5 Apps I use as a Technology Consultant

I get asked this question a lot so I thought I’d share my ‘core’ apps:

  1. Index Cards for Windows 10

Full Disclaimer: I built this app for myself since there was no app like it on any app store — seriously. And it is the #1 app that I use on my Microsoft Surface Pro each day (of course!)

Why did I build this? I needed a visually appealing app that helped me to be creative. I thought OneNote was going to be it when it first came out, and even though it has digital pen input, I found it is not ‘visual enough’.

With the Index Cards app I developed, you can see all your ideas on one screen — small previews of each card. This is very helpful when you are trying to see what ideas you have already have and what to think about next. I think the way the information is presented visually and the nature of the Index Card concept contribute to the difference between this app and, say OneNote or EverNote.

I also added a Stacks feature where I can organize different notes and ideas into ‘projects’. As an IT consultant I am involved in many different projects simultaneously and being able to see and navigate my notes quickly makes for much better day-to-day efficiency.

I can switch from meeting to meeting and bring up the appropriate project, and then go to the last card where I made notes to pick up the project at that point. This provides a continuity of project and thinking that I can’t say I’ve ever found in any other product, even though they may have a page/folder capability.

2. OneNote
I do still use OneNote — a lot. But I use it as a long-term data repository. I learned a long time ago that to be efficient you need to have one place to store all your data — notes, web clips, passwords (ahem). The nice thing about OneNote is that it is synced across all my devices and backed up in the cloud.

Microsoft Office 
I know a lot of the younger generation have gone full Web on this, but I find that the capability and speed of the desktop version is still better than any online version, whether it is Office 365 online version of Word or PowerPoint, or GoogleDocs. Ultimately Word still seems to be the ‘King’ of document editors and it’s still the ideal tool for creating proposals and agreements.

LastPass
 
As I get older my memory is going! Or is that I’m just using computers and note systems so much that I have outsourced my memory to OneNote! Either way, I love LastPass as a way to pre-fill my passwords for all the different websites that I use. It’s been a life — and time — saver!

OneDrive / Dropbox
 
This one is obvious, but needed to be in this list. By saving all my documents into both OneDrive and/or Dropbox I know I have full availability and backup of my documents. I do use both systems — I like being able to access and edit my documents through the Office365.com interface with OneDrive, but I like the folder sharing capabilities better for DropBox. So I tend to keep my personal/business items on OneDrive, and project files I am sharing with clients on Dropbox. OneDrive (in the Fall of 2017) will enable ‘placeholders’ so that you can see all your files even if they are not actually downloaded to your machine — it used to have to this function until last year so I’m glad it’s making it back in the fall Creators update.

So there you have it, these are the apps that I use on a high frequency daily basis to help me be as productive and creative as I can be. Make sure you buy a Microsoft Surface Pro (or other Pen-enabled Windows device) and you’re all set!

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