Monday, 12 July 2010

Remote working

One of the first things I'm aiming to do whilst maximising my life is to put everything in place to be able to work from anywhere I choose. At worst this will allow me to be free of the wasted time, energy (mine and the planet's) and money consumed by commuting (and see my girlfriend more and not be too exhausted to go for a run), and at best allow me to live and make a living wherever I choose in the world.

So I'm on the hunt for tools that can make this possible. Here are a few I've already found and am using or am considering using:

Gmail, Calendar and Google docs: it's an obvious one, but the last 7 years of office life have revolved around Microsoft Office and Outlook. Both good tools, but it's always meant that I've had to use the company Exchange server to hold all my email, contacts and appointments. Once I realised that my iPhone, iPad and iBook sync with gmail, contacts and calendar then it made total sense to transfer all of this to the cloud so that I never have to rely on an employers' infrastructure again. Also I'm getting more used to Docs. Even though it lacks the power of MS Office, I do like the fact that I can store and share my docs in one place and can edit on all my devices using cheap tools like Office2 HD or even a browser.

Evernote: allows you to remember everything by storing text notes, images and voice clips from laptop, iPhone or iPad. At first I couldn't find a use for this, but it's great if you see something interesting, just fire up Evernote on your iPhone and take a Snapshot note. It will be saved to yout notebook and best of all, any text is searchable as it has built in character recognition. You can do a similar thing with any voice notes you record through your phone. Another great way I've found to use it is to write presentation notes on your laptop, then sync to iPad over the cloud and use your iPad as a prompt instead of a piece of paper.

Freeagent: is simple online accounting software. Haven't tried this one yet, but friends swear by it and say they run their businesses off the back of it. It's primarily focused on UK market and is designed to be used in conjunction with an accountant, but there are similar services such as Indinero for US market. As I say, haven't tried these yet and Im still trying to figure the best way to automate the financial side of my work and life.

Toodledo: is an online todo list. What I like about this is the way it prioritises tasks according to date and importance. You can categorise the tasks, star ones that really need attention and even set life goals that the tasks feed into. Best of all is the way it integrates across browser, iPhone and iPad and allows plugs into your Google Calendar. and DropBox: are both great filesharing services. I used for a long time and upgraded to the paid individual account as you can't upload files greater than 25mb with the free service. It has a very usable site and can be used in conjunction with Office2 HD on your devices. However I'm strongly considering switch to DropBox as you get 2GB free and no file size limits. It's also got a nice desktop install which allows you to use it like a traditional folder. (Update, DropBox is actually much better due to better allowances so I've permanently switched)

Please do share any other good cloud based services or any experiences you've had of the above so that we can all figure out smart ways of avoiding the commute.

1 comment:

  1. Xero is the best accounting SAAS I've used.
    Toggl helps me keep track of billable hours. Alternatively, Chrometa is good if you're a multitasker (which I don't recommend) as it automatically records your time.

    I also use the Pomodoro Technique ( to help me focus on tasks.