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A few months back, I saw how the much anticipated launch of the iPad saw people lining up to get their hands on one.  More recently, I received my new iPhone.  This has got me thinking about how doing business has changed so much in the last decade.  And while all these new gadgets are meant to make us work smarter, are they instead making us work harder?

ipadIf used properly, the iPad can take your business to a whole new level and there are already hundreds of applications to choose from to make your life easier.  At MYOB we often find that people aren’t getting the full advantages of our products because they are unaware of all their capabilities. I get the sense already that it will be the same with the iPad. From reading documents and brainstorming ideas to displaying presentations and attending online meetings, the iPad offers a lot of ways to help you work smarter as long as you do your research.

However, new technology means we are far more accessible than ever before. People are not only able to get in touch with you at any time of the day, wherever you are and whatever you’re doing, but they also expect to be able to.  You’ll also find yourself checking emails when out of the office and out of hours.  This amounts to actually working more hours than you would have in the past.

I try and follow a few rules to make sure I get the most out of my technology. Email has transformed business productivity both for better and worse, and I find the best way to benefit is to switch off the instant email alerts. Frequently checking new email messages that appear on your screen or phone breaks your focus and immediately puts the email to the top of your priority list, regardless of what it actually says. I find flicking over every hour means I answer all of my emails at the same time and I’m not distracted by my inbox or mobile phone pinging every few minutes.

With the advent of mobile email from smart devices, they’ve become a constant companion. But the same rules apply. Set time to answer your emails – rather than letting them rule your diary. And, if you ever find yourself answering emails at the dinner table or in bed – it’s time to set yourself some iPhone or Blackberry limits.

If there’s an issue to resolve or decision to be made, instead of volleying emails back and forth with a contact, give them a call. You’ll get the whole issue dealt with in the space of a few minutes rather than a frustratingly drawn-out email loop. When you’re CC’d in on an email, you don’t need to reply (unless you’re asked a direct question of course), often you’re just being informed of a decision that has already been made. Try and file emails as soon as they come in or at the very least once you have dealt with them. This way you know exactly where to find everything and won’t spend time trying to work out where exactly that vital piece of information is.

Using technology doesn’t need to be complicated; often putting simple systems in place and making sure you understand what your gadgets are capable of will see you receiving the biggest benefits.

So, are there are any tips you can think of to utilise the best aspects of technology? If you’ve upgraded to an iPad, what apps are you going to be using for smarter business?

What do you think?

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Julian Smith

Julian Smith

Julian Smith is responsible for MYOB’s corporate affairs, government and public relations in Australia and New Zealand and is also New Zealand general manager. The qualified lawyer has spent much of his career at large multinationals in a range of senior legal, sales, marketing and customer management roles. Julian is a regular keynote speaker and business commentator and sits on a number of government and industry boards and advisory panels. Julian can be found on Twitter <a href="http://www.twitter.com/JulianTSmith">@JulianTSmith</a> or contacted via email Julian.smith@myob.com

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