Between Facebook, Gaming Apps and watching videos, your phone can become the enemy rather than a friend. And all those little interruptions can really add up, so that we end up with a couple of hours of messing around with things that aren't work related or productive. But what if we turn that around and have our phones act like little productivity powerhouses for us? You know you'll feeling like a superstar having your phone work for you, rather than the other way around.
So here we go with my favorite 5 apps you need to boost your productivity, and keep you organized and focused on your business.
The Groups app is a total game changer. Let's say you're subscribed to a number of Facebook groups. Some are for you to get support on your business, and some groups may be for networking.
Like me, you may go on to Facebook during the day to catch up on some business posts or ask questions, and do research. But then you get sidetracked with personal notifications. There's friends sharing baby photos, or if you're unlucky, that one person who insists on posting a close-up photo of their mangled toenail. Nope. Not today!
The Groups app does the job of collating all your Facebook groups into one simple app, so you don't have to go into Facebook at all to participate in your Groups. All you see in Groups, is a small photo of the Group header, with a number on the corner to show you the number new posts since you last visited.
Favorite features: Tap on ‘Notifications' to see notifications only from your subscribed groups. And, if you hold your finger down on the thumbnail of a Group, you can move it into Favorites at the top of your app. You can also change your notifications, leave the group and more, within the app without going into Facebook.
No more, getting sidetracked, just pure social business productivity.
Okay I know Evernote comes up on every app suggestion out there, but I can't leave it out. And I'm going to share an idea of how to use it other than basic filing. Evernote is an app I resisted for years, but now I can't imagine business without it. Here's the thing, you're out at a coffee shop enjoying your morning brew, when all of a sudden you get a brilliant idea for a blog post. You either figure you'll remember when you get home (hmmmm) or you type it in notes, or email it to yourself. Either way, I've been there and done that too many times to know I would be lucky to see that idea again.
Now let's do it a different way. You set up some ‘Notebooks' in Evernote titled with commonly used themes. Let's say you start with one for ‘Content Ideas', and a notebook for ‘Things to Research'. You're sipping on your espresso and you all of a sudden have the world's greatest idea. You open up Evernote, click the big ‘plus sign' at the bottom, then click on the dropdown box at the top to select the notebook you want to file your idea into. From there, you type the title of your idea, add a few bullet points to jog your memory later, hit “Done” and that's it.
Favourite features: If your brainstorm idea came from something you saw while you were out, just tap on the little camera icon on the bottom right to add a photo. You can even then send that note to another app, such as your Reminders. Oh, and when you get home and open Evernote on your desktop, your brilliant idea will be synced and ready for you there.
So we're still at the coffee shop where we were using Evernote. You've typed up your notes on a new blog post and filed them away. Now what about that coffee shop receipt? Maybe it was a business expense for you. Open up Scannable, take a quick snapshot of the receipt and file it away in Evernote. Boom! No more lost business receipts. But wait, what if you don't have Evernote or even want to use it? You can easily email your scan, or share it to another app on your phone.
Favorite features: Scannable not only scans your receipts, but it actually looks for the edges of the paper you're scanning, so it can crop it to size. If that's not enough to wipe away a little tear of joy, Scannable also adjusts the brightness and contrast for you, to make the item you're scanning legible. And did I tell you it was free? Yep. Brilliant.
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Do you ever find a great article or blog post while you're researching online, and then you stop to read it? Pocket is a brilliant little app for your desktop or phone, that quickly saves those articles for you to read at a later time. Use Pocket consistently, and it'll help you stay focused, rather than falling into the deep dark hole of the internet. It'll also help with clearing off those multiple open tabs on your computer.
You can add the Pocket extension to Chrome and download the app to your phone. When you see an interesting article you don't want to lose, just click on the Pocket extension on Chrome to save it. For a smartphone, hit the ‘share' button on your browser and swipe across the available apps until you see Pocket.
Then when you've got time to kill while you're waiting for the dentist or at the DMV (RTA), you can open the Pocket app and catch up on those articles. From there, you can also hit the little heart button and share the article to Twitter or Facebook (brilliant!). Or you can share to email or any other app by hitting the share button.
Favorite features: You can add tags to easily organize your articles by theme. When you've finished reading, hit the “tick” to mark as read, and you've cleaned up your pocket. So easy!
While not a ‘productivity' app as such, we all know how much time is wasted trying to remember passwords. Often we end up searching through emails to see if the password is there. Or going through the whole ‘forgot password' thing in frustration after trying all the usual passwords.
Personally, I resisted using a password app forever. While I love gadgets, apps and software, when it came to passwords I figured I'd remember (bahahaha), or use my trusty notebook that sits on my desk. But 1Password not only save your passwords, it also puts them in alphabetical order for you. It can generate a new secure password for you if you choose, or you can make up your own.
Favorite features: When you open the app to find your password for a particular site, you can select “copy” for an easy copy/paste straight into an app or website on your phone. Or if you prefer to see the password, you can tap on ‘reveal'. And for those who struggle with small print, there's the ‘Large Type' option to see your password in mega-size. And all this is in the free version!
So that's my top 5 favorite apps to boost productivity. Let me know with a comment below if you use any of these, or if there's a different app you absolutely love. In the meantime, you can have a look here if you'd like to see a list of my other favorite software and tools I use in my business.