Miscellaneous Monday - Productivity Shmoductivity

Meg Holbrook Community Champion Jul 30, 2018

Happy Monday everyone!

My husband had surgery last Thursday and I was present to keep him company and distract him (minor outpatient, he's fine, don't judge me for the next part of this post).

With that being said, I was stuck in a doctor's office in the middle of the week with a help desk going crazy and work to be done. I did what any sane perfectionist/workaholic would do and got busy!

The thing I love about the time we live in is that we're not really constrained by location or circumstance when doing our day jobs anymore. That could be considered a double-edged sword for some, but for me it's pure benefit. 

I was able to access work email through the Office 365 app, field escalations and service requests through the JIRA Cloud app, access the mobile version of my mortgage origination platform, and stay on top of team chats with Stride (RIP, soon to be Slack).

This got me thinking, what mobile apps make you the happiest? What do you think are the ones that make you more productive, agile, and connected?

If you're not mobile, I want to know why. Do you feel like there's more separation in your work/life by not using these tools or are they limited in use by your organization? 

8 comments

Jodi LeBlanc Community Champion Jul 30, 2018

Happy Monday Meg et al! Great post as always, hope you’re hubby is recovering well. Good for you being able to optimize your wait time and take your mind off things with the help of all those apps. My office uses VPN so I can work anywhere with wifi, but also use Rocket chat for our GCMessage and GCCollab app. 

 I’ve been trying to practice mindfulness and being in the moment so for example I’m on vacation this week and have downloaded everything I know to others so that I can truly turn things off. I don’t work in a life or death role so I  request that my colleagues not contact me (work related) through my social media apps so that I can truly disconnect. I know it’s not entirely related to your topic but while on vacation I appreciate not having to many apps to my avail so that I’m not too tempted to break my rest and relaxation 🙏🏼

Meg Holbrook Community Champion Jul 30, 2018

I wholeheartedly agree that off-work time is both more and less accessible when you're in a constantly connected time. It's really hard for me to take a day off and not check my email because it's  just right at my fingertips

However, like you, I'm determined to make sure that I'm giving my family and myself full attention during those times when I'm 'turned off' from my work. 

Jodi LeBlanc Community Champion Aug 02, 2018

It's definitely challenging to disconnect from work! In the past I used to do conference calls every day, respond to emails etc while on vacation. I didn't truly understand what a vacation was at that time. Last year when I took two weeks in a row off I had to lock up my work phone and take out the battery, to avoid sneaking a peak. After a few days, my mind was so clear and I didn't think of work at all. I went back to work so refreshed and with a new mindset :)

I guess it's a matter of finding out what works best for each of us, there is no magic formula :)

Jodi LeBlanc Community Champion Aug 02, 2018

I really love this thread! All these great suggestions for apps I haven't tried before, looking forward to checking them out :)

Returning to work with a baby at home, my favourite app was our app-accessible video monitor. Being able to see my baby napping for a couple of minutes really helped me focus on work.

Web-based products are great for when you need to work from home with G Suite, the Atlassian collection, and LastPass covering what I need to do most of my job.

Meg Holbrook Community Champion Jul 30, 2018

Love Last Pass and totally agree on the remote baby monitor! Ours has quieted my mom brain in many times of need and allows me the ability to rest the anxiety of whatever may be going on at home. 

Danny Harris Community Champion Jul 31, 2018

Personal

In my spare time, I use the National Trust & Hoop apps to research and plan days out with the kids ahead of time. I think this makes me more productive as I have a structure I can keep to while playing with the kids rather than thinking about what to do next.

 

Work

I have listed the mobile apps I find most useful during my time at work.  

SecureSafe - Great for storing all my passwords (I have the worst memory).

Atlassian Suite - I pretty much use Jira and Confluence all the time.

Mattermost, Stride, & Slack - I have access to different teams using different platforms so I am usually hopping between them.

Apple iOS Mail - It just works so well with all my email accounts. I have never had an issue and I like the UI/UX of iOS. 

PocketCasts - Love listening to a range of podcasts while I work. 

Meg Holbrook Community Champion Aug 02, 2018

Both of the apps you linked look really cool! It's really handy to have local activities compiled and accessible. We have a similar service online here for our city, and I love to pull it up and browse. Now I'm wishing it was a mobile app.

For work I'm staying connected with Outlook and MS Teams and OneNote.

I'd like to use the Confluence Server app but my iOS version is too old and cannot be updated to a compatible one. My iPhone 5 is too old I suppose :D

In my free time I stay connected with Steam and Trello.

