Tools I'm Using To Be Productive and Profitable
In the past I've written about some of the tools I'm using to keep productive and sane. First, I'd like to say that I'm always willing to try new technologies and techniques, but I've become very wary over the years of turning my world around just to suit any particular technology or any software program.
Chasing new software feature or software requirements is perfectly fine, if the new features and/or software are uniquely revolutionary and transformative enough to warrant the investment in change. This is, however, not often the case.
That is why I favor those tools that do their best to work for me and don't require me to work for it.
Here's a short list of a few of the tools I'm now using:
- Google Apps - Your email, calendar, tasks list, files, and more, all on the cloud. Whenever and wherever you need it, as long as you have an Internet connection, that is, your business critical data is available. With choices for free or low cost accounts, this can be a great solution for you and your business.
- Google Voice - I'm just starting to use Google Voice, which so far, I like. Get a FREE phone number with some really innovative and useful services, like: free voicemail, transcribed voicemails (this doesn't work 100%, but what doesn't transcribe correctly is really good for a laugh), voicemails emailed to you, have your calls ring simultaneously on multiple phones.... and more.
- Skype - As it says on their website, "Voice and video calls to anyone else on Skype, Conference calls with three or more people, Instant messaging, file transfer and screen sharing". Skype to Skype calls are free, and should you have to pay for a call (I avoid that like the plague) their fees appear to be very reasonable. With high speed internet I've never had a problem with "reception". In fact, I've found the sound quality has always been excellent (I've not used video).
- iPhone - Smartphone, whatever. I use the iPhone, which I think is awesome, but I'm sure every smart phone has its strengths and will help you to stay connected and get business done. It's really about one thing - mobility. Being able to conduct business just about anywhere, I think, gives you an edge over your competitors.
- AutoCAD Civil 3D - Most of the previous tools, if you hadn't noticed, leaned to the somewhat low cost, cheap, and free side of things. Well, AutoCAD Civil 3D sure isn't low cost,cheap or free. In fact, when you take into account the initial purchase price, subscription fee, and the cost of setup and learning, AutoCAD Civil 3D is one mighty expensive tool. I still think it's a worthwhile tool to have in your toolbox, and from a surveying, mapping, and design standpoint, this can be one investment that can speed-up your work, reduce errors, and bring a nice return on investment. However, it might not be the right tool for everyone, but we'll leave that for another time.
- Robotic Total Station - Expensive? Yes. Best business investment I've ever made? Yes! I use a Leica. I'm sure all the makes and models are very good, and it's revolutionized the way I conduct business. We'll run the numbers in an upcoming post, but in addition to keeping you profitable, these types of surveying equipment can also bring to the table increases in precision, accuracy, and productivity, too.
- GPS - Just repeat everything from the previous paragraph, except I use a Trimble. However, due to tree overstory, foliage, and urban areas (tall buildings being the culprits) I've not been able to fully utilize GPS as much as I would've liked. When it works though, boy-o-boy, it's a thing of beauty.
The thing about tools is this: Tools should help you to get the job done, done right, and done profitably. Otherwise, they're more like anchors, which is great if you want to stay anchored in one place.
So, what are your favorite tools?