It’s been a whirlwind weekend – what with all the dancing and visiting people, on top of business as usual – but I’m excited to be back, ready to share the results of my mobile productivity experiment with you all!
Here’s how the tasks I planned to test worked out:
Catch up on podcasts/Listen to Guerilla Influence recordings – I didn’t make it through all of these, but I did plow through a couple of great podcasts and interviews (thanks to Pat Flynn for some great tips on using Youtube effectively, and to Tyler Tervooren for some interesting insight on personal branding!). For some reason, I always put off listenting stuff like this, but now that I’ve been reminded of how useful it can be, I’m going to make more of a priority to listen to it in my regular life.
Write two guest posts – My results here were mixed (and with that comes my apologies to the two people who are expecting those guest posts, as they aren’t ready yet!). For the first post, I tried recording audio while driving using the Dragon Dictation app. I did a test recording about five minutes before I was planning to stop for gas and found the transcribed audio to be pretty much worthless. Even holding the phone a few inches from my mouth produced useless content, given the amount of background noise on the expressway.
(I’ve since heard that using a bluetooth headset and performing a few test recordings in a setting with similar amounts of background noise will improve the quality of the transcriptions, but haven’t been able to test this myself yet.)
After that failure, I switched over to recording audio via Apple’s Voice Memo app. Although the recording quality was significantly improved, I found it pretty difficult to record audio that would work as written content. It’s tough to structure sentences and paragraphs on the fly, without being able to edit or rewrite your thoughts. So for now, the content is off to my VA to be transcribed, and I’m curious to see how it turned out.
I do have to say, however, that the major winner here was the Targus Bluetooth Keyboard for entering content via iPhone. I used this awesome little tool to outline the content for the second guest post, and I was blown away by how easy it was to set up and use. The keyboard, plus the iPhone and the stand it comes with make for a pretty awesome coffee shop set up – no time is wasted messing with cords, locating outlets or waiting for the computer to boot up. Just sit down, press a button and start typing. I will absolutely, 100% be using this tool again in the future 🙂
Record content for my next WSO – I got part of the content for this recorded as audio Voice Memos, but again, I’m not sure what kind of quality I achieved trying to dictate content that would work as text. Ultimately, it would have been faster and more effective for me to have simply typed the content in the first place (which would be my normal m.o. if I didn’t have so much time to kill in the car!).
Post a Fiverr project – Posted the project, received the work, reviewed it and submitted my feedback – all while sitting on the back porch at my dad’s house on a beautiful sunny day, drinking a delicious dark beer. Life is good 🙂
I did have to add one new app to accomplish this. Since my Fiverr provider delivered the finished graphics I requested in .zip form, I installed the iZip app, which integrates with Dropbox so that I could unpack and view the files. Not too complicated!
Manage Odesk providers – Another surprising victory here. I had posted a backlinking project before I left town, but when I had a little downtime one afternoon between dance workshops, I reviewed providers, selected one and got the project rolling, all via iPhone. I hit one snag when I wasn’t able to upload an article file through Odesk, but once I had my worker’s email address, I was able to send him a link to the content within my Dropbox, so there wasn’t any delay there.
Upload/modify content on WordPress – I was actually able to get a surprising amount of work done on a niche site I’m building via iPhone. I added new content, modified existing content and even added affiliate links to the site, using a combination of the Blogpress app and the Safari browser. I’m very pleased with the results of this experiment and love the idea of being able to edit sites on the fly as needed.
FTP something – Again, I did this just because I could, but it was still pretty sweet 🙂 Seriously, you guys… We can FTP files from. our. phones. Insane!
Blog commenting – I kept up with the commenting here (via Safari browser, which was a little cumbersome, but manageable), but didn’t do as much commenting on other blogs, more due to the time constraints of my trip than for lacking the ability to do so, as I had less downtime on Saturday and Sunday than expected.
Track tasks with Remember the Milk – I was surprised to find myself disappointed with the free RTM app, as I love their free website. Two things – it only allows one sync every 24 hours and it’s difficult to mark tasks as completed (which is really the fun part for me…). I could upgrade to the Pro version of the app and get rid of these limitations, but at $25, it’s a bit more than I want to spend on apps (and probably won’t, since I can access the RTM site from the Safari browser as well).
The only weak spot I found throughout my experiments was graphics editing. For example, I need to create a simple banner to finish my minisite, but wasn’t able to do so via iPhone. I’m going to see if using a remote login app like LogMeIn that would access my home computer might resolve this problem, or if there are graphics creation apps that’ll work for my needs, but this isn’t a huge priority right now.
Overall, I’m calling the entire experiment a success. Sure, I don’t travel much, so it isn’t totally necessary for me to be able to manage every aspect of my business on the go. But from a business emergency preparedness standpoint, it’s nice to know that I can stay up and running from wherever I am. I’m also excited to see if being able to finish quick tasks while doing things like waiting at the dentist office or working out at the gym helps me to be even more productive in the long run.
Any other words of advice for me on mobile productivity? If you have a smartphone, do you feel like you’re using it to its full business potential? Share your thoughts in the comments below!
Image: William Hook