I can’t count the number of times I’ve searched up addresses and phone numbers for restaurants on my computer, then had to retype it into my phone before leaving the house. Or the number of times I’ve put my phone on silent at work and missed important calls or notifications as a result.

But lately, that’s changed. I’ve been using an app called Pushbullet. It has apps for iOS, Android, Mac, Windows, and most major browsers.

Here are the three main ways that Pushbullet has streamlined my workflow.

1. Don’t miss important calls or SMSes

My phone is always set to silent when I’m at work. Office etiquette. But this usually means that I end up missing phone calls or SMSes that come through because I’m so focused on the work at hand. My caller and I then get to play phone tag with each other for the rest of the day, which is never any fun. Also, there are some phone calls (such as being informed a family member is in the hospital) that I really don’t want to miss.

With Pushbullet installed on both my phone and my computer, a notification pops up each time a phone call comes through. I can also choose to have applications send notifications to my computer – though the default is for all applications, I can select only certain applications so I don’t get bombarded (and so I don’t get anything inappropriate coming up on my work computer!

2. Reply to messages from desktop

I used to check my phone occasionally throughout the day for messages from friends, especially if we were meeting that night and still didn’t have anything planned. (I know I can’t be the only one who does this!)

Now I’m notified on my desktop, I can simply keep working until a notification pops up, then reply then and there. It doesn’t seem like much, but the time I no longer have to spend jumping onto my phone adds up after a while. Pushbullet lets you reply to Whatsapp, Line, Facebook Messenger and general SMSes (and other applications besides) right in the notification box.

While it’s true I could just open most of these apps in my browser, it’s far more convenient to simply reply as a message comes up. Not to mention, the SMS reply-from-desktop functionality alone automatically makes this a winner in my books.

And if you’ve got an meeting where you’re sharing your screen? You can temporarily turn off notifications from your phone. If you have the browser extension, clicking on options will let you snooze notifications for an hour.

3. Send files between devices

Usually, getting files from my phone to my computer – or vice versa – involves the use of email, Dropbox, or the good old standby of a USB cable. With Pushbullet, I can now drop a file onto my desktop client or share a file from my mobile, and it will send to all selected devices. Getting files from home to work, my work mobile to my home computer, or my personal phone to my work phone is fast and simple.

I’ve even sent files to some friends who also use Pushbullet, and it’s also a great way to flick a full-sized photo through from a mobile.

 

Although Pushbullet only streamlines my workflow in simple ways, these small time savings (and attention savings!) really start to add up. It’s allowed me to centre my workflow on my desktop, as well as coordinate the flow of information between my devices. Give it a try, and see how you can streamline your workflow as well!


Tech Coach HQ started a #30dayblog challenge on 1st November focusing on all the different ways of using a mobile device in business. As part of this challenge, I’ve been using an iPad as the primary device to run my business for 30 days. I don’t have a smartphone (yet), which means that I had only the iPad to rely on.

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I’m already using different digital workflows to achieve certain tasks, but this challenge has forced me to improve my processes. There have been some decided benefits along the way as well as a few unexpected challenges.

Benefits of an iPad:

Here are my top 5 benefits for using mobile devices (tablets and phones) for any business:

  1. All-day power. The iPad’s battery lasts long enough for me to use it through most of the day. I also bought a battery pack that extends the amount of time I can use it, something I’d highly recommend. It is able to completely recharge the iPad once, or a smartphone up to five times.
  2. Creating media such as images and photos. Having one device to shoot, edit and then export videos and photos makes publishing content much easier.
  3. Presentations: I love presenting from the ‘palm of my hand’ and have developed a ‘five step process’ shared on Day 13 of the 30 Day challenge blog posts.
  4. Document Management. Being able to view, edit and share documents such as Microsoft Office or Google Drive documents via the iPad has been a massive advantage especially when dealing with prospective clients or during business meetings. I have been able to access files quickly and update as necessary.
  5. Working on the go. It doesn’t matter where I am. This was evident when I had to travel to Bendigo for a 2 hour workshop (which meant travelling two hours each way from Melbourne to Bendigo). I was able to prepare a presentation, mark-up and annotate PDF’s for an upcoming marketing workshop and listen to audiobooks on leadership.

Challenges of an iPad:

  1. There isn’t one app that will do everything for you. Sometimes it is a matter of working out which apps work best for the final product. You will need to compromise by adapting your workflow depending on the limitations of the app.
  2. Determining which apps are right for you. Researching apps does take time and it does take a lot of refinement to get exactly what you are looking for. You’ll go through a lot of trial and error to find the specific ones that fit with your workflow.
  3. Experimenting with apps can be costly. App directories are exactly that—directories. Just because an app is in a directory doesn’t necessarily mean it’s good. Sometimes, you need to buy them and try them out for yourself.
  4. Some systems won’t work, don’t work with iPads. Not all processes can be replaced by an iPad, especially in a retail business where there are custom systems that need certain programs to work.
  5. Digital de-cluttering can be painful. Balancing paper and digital processes is difficult, especially deciding what goes digital and what stays physical. If you don’t have good systems set up in the first place, it can definitely take double the time to complete the task.

Other Useful Tips:

  • Sharing resources via my Pinterest board has been one way of keeping track of resources and also gaining ideas for this 30 Day Blog Challenge. I use ‘Geek Mummy’s 6 step process to ‘pin’ ideas and websites from web sites outside of the Pinterest app via my iPad.

Overall, I think it has been an interesting challenge, and I will continue to use the iPad as my primary device. The benefits listed above certainly outweigh the challenges! Tech Coach HQ will also be turning it into an eBook at the end of this year full of interactive content such as videos.

So, readers, I’d love to hear what you think: How far off is the computer being dead and being replaced by other technology?

Featured image by atmtx

Megan Iemma

Technology Coach and “IT” girl Megan Iemma is a thought leader in the world of technology and its uses. An educator and technogeek, Megan combined her passions for education and technology and founded Tech Coach HQ  working with businesses and their teams to improve processes and embrace the productivity technology has to offer.