Posted by : Amanda Stein Tuesday, June 18, 2013

In the “Second Screen” age that we live in, many people have a tablet or smartphone on them throughout most of the day. Additionally, many professionals take their work home—as well as to restaurants, oil changes, waiting rooms, and anywhere else there may be a lengthy line. With the technical abilities of modern smartphones, it can be tempting to ditch your business laptop entirely and use your pocket-sized computer for everything that comes up after you’ve left the office. Before you do however, make sure that you’re comfortable with these 4 smartphone operations:

Typing Quickly And Accurately On Your Phone’s 5-inch Screen

Modern smartphone software makes it fairly easy for anyone to call up the virtual keyboard and bang out a text or 3-sentence email without too much strain. However, for your phone to truly be work-beneficial, you need to be able to type entire emails or documents with relative speed. You’ll probably never be as fast on your smaller gadget as you are on your laptop or desktop PC, but if it takes you 20 minutes to answer an email while you’re waiting to be seated for dinner, you’re probably better off waiting until you get home and can fire off a reply in 2 minutes on something you’re used to.

Bluetooth keyboards, smartphone styluses, or just more practice with the old-fashioned hunt-and-peck can give you the necessary speed to make working on your phone an actual possibility, so take some time and find the method that works best for you.

Familiarity With Cloud Storage

By now, you’ve no doubt been exposed to any of the multitude of cloud storage programs on the market. But accessing these apps from a smartphone is considerably different from using them as a backup for your desktop hard drive. Make sure you’re using one that is simple, versatile, and auto-saves every couple of seconds (the last thing you want is to spend half an hour working on a document, only to have your battery die and then realize you failed to save to the cloud).

Familiarity With Printing Apps

Nothing’s worse than trying to share a 5-inch version of a Word document or Excel sheet with a client or employee. If you find yourself needing to quickly reference some important paperwork—and you don’t have your trusty laptop with its 11 to 14 inch screen handy—you’ll want the option of printing out a few pages on a nearby printer that’s hooked up to a wireless network. There are a multitude of apps that will have you printing hardcopies in seconds, provided that you’ve given them a couple of test runs and have the kinks sorted out.

Comfort And Experience With Smartphone Word Processing And Web Research

Being able to effortlessly use your smartphone for social media, video streaming, gaming, and light Internet browsing doesn’t automatically translate to a skill set that’s comfortable with actual work. At your desk, you’re probably used to being able to open several Internet tabs, copy and paste relevant info and links, save to multiple locations, update a spreadsheet, and email yourself necessary attachments, all within moments. You can do most of this with your smartphone, but it’s a considerably different experience on a touch-based gadget with an operating system that is, despite its power, designed as a recreational device first.

Always remember that you’re looking to add convenience to your life. If, after you’ve spent some time using your smartphone to squeeze in some extra work, you find that you can’t consistently use the device to your benefit, there’s no shame in admitting that it doesn’t work for you and pulling out your old laptop. You’re looking to gain time out of your workday, not pile up the minutes with a slower method.

But if you find yourself growing comfortable with your smartphone’s business capabilities, you may be able to leave the laptop or tablet at home most of the time, and use the smaller gadget as the sole supplement to your main desktop. Having a device in your pocket that can be reliably used for some last-minute word processing or troubleshooting can give you an incredible freedom with your busy schedule, and help reduce the expense of secondary devices necessary for always staying connected to your business.

Author bio: John is a tech and small business enthusiast who frequently blogs about the combination of the two. He writes for Protect Your Bubble, an Internet insurer that can help protect your smartphone from theft, defects, and damage, whether you’re using it personally or professionally.

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