If you’re like most people, your work computer looks something like Vincent’s.
On any given work day, you need regular access to your emails; you’re using Google Drive or Dropbox; looking at a Google Sheet or three; working on a powerpoint; ticking tasks off your Todoist or Wunderlist; working through team projects through Trello or Asana; and then there are your communication channels, be it Slack, Hangouts, WhatsApp or Messenger.
And we haven’t even gotten to all the social media websites we visit regularly.
Wouldn’t it be nice if there was just one platform that could consolidate all of these web apps?
Luckily, there’s an app for that: Station. The Paris-based, free-to-use platform has more than 30,000 users worldwide – including people from companies such as Uber, Atlassian, Airbnb, Spotify, and more – and flogs itself as the ‘one app to rule them all’.
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It’s an accurate description: you can pull together all of the apps, team workspaces, and communication platforms and find them, all on the one clean interface.
It means you can just have one app open to have all your apps open, cutting down on the number of browser windows or tabs you need.
Bring everything into one place
The most obvious and up-front benefit of Station is the amount of time this platform saves you.
You can say goodbye to all those micro-moments where you’re squinting at your 36 browser tabs for the right one. Consolidating everything into one place speeds up productivity and makes for a smoother workflow experience.
All of your most important work apps are there: Gmail and Outlook; Google Drive (which subsumes Google Docs, Google Sheets and Google Slides), as well as Google Calendar; Slack; Salesforce; Skype; LinkedIn; Hangouts; Trello; Asana; Hootsuite; Dropbox; HelloSign; 1Password; Evernote; Facebook; Twitter; Tweetdeck; YouTube; even Netflix; and over 600 more.
And if an app you want doesn’t exist, you can actually let the Station team know – they’re adding new apps all the time – or add your own custom URL for all of your most-visited sites. Think of it like creating an ‘app’ out of your favourite site that hangs out among your other apps. You can also pick the privacy of your custom app: private, ‘team’ or public, so any and all other Station users can also see it.
Can’t find what you need at lightning speed? Station has a ‘search’ bar that lets you search across your apps (like a ‘Spotlight’, but for Station), and you can also look back at your ‘history’ to see what your most recently visited app or page was.
While Station was designed with work in mind, the best thing about it is you can have multiple accounts for your apps (e.g. Gmail), meaning you can dip in and out of various work accounts and your personal accounts as much as you want.
If you suffer from too many things competing for your attention at any given time, Station’s disable notifications feature comes in handy. You can choose to disable notifications for just one app, or for all of them, if you so choose.
It means you can put your head down and focus on whatever you need to focus on, and come back to things later when you’re ready to. If you only need notifications off during a one-hour meeting, you can put a timer on the ‘do not disturb’ mode.
You can also catch up on your notifications at your leisure with the Notification bar.
Your computer doesn’t need to work as hard
Having dozens of tabs open uses up a lot of CPU (or central processing unit, which is kind of like the ‘brains’ of your computer). Ever noticed your computer gets laggy when you’ve got what feels like millions of tabs open? That’s because it’s struggling under the number of web pages it’s running or updating in the background.
Some users have complained about this in the past to Station, and they’ve worked on this problem; now, Station automatically puts to ‘sleep’ the apps you haven’t used in a while, meaning it’s lighter on your CPU than if you were to use several browsers at once.
Need to reload something to make sure you’ve got the latest version? No stress: if you’re on a Mac, hitting ‘View’ and then ‘Reload this page’ will refresh it for you.
What you need to get used to
I’ve been using Station for just one whole business day and so far, I love the straightforwardness of having everything in one place.
However, as with anything, there are a few things you need to bear in mind when you use it: Station wasn’t meant to replace your web browser, but rather gather all your apps in one place so you can have a better browser experience.
So if you’re web surfing, you’ll still do that in your regular browser. And if there are a lot of files you need to open and navigate in your Gmail or Google Drive (I struggled initially to get my head around the fact that the Drive app encompassed Doc, Sheets and Slides), you’ll probably be best off opening those platforms up in your browser, too.
In a similar vein, I usually have Gmail open in two places: Station, and as a web browser. I use the one in Station for basic viewing and keeping on top of incoming mail, while Gmail in my browser lets me perform more complex tasks without worrying about ‘losing’ the page.
By default, opening web links within Station will open it in the app, rather than in your browser. To quickly get around this problem, simply right click on the link and hit ‘Open Link in Default Browser’.
If you’re not used to this concept and it sounds like too much for you, start off by just grouping all your communication channels into one place, and then add and remove apps as you need.
If the concept of Station sounds familiar to you, it’s because you might have heard of one of their competitors, such as Rambox, Franz or Shift, which do very similar things.
Franz started out as a platform to group all of your messaging apps, and has since branched out to include many more apps generally.
While Rambox is a very similar platform to Station, I find the interface of the latter more pleasant to look at.
I actually downloaded Shift first – and realised in order to use most of the features you have to pay a subscription, which led me to Station.
(So thanks, Shift, for leading me to your competitor; I guess that’s a lesson in never asking your customers to pay for something they can get for free!)
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