As many young professionals and entrepreneurs will tell you, the biggest work challenge they face most days is time; there just aren’t enough hours in the day. But what they might be less willing to admit is the havoc it can wreak on their personal lives. After all, if they don’t have time to get through everything on their to-do list, how are they supposed to fit in friends, family and hobbies as well?
Most of us know at least one person that texts five minutes before they’re supposed to be meeting you for dinner to say they’re stuck in the office. Chances are we’ve all been that person ourselves once or twice as well. But the ability to strike a good work/life balance is fundamentally important to us all. Living a rich life is about more than just material wealth. Finding ways to earn back precious hours here and there to spend with friends and family can be invaluable.
Unfortunately, the pace of modern business doesn’t make it easy for anyone, least of all those just starting to build their career. The internet has transformed even the smallest businesses into global enterprises and 9-5 just doesn’t cut it anymore, it’s 24/7 or bust. Under these conditions, carving out time for yourself can seem like an insurmountable challenge.
Most people are looking to technology for the solution. It’s true, the rise of smartphones has fundamentally changed the game and for many of us, work has never been more flexible. But this is a blessing and a curse. Carrying work around in our pocket makes it harder than ever to switch off and we can all relate to the feeling of communication overload that comes with this territory. If you don’t stay on top of it, sooner or later balls start getting dropped.
Perhaps inevitably, a whole new app industry is springing up around this growing issue, with everyone claiming to offer the solution we’re all so desperately looking for. To be fair, some of them do a great job. For instance, Evernote has revolutionised the digital workspace, while Doodle has simplified group calendar management, but they only address one piece of the puzzle.
The bottom line is that professionals want to be more productive on their smartphone but the “killer app” is yet to emerge. However, when it does, the smart money says it will be linked to texting. Research shows the app we all use the most on our phones is the SMS text app – 90 per cent of respondents in a recent survey said they texted at least once a day. However, standard texting apps weren’t built for business, so just aren’t up to the job.
People need a simple way to communicate, plan their day, manage tasks and organise their work and life – all wrapped into a tool that they will actually use. Many of us have tried different apps to solve this problem, but once the novelty wears off it’s back to the old way – using the standard texting/SMS app that came with your phone. However, for business use these texting apps are cumbersome at best, downright awful at worst.
We don’t need more apps, we need apps that do more, drawing together all the good bits of mobile working and leaving behind all the bad, for fast, effective working on the go. A richer life means a more balanced, organised life. Who wouldn’t embrace the chance for that?
Bruce Kornfeld is CEO of Gyst.
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