My business, my family, my life and how technology helps me every day
Tomorrow I’m giving a speech at the Qatar International Business Women Forum in Doha with the title, “My business, my family, my life and how technology helps me every day”. The objective of the speech is to show how technology can empower women to reach their goals in their careers, their relationships and lives. In this blog post, I’ll share a little bit about what I will be talking about in tomorrow’s speech. My key message during the speech will be that as a business professional and especially as a female business professional you should:
1. Consider technology as a helping hand – Many women I meet are scared of technology, they prefer to stay away from it because they don’t understand it. They think it will break, or they just don’t see the benefits. I’m a big believer in technology for all aspects of life. If used correctly, it can help you save time, become more productive and keep you closer to your family. Instead of doing things manually technology gives you an enormous leverage that you should use to your advantage.
2. Invest in new technology – Enhancements in the technology industry are very rapid. Newer technology is easier to use, faster, works better with other devices and doesn’t give you as much headache. Purchasing new technology isn’t an excessive luxury – it’s a smart investment. Whether you are paying for the technology yourself, or your employer is covering the cost, make sure that you get high-performing, updated equipment – you are definitively worth it.
3. Learn how technology can work for you – Having new technology without knowing how to use it is a waste. You need to educate yourself on how to use technology. There are numerous resources online. For instance, you can check out our courses on Udemy for how to increase productivity using Microsoft Office. You can also read our blog, “Get Sharp” to stay on top of developments in technology. Our articles are easy to understand, you don’t have to be a tech geek to read them and they focus on the value – not the technology for the sake of it. No matter what resource you use, make sure to educate yourself!
4. Be disciplined and mindful using technology – There is a time and a place for everything. Your phone or your computer can be a great help in deciding on tonight’s recipe for dinner or for finding the location of the arts and crafts shop you need to find for making Christmas decorations. But as soon as you are in front of a device you are disconnected from your surrounding and everyone around you – your kids, your spouse, whoever is n the room with you will feel shut out. My heart cries when I see parents with their kids at the playground busy with their phones instead of playing with their children. Being online and connected all the time implies that we have to have the discipline to disconnect ourselves. It’s important that you are here and now and that you value the moments when no technology is present.
In order to show how technology helps me every day with my business, my family and my life I’d like to share with you what a typical day in my life looks like.
A typical day in my life
6.35 – I never have to set my alarm anymore. Nowadays my husband and I are woken up by our kids. I have my mobile phone (I have a Nokia Lumia 925 with Windows Phone 8) on my nightstand, on silent, and can easily see what time it is by just glancing at the phone. (If our kids wake us up before 6 am we refuse to get up, which doesn’t always help).
Before I get out of bed to give them breakfast I check my mobile phone to see my calendar for the day. Here I have all my business appointments, but also personal activities, such as nursery drop-off and pick-up times and after-school activities and social activities planned with my husband.
7.00 – After giving the children breakfast my husband and I have breakfast and watch the news. Being Swedish, we still watch the Swedish news. We access it over the Internet on our living room computer. If time permits I also read some additional news on my tablet device (I have a Surface Pro 2) via the news app. I also browse through the cookbook app to get some inspiration for today’s meals so that I know what groceries to get.
9.00 – After dropping the kids off at nursery and picking up groceries on the way home, I start my work. If I’m not recording in the studio or writing an article or video script, I usually start the day by reading and responding to email. Our company subscribes to Office 365 Small Business, Microsoft’s cloud service offering for small businesses. Through this service, my colleagues and I have email, calendars, contacts, websites and much more for a monthly subscription fee. Even if we’re a small business with no IT-department, Office 365 provides us with Enterprise-class IT –services.
I use Outlook 2013 to go through my inbox and respond to my email. I have a quick Skype call with Kristina, our Business Development Manager, to synch up with her regarding the plans for the week. After that, I prepare for a meeting with a customer where I’m to present our video library.
All documents that we produce within our company, whether customer proposals, marketing brochures or video scripts, are saved to our SharePoint site. Here everyone can search and find documents, we can rest assured that all documentation is backed up properly if something were to happen to someone’s computer, and we can access the documents from any device. It’s also great for knowledge management when new people come on board, we have everything captured so that they can quickly get up to speed. Using SkyDrive Pro I have all documents synchronized to my laptop and my tablet so that I can access them even when I’m not online.
10.30 – Meeting with one of our business partners. During meetings, I always bring my tablet with me. I’m a big believer in taking meeting minutes, but I would never type on my laptop during a meeting. I find that rude and I wouldn’t be able to focus on the person I’m meeting with. By using a tablet and taking notes in OneNote I can take notes by hand, just like on a regular piece of paper. The benefits of having the notes on my tablet compared to a piece of paper are that I always have my notes with me, I can easily search my notes and I can access them from any device.
12.00 – Lunch with my 14-month-old daughter. No laptop, tablet or mobile – only the two of us and the mess she makes trying to eat by herself.
12.45 – I pick up my son from nursery. On the way, there my phone beeps, a group of mothers to the kids at my son’s nursery are having a heated conversation on WhatsApp regarding the new cut-off date for 4-year-olds to attend nursery. I’m very grateful that they keep me up to date on what’s happening since I usually don’t have time to stay in the corridor and chat.
My son is so happy to see me and very excited to show me what he’s done when I meet him. I take a picture using my mobile phone camera. The picture is automatically saved to SkyDrive, my personal hard drive on the Internet. This way I can make sure that I never lose these valuable moments and that I can easily share them with my loved ones.
13.30 – Back to work. I start preparing for my presentation creating an outline in Microsoft OneNote 2013 before I create my slides in Microsoft PowerPoint 2013.
16.00 – It’s time for my son’s swim class. Since he gets quite bored in the car I give him my phone so that he can play games and watch his favorite videos (Peppa Pig). Before I didn’t want to give him my mobile since I was afraid he would accidentally send an email to an important customer or delete some documents. Now, I don’t have to worry anymore since he has his own “Kid’s corner” on my phone. This is an area with games, videos and other things on my phone that he is allowed to play with – everything else is securely hidden away.
While I watch him having his swim class, I come up with some new ideas for my blog article. I know I’ll forget them if I don’t note them down, so I open up OneNote mobile on my phone and narrate some of my ideas. These notes are synchronized to my OneNote notebook on my laptop so that I have them when I get back to my office and need to write on my blog article. The Office 365 service enables me to have my work-related documents available on my mobile, tablet and laptop.
17.30 – Dinner time. No laptop, tablet or mobile. Just the family.
18.30 – Skype video call with my mother in Sweden. She loves seeing the kids as often as possible so we try to Skype almost every day. After that, it’s bath- and bedtime.
19.30 – Kids are in bed. A few hours of quiet before it’s my bedtime. I usually go for a walk or a run, if it’s not too hot, listening to Spotify or a podcast on my mobile.
21.00 – Tired, but satisfied, I crawl up on the sofa with my tablet. I look through my email. I send the photo of my son from nursery to the grandparents using the touch screen and the Mail app in Windows 8. I do some online research on schools for our son and then after having a cup of tea with my husband, I go to bed. Another typical day has passed where technology has helped me perform better at work, stay close to my family and enrich my life.
(If you have difficulties reading this article, you can access the full article in pdf here).