For so many working parents in this world of technology, the office isn’t just in your house or a building. It’s wherever you happen to have a cell connection–the subway, your kid’s lacrosse game, the coffee shop, movie theater. (But just during the previews, right?) And while technology has made working from a virtual office much easier, as you probably know, it presents some challenges too:
Raise your hand if you’ve ever checked email at the dinner table.
(Yep, us too.)
So along with our home office organization and productivity tips, we’re rounding out our Working Parents Productivity Guide with helpful ways to make mobile devices maximize your time, not eat it up.
We are so happy that Cool Mom Tech is partnering with Motorola, makers of the new Motorola Elite Sliver Bluetooth Headset, this month to provide our favorite tips to help make the lives easier for all of us busy working parents.
1. Take the time to get your phone organized
First off, set up your phone the way it best works for you. Turn off alerts you don’t need, add a special ring for your sitter, and delete the apps you don’t use. Plus, find a system to organize the apps you do use–say, daily apps up front, productivity apps next, and those tempting games far in the back. The easier you can find your apps, the quicker you can use them.
2. Make your phone your productivity hub
You can bet we rely heavily on our smart phones to help us get more done in less time, and thankfully there are a slew of apps and services to help make that happen. A few favorites:
-Don’t forget Google Calendar as a really simple source for scheduling appointments and syncing calendars between phones and PCs.
–Dropbox is taking mobile users by storm, and for good reason–it’s great to have the documents you need and not have to be tethered to your PC.
-These days, you can scan and share photos and documents with a document scanner app like this highly rated one for Android.
-Don’t forget your smartphone browser which can allow you to log onto sites like hellofax.com so you can scan and sign documents on the go, all with a couple of taps.
3. Techcessories: Don’t leave home without them
Or better yet, minimize your tech accessories entirely with products that do double duty. A lot of our readers have been excited to learn that Motorola’s Elite Sliver Bluetooth Headset is not only awesome for all kinds of reasons, but it comes with a portable carrying case that actually holds a charge so you’re unlikely to find your headset out of juice. Up to 15 hours of talk time? Thanks Motorola–on behalf of Bluetooth-reliant parents everywhere.
4. Make the effort to take business calls when you’re not on parenting duty
We know this isn’t always possible. (We know, we know!) But you can’t parent too well when you’re talking taxes, and you can’t conquer that conference call with background noise that sounds awfully like a kid yelling for a snack.
If you have no choice (we know, we know!) another good thing about the Elite Sliver is that the CrystalTalk technology uses two microphones to cancel out background noise. Which means the person on the other end will actually hear you and not Dora. Besides, the HD Audio Plus makes you sound so clear that you won’t have anyone asking the dreaded “Are you on a Bluetooth?” question. Should you need to pretend you’re actually at an office.
We talk about setting technology limits for our kids but the same goes for ourselves. While it seems obvious, it’s actually the one we all seem to have the most issues with.
The downside to having a mobile office is that it’s easy to get sucked into working way longer than you should; so try creating business hours for yourself, and then turning off your phone (or at least the ringer) when it’s family time or me-time. Besides, there’s nothing like a break from work to allow you to come back to it refreshed. And we know your kids will appreciate your full attention over mac n cheese at night–the uh, homemade organic kind, of course.
6. Remember, you control your phone, not the other way around
Some of the best advice we ever got is to try and think of your smart phone as a device to allow you to work on your own terms and get out when you can; not a device that keeps you accessible to anyone and everyone 24/7.
If you can reset your mind (and retrain your colleagues) to see things this way, you’ll be amazed how quickly you feel less stressed from day to day. It works for us, promise.