Tools are an indispensible part of your productivity strategy. Choosing the right tool for your needs can be a confusing and somewhat daunting task. The decision must be based on your needs, working style, and level of comfort with technology. With that in mind I have decided to do a series on productivity tools that I have found to be the most useful for improving efficiency, organization and focus. Each week in the series I will feature a different type of tool. Is there is some particular device or tool you’d like to learn about? Please let me know and I’ll try to report on it.
Since I have been absolutely enthralled by my iPhone lately, I’ll start with that device. (not an iPhone user? Check out the posts for Blackberry or Android devices.) *Note most of these apps have a version for the iPad as well so I am lumping them in together. I unfortunately don’t have the iPad yet, but one can dream. ..
These are the most useful iPhone apps that I have found to be effective, easy to use and as glitch-free as possible. This list is by no means exhaustive as there are literally thousands of apps available, but they are what currently work best for me.
Evernote – Free, open source note program, but way more than just notes. Evernote allows you to capture thoughts using text notes, voice recordings, photos and web clippings. You can tag notes or separate them into different notebooks. All notes are fully searchable and sync with a companion desktop application is desired.
Home Routines – This is my favorite home management app. It helps me to keep my home neat and organized, but keep those household tasks and maintenance off my business calendar. You can make as many routines as you want, and choose which days you want to see them. Routines can reset their stars overnight, or wait for you to clear them. Plan your most important one-off tasks for today, this week and the future with the handy built-in To Do list, and use the daily message feature to give yourself a short reminder for each day of the week. Home Routines is customizable to suit your home and priorities – get things done without cluttering up your calendar, email or to-do list.
HootSuite – Hands down my favorite iPhone app for every day social media management. Monitor Twitter and Facebook accounts, send and schedule updates, view statistics, watch lists and track keyword searches.
Paymo – I use Paymo to track my client and project time for billing and time management purposes. The Paymo iPhone app allows you to easily track your time while on the go. You can use it during client meetings or while working on tasks when you’re away from the office. Use timer or manually enter your time and it syncs with your online account to keep accurate time logs.
Pomodoro Pro – Really neat timer that helps you to focus for short periods of time and reminds you to take breaks. You can set the length of time and breaks if you don’t want to use the default 25 minute periods.
Quickoffice Connect Mobile Suite – Create, open & edit Microsoft® Office Files (DOC, DOCX, XLS and XLSX.) Email, view & access attachments with popular file formats (PPT, PDF, iWork, HTML, PNG, JPG, GIF, SVG, TIF, MP3, etc.) Remotely access files via cloud storage services (Box.net, Dropbox, Google Docs and Mobileme.) Share files via email or cloud service providers. Manage and transfer files via WiFi. *Note – if you don’t need the “Cloud” features look at Quickoffice Mobile Suite.
Shopper – This is the most useful shopping list app I have come across: Barcode scanning, customizable lists and stores, aisle layouts, local store sale flyers, multiple lists, recurring list templates, list sharing and more. This little app has cut my shopping headache down to practically nothing.
Please come back and let me know what you like or dislike about the various apps or if you have any to add to the list.
Smart Time 4 Adaptive Organizer – I have just recently started trying this app, but it has serious potential, especially for those who use Google calendar and tasks. This is a really neat logic-based organizer and calendar for busy people. It looks at your appointments, then finds time for your tasks – and integrates both into one simple view. Keep track of lists, tasks, to-dos, appointments, events, and recurring anniversaries all from one integrated view. Categorize your tasks and events and share with family or team members. Don’t need the calendar views, look try Smart Tasks 4.
Todo – I tried many task management apps, but this is the only one that synced well with Outlook for me. Todo is able to sync with Outlook tasks using an interface that runs in the background on your desktop (though you can get a paid subscription to sync over the air. This app will sync categories which are crucial to me. It also has tags, different types of tasks (checklists, projects, calls, etc.) allows notes, recurring tasks and has the ability to share via email.
Traxitall – This is a very effective goal-setting tool. Track sales calls, social media followers, weight, spending budget, hours works, sleep, client load any anything else you can think of. It has recurring tasks, reminders, notes and best of all graphing of data and goal progress.