Every summer I give one of these articles over to the subject of apps that I use regularly. This year I’ve zoned in on 6 apps that I use very regularly, in some cases many times each day. I’ve ignored meeting apps such as Zoom or MS Teams as these are used by everyone today.
App 1: ChatGPT
So where do we start with this one? As Artificial Intelligence (AI) is heralded as the greatest technological revolution in decades and about to change how we live and work beyond our comprehension, ChatGPT is the poster child for AI – certainly at the moment. It has grabbed most of the headlines as it is so simple to get started with, enabling many people to harness the power of AI. However, to use it well and to its full potential is another matter altogether…
I’m finding myself using it for a wider range of functions now – whether that’s in carrying out research, as an alternative search platform to Google and as an assistant in content development. However I know I’m still only tipping around the edges of it. I’m beginning to see how it can help in a much broader range of business tasks – and this applies equally to the work that financial advisers carry out every day. The power of ChatGPT and AI more broadly is quite mind-blowing.
I’m also wondering though about when I write a similar article in a year’s time. Will ChatGPT be the headline on the list or will it be “old hat” at that stage?
App 2: Xero
I was introduced to Xero, an online accounting system a couple of years ago. It has had a transformational effect on the financial management side of my business. I have real-time profit & loss statements, balance sheet and a host of other useful reports that are available at the press of a button. All my invoicing and bank reconciliations are done through Xero. My accountant and I can both view the up to the minute real time information about my business, I’m saving hours every month with this software and have much better information available to me.
Specifically with the app, a great overview of business bank accounts, invoices and purchases is provided. I’ve full view of my outstanding invoices in the App and other important information. I now have all the information I need, and the time spent on “the books” is a fraction of what it once was.
App 3: Ayoa
For any of you that I’ve been fortunate to develop strategies and plans with, you’ll have seen this one in action. Ayoa is the replacement for iMindmap, which was the business established by the king of mindmaps, Tony Buzan. I use this all the time when brainstorming, whether on my own or with clients as part of the planning process. Because of the highly visual nature of them, mindmaps are far more effective to capture ideas than using a flipchart, as you can easily edit items, move them around, expand ideas or simply lose the weak ones. You then also have a digital record of the work which can be shared with others or can be exported into other programmes for further use. I’d struggle to cope without this one!
App 4: Canva
While I don’t use this app every day, it is really handy from time to time. It is effectively a DIY design tool. While it will never replace the skills of a good graphic designer, it is very useful for those simple design jobs where you just want to create or manipulate a nice image for use maybe in a social media post. It’s definitely one worth checking out.
App 5: Feedly
An old favourite that I know some of you now use. Feedly is an app that I use all of the time in seeking out useful content from the web to share, and indeed for content ideas to write about. It enables me to track blogs / news feeds that provide content I don’t want to miss. Rather than receiving an email every time there’s a new blog post or news article, instead the new content is sent to Feedly which gathers all of these articles in one place. It is like a magazine rack for online articles, waiting for me to go through them.
I can then flick down through hundreds of articles in minutes, reading only the headlines, dipping into an introduction or indeed the full article if I think it is actually worth reading. And I can mark them all as “Read” very easily as I go along, ensuring those particular articles don’t appear again. I’ve categorised the different feeds into groups, which further speeds up the process too. The benefit of Feedly is the time it saves me in getting through huge numbers of articles.
App 6: Pocket
And then there’s Pocket, which I see as my sister App to Feedly – another old favourite. This is my scrapbook of articles that I’ve “cut out” and saved for later. As I see articles of interest on the web or that come through to Feedly, some catch my attention to be read later when I’ve a bit more time on my hands. With 2 clicks, I put them in my Pocket and can also tag the articles for different purposes – it might be to share out later, to rewrite with my perspective, maybe to help me develop a new angle for my proposition etc.
I can then go back into Pocket when I want to carry out an activity and simply click on the article that I’ve saved for that very purpose. It’s all very easy and it means you don’t lose great articles that you’ve read.
I hope there’s an app here for you to make your life a bit easier or more productive.