I have been looking at various options to improve my personal productivity. Running a small business requires a lot of admin and I have found a few online resources which help, but thought that it might be helpful to others to share my own experience. And by doing so, it would hopefully force me to ensure that I saw a real boost to my efficiency. And hopefully, when they recognise my problems, readers will share their productivity boosts with me.

I have found that marketing and social media activity are necesssary to promote the business, but after the accounting admin (invoicing, VAT returns etc), time available for research and building my new online course programme has been squeezed somewhat.

The solution, I decided was to throw some money at the problem. I already have a few software tools which can help me, if I use them more, but I thought some hardware investment might help:

  • a new PC would be quicker

  • addition of a new iPad could help streamline processes, particularly those in the more creative realm - I am now using more video content

  • a new scanner would enable me to remove the large piles of paper in my office, and a less messy environment will surely improve my efficiency.

This post is about the new hardware, and particularly about the new iPad. I took advice from Benedict Evans who knows more about all this stuff than anyone I know, and I have gone for a cellular Ipad Pro. I chose the larger screen, as I can then use it in my 1-1 coaching, and I took the 512GB model as it was on special offer on Amazon Prime Day. Even with over £150 off, it was still £1290 before the Pencil (£119), keyboard (£199) and a 24GB PAYG SIM from Three (£60). Total cost £1668, including VAT which I can reclaim, it better be amazing.

The Prime Day offer saved me £179, but I originally ordered a 256GB wifi only model for £962, saving £157. But the bank (HSBC) refused the card (out of ordinary transaction). I therefore cancelled that order and went to order again (I could not change the card on my phone) only to find that Amazon had restored the retail price on that item. Very annoying and they refised to honour that commitment, in spite of indicating that the price was good for the whole Prime Day Sale. This is not how you build Earth’s most customer-centric comany, Mr Bezos.

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You can see in the photo that the deal was meant to have lasted 33 more hours, but 2 hours later it had disappeared and the price had reverted to a HIGHER than normal £1085, and I ended up spending more on the cellular version which Ben had recommended and opting for the additional memory which may help future-proof. My strategy with tech purchases is to spend more and hope they last longer, as I shall explain when I write about my new PC.

So I am now faced with a very expensive pile of kit, and the first task is to set it up, and hopefully set myself up for a positve experience using the machine. This is not always as easy as it sounds……

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First impressions are that there is not much in the box - no headphones, and the charging plug (beautiful mechanism to fold the prongs) has a different connnection - infuriating.Setup was not as straightforward as I had expected with various problems synching with my iPhone. Apple Support required two calls as I was cut off on the first one, and then I gave up waiting, erased the machine and started again. Still it looks quite nice, the different cable is an absolute pain, meaning I will have to buy more spares, obviously not from Apple.

It amazes me that Apple Support is not easier to use. I wanted to set up my iPad with some of the software from my iPhone, but not all of it - I dont need a tube map for example on my iPad as it’s on the iPhone. I had been told this was quite simple but it turned out not simple enough. Apple is very intuitive if you get it first time, but if you don’t, it becomes extremely awkward. This is the sort of issue that can take a long time to sort out. It should be better! Half way through the setup it transpired that I needed to connect to iTunes, but no cable. Maddening!

I have ended up just seeting it up as a new machine and will have to download apps individually. Godo news is that measn a lot less clutter than on my phone, and I shall eliminate time wasting distractions. But there will be a lot of messing around with passwords etc. Moral of this story is that if you buy an iPad pro, buy a USB A to USB C cable and save this hassle. Apple, if you want to charge this much for your products, make them work, without additional accessories being required, please.

I shall update you all on how I get on with the new machine, and on the set up of my new desktop. This is filling me with dread as I have enough problems with the simple stuff, but the new box has arrived today as I was setting up the iPad and my IT guy is on holiday, so will have a go and he can fix any issues when he comes round.

steve ClaphamComment