In today’s modern tech world, a girl is nothing without her smart phone. I’m sad to admit this, but honestly, I don’t know that I could go 24 hours without it. I like to think of my phone as my personal assistant (since I can’t afford to hire one…yet) and I need to be able to do just about everything from my phone from catching up on news, to keeping track of my appointments, to updating my social media, to checking email, to sending myself reminders, and so much more. And now that I’ve taken on a leadership role within my department (i.e. a promotion) and my consulting business has really taken off, it’s rare now that I’m able to tell someone off-hand what I’m doing from week to week without looking at my Google Calendar.
So if you’re like me and your phone has basically become another limb attached to your body, you probably have discovered some great apps that have helped you maintain, or in some cases, boost your productivity while you’re on the go. I know I have! So in this week’s post, I thought I’d share a few of my favorite mobile apps and give you some tips on how it can help you do it all! And the best part is, these apps are all FREE!
Evernote is one of my absolute favorite apps. I use it for just about everything that involves note-taking and brainstorming. It’s a free app, available in the Play Store (for Android users) and the App Store (for iOS users), and it allows you to take voice, text, and photo notes and organize them into notebooks. Most recently, Evernote has partnered with Post-It Note to develop an extension that allows you to scan your Post-it Notes and organize them into folders based on the color of the note. Pretty cool right?
If you work in an email-happy work place, or if you post frequently on social media for personal or business reasons, this is the app for you. There’s nothing more embarrassing than misspelling a word in a key post that you’re using to sell your latest product or typing an email to a colleague or a potential client and using a word incorrectly. These seemingly small typos can sometimes be more harmful than you think. It undermines credibility and can sometimes be the deciding factor on whether or not you make a sale. Don’t let this be you!
As a manager that oversees a college-wide department, spread out over multiple campus locations, information is frequently shared via email. I have no shortage of forms that I need to approve and sign and sometimes these matters can be extremely time-sensitive. At that point, waiting for interoffice mail just won’t do the trick and with my work travel schedule, there’s no guarantee that I’m always going to be near a computer and scanner. CamScanner has been a huge time-saver for me because it allows me to scan documents right from my home and email them in a matter of seconds.
I almost see this as the companion app to CamScanner. While CamScanner allows me to scan and email, DocuSign allows me to electronically sign any document emailed to me in PDF format. I can even share the document with multiple individuals if the document that I have to sign requires more than one signature. Again, a huge time-saver for people who frequently have to sign off on things.
I adore Dropbox! There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t use this app. I have it installed on both of my personal computers, my work computer, and mobile devices. Essentially, it’s my personal drive that I can carry with me everywhere so I never have to worry about being out of the office and not being able to retrieve files off of my office computer. And even if you’re working on a computer that doesn’t have Dropbox installed, you can still access all of your files through http://www.dropbox.com. You can even share access to your folders as well, which is great for collaborations.
I think that this is pretty self-explanatory (after all, who doesn’t love Starbucks?), but I find this app essential to functioning on a daily basis. I’m a huge coffee lover and I particularly love Starbucks brand coffee. What’s great about this app is that I can reload as often as I want to right from my phone and I can purchase and add points to my account with each purchase. Coupons, special offers, and my rewards are all tracked and accessible from my smart phone. This helpful times that I may run in for coffee and forget my purse, as long as I have my phone, I’m always set.
Due to my busy schedule, I don’t bother paying for cable since I’m seldom home to watch it, but I’ve still got to keep up with current events and my favorite bloggers. With the death of Google Reader, I was afraid that I wouldn’t be able to find another app that would allow me to manage my online blog and news subscriptions all in one place. While Feedly isn’t the only game in town, I was particularly impressed with how clean its platform was and how easy it was to migrate all of my subscriptions over. So now I can go to just one place and read the latest posts from my favorite bloggers, share posts I’m particularly inspired by on my social media channels, and save and catalog posts that I want to come back to later.
8. Hulu Plus
I know based on my previous posts, it probably looks like all I do is work. But truthfully, I can be a bit of a TV junkie. I’m known to binge watch entire seasons of things when I find myself with free time. While I tend to watch a lot of TV shows on my lap top, I love having this app on my phone because if I find myself in a situation where I have to kill time whether on a train or using public transportation, I can watch my favorite shows, even while I’m out and about.
As someone who travels a lot, my navigation app gets a lot of use. And recently I’ve discovered that it’s not just great for driving directions, but a couple of weekends ago, I was in New York City and found it quite useful for walking directions as well. It even has a feature that allows you to get directions using the local public transportation system. How cool is that?
Last, but certainly not least, what’s a smart phone without a good task list app? It’s no surprise to many who know me, but I’m probably one of the biggest Google fans on the face of the Earth. This handy little extension not only helps me keep track of my action items, but it allows me to prioritize them, assign due dates, and send myself reminders. And the BEST part…(drum roll), it syncs with Google Calendar! So when I open up my G-Cal, task items that I’ve assigned due dates will also show up on my calendar. G-Tasks even allows you to organize your lists into categories, so for example, I have separate task lists for work action items and personal action items such as my grocery list.
Now these are just a handful of my favorite apps, but I’m always looking for good recommendations. Share some of your favorite mobile apps in the comments section.