Thirty Six.

Work you can do from your phone.

This week Frankie Tortora and Steve Folland have a chat in response to a question from Detective Maria ‘Chilli’ Pepper AKA Anonymous. They say:

“Lots of the podcast episodes and questions in the group have been really useful if you’re sitting at your computer, but I’m often on the move and do lots of work on my phone.

Do any other DIFTKers do this? And if so, what strategies work for you? I find I’m often overwhelmed with the admin side of things and wait till I have a laptop day, but that can be once a fortnight sometimes.”

• • • • •

This episode is supported by Nutmeg.

Nutmeg offers customers a high-quality investment service at a reduced cost, whether they have £500 or £5 million to invest. Nutmeg now manages over £2bn on behalf of over 80,000 customers, making Nutmeg one of the UK’s fastest growing wealth managers and the fifth largest wealth manager in the UK by customer numbers (Source: PAM Asset Management, January 2019).

[Risk warning: Capital at risk. JISA rules apply]

Take note dear listener! We might swear a bit. This one’s for the parents. To be enjoyed at your desk or once the kiddos are in bed.

Here’s what was said in this episode:

Comments on the previous episode:

[00:02:33] – Frankie
Hello, you’re listening to the Doing It For The Kids podcast, where we swear a bit too much and talk a bit too fast about freelance life with kids in the mix. I’m Frankie and this is Steve.

[00:02:43] – Steve
Yes, hello! Welcome to another one where we take a question from the Doing It For The Kids community. Do our best to answer it, but of course, we also love to get your comments as well, which means we start each episode by looking back at last week’s episodes. Last week’s episode was…

[00:02:56] – Frankie
Bracing ourselves for the school closures which have now occurred as predicted.

[00:03:01.0] – Steve
Charlie Davies got in touch.

Charlie said, “I am sooooooooo-,” they put a lot of O’s on there, I hope I did it justice.

“I am sooooooo intrigued as to what people are planning on doing in this situation because I have been racking my brain all week and I can’t figure it out. My husband and I have a five year old and a one year old. My husband’s hours of work are Monday to Friday, 9 to 5.30, and he is now working from home after his office closed their doors on Wednesday.

My husband’s boss is currently not allowing for any negotiations on his hours, so he needs to be in the home office 9 to 5.30 every day, which leaves me with an hour over his lunch break, evenings when the children are asleep, and Saturday and Sunday.

I don’t know how to do this without a) losing the clients I have left without causing frustration, as work is obviously not getting done through the usual workday period and b) stay sane. Please let me know if any of you are in a similar situation and what you are planning on doing”.

Sorry, this comment feels like a question for the episode.

[00:04:08] – Frankie
We need another episode on this, but anyway, go on.

[00:04:12] – Steve
Charlie continues,

“One week in and I’ve no idea how to make this work effectively. The need to continue running my business and look after two young children is very stressful, to say the least.”`

[00:04:22] – Frankie
Yeah, I basically kept this comment in because this is my life. I read it and was like, “yes”. What is the answer? I don’t know. But since she wrote that there’s been another thread in the Doing For The Kids community. Yes, similar situation with loads of people chipping in on what they’re trying to do and how they’re coping with that, or failing to cope with that. So that’s definitely worth looking at if you’re in that scenario. In short, no solutions, but a hell of a lot of sympathy.

[00:04:56] – Steve
Ross Wintle also got in touch.

Ross said,

“I don’t have anything to add. I just think I’ve had three shoutouts in four episodes now, so I feel like a regular guest who has to say something to keep on a roll. So this week, Ross Wintle says, ‘always wash your hands’.”

Thanks, Ross.

[00:05:12] – Frankie
In fact, if you haven’t seen it, Ross has made a little Doing It For The Kids style app where he’s collected all of the ‘how to keep your kids entertained’ resources, websites, videos, printables and put them all in one little place. Yeah, I’ve posted it in the community, I’ve posted it on Twitter. Go find it. Maybe I’ll put it in the show notes. That’d be clever, wouldn’t it? That’d be the right thing to do.

Our answer to this week's question:

[00:09:28] – Frankie
So this week’s question comes from Detective Maria Chili Pepper.

