It’s possible that you may never buy another laptop or desktop computer again. PC sales are dropping rapidly, while one in five Americans say that their smartphone is either the only way or the best way they have to access the internet at home. Smartphones, and tablets to a certain extent, are the future of personal computing.
But is it possible to entirely run a business from your smartphone today? Depending on what you do, the answer is… maybe? Even if you can’t run your business entirely on your phone, it’s likely that you can get quite a lot done, maybe even more than you realized. In fact, using your phone can help with time management on freelance projects in a big way.
Here are three major ways you can become more productive on your phone:
1. Move everything to the cloud.
If all of your documents don’t already live in the cloud, you’re asking for disaster. Besides the fact that it’s a lot easier to deal with files when you can access them anywhere, on any device, any file that only lives on a single device is probably going to get lost or corrupted at some point.
There are a ton of ways you can back up all of your files to the cloud. Dropbox is a popular choice, as are Box, Google Drive, Microsoft’s OneDrive, and iCloud. Depending on the apps you already use, you might have better luck with a particular service. For example, if you’re a big Microsoft Office user, OneDrive is probably your best bet. However, many apps and companies work and integrate with ecosystem-agnostic services like Dropbox and Box.
Once you have everything in the cloud, you’ll be able to access your files on any device, including your phone, your tablet, or a computer. Depending on the type of file, you’ll likely be able to use apps on your phone to directly edit those files if need be. For example, Apple’s iWork suite allows you edit documents (in their format) on the go.
2. Get a powerful email app
Email. You may hate it, or you may love it, but either way, it’s a constant in business. And whatever you do, you definitely don’t want to stick with the default email app on your phone. Powerful email apps can not only give you better interface options and more personalized settings, but they can also integrate with third party apps (like the cloud storage provider you chose above). These integrations make it easier to share files in emails you send and save files from emails you receive.
Take Spark, an email client available on iOS, for example. Besides connecting to every major email service you can imagine, it also allows you to sign in to Dropbox, iCloud, Drive, OneDrive, Evernote, Readability, Pocket, OneNote… you get the picture. Microsoft Outlook, available on iOS and Android, connects to cloud storage services and calendars from almost any provider. It’s also the best choice if you’re already in the Microsoft Office ecosystem, as you can easily edit a document emailed to you and then email it right back.
3. Go cross-platform
Like your computer, your phone is only as good as the apps that run on it. But what’s the point of using an app on your phone that you can’t also access on a tablet, computer, or through any web browser? Using cross-platform software and services is key to making sure that you’ll not only be productive on your phone, but that you’ll be able to switch between devices at any moment if need be.
Ever have a moment when you leave work, only to receive a last minute email that you just have to take care of? Knowing that all of the services you use for work are available on your phone makes it way easier to deal with emergencies like that.
Microsoft Office and Apple’s iWork suite are great examples of productivity software that are available across all three major types of hardware. Trello, a project management service, is based on the web, but also features great apps for mobile devices. Evernote is a web-based notebook that lets you capture ideas, doodles, inspiration, and more from almost any device. And if you need to message co-workers or employees about a wide variety of projects, Slack is your best bet.
Have more apps that turn you into a productivity machine? Or are you the type of person who needs a computer to get anything done? Let us know your thoughts on getting business done on the go in the comments below.