TECH THAT WORKS (FOR ME)

In my world (ie, at my church) I’m always referred to as “the tech guy”. Can I confess, that irks me a bit? Here’s why: I think in 2020 no one really has the excuse to be tech-norant (I just made that up… so maybe I’m also the english guy?). Having said that, I really do understand that some people are more prone to using technology to help them accomplish what they need to on daily basis.

I thought I’d share a little of what I’ve found works for me. This is after years of trying different apps and processes. I think I’ve finally stumbled upon the “perfect system” – for me, at least. If you have any tips of your own, share them below – I’d love to hear.

Before I get into the detail though – I need to share one sidenote that will make some of the things below make sense. This year, I have decided to keep my work and personal life separate. Here’s why: I like notifications – but, I don’t want to be notified of everything all the time. So I’ve removed everything work-related from my iPhone. My iPhone only has my personal email, private task list and google drive on. The only exception here is my calendar.

THE HARDWARE

I’m sure it’s no surprise that I’m entirely immersed in the Apple world. I use a Macbook Pro 15″ touchbar (which sits primarily on my home desk); an iPad Pro 11″ with Apple Pencil 2 (which is my portable work device and has my work email and other software on); an iPhone 11 Pro with Apple Airpods and an Apple Watch 4. Useless information – my least favourite apple device is the Watch. If I had to lose it, I doubt I would replace it.

EMAIL

Let’s start here – as most of us engage in some form of email activity on a regular basis. I have 3 email addresses, which I keep separate. I have a work address, a personal Gmail address that I use for subscriptions etc, and a private domain email address which I use as my primary personal email. All of these are setup on Gmail, and I have 3 bookmarks on Google Chrome taskbar which opens them. If I get a “work email” on my personal email add – I will copy/paste or forward it to my work email so all church related email happens from my @eastside email add.

WORKFLOW

The latest app to make it into my bank of “must-haves” is ASANA. In the past I have used Trello (for years, actually), more recently Slack (for about 6 months) and Evernote (yes, even as a task list/reminders app). I haven’t found anything as user friendly, intuitive and engaging as Asana.

We have moved over to Asana at Eastside and it’s working really well for everyone – even the non-tech people. So I’ve set up a “work Asana” on my iPad (for all work related tasks); a Private Asana on my iPhone (for things like shopping, blogs to write, books to read, things to do etc) and I have both of them on my Mac.

Essentially what this setup has done is turned my ihone into a personal device; iPad into a work device; and my Macbook is for everything. (Another side note – I would love to move all my work whatsapp groups to my iPad too – but haven’t quite figured that out, other than having a seperate number. Thoughts?)

CLOUD STORAGE

I’m fairly rooted in the Google Drive eco system when it comes to files etc. Their cloud storage is very reasonably priced, the sync app works pretty well (though, not as well as the Dropbox app) and the benefit of being able to work on documents etc within Google Drive is a huge benefit. As for iCloud – I think this is one of the areas Apple really sucks. iCloud is aweful. I don’t use iCloud for anything.

PHOTO BACKUPS

Even though I have a huge amount of space on my iPhone, I use Google Photos to backup and sync my photos. It happens in the background, and at the end of the day I just click the “Make space on my device” tab, and Google automatically deletes the photos from my phone that it’s backed up. Win!

DESIGN

I’m a Photoshop boy! I know there are many simple (and free) apps out there for basic design, but I’ve never bothered to get into them. I have an Adobe Creative Cloud subscription, and use that for editing.

VIDEO

I used to use FCP X for video editing, and still do occasionally, but the Adobe Rush app for iPad or Mac is so good! Most of my editing happens on Rush now. In fact, I edited our whole “40 Day Journey” video footage in 2019 on my iPad.

WEBSITE

This website uses a WordPress theme, and all my blogs happen on WordPress

SOCIAL MEDIA

I used to use Hootsuite for my social media, especially to schedule posts etc – but I don’t do all that much anymore, so I just use the native apps.

NOTES

I use Evernote for notes, and have a few different categories set up for work, home, bible studies, sermon notes etc.

CALENDAR

The best calendar app I’ve found recently is Timepage – it’s a calendar app made by Moleskine and it’s beautiful! That’s all you need to know. Try it. You’ll love it.

READING

I’ve recently discovered Scribd and it’s been a life changer. So many books, magazines, audio books, podcasts and more for just R130 a month.

So – what have I missed? Which apps or systems should I be putting into my life to simplify?

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