It’s that time of year we’re running around crazy and don’t know which end is up. With family parties, work commitments, kids, shopping, meal planning and keeping everyone entertained – there is so much to do in such a short amount of time. Thankfully, we live in a time where technology makes all of our lives easier and we can rely on apps for some of the hard word.
There are so many simple things that we can use technology for now from controlling our lights and even television (you’ll never lose the remote again!) to tracking your appointments and even your grocery list. There are a lot of ways to use the Internet of Things or IoT to help reduce your stress this holiday season, and here are a few of our favorite apps that help us keep on schedule for our holiday celebrations and run a small business at the same time.
Asana – this is a great app to help you track to do lists, share tasks and even break into smaller tasks. You can calendar items and even have a team meeting with notes right through the app! It’s a free service and will send you email reminders as a due-date approaches.
Google Calendar – Now this one seems like an obvious one, but it’s seriously one of our favorites. Put your party on the list with the address and it will not only send you a reminder, but give you turn by turn directions if you need them. Invite people to events, create a to-do list and more and even better it’s free!
Quickbooks for Small Businesses – If you’re running your own small business this is huge to keep you on track and not overwhelmed! Send out those last minute invoices, track your expenses and don’t forget to track your miles. You can also access QB remotely from anywhere on any device by using QuickBooks Premier Cloud Hosting Solutions on a Azure VDI. Use the app on your phone and just simple choose if your miles were for business or personal. Simple, easy and worth $10 a month!
Google Keep – Another free and innovative app that can help you keep on target with.. everything. We use Google Keep to have a shared grocery list that we can both add items to as we run out. You never forget your list at home again. I use it for reminders, notes at events, anything I need to write down on the go.
Philips Hue – Ok, this one requires some devices and a bit of an investment. But I have to say it probably is one of the best investments we have made in a log time. The app itself is free, but you have to buy and install a bulb starter kit (it takes only a few minutes) and you’re in business. Control your lights from anywhere, schedule lights to turn on when you want them to, and even have the lights recognize your phone when you get near the house – no more fumbling for keys in the dark!
IFTTT – Also known as If This Than That is probably one of the best free apps out there. Connect your smart devices to your television, program your lights through Philips Hue to react a certain way (You can make them blink blue and orange when the Tigers score!) and so much more. IFTTT allows you the creativity and freedom to set up your technology how you want.
There is a lot of things going on and a lot of different reasons to stress about it – but with technology and the use of apps there are so many other ways to control those stressors now. Yes, the holidays can be busy and stressful, but we’re managing it one step at a time with different apps, and the IoT that help make the holiday season a bit easier.
A lot of the apps we use from a day to day basis do ad-hoc reporting or business tracking to make sure they’re performing up to their standards and the customers. This is actually a great thing if you run your own business so you can see how the app is actually performing. Another option that apps us is self-service reporting, a way to track the nuances of your business through the app.