Tech on your Deck: Download these apps before you go away.
Summer isn’t over yet!
In true Canadian style, many of us are flocking to the cabin or cottage to try and soak up the last few weeks of sunshine, BBQing, swimming, and enjoying the outdoors before the winter months set in. However, just because we’re soaking up the late-summer rays doesn’t mean our workflows can be interrupted, and many of us take our work to the cabin or cottage and enjoy the luxury of working from the deck.
Unfortunately, many of our cabins and cottages don't come complete with Internet and Wi-Fi. While it can be great to “unplug” for a while, it’s important to not let our work slip, which is why we’ve put together this list of offline apps to keep your mind sharp and maximize productivity in-between dips in the lake and BBQ hotdogs.
Pocket is one of my favourite apps of all time. It allows you to find online material such as web pages and articles and “save” them to read offline.
Once Pocket is installed it will show up as a check mark icon in your browser address bar, and when you click the icon Pocket will save whatever is on the page that you’re currently looking at, including text, images and any additional pages to Pocket’s site. Then it syncs within your local storage for later use — meaning that you can read the page even when you’re offline.
Many businesses use Gmail for their email needs, and if you’re one of them then make sure to use Gmail Offline the next time you’re away from a Wi-Fi signal.
As the name implies, Gmail Offline allows you to read and write emails while offline, and then automatically exchange them when you’re back online. It works by caching your list of contacts so that you can still compose emails while disconnected from the Internet. This is an incredibly handy tool for busy businesspeople who need to catch up on emails while away from their desks, and I highly recommend it!
Calling all creatives! Do you love meetings where you get to brainstorm and “mind map” to get your thoughts out? If so, then this is the app for you.
Coggle is designed as a digital mind mapping tool, and starts with a clean, blank grid for you to fill with ideas and thoughts. Start by adding a theme, goal or idea, and then add supporting ideas, related thoughts and other items to the diagram. You can connect these with links so that they create a hierarchy.
Customize your map by adding colours, moving items around, choosing your favourite fonts or zooming in and out. When you’re done you can save it as an image to share with your team upon your return to the city.
Does your business run on invoicing clients and contractors? Then make sure to install vCita’s Invoice Template, a handy Chrome plugin which can make creating invoices (a normally tedious and time-consuming task, as many of us know) quick and easy.
After entering your company’s basic information you can create invoices in just a few minutes that can be printed or emailed to the recipient. While they may not exactly match your invoicing templates, they are still professional-looking and can be customized to include your company’s logo and to alter currencies, if needed.
Time away from the office is the perfect time to reflect on your business practices and processes, and this handy simulator can help you make sense of, and optimize, how your process works.
Start by creating a flowchart which models how your business process works and then begin the simulator. This will advance and allow you to view the timing and interactions between different elements in your flowchart, minute-by-minute. As the program runs, it uses graphs to help you understand critical elements like time allocated to each task, employee performance, along with other important statistics and metrics to help you streamline your business process.
Do you love making charts? Then make sure to download this Chrome plug-in before leaving the city!
Gliffy Diagrams is an app which allows you to easily create a wide variety of business process models, flowcharts, BPMN charts and more. It’s also got a super-easy to understand interface: just choose the category you want to work with and select a textbox or shape, place it down on the background and connect it with lines.
The app has an extensive library of images, ranging from geometric shapes, standardized BPMN shapes, flowchart symbols and Venn diagram circles so that you can customize your diagram to suit your needs. When you’re done simply export it as an image to send to your team when you’re back in range.
Have we missed any of your favourite offline apps? Tell us in the comments!