Ahh, technology, how I adore thee. I can go on my morning walk while listening to classic French literature on Spotify. I can shop online, attend online yoga classes, sit in on global web seminars, even build an entire business online and work from wherever I am in the world. Don’t even get me started on Netflix + Seamless = <3.
But flourishing in the digital age comes with its own challenges. From shattered iPhone screens, losing years’ worth of photos and data on broken hard drives, to waterlogged laptops, trust me I’ve endured it all. Through the tears, the huge bills, the endless hours on the phone with IT help and the total meltdowns (myself and my computer included), I’ve learnt one all-important lesson.
Use a digital, cloud-based server to not only back up your data, but access it daily.
Not a day goes by when I don’t use my Google Drive, from accessing content scheduled for social media posts for clients accounts, to photographing and electronically filing tax receipts on the spot, to editing legal contract documents from my iPhone, Google Drive is the one reason I can take my work with me all over the world. It has literally changed the way I work, but has also, I believe, helped shape the entrepreneurial landscape and business model.
There are a large number of blogs and articles about how and why to use Google Drive, and I wanted to chime in and add a few of my favourite features about the tool.
1. Access your data anywhere, any time
I have literally been sitting in my hotel suite in Las Vegas while my friends are doing Fireball shots, dancing on tables and popping bottles while I was working on finishing off a document using a friend’s laptop because I didn’t take mine with me. All you do is log into your Google account to access all of your files and folders on a web browser.
2. Disguise the Drive in your Finder/Desktop folders
Being probably one of the most OCD people about the folders in their laptop, I love Google for introducing this feature. Install the Drive to your Desktop, create your own folders and it looks exactly like the rest of the folders in your computer, except this one syncs and updates in the background whenever you are connected to wifi. *Pro tip: On a Mac, drag your Google Drive folder over into ‘Favourites’ in your Finder for easy access.
3. Share folders with colleagues which are updated in real-time
Gone are the days of Google Docs, which brings back horrendous memories from my early days of collaborative PR interning. Now, you can simply add a member to a folder, and all of its contents are editable by all parties, and will be updated when you are connected with wifi. Better yet, if your colleague is working on a file, you won’t be able to open it to eliminate confusing data loss due to editing.
4. Work from your phone
The Google Drive iPhone app is a game changer. I can be sitting on the beach, receive an email from a client needing a media kit and can actually attach any kind of file I like. In the Gmail app, all you do is click the attach icon and select ‘Insert from Drive’. Likewise, you can view Power Points, Word Docs etc all from your phone via the app, which eliminates the need to download external reader apps.
5. Work when offline
While I adore the luxury of going offline as much as the next person, there are moments when you may be deep in the jungle of Bali with no wifi in sight that you might want to work on a few things. Well you can, so long as you have the desktop version of Drive.