This is a guest post done by Isabelle Seren John. You can find out more about her on her website.
As a business manager I have to be constantly on. Between running a photographic studio, advising the BBC on its digital strategy and running my own freelance PR projects it can be hard to keep track of where I need to be and what I need to be doing at any given moment. It’s a constant battle to streamline my working processes and make every day as productive as possible. Fortunately, we live in the age of technology which makes the battle feel a lot more winnable, so here are the five gadgets I couldn’t live without!
- Any.do Task Manager App (Free/Premium $27 per year)I’m not sure an app can count as a gadget, but if it does this one is definitely my favourite. With so much to get done every day the Any.do app allows me to keep ahead of multiple commitments. From the ability to separate to-do lists into personal errands, work tasks and team projects to a ‘Moment’ each morning that allows you to run through all of your upcoming tasks and order them according to priority this app is a foolproof way to keep on schedule and execute new high priority tasks without losing track of longer term goals. If, like me, you’re constantly looking for ways to boost productivity and juggle multiple commitments I cannot recommend this app enough!
Free & Premium versions available for iOS & Android
- Fitbit Flex Activity Tracker (£79.99)Wearable tech doesn’t look like a trend that is going away any time soon, and nowhere is this more obvious than the health & fitness sector. In the last year Fitbit has seen stratospheric growth and become the most ubiquitous of the fitness technology brands. It isn’t hard to see why. With all of my work commitments it’s a miracle if I can find the time to fit in a trip to the gym, however with my Fitbit tracker I don’t need to. Between the tracker on my wrist (I wear my Flex in a gorgeous rose gold Tory Burch for Fitbit bracelet), the Aria Wi-Fi scales (£99.99), and the app synthesising the data it’s easy to keep on top of my health. Between monitoring my steps, sleep, weight, active minutes, body fat percentage, calorie intake and the number burned, Fitbit inspires me to eat well, be more active through the day and to generally take better care of my health. When we have too much going on in our work lives it can be easy to burn out, Fitbit helps to make sure you’re keeping healthy and more than that it makes it easy.
A range of trackers available at fitbit.com/uk starting at £49.99
- Synology DiskStation NAS
A recent addition to our studio, the DiskStation NAS (Network-Attached Storage) server has revolutionised our work processes. As a creative studio we use multiple cameras, Macs, iPads and PCs every day and we have a lot of files to store. The Synology DiskStation lets us keep over 30TB of shoots, important admin files, historical documents and even CCTV footage stored securely in one place whilst being accessible from every device we use, including those at our off site office. As well as making our upload and editing processes infinitely quicker and easier, the NAS server also means that I can tap in to our entire digital ecosystem at any time, regardless of where I am which means even on a train between London and the North I can deal with crises as they unfold.
The full range of Synology NAS solutions are available from PC World https://www.pcworldbusiness.co.uk/search?keywords=synology starting at £254.86
- Gaggia Classic Manual Espresso Machine
There is no better way to start the day than with real coffee! Forget instant, my 6am cappuccino has become a ritual that sets me up for the day. The Gaggia Classic has been around for decades and although simple is highly regarded as one of the best at home espresso machines available. I know the fully automatic Nespresso machines are all the rage these days, but I can’t help but love the satisfaction of tamping my own coffee and steaming my own milk, it’s just better. By 11am my day can get pretty manic so taking a moment to make a proper cup of coffee and run through preparations for the day is a vital ritual. The only downside of this machine is the Panarello steam wand that comes with it. If you want real control over frothing the milk, there are a lot of alternative ‘hack’ options. I currently have a Rancilio Silvia V2 wand attached and the milk is gorgeous and silky every time.
The newest version of the Gaggia Classic is available at coffeeitalia.co.uk for £229 http://www.coffeeitalia.co.uk/proddetail.php?prod=a-classic
- PNY Powerpack L8000 Portable Charger
There were a few gadgets that I was considering for the final spot on this list but with my working day regularly hitting twelve hours this portable charger won out as one gadget I definitely couldn’t live without. The PNY L8000 is an 8000mAh portable charger perfect for charging my iPhone and iPad when I don’t have access to a wall socket. With long days and multiple devices that I rely on heavily, I can’t afford for my iPhone battery to drop to zero and the L8000 is a brilliant way to combat this. It’s stylish and compact, it holds enough power to charge both devices to 100% and then some and most significantly it can charge two devices via USB cables at the same time. Whether I’m travelling between meetings or just running personal errands I am never without this charger, it has even accompanied me on a thirteen-hour train ride from Bangkok to Chiang Mai and has been with me ever since!
The PNY L8000 Powerpack is available from Amazon for just £28.34.