According to recent statistics by Nielsen, 171.5 million people (71%) in the U.S. own a smartphone.
These handheld devices have revolutionized popular culture and how people interact with the world around them. Now, you might be wondering how your phone can increase productivity when, most of the time it’s a distraction. In the words of Apple, “There’s an App for that.” The list below contains some of my favorite productivity-boosting apps and where to find them:
Remember in the old days (pre-cloud storage) when you needed to save a document, so you could edit it somewhere else? Your options were limited to USB storage or emailing yourself. What if it was a collaborative project? Emailing back and forth took time and patience that you didn’t have.
Thankfully, Dropbox is here to save the day. By saving you data in the cloud, users can access their files from anywhere with an internet connection. Cloud storage has made it possible to share one document with multiple people, which eliminates the hassle of having multiple versions of the same file Dropbox and other cloud storage services have smartphone apps, so you can edit on the go. Never lose important data again with Dropbox.
I forget to do things all the time, so this app is a favorite of mine. Any.Do is an easy to use, virtual “to do” list complete with reminder notifications and task sharing. Simply type or say what you need to do and Any.Do will save it to your list for the day. You can even set reminders and location parameters that alert you at a certain time or in a specific location.
Have a big project with multiple members? Delegate responsibilities with ease when you “share a task” friends or coworkers who can check off tasks as they are completed. You can even add send files from within the app itself, so that everyone will be on the same page.
Social media and the internet are great places to read up on current events as they happen. However, sometimes we can be so consumed with news that we forget to work; this is where Pocket can help. If you see an article, picture or video you like, save it to Pocket with just one touch and read it later when you have time. Like the other apps on this list, you can browse your saved items from multiple platform. Pocket’s most unique feature is allows users to view content in places without an internet connection, which makes the app particularly useful on planes and places without WIFI.
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Sunrise (No longer available)
To do lists are useful when organizing daily tasks, but the secret to productivity lies in both short term and long term planning. Calendars are a great way to visualize the bigger picture and outline future events. Sunrise is a digital take on the modern calendar that is essential to any productivity regimen.
In addition to automatically syncing with your existing Google Calendar or iCloud, users can invite friends to events, set reminders in different time zones and add location tags, so getting lost is a thing of the past. The app’s simple and fluid design makes Sunrise one of the aesthetically appealing apps on the market right now.
Android | iPhone
Drive is Google’s entry into cloud computing that comes preinstalled on most android smartphones. If you have a Gmail account, you’ve probably used Drive at one point or another. Simply upload a document, presentation or spreadsheet to Drive and access it from anywhere in the world.
Thanks to Google’s suite of related apps (e.g. Docs, Slides and Sheets) users can edit files direly from the app. As is common in all Google apps, users can collaborate with others in real-time for optimal productivity. The Google application suite is convenient resource for those without Microsoft Office.
Launched in 2008, Evernote is considered one of the first productivity apps ever created. Users upload information in the form of “notes” that are part of bigger “notebooks” and even larger groupings called “stacks, which makes organizing many files an easy task. Notes come in a variety of types including: text (handwritten and regular), images, websites, audio (voice recordings) and video.
Sharing notes with friends and coworkers is smooth and the overall user interface is straightforward and intuitive. Despite competition from other services like One Note and Google Keep, Evernote remains one of the most useful apps of all time. Evernote has so many features that it is impossible to talk about every one. Feel free to watch this in-depth Evernote tutorial by David A. Cox.
This list is only a small portion of the wealth of productivity apps that are available in your respective smartphone app store, so feel free to comment below with some of your favorites. Remember, these programs are only accessories to improve productivity; it’s still up to you to finish your work.
Image by Viktor Hanacek
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