Tech tools. Those two little words are likely to inspire overwhelm, unease, dread, I-wanna-pull-my-hair-out & would rather have a fingernail pulled out than talk about this. Am I right or am I right?
Do you relate tech tools to any of the following?
- Tech tools are synonymous with watching cat videos
- Tech tools are meant to help you peek into the life of your old flame
- Tech tools are for catching up with your third cousin thrice removed because you’re fascinated seeing what he has for breakfast every morning
Psst, relief is in sight. Lean in, come closer. Help is at hand.
First off, let me unapologetically, unabashedly preach from my soapbox.
Tech CAN be all that & more BUT it can also be an unbelievable, magical, dreamily helpful, load lifter, ease bringer & tamer of blender brain. (Blender brain is what I call all that flotsam & jetsam you have whirring around your brain – to do’s, don’t forget, details, details, details.)
Second, let me tell you that tech can serve you, instead of the other way around.
I’ve divided how tech can serve you into three categories.
I’ll given you a couple examples for each category of how I harness tech tools & then suggest 3 easy ways for you to do the same.
Ready? Deep breath sista (or brotha).
Three ways to harness tech tools
Listening & research:
Listening & research tech tools can be used to gather information. Remember those old clipping services, where it was someone’s sole job to research topics & make files from clippings? Think of it like that, only wayyyy easier & more fun. Here are some examples of how I use tech tools to listen & for research.
- I wanted to see what my Learning & Development Group’s preference was for an upcoming meeting so I used a Facebook poll. Easily & quickly I got to see what the group wanted et voila; next session topic is gamification of learning.
- For almost a decade I’ve used a Virtual Assistant from GetFriday. I have my own dedicated personal assistant based in India. Recently I’ve been using him to research images for my weekly quotes. Here’s an example.
- I used Google draw to get input on how people feel about their supervisor in a fun & creative way. This was for a blog post & a workshop on communication. Check it out & while you’re there add your input.
Communication & learning;
Communication & learning tech tools can be used to help you communicate across the globe, across the hall etc. And they can be used to learn just about anything, in the format you want & at the time you want it. Here are some examples of how I use tech tools for communication & learning.
- I use Google docs (okay I admit it, I’m obsessed with them) for everything from designing workshop agendas, what to see & do in Kenya (where I live), track my digital strategy etc. etc. I can then choose who to share them with & how (for viewing purposes only, for commenting or for editing).
- I often teach workshops on team building, including conflict resolution. I use a tech tool called wordle to make word clouds. Word clouds analyze text by frequency. The larger the word, the more often it’s been mentioned. And the smaller the word, the less frequently it’s been mentioned. Before teaching a workshop I’ll ask participants for 3 words that describe how they feel about conflict. In seconds I have a great word cloud image to use in the workshop. Here’s an example.
- I use online polling in a variety of ways, for example to ask workshop participants how they feel about social media. One such tool is Poll Everywhere. You can see an example of one of my polls here.
Ease & efficiency
Ease & efficiency are the final way that tech tools can be used. Who doesn’t need more of that? Can I get an amen & hallelujah! These types of tools bring more simplicity to your life, ease some burdens & make onerous tasks less, well, onerous. Here are three ways I use tech tools to amp up my ease & efficiency.
- Workflowy has been a godsend. I use it hundreds of time a day (okay I’m exaggerating but not by much). It’s an online to-do app. I can access it on my phone, my IPad & my desktop. I can share lists if I wish. For example I have a list of tasks for my VA (virtual assistant) to do in the order of priority, that he can access whenever he wishes. Here’s an example list for you to view in Workflowy. Feel free to leave a comment.
- Have you ever tried to share an online resource you found a week ago with someone but gave up because it was now taking you too long to find it again? That will be a thing of the past with a tool like Diigio, a social bookmarking tech tool. Take a look around at the digital resources I’ve got in my account. They’re all organized by topic. Easy peasy.
- You know those lovely looking images that pack a lot of information into one screen? They’re called infographics. I use infographics a lot when I teach. I even have my resume formatted into an infographic. I use a service called Fiverr to design them for 5 bucks each. See an example of one of my infographics, my resume, right here.
There you have it. Three ways to use tech tools. You’re still with me right? Still breathing right? Great!
Now let’s look at you. Here are three ways for you to move forward with your own use of tech tools. Pick the one that feels right for you.
I’ve divided them into toe, dip & dive. The toe techniques are for those who only want to dip a toe in. They’re extra easy peasy. Dip tips are for those who are willing to go in a bit further. You’re either really motivated &/or curious. And dive techniques are for those who go whole hog (I’m mixing my metaphors aren’t I?) – you have time & talent to spend.
One way to move forward with your use of tech tools, either toe, dip or dive.
- Toe: pick one of the above tools & play around with it, while thinking how you can use it for your own needs. For example if you pick Workflowy, what would you want to make a list of?
- Dip: pick another tool, in another category & play around. Again, think of how you can use it for your own needs.
- Dive: think about an issue or challenge you’re facing & spend some time thinking how tech can help you take the reigns & be in control. Get really clear about the issue & research which tech tool can help you free up time for other priorities.
There you have it. Ta da. You did it. No flaming fails, no broken screens, just the sweet scent of success.
Pssst. Are you starting to think about planning for 2019?
Thinking about all the great things you could make happen with a brand new year in front of you? Or absolutely panicked at the idea of having to come up with goals for yet another year?
Whether you’re excited about goal planning for the next year or dreading it, I’ve got the course for you. It’s called Life Lenses, and it’s my secret method for seeing round your blind spots so you can set big goals and develop the processes to make them actually happen. Check it out & join me online Dec 6th.