The below blog was originally published in Polish and is a sequel to The Cloud Trainer or About Tools that Improve your Work (part 1).
As I mentioned in the first part of this blog, I love efficiency. This is probably because being effective allows me to spend more time on activities that I like. Not to keep you for too long, here is another portion of tools that can inspire you.
Tools that increase the efficiency of the trainer's work
The next tool has accompanied me for several years. It was created by the company responsible for the Evernote online notebook and, as the name suggests, it is used to scan documents. Using the phone's camera Scannable locates the document, determines its size, and then takes a picture and corrects it to a much better result than just taking a regular picture. I use to Scannable to capture images of contracts, documents, business cards and blackboards or flipcharts. On a daily basis, this tool can be also used to scan receipts, which I often misplace.
2. Google Apps
Google is not just a search engine, and their tools become better over time. This is why I decided to transfer all company email accounts to the Google cloud. The next step was to reorganize the infrastructure in such a way that I use a cloud drive to collaborate with clients and to share documents, presentations and sheets on which we can work together. I recommend it to everyone who works with dispersed teams, or works with a lot of external subcontractors, or has training participants in various places.
3. Habit List
After reading "The Power of Habit" by Charles Duhigg, I decided to ensure that good habits were cherished and bad habits were broken. In building habits I am helped by a small app called Habit List. The app works in a very intuitive way. You can create lists of habits, give them a name and description, and then plan how often the corresponding reminders will appear. When you get a reminder, it should trigger your specific action. My app reminds me of such simple activities as drinking a glass of water in the morning, going to the gym, or dedicating Monday morning to planning the whole week. Interestingly, the app can measure how well you are doing with a habit, and also visualises the results. Unfortunately, it will not do things for you just yet, which is a pity.
When I first came across IfTTT, the name surprised me a bit and I had no idea what the app was all about. Fortunately, I did not give up. The name is an abbreviation of the English words "If this than that." This is exactly how this service works. It allows you to interconnect services and transfer data between them. For example, if an image with the appropriate hashtag appears on Instagram, you can ask IfTTT to save it to your Google drive.
For me, this tool is amazing because it allowed me to automate activities that I previously had done manually. For example, if someone used the form on my website, I manually collected this data by pasting it into a Google spreadsheet, and then I sent my e-mails manually. IfTTT allowed me to completely automate this process. Even if the tool didn’t seem very intuitive initially and my explanation would be complicated, it is an obligatory tool for anyone who cares about productivity.
I want to close the list of essential tools for today's trainer with a Polish app that supports me in activities that I do not like. In conjunction with the tool called Umownie.pl, Infakt supports me on a mobile device in managing all the formalities of business. This, of course, involves issuing invoices, recording and monitoring costs, as well as preparing and formal supervision over contracts.
To summarize this short list I want to emphasise that the list is subjective, and these tools meet my specific needs and probably will not make all trainers happy. Nonetheless I do encourage you to check how they work, because they might save you dozens of hours a year.
Blog Author: Piotr Peszko — Chemical Engineer, University and Corporate Employee, Entrepreneur. The organizer of the EduCamp conference and founder of the e-Learning postgraduate studies at the Faculty of Educational Studies. Author of the blog www.blog.2edu.pl (link is external). EPALE Ambassador.