Maria says,

“Lots of the podcast episodes and questions in the group have been really useful if you’re sitting at your computer. But I’m often on the move and do lots of work on my phone. Do any other Doing It For The Kids people do this? And if so, what strategies work for you? I find I’m often overwhelmed with the admin side of things and wait till I have a laptop day, but that can be once a fortnight sometimes.”

This question is super relevant right now because most of us have got our kids off school and at home. So if we don’t work a lot from our phones, now would be a really good time to set up things to be able to do that, right?

[00:10:05] – Steve
Yeah. It’s a funny thing, isn’t it? Because clearly being able to work from your phone is a really useful thing. However, it can also be quite a distracting thing because you always feel like you have an excuse to be looking at your phone.

[00:10:16] – Frankie

[00:10:17] – Steve
So I think that’s worth pointing that out, just for the fact that maybe sometimes it is good to not be able to do certain things until you have your laptop? Because it means that you don’t just do it all in the palm of your hand. You leave it till later and then you have a concentrated amount of time in which to do it. So that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

[00:10:39] – Frankie
But in my situation of having a child that won’t let me do anything, if there were things I could do from my phone, that would actually be quite nice.

[00:10:47] – Steve
What would you like to be able to do?

[00:10:48] – Frankie
I was thinking things like setting up my accounting software on my phone and stuff. I always do that on my desktop.

[00:10:56] – Steve
I tell you what I do… A lot of the accounting software, they all have an app type thing. Usually, it’s simply easier to use a laptop, frankly, because it’s kind of like a bigger, clearer way of doing things. But I do know, for example, that you can upload — like there’s receipt capture in those apps? So you can upload things straight away.

But actually, what I do, is record my receipts or invoices that I get into Dropbox. So I’ve got folders for everything, all the different companies or whatever, I put the date on it that it happened and then once a week on a Friday — but depending on how much admin you do, you can make it once a fortnight — I log into the accounting software, I click to reconcile my bank statements and then it’s so quick, it’s so easy.

The Dropbox app on your phone is brilliant. You can star folders so they’re easy to find. It has recent stuff come up on your homepage. You can save stuff. Like, with me, I do a lot of audio work. So you can save stuff so that you can listen to it offline. It’s a really, really good app. And like I say, you can scan, you can take photos. Bloody brilliant. Love the Dropbox app. And it really helps, I think, with admin.

[00:12:10] – Frankie
Something we can all definitely do is like marketing stuff, right? Creating social content, taking pictures, editing pictures. The Canva app is amazing.

[00:12:18] – Steve
On a phone?

[00:12:19] – Frankie
Yeah. It’s not as powerful as a desktop one and you need to spend a bit of time to understand the process and how it works. And if you have… if you’re clever, you could set up templates for yourself on Canva, which you can access directly from your phone. So, you know, you have… Say it’s your Instagram feed. You’ve got one template that’s a quotation template. You bring that up, you type some stuff in, change the colour — BOOM.

If you did a bit of prep, you could be quite clever with that. But also just scheduling stuff, writing content, writing captions. And then as an extension of that — you’ve mentioned a couple of times before — is the Otter app, right? Dictation app. There must be others. So rather than having to type the thing out, you can talk to your phone while you’re holding a screaming 18 month old and write a blog post!

[00:13:05] – Steve
Yeah, making sure that the note taking app that you use works beautifully synced across your phone and your laptop. The fact that I can be typing something on my laptop and it automatically just shows up on my phone is great for Instagram in particular and, again, being organised within Notes. So, within Apple Notes — and I’m sure it’s the same for other note taking apps — you can create folders, you don’t just need one long list of notes where you’re then searching for things.

Also, you mentioned editing photos, I have Video Leap for editing video because it’s great because you can choose the “canvas” in quotation marks. So, like, whether it’s a vertical video or a square video, and you can do that much better, frankly, than I can use Final Cut on my laptop from using my phone. It’s not free, it’s like a yearly thing… oh, I don’t know, they probably have different deals. I have a yearly subscription, but I use it all the time.

