Friday, October 12, 2012
Save time and get more done--all with just a smartphone. