Having extensively studied the iPhone apps, I have to say that I never really found them all that useful, primarily because the iPhone is so small. It’s not all that easy to work with, so I mainly stuck to ones I could easily use on it while travelling. However, now the iPad has been launched this has opened up a whole new world of productivity, and for a virtual assistant there are some real gems out there available for download.
So here are my “Top 10 iPad apps” which I think would benefit virtual assistants:
This amazing little app will allow you to use the touch screen capabilities of the iPad to create notes, drawing, charts, graphs – pretty much anything.
I use this to draw out design idea templates for websites and logos, and other graphics work. Also to make entire notebooks on projects which I can then send to my department managers for implementation. With a little imagination, there are no end of possibilities with this app.
2. Mobile RSS
As a virtual assistant it’s essential you keep up-to-date with everything online – systems, technology, colleagues and experts.
Working your way around their sites is quite frankly time consuming, and you want to be able to easily scan through posts and content quickly to pick out the good stuff, and also preferably away from your desk, (we all need a little away from the office time, but that doesn’t mean to say we can’t still be productive).
With this app you can sort and categorise multiple rss feeds in one place, take notes, and organise the content so you can become a super-efficient research machine!
Project management spaces are essential for keeping track of multiple projects, tasks, clients and team members, and I use Active Collab in my business. This neat little app interfaces with my Active Collab project space perfectly, allowing me to easily manage and monitor the workflow of my business directly from my iPad.
No VA business is complete without Dropbox. It’s an amazing service which allows you to share and sync files between multiple computers and devices. The Dropbox app for the iPad provides the interface for you to open and view your files in whatever format they happen to be in, thus allowing you to view anything from an Excel spreadsheet or Word doc, through to a PDF or jpg.
Where would my VA business be without Skype? It’s one of the most useful communication tools on the planet, allowing me to connect with my virtual team from anywhere there is an Internet connection. The Skype app for the iPad is great for communicating via chat with your contacts, and it saves getting the laptop out to connect when travelling.
6. Duet Browser
Multitasking is a skill that every virtual assistant needs to learn, to some it may come naturally and to others, it can be developed with time and practise. Whether you are the former or the latter iPad apps will now allow you to split your browser window while surfing the net, giving you the opportunity to easily do 2 things at once. You can do things such as watch a video in one screen section while writing an article in Google apps in the other!
As a VA, you may come across some great digital downloads such as White papers, ebooks, reports and PDFs. Stick to reading those away from the computer — take your iPad to your favourite location to do some reading there. In iBooks you can store all of your important documents, where they are easily accessible, in a really nice bookshelf style interface.
8. Daily Notes
No VA is complete without a trusty notepad, this great little app is also linked to a calendar, so it’s perfect for planning out newsletter or blog schedules, projects, ideas, a to-do list or anything else that springs to mind. It’s packed with other features, and is very user-friendly.
Virtual assistants are prone to accumulating logins for various services, and systems across the Web. Keeping track of these passwords can often be a challenge, especially when you want to keep them all unique for optimum security. I love 1Password because it does just that, but allows you to use 1 password to access all of your accounts. Not only this, but because of the credit card storage facilities, it can make online purchasing super-fast. I have to admit that I never rely solely on online systems for passwords, and always keep a back-up in a note book for emergency purposes, but for everyday use this application gets my vote.
As a VA you may have clients and team members across several continents, meaning a variety of timezones to juggle. Timescroller allows you to easily plan meetings and calls at a time which is suitable for all, without having to sit there and calculate the hours behind or ahead. This app is a huge timesaver when it comes to organising international business relationships.