So, I will do a Facebook Live, save the Facebook Live to my phone and then open it in Video Leap and then cut bits up. Or like today, we went out litter picking with the kids. I filmed us litter picking in various points for my vlog, but I thought, “do you know what, that would be quite good for Instagram!” So within my phone, whilst just standing in the kitchen, I cut it up into little chunks and boom — upload it to Instagram and to Twitter. So easy to do.

I do think one thing you can do with your phone, if you’re going to work from your phone, though, is to make sure you’ve got the right apps on your home screen. And that is totally up to you of course. But there will be some apps which are really productive and some that are a distraction. Some apps that bring you joy, whereas some that actually bring you down. It’s worth checking what is on your home screen most of the time, because so often you’ve got my phone open to do one thing. And then you close it and you go, “oh, I’ll just look at Instagram. Oh, I just look at…” and on it goes.

Make your homepage work for you. Make the folders that your phone can do work for you so that you don’t procrastinate, you don’t get distracted. Make it work for you rather than against you.

[00:15:15] – Frankie
Yeah, it’s a good point because I’ve got three screens that I flick through. The first one is like totally personal stuff. And then I’ve got some email-y things and then the third one, so the last one, I’ve got to go all the way to the back, is all my work apps. It’s a little thing, but it is like you’re entering work mode, right? You’re making a point of going to that section of your phone rather than like, “oh, everything mishmashed together”. Boundaries are good.

The other obvious thing is something like Trello or similar on your phone. There must be other ones. I feel like we mention Trello every episode!

[00:15:55] – Steve
We do, but all of the productivity apps like Trello or Asana, they will all have apps.

[00:16:02] – Frankie
Because I find that I do that quite a bit… I’m not doing the work, but I’m moving stuff around, reprioritising stuff, working out what’s going on, clearing out my headspace while I’m sat while my kids are in the bath or whatever. And that makes me more productive when I do get down to my desk because I’ve moved stuff around, made my lists more efficient.

[00:16:25] – Steve
Right, so that when you actually sit down to do the work, you’re bang on it because you’ve already prioritised, and that works — doesn’t matter what app you use. Even if you simply use a to do list within the Notes app, you can just look into it.

[00:16:36] – Frankie
Yeah, totally. Doesn’t have to be a fancy app. That’s true.

[00:16:39] – Steve
I hate Siri, right, in general. But I do sometimes… Like, I’ll be walking along and I’ll go, :hey, Siri, set me…”

*Siri wakes up*

Oh god, here we go.

So I’ll be walking along and I say something like, “hey, Siri, set a reminder for me to call Frankie about this, that, or the other…”

[00:16:57] – Siri
“Okay. Added to reminders”.

[00:16:58] – Frankie

Again, that’s one of those things that I know exists, but I’ve never used it. I don’t use its power. We probably use, like, 50% of the tools that our smartphones are capable of doing, right? Because you can never be arsed to actually research them. So I would recommend giving your phone to your child! Because whenever I give my phone or an iPad to my son — who’s four and a half! — he does like these crazy gestures and brings up all this weird functionality that I never knew existed.

And you know what else you can use your phone for in current times? Zoom a mate, have a chat, look at a face, and also play Words With Friends. Get beaten by Steve on Words With Friends.

[00:17:45] – Steve
Yes, yes.

Oh, come on, look, it was one game!

[00:17:45] – Frankie
Yeah, but it was brutal. It was all about the letters I was given. Nothing to do with my vocabulary at all.

[00:17:54] – Steve
I’ll tell you what, look — a week from now, we’ll come back, see where our tally is.

[00:17:57] – Frankie
All right, fair.

[00:18:00] – Steve
You might be in the lead by then.

[00:18:03] – Frankie
I won’t be.

[00:18:04] – Steve
I feel like we’ve answered this. Like, we’ve talked about the strategy. She asked for strategies, Detective…

[00:18:09] – Frankie
Maria Chili Pepper.

[00:18:11] – Steve
That’s the one. She asked for strategies. We’ve done our best. But of course, you might have a better strategy. I’m sure you will. In which case, let us know, be it on Instagram, Twitter, or, of course, in the Doing It For The Kids community itself.

What would your advice be?

Let us know your thoughts using #DIFTKpodcast on Twitter and Instagram, and join in the conversation via the DIFTK Community on Facebook.