- By Clair Jones
Have you ever wondered what your Millennial coworkers are doing when they’re glued to their smartphones or tablets? Maybe it’s time to have a closer look.
They’re likely employing innovative technologies that you, too, should be using to make your job easier and make you more impressive to your current employer or your next one.
To stay up-to-date, learn these eight ways that technology can help you at work:
1. Manage your personal brand with IFTTT.
If This Then That (IFTTT) is a free service that makes updating your social media accounts, personal blog or LinkedIn profile easy. It uses what the service calls “recipes” to link your accounts. This way, when you post in one, an update is automatically posted in the others.
(MORE: How to Become a Boomer Tech Genius)
For instance, you can make an IFTTT recipe that updates your LinkedIn Profile every time you publish a new post on your personal blog. Guides like this one from Lifehacker provide detail instructions about how best to use the service.
2. Maximize your workday with Sunrise.
Sunrise is a free calendar app that combines Google Calendar with LinkedIn, Facebook and other profile calendars to display a comprehensive view of your day. It lets you see real-time updates to meetings in one place, send messages to meeting attendees from within the app and even adjust your events based on time zone. Sunrise also puts alerts from your Facebook, LinkedIn and other linked accounts into your everyday calendar to ensure you never miss an important date.
Google+ Hangouts is a free videoconferencing service that works on any device and allows more flexibility than many of its paid competitors. You can start a videoconference directly inside an email, share your screen and collaborate on Google Docs relatively glitch-free.
Doodle cooperates with your calendar to make it simple to schedule meetings with multiple participants and avoid overscheduling your time (it’s free or costs $39 a year if you want extra features). You can provide participants with a variety of meeting time options, all of which hover over their calendar. Once a time is chosen, Doodle automatically saves the meeting details. Doodle works seamlessly with different calendar formats.
4. Create dynamic work presentations with the Prezi and Keepvid web applications.
If you really want to impress your boss, ditch PowerPoint and use Prezi, whose customizable templates let you create dynamic, individualized presentations. You put in your text and images and then choose a color scheme, theme and filters. Prezi is free if you don’t mind sharing your presentations with its online community or $5 a month if you want to keep them private.
Frozen video slides can bring even the best-planned presentation to an embarrassing halt. One solution: Keepvid, which lets you download your videos beforehand and save them to your smartphone, computer or tablet free of charge. It’s useful when Internet access is unavailable or unreliable or when you’re in a place where certain websites (like YouTube) are blocked.
5. Hack graphic design with Easel.ly.
Easel.ly is an innovative service that lets you choose from hundreds of infographic templates and customize them to suit your needs. Whether you’re creating visual aids for a presentation or making an attention-grabbing image for a report, you can avoid the cost and turnaround time of hiring a designer with this free resource.
6. Manage projects gracefully with Evernote.
This free app, which has taken on cult-like status among its fervent users, makes project management simple and easy. Evernote lets you take notes, capture pictures of visual aids, record audio clips and store important project information in categorical files using one versatile interface. You can either email your files directly to Evernote or store them as you go, using simple tags.
Evernote is a huge upgrade from run-of-the mill note-taking apps, because it uses secure cloud technology to make finding your information completely seamless when you’re switching devices. In short, it’s more efficient than taking regular notes, especially if you’re prone to misplacing files.
7. Protect company and personal data with LastPass.
It’s is a free add-on that makes strong alpha-numeric passwords for each of your accounts, while requiring you to remember only one simple password of your choice. Password data is locally encrypted on your computer, so it’s not sent over the Internet. LastPass is great for protecting yourself when you’re using an unsecured network away from the office.
8. Stay abreast of current events with Pocket.
Pocket is a free tool that lets you save for reading later the media that interests you. Say you discover something on your smartphone you don’t have time to look at now or that you’d rather view on a larger screen. Just email a link to your “Pocket,” or download the Pocket browser extension to bookmark relevant media as you discover it.
You can also use tags to categorize your media. For instance, if you’re job hunting and interested in resumé best practices, you can start a resumé tag and revisit the media you’ve saved before your next CV revamp. Then, Pocket can rocket you to success.
Clair Jones is a freelance journalist who loves to write about career and business trends, lifestyle advice, technology and travel. Keep in touch with Clair on Google+ and Twitter.