The irony of technology is that for all of its benefits, this age of hyper-connectivity has ushered in its fair share of challenges as well. For example: while social media may connect people from around the world, it has also done a number on our ability to maintain our interpersonal relationships—even the ones right in front of our faces.
Technology has shown us that sometimes solutions intended to increase productivity can also lead to astonishing unproductivity in other unforeseen areas.
So how do you know which apps are more conducive than distracting?
Here are five must-have platforms for the fully-scheduled entrepreneur, who can’t afford to be wasting time scrolling through the infinite abyss.
How many times have you found yourself frantically Googling the person with whom you are about to meet for coffee? Or walked into a board room, only to forget the name of one of the attendees? Accompany is one of those ideas that screams, “Why didn’t I think of that?”
The app syncs up with your calendar so that any time a new contact is added, you receive an executive briefing summary directly to your inbox. These summaries cover everything from professional history to recent or relevant news about them or their company, ensuring that from the moment you walk into the room, you are well prepared.
Yet another extremely simple but highly effective application, Doodle is the solution to one of the world’s most frustrating challenges: coordinating multiple calendars. Doodle sends a series of time slots to each person on your team, so people can select whether they are available or unavailable.
Doodle then looks for the time slot that works best for everyone. It syncs with your calendars, of course, and you can also use its other features to request additional information from people: phone number, the best email address, etc. Next time, instead of bouncing emails trying to find a time that works for everyone, just Doodle.
If you have ever attended (or worse, scheduled) a conference call before, then the brilliant video ads on UberConference’s website will speak directly to those oh-so-memorable pain points.
When it comes to hosting an efficient conference call, UberConference has done a magnificent job at creating an interface and workflow that is second-to-none. With screen-sharing capabilities and no PIN numbers requirements, this is your fastest way in and out of an audio meeting.
How did such a simple messaging app reach a billion dollar valuation before it celebrated its first birthday? Because it caters to exactly what a messaging app should be for a work environment stretched across the country or even around the world: organized but fun, as well as extremely mobile friendly. Slack has even become a verb.
Need someone to hop in the meeting real quick? “Just Slack them.” And it’s not just about getting in touch with someone. Slack’s different channels can be great places to store files and notes. At the end of your next meeting, just Slack everyone the next steps and get back to work.
With the rise of tablets, the market for more interactive apps ushered in solutions like Microsoft’s OneNote. Think “scribbling on napkins” but in the digital world. OneNote does a fantastic job of combining the mobility of, say, an Evernote, with the creative fun that comes with being able to actually write and draw with a stylus.
But don’t get confused, this app isn’t just for play. You can also search and clip content from the web and pull together sharable documents to do everything from plan an upcoming trip, to outline a project plan for your startup.
By utilizing these apps before a meeting, you’ll be more productive and more focused on what’s actually going on. When most of our meetings are unorganized, having these apps is a crucial step towards making the most of your time.
This post is part of our contributor series. It is written and published independently of TNW.
This post is part of our contributor series. The views expressed are the author's own and not necessarily shared by TNW.