On average, people spend about 45 minutes to a full hour a day waiting. You’re waiting for your employees to round up for a meeting. You’re waiting for your boss to make his rounds. You’re waiting for the delivery guy, in line for lunch and the list goes on and on. Just think back to today and how many times you had to wait for something, even if just for a few minutes. Those minutes rack up into months, sometimes years. Add to that estimate that you spend a good third of your life at work. However, business owners know that there is no scrimmage line between life work and play when you’re running your own business. For this type of person, the busy business owner, it becomes imperative to squeeze the juice out of every available minute of free time – and these apps will help you do just that. On an additional plus side, they’re such creative apps that they will surely inspire you to think outside the box…which is another must-have trait for any successful business owner. Mind Mapping with IBlueSky IBlueSky – You probably haven’t heard of “mind mapping.” It’s what you do when you’re creative and connecting thoughts: A subject comes to mind and a sub-point follows it. Nanoseconds thereafter, you’ve thought of a tangent point. This is mind mapping and it’s done by just about everyone. IBlueSky (which goes for just under $10) helps people do this better and track their thoughts without having to rely on memory and a breadcrumb trail of sticky notes. Plan Your Day with Daily Tracker Going beyond just keeping track and making the most of your time, the Daily Tracker app helps you get a grip on your habits. This is pretty much a must-do for everyone, especially with New Year’s around the corner – but if you’re a small business owner you know that time and money are your most valuable resources. With Daily Tracker you can instantly keep tabs on yourself rather than having to jot it down later (if you even remember). Daily Tracker has a planner, a to-do list, notes, an expense list that’s accompanied by a sum alongside the header, keeping you updated on your current tab. You can even use it to keep track of how much you’ve slept – which may sound odd but if you’ve just ditched your day job for your own dream, then the freedom to sleep in is your number one enemy and time-waster. Daily Tracker also runs at just under $10. Jot It Down with Napkin Genius They say the best ideas are often presented on napkins. I’d say this is pretty much true and goes back to my point that innovators are constantly thinking. When your next idea pops to mind, you can take advantage of Napkin Genius to jot it down. This app is best for visually oriented people, like graphic designers, interior designers, etc. It’s also really handy to use as a quick tool to communicate an idea to a colleague or client…and at $1.99 it’s completely affordable. Evernote, SOHO & Diacarta In addition to these note taking and annotating applications, there are Evernote and SOHO, which I discussed in a much earlier blog. Regardless of what specific app you currently use, any successful entrepreneur has a personal calendar/planner system in place - and Diacarta is a pretty popular one among the app community.
In a data driven world, the hardest thing for anyone to keep track of is, of course, the data. This becomes even more challenging for small business owners who are often confounded by their multiple business roles. From a small business owner working out of a home office to a well established mid-size business, many owners within this range often tend to take on several management and administrative roles. Success (and sanity) for these burdened entrepreneurs hinges on organization. After all, how unprofessional is it to have your desk cluttered with sticky notes, “to-do” lists and towering stacks of files? To a client, and to your own subconscious, this poor office environment instantly communicates amateur and over-worked. The solution is implementing the use of Note taking software, which makes it exponentially easier to manage/file notes and also organizes the flood of information executives deal with on a daily basis. In a business environment where an endless supply of information is traded across networks, note taking and archiving effectively becomes a critical factor in the successful small business equation. Furthermore, the ability to collect, sort and retrieve data quickly and easily is what sets apart business jugglers from business doers. So what is the top-ranked note taking software out there? Hands down the best two are Evernote and SOHO Notes. User-Friendly, Software Compatible Evernote Takes the Lead in Project Management Evernote prides itself on its primary slogan encompassing the program’s key feature, “Remember Everything”. With such a sellable tagline and a zero price tag, who wouldn’t want to check out software that takes you from fumbling deliverables to an enviable super tasker? The downloadable program boasts the ability to “capture anything and access anywhere”. So what exactly can you do? Going beyond just note taking and archiving, Evernote allows you to save things you like, hear and see. It also offers easy access by allowing users to connect with just about any computer, phone or mobile device; and it allows you to search quickly through keywords, tags and printed/handwritten text within images. Evernote also recently updated to version 4, which notably features a cleaner, crisper design and layout as well as a more interactive note taking system. What makes Evernote so prominent though is its ability to connect users via mobile phones through its mobile app; you can also email your Evernote account notes, images and other documents, which allows you to sync info and saves you valuable time. And best of all, the free software is compatible with systems across the board, including Windows, Macs, Blackberry, iPhones and iPads. All entered information is then synced across every device you use Evernote on. This smart cloud-based data organization is what makes Evernote my own go-to software for project management. SOHO Notes Ideal for Networked Mac Environments SOHO Notes – Arguably the Mac-only equivalent to Evernote, SOHO Notes allows for much of the same note taking and archiving abilities that are offered to Evernote users. Whether you’re capturing, storing or looking to sync – SOHO lets you do it quickly and easily. Like Evernote, SOHO notes also allows you to store and synchronize data between multiple Apple gadgets as well as Palm handhelds. What distinguishes SOHO Notes from Evernote is that it’ll likely appeal to a Mac centric business that’s looking to network its computer system to create a data cloud source for its employees. Offering a commercial database engine, SOHO Notes (while also catering to individual needs) is ideal for collaborative working environments where meeting notes, documents, handbooks, artwork/images, plans and campaigns all need to be stored and readily accessible to team members. SOHO Notes also allows you to record voice, photo and video notes, which definitely takes note taking up a notch. Note taking itself has evolved far beyond just pad and paper. Today’s executive and small business owner needs to meet the personal and business demands of a far more demanding and fast-paced environment. The right note taking software can help you do just that.