Meg Holbrook Community Champion Jul 31, 2018

I really want to use onenote more fully than I do now, but can't seem to make it a habit.

I do use the steam app a lot though to stay informed of their sales. Most-recently I've used it to nag my oldest son through chat, which I'm sure he's thrilled about. 

Scott Theus Community Champion Jul 31, 2018

I have to say that up until now I've been really lucky...I've been a contract Project Manager for several years, and because my work is invoiced in 15 minute increments it can become quite costly when the client's work starts to intrude on my personal time. So, my work email is not connected to my phone, and I while I have the Confluence and Jira apps installed, I only really need to use them if I get an off-hours call. 

I use Dropbox and Google Calendar for my volunteer work to keep track of events and to transfer photos to the charity. 

Meg Holbrook Community Champion Jul 31, 2018

Quarter-hourly, I like it! Certainly makes them at least think twice before reaching out during off-hours. 

I'm increasingly reliant on Alexa to keep track of all the nonsense I shout at her every day, which Jeff Bezos really loves. 

 

1hfvq7

I wish I were better about using more of Alexa's functions to keep track of life.  I really need to start using the shopping list features!

Meg Holbrook Community Champion Aug 02, 2018

@Kimberly Deal [Columbus AUG] - The walls between offices in my building are pretty thin, and one of my neighbors came over the first week she was here to see who I was talking to all day. 

No Karen, I don't have friends, I'm talking to a robot. 

I really try to keep work and away fairly separated, so my current job is pretty good for that :-)  We're a fairly high security environment, with very limited ability to access things remotely.  We do occasionally allow for VPN access, but that has to be on a laptop, so no mobile allowed.

On the flip side, I do a lot of mobile access to applications that keep my personal life managed!  Trello is becoming a really big tool for me and my SO to keep track of projects and chores we need to do around the house, as well as personally for me to plan User Group events, topics and presentations.  I use several gmail accounts to manage different organizations I'm a part of and had been really enjoying the Stride (RIP) app.   I'm even often typing out my replies to Community posts on my mobile, so when that doesn't work so well, I really know it :-)

Meg Holbrook Community Champion Aug 02, 2018

@Kimberly Deal [Columbus AUG] - I keep trying to rope my family into my Trello board, and it just aint happening. I mostly use it for meal planning these days. 

There was an Atlassian the other day who was talking about a wine-based board for JIRA, and they used a tablet that had been mounted in the kitchen to manage the board. It got me to thinking that would be a good way to raise adoption of things like Trello in my household. 

It's really awesome that all of these tools are in the palm of our hands these days, right? 

I have been contemplating how to wall mount an old Ipad I have.  Biggest issue is getting power to it, and figuring out where in my house makes the most sense for a "command center"

Danny Harris Community Champion Aug 02, 2018

Also thought about this @Kimberly Deal [Columbus AUG].

i have always wanted to wall mount an iPad to a wall next to the door of the kitchen since I spend a lot of time in there. 

I hate apps! Well, I love their convenience and accessibility, but I do not like being mobile. I'm the kind of person that usually takes my laptop home every night in case I need do something before/after work hours and don't want to use my phone. I'm a millennial by birth year, but I really hate starring at such a small screen. I have nearly all my push notifications turned off, save for Stride and Gmail. If I get a push notification from those apps, then I open up my laptop to respond to it about 9/10 times. The one app I do love is my Furbo app so I can check on my dog and send him treats to tell him I still love him. ...if only there was a way to access that on my laptop. 😊

It might be an unjustifiable amount of work, but you could install an Android emulator on your laptop to access the app.

@Bianca Encinas

I am kinda there with you!  The small screen and little thumb keyboard gets to be so annoyingly slow and cumbersome.   It's just faster to do it on a full screen and keyboard!

@Kimberly Deal [Columbus AUG] I think you've just articulated it!

@Emily Errico giphy

Meg Holbrook Community Champion Aug 02, 2018

@Bianca Encinas - totally agree that it's a huge pain to respond to things like emails on a mobile. I am attached at the hip with text-to-speech. It's way less annoying to me to dictate punctuation out loud than it is to sit there and erase my message a million times due to auto-correct and text prediction errors. 

I also don't know what I'd do without Swiftkey on my android. 

@Meg Holbrook! omg - yes, text-to-speech and swiftkey are basically my saving grace. That and getting whats app on my laptop so I can easily message friends/family 😂

I really like Tide. It has very nice music and makes me feel productive.

Meg Holbrook Community Champion Aug 31, 2018

I'd never heard of that one, but I looked it up and it sounds very relaxing!

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