Top 3 Digital Tools for Builders
These are the tools that don’t go in the back of your van. I use them every day, and I think you will find them useful to.
Grammarly is a suite of AI-powered apps that corrects grammatical mistakes and makes your writing more understandable, this is by far my favourite digital tool.
If like me, you are entirely rubbish at spelling and where to put comma’s, then this could be the app for you. Grammarly is my number 1 tool on my laptop. It’s not just my spell checker. It’s like having your English teacher leaning over your shoulder and correcting you in real-time.
I use Gmail for my emails. Luckily Grammarly comes as a plug-in to most browsers, so it’s there checking that. I wouldn’t like to think of all the errors in the emails I sent pre-Grammarly. If you use Gmail for your emails or Google Docs, then download Grammarly now.
It also comes as a standalone application, which I’m using now and a Microsoft Office plug-in. The app is impressive; it’s scoring my work as I go, as well as spelling and commas it’s checking correctness, clarity, engagement, and delivery. All things that make me look smarter than I am. For example, that’s the first time I’ve ever used a semi-colon!
I really rate Grammarly, and the best thing about it is the basic package is free. The premium packages offer more advanced features, which come in handy for writing reports. If you do a lot of writing to do, or maybe you want to impress with a good proposal, then consider the premium licence, it might make the difference when it comes to the client making the decision on who gets the contract.
LastPass - Password Manager
LastPass remembers your passwords across all your devices.
I can not stress enough how important it is to not have the same password for everything. Especially if it’s a crap one like your dogs’ name. If I’ve gained access to one of the sites you use, with a password like “Buster88”, it’s not going to take much effort to try that password with Gmail, Sky Sports, Netflix, Amazon or Tesco’s.
A password manager will generate a different password for every site or app you use, so even if one password is compromised, it’s not the same for any other site. You can add additional information to, like a memorable word or PIN.
With LastPass, you have to remember one super strong password and all your others are stored in a cloud. Other password managers keep the password on your device, which could be considered more secure but more likely to get broken or lost, and I’ve found problems with that method where the databases haven’t synced, and it’s lost track of which database is the latest.
Apple and Google, and Microsoft are doing passwords now, but that ties you into using their web browser. LastPass is available on all platforms and in most browsers.
To check if your email address has appeared on any dodgy list check out this website https://haveibeenpwned.com.
The best part is LastPass is free.
I’ve tried a few project management tools, but I find Trello is the one I always come back to, probably because of its simplicity. It’s a kanban style list-making application, basically digital post-it notes. I’ve used it to organise my building projects, maintenance contracts, and even a stag do.
The style is very adaptable, and probably why it’s so popular. With all the management tools I’ve used, there is always a choice to display the data kanban style.
Trello is cloud based, so you can access it from anywhere, as long as you know the password ;). Because it’s so lightweight the app is smooth, unlike some of the heavier project management tools, which work ok on your computer but are painful to use on your phone.
You can setup as many boards as you want, for example you could have “Need to order”, “Waiting for delivery” and “Delivered”, you can then move the items across the boards as they progress. Trello is a lot easier to use than other project management tools, and a great entry point if you’ve not used any PM tools before.