I confess that the welter of apps available often makes me want to turn ostrich and break out my flip phone or, better yet, invest in something with a rotary dial in a periwinkle hue. But the truth of the matter is that the right apps can make you faster, more efficient, and look smarter. So avoid the siren song of Trivia Crack, Game of War – Fire Age, or Bejeweled Blitz (or at least moderate your addiction)and let your smart phone help get the best out of you. The following are a bunch of apps that will help you to be more productive and efficient in both your business and personal lives.
Checkmark is the ultimate to-do-list app.. Not only can you create and organize lists, you can add reminders that are based on time, contact, and geography. The latter is particularly useful if you have items at the drycleaner. This way, instead of getting a time reminder that goes off when you’re not near the store, Checkmark reminds you as you pass by. Checkmark also has an intuitive interface that makes it easy to use.
The problem with using your calendar on your smartphone is that screen space is limited. One screen may show you the calendar, but fail to provide any detail about your appointments. Another screen lists your appointments, but in rudimentary list fashion. Fantastical’s calendar app has a great interface that simultaneously displays a graphic presentation of your week and presents your reminders and appointments at the same time.
Fantastical also simplifies the process of entering appointments into your calendar. For example, just type in “lunch tomorrow with Dave in San Francisco from 12:00 PM to 1:30 PM” and Fantasical will create a calendar entry. Fantastical also supports dictation for most iPhones.
Despite the vast migration of data away from paper to ones and zeros, we still encounter lots of paper every day, such as business cards, receipts, and handwritten notes. Scannable solves the problem of having to manually enter contact information into your phone or, worse yet, risk losing the information altogether if you misplace the original document. The app lets you scan paper documents from your smartphone. You can then upload those files to your Evernote account where you can categorize them, share them, and comment on them. You can also convert scans of business cards to your phone contacts or LinkedIn.
Email long ago ceased to be the most effective means of sharing files from your phone or otherwise. Dropbox provides a really easy-to-use interface for sharing files on the cloud. You can easily sort the contents of your account by date or name and sort through photos using thumbnail images. If the file is in Microsoft Word, Excel, or PowerPoint format, you can edit the file right in Dropbox without going through the hassle of downloading it. You can also send the link directly to the person you want to view it without having to give them access or passwords to your account.
Most of us really want to secure our information by using effective passwords, but few of us are capable or diligent enough to memorize dozens of different, secure passwords for every website that we use. LastPass is a great solution to this problem. It offers a multitude of functions including a password generator, the ability to sync passwords across devices, and password autofill. You can also save information regarding your different credit cards and instantly fill in information during a purchase.
Once you book a flight on an airline, make sure to download the app that it offers. Airlines offer apps that have a variety of time-saving functions. Many apps allow you to check-in to your flight remotely, download an e-ticket, review miles you’ve accumulated in your frequent flier account, and to receive flight status notifications. Downloading an app allows you to avoid waiting at kiosks and spares you the inconvenience of rummaging through your purse or pockets for your paper ticket.
Apps for Cars and Taxis
I won’t spill many pixels explaining the importance of having a taxi or car service app on your phone, such as Uber or Lyft. I will point out that there is no reason notto have many of these apps on your phone so that, during busy hours, you can get a car without paying a premium. Note that traditional taxi cab companies have begun to offer these apps as well, so be sure to download the apps of the largest taxi cab fleets in your area.
One obstacle that many face in reaching their weight loss goals is keeping track of the basics: the calories that you eat and the calories that you burn. The MyFitnessPal app makes measuring both of these things easy. The app allows you to track what you eat and contains a gigantic library of food and each food item’s associated calorie count. With respect to exercise, the app works with your smartphone to act as a pedometer and can also interface with wearables like FitBit. By making it easier to count your calories, you can know immediately whether you are meeting your goals and take action if you’re falling behind in your diet.
OpenTable revolutionized one of the most annoying processes known to humankind: trying to book a restaurant. OpenTable has made the old-time serial phone calling and guessing about table availability completely obsolete. The great news is that the OpenTable app functions as well as the website. You can find a restaurant in minutes and find available ones in a particular area in only a little bit of a longer time. I find that the ratings on OpenTable are a bit higher than on some of the pure ratings sites, so cross-reference as needed.
It says what it does; it does what it says. Wi-Fi finder identifies free or paid public Wi-Fi hotspots near you and will give you directions on how to get to the hotspot of your choice. It’s free and perfect if you’re on the road and need to get a little work done. Now if there were an app that could find free outlets too…