanks to Hubspot for a stellar add-on for Gmail that lets me know when people open my Gmail and Google Docs with pop-up notices. See contact info alongside your emails. I use the free version now but I’m thinking of upgrading!

All of the apps above allow me to keep on top of projects on all of my devices so it doesn’t really matter where I am. This allows me the freedom to stop and smell the roses much more often than ever before. So if you’re wondering how I can hike and kayak, travel for speaking gigs, ride my horse, attend conferences and still get my job done, it’s the tech and an awesome team that enables me to work smarter!

What are your key apps? I’d love to hear more about how others are getting work done.