By Norman Rozenberg, Contributor
Mobility has become a necessary part of growing a brand and expanding a company, according to a Brookings Institute study. It provides crucial support for the always-on entrepreneur who is looking to increase productivity and stay organized.
However, mobility can be as much of a curse as a blessing — users are always connected, but how do they sift through all those notifications, emails, updates and apps to stay organized and even improve productivity?
Power More caught up with some successful tech entrepreneurs to tackle the question. Here are five tips and tricks that can help bright-eyed entrepreneurs stay organized and leverage mobile technology to improve productivity.
1. Know yourself before you download that new app
The market is full of shiny, new apps that promise to help entrepreneurs organize expenses, make word processing mobile and stay in touch with the team. But before downloading and purchasing these great resources, take a moment to learn a few things about yourself.
“Figure out what makes the most sense for you in terms of memory and behavior, and find mobile solutions that address those things that work for you,” Aparna Dasgupta, founder of Distillate, told Power More.
Entrepreneurs do not work typical hours; they are constantly processing all kinds of information, from managing their business to marketing their product. Each hat entrepreneurs wear requires different mental processes, Dasgupta explained, and a new app may not address some of the problems that come with the startup lifestyle.
Figure out what kind of help is required — organizing receipts, remembering meeting times, or taking notes — then download the apps that will help.
2. Delegate jobs between different devices
As mobile devices become just as efficient as traditional desktops at everyday tasks, it is easy to run an entire business from the palm of the hand. However, it may be better to delegate tasks across multiple devices , and new apps and cloud technologies make it easier than ever to sync work across platforms.
On-the-go, always-on entrepreneurs, however, must also learn to multitask from certain devices, and new solutions are bridging the gap between the portability of the smartphone and the power of the desktop. Tablets can balance different needs for different entrepreneurs. The Dell Venue 11 Pro tablet, for example, can connect teams at the office and in the field. It is important to know the strengths of mobile devices to better manage time and improve overall productivity.
“Because entrepreneurs are on-call 24/7, it is easy to send quick responses when you’re on the train or during idle time,” Dasgupta said. In fact, Dasgupta finds it easy to shoot a quick reply at any time, but longer responses require more thought and care — something better done from a computer.
“I think our impulse is to move quickly and to speed up on mobile, and I think taking time to think and to be conscious of your client interactions is even more critical when you are writing from mobile,” explained Joanna Schneier, co-founder of Cognotion, a disruptive educational training technology firm.
3. Use mobile management tools
Staying organized and improving productivity requires both self-management and management of a team. Several mobile apps can take some of the work out of management.
Asana is a task manager that eliminates the need for email, letting team members connect with each other and share all updates to projects without filling inboxes. In Asana, the mobile interface is just as central as the desktop, allowing for a more seamless integration of devices for entrepreneurs to stay on top of developments
Meanwhile, a tool such as Dell Mobile Management can allow companies to manage smartphones and tablets from a single console.
The lifestyle can be stressful for entrepreneurs when managing a startup, and sometimes they can forget about the great team helping them succeed. Apps such as Attitudes of Gratitude can help entrepreneurs remember why they started in the first place and build morale for a team. Staying centered is crucial, according to Schneier.
4. Turn to older, reliable productivity apps
Although new mobile solutions offer great options for the entrepreneur, one shouldn’t forget some of the powerful productivity tools that have been around for a while.
Google Calendar is perfect for scheduling and keeping track of meetings, engagements and personal lives. However, entrepreneurs can audit productivity by editing their calendars to reflect how they actually spent their day.
Other standard apps such as voice recorders can help an entrepreneur talk out ideas, while Evernote has proved to be one of the most helpful apps in keeping track of notes and integrating across platforms.
And according to Dasgupta, one shouldn’t discount built-ins such as knowing the weather and keeping track of news updates.
5. Keep it simple, use what you’ve got
One of the most important parts of leveraging mobile technology for entrepreneurship is keeping usage simple — instead of complicating your life, mobile should streamline and take things off your plate.
Schneier identified some crucial apps that can simplify the entrepreneur’s life: HubSpot to track clients, Shoeboxed to keep track of receipts and Slack for communicating with her team.
“There are plenty of tools out there that make being on the road much easier. Use them!” Schneier said. But make sure these tools simplify life; sometimes learning the ins-and-outs of a complicated app can bring a loss of crucial time and reduce productivity.
Also know when to turn off notifications and create a balance between working on a brand and personal life.
An entrepreneur’s livelihood “depends on the best use of time,” Dasgupta said, adding that it’s important for entrepreneurs to know what makes them most productive.