Toolbox Series #9: Personal Assistants
No matter what you do for a living, there are always a few monotonous things, maybe more than a few, that take up our valuable time. Whether it’s simple note taking or scheduling, we know it should be simpler and we know there must be a better way. But, and this is all too often the case in life, we’ve just been unable to discover it. Well, take a deep breath, relax, and get ready to save yourself a ton of time with these personal assistant apps.
Operator: If you’ve ever tried to find the time to wrap your brain around personal to-do lists and work ones simultaneously, then you know how difficult it can be to keep everything straight. Did you buy the soft drinks for the party? Did you get the new lamp for your boss’ birthday? Did you remember to buy that swimsuit for your vacation? Questions like these can eat up your time and pile up the frustration when, if you’d checked out Operator, you could have been doing what you wanted and needed to do without worrying over those details for even a second. The experts at Operator will take your input, listen to your needs, and do all the legwork – including shipping options. This is a free service that everyone with access to iOS should try at least once.
Charlie: When you think of how often you meet new people in business, networking, or social circles it should come as no surprise that you spend an inordinate amount of time trying to figure out who this or that person is, how you know them, what you should know about them, and so on and so on. The sheer amount of stress this kind of thing can cause is worth good money to prevent, but, luckily, there’s a way to avoid all the guesswork without paying a dime – Charlie. Charlie is basically a scraping service for social media and other online mentions of a person’s name. It syncs with your calendar, pulls all the names associated with your meetings, and offers you information on each of them. You can even quickly input data to get the heads up on someone in a hurry if you need to, so this tool will help you in the meeting room and the dining room, and it comes with the best price tag you can find – free of charge.
Amazon Echo: While not what you might expect from a tool list, the Echo actually does a very good job of handling the tasks it’s built to and includes a few functions that make it a worthwhile tool for both home and office use. There are two great functions with the Echo that earned it a spot on this list – Spotify’s integration and purchasing through Amazon. You’ll be amazed how convenient it is to simply say, “Alexa buy light bulbs”, or saying, “Alexa play Spotify” and having it pick up where you last left off instead of beginning from some random place in your playlist. It’s a little thing, I know, but you’ll be surprised how much more convenient it is. The Echo is a bit pricey for what it offers, at $180, but if you could use the functionality even a little it’s worth the money.
Julie Desk: Possibly the most unique of the personal assistants on our list, Julie Desk is the closest thing you’ll find to an actual employee working for you to ensure your scheduling is always as efficient as possible. The whole process takes a little time to fully navigate, but that’s due to the real human beings who constantly monitor your account to guarantee nothing goes wrong. Basically, you give the system some information about your scheduling preferences, and any time after that a meeting is set you simply copy Julie Desk in the email chain and the rest is automatically taken care of for you. No more checking dates and times, or worrying that you’ve over booked. Julie Desk makes sure your day, week, and month go smoothly. There are several packages on offer, so find the one that’s best for you and go with it. You won’t be disappointed.
Google Home: The best of the personal assistant tools, Google Home is as useful as it is life-changing for those who dive into its functionality headfirst. For the bargain basement price of $129, you get a fully-integrated assistant that works across Google products and platforms. Literally everything of you that is tied to Google is a part of this interface, so you’ll find more use for it than could possibly be described here. From music to scheduling, information to interaction, this is the pinnacle of current assistant technology and because of its Google bloodlines, it has a future involvement in all of the Google product lines – both those in existence and those still just dreamed about. Using the Allo Assistant, Google Home can and will give you a helping hand in every facet of your daily life, so get one and get started today. You’ll never be the same again.
Thanks for reading, have a great week!
I'm Spencer Wade - strategist, designer, manager of people and ideas. Platinum Top Contributor for Google Search, G+ & AdWords - TC Mentor too. I’m the founder of Lift Conversions, a Google Partner agency, located in Chicago. I’ve completed Google’s tests - Search, Display, Video, Analytics, & Mobile, and enjoy being a part of the forums. My agency is also an Official City Partner in the Get Your Business Online effort with Instant Verifier access to help immediately verify business listings.
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