Since part of what Frontline looks at is the use of technology on a job site, I think it's appropriate to to share what I use on a daily basis. I'm also going to include some of my favorite job site apps as well. And don't worry, this will get updated as we go, since the landscape of software and mobile apps is changing by the minute (or, at least, it feels like it).
(Last updated on April 24th, 2017)
Apps for the Office:
This is a pretty recent change for me. In the past I've used OneNote to keep my running todo lists for each week, month, etc. But since that's not really what OneNote is made for, I thought it would make sense to try out something that's made just for this (not so) little task. I'm about a month in, and am loving Asana. It does a good job of managing my recurring weekly or monthly tasks as well as one-time tasks. I always start my week off with a full task list, planned for each day. As things come up throughout the week, I add them to a list called 'Next Week'. That way I'm not overloading my current week. Then I roll over those tasks to the current week when Monday comes around.
So. Many. Emails. I'm constantly emailing, and the Gmail app is pretty user-friendly. Just be sure not to get too deep into one email chain (I recently had a chain that was 56 emails... barf.) or it will get a little hectic.
This is a CRM (Client Relationship Management) tool. If you're chasing certain projects, want to record notes after phone conversations, track email correspondence, etc, then this is a good (and FREE!) tool to use. I track certain projects around the country and it's a great way to keep things organized.
I know, I know - everyone seems to be on the Evernote bandwagon these days. I've tried Evernote and much prefer to stick with OneNote. I just love the way I can organize notes by tabs and pages. I can do everything from write up entire blog posts & attach documents to full brain dumps on there. And there are two other things that make this my go-to note-taking solution: you can share a notebook with other people AND it's FREE.
Because we all need some good music in our life. Just remember, 'good' is subjective. And there's a bonus if you're a runner: it will play music based on your running cadence. How about THAT?! Well worth the $9/month.
It's not free, but the first time you use it, you're realize it's full worth. Yes, your toddler can color things on it (definitely done that!) but I've also signed LOTS of documents on this app. Seriously, I've signed everything from a consulting contract to closing documents on here. It's so great to have the option to open a PDF, sign it, and email it right back out. The response I usually get is, "wait, how did you do that? I thought you were at lunch?".
if you travel often or are found without your precious dual 26" monitors on a job site, this is going to be your go-to app. It makes your iPad a second monitor. And if you're the type of person who has dual 26" monitors, you know how handy a second screen can be. I recently used it to do my taxes in Starbucks. So handy.
For goodness sake, if you aren't using some sort of cloud storage for your documents, please go get that set up right now. I spend a ton of time on Dropbox, and still love it. But Google Docs is great also. And I think sharing documents and folders in Drive is just a little simpler.
RELATED: 5 Traits of Good Job Site Tech
Apps for the Job Site:
Plangrid is constantly upping there construction software game. I've spend a TON of time in their plan management software, but it's been expanded to include document storage as well. It can get a little pricey if you're on a project with multiple volumes of drawings, but it can also be VERY well worth it. Their features include managing punchlist work with photos, notifications for drawing updates, version control and a lot more.
The more complex your project, the more you'll appreciate a way to keep your meeting notes, agendas, and general task lists in order. You can do all that and a lot more with OneNote. And the reason I like this better than other cloud-based note-taking solutions is that you can share the 'notebooks' with your team members. So stop emailing copies of meeting notes to each other and just share the notebook.
This is my favorite when it comes to a quick and simple way to track labor AND study the gain/loss trends. For a contractor looking to pick up some software that will make an immediate impact on their bottom line, this is it. Plus, they'll probably invite you to happy hour if you're in California. So there's that.
My favorite for keeping copies of specifications, typical drawings, contracts, safety/quality plans and any other PDF that you should be referencing on a regular basis. Put them on your iPad and you can word search, highlight, take notes, add bookmarks and much more. For a few bucks, to be able to reference all those plans on a whim, it's well worth it.
For all the reasons mentioned above. You can sketch things out, let your toddler play with it like finger painting, or actually use it to sign documents and quickly send back an executed contract or proposal. It makes quick work of a process that used it involve printing a piece of paper, signing it, scanning it, then emailing it then filing the paper. Do all of that without handling a single piece of paper.