This is ChurchCrunch’s 2nd guest post and I, on a personal level, love these types of posts because they are simply uber-pragmatic and mega-useful.
Christopher Doherty blogs over at LightVox, a premier location for ministry music news and his blog looks wickedly cool. You can also follow him on Twitter here.
There is no question that technology is making us more accessible.
While some may say this is a bad thing; for those who are away from their home base and on the road, new technologies help us stay productive.
I am one of those people.
When I tell people I do graphic design and websites, people think that it must be a cool job. “You get paid to make pictures and play on the internet?”
Yes I do.
What people don’t realize is that the deadlines are quite tough at times and it is a very competitive field.
If you have ever had a job sitting at a printer with hundreds of thousands of copies getting ready to print and someone realizes that you did not set one line of text as overprint, you know what I mean. You have now held up printers, packagers, shippers, as well as the client. It doesn’t matter where you are, you need to fix the problem ASAP.
So while this list is not necessarily ministry specific, I do know a number of ministry road warriors who do require these types of tools so I thought I would put my list out and hopefully people can adapt them to their own situations and will add to the list as well.
Here is my list of mobile productivity tools. They work on both PC and Mac and are available anywhere you have access to the internet.
GoogleDocs – need a fully functioning office suite on the road. On my iMac and Macbook I use OpenOffice for composing something quickly. When I am working on a proposal, blog posts and my novel (I started it a while back I think I am up to page 2) I use GoogleDocs. This gives me access to my works in progress anywhere that I can get an internet connection. In addition, I can connect with others and collaborate online in realtime.
John and I actually did this when I was pitching this article.
[Editor’s Note: Yes, Google Docs ROCK and is the quickest and easiest way to pitch a guest post… good thinking!]
YouSendit – This is a free service if you need to send large files (100MB) via email. Just upload the file and away it goes. The recipient has 7 days to download and then poof- it’s gone. Keeps you from cluttering your own or someone else’s mailbox. Just make sure you tell people 7 days, otherwise they forget and call you 7 days later asking you to send it again.
MobileMe – Yes, this is an Apple product and yes, it costs $99 a year, but it is an integral part of my mobile office. Firstly, it integrates well with my hardware to sync calendars, contacts and other settings across multiple devices. Secondly, with the online file storage, I can put documents and photos into the MobileMe cloud. I use this for projects currently in process, so if I get that dreaded call about a typo or skewed image I can grab it and modify it and send it on it’s way. As an added plus, the PC control panel adds shared calendar functionality with my wife’s XP machine so she can add items to her calendar and sync with mine.
Evernote – I use this to clip items of interest that I want to look at later or notes to myself. Really easy to use, and it’s free. I have to admit when I first set it up I thought it really had no use. Who knew I would end up using it daily?
Photoshop.com – More online storage with some neat tools to edit photos as well. Plus, you can link your photos from other accounts like flickr, picasa, etc. and pull them in to photoshop.com for a quick edit.
Freshbooks – Online accounting software for freelancers. Full access to my invoicing and time management tools from anywhere.
YouVersion – This is a must have on the road. I use both the web and mobile application, because sometimes when you are out there on the road you need a friend.
With all these tools, while I am running all over the place, I can still provide a level of service to my clients as easily as if I was sitting at my desk.
I’m sure there are more programs out there, both free and paid applications, that can accomplish these same tasks and others. Leave a comment below and let me know what you are using these days. I am always looking for ways to improve my workflow both in my freelance and personal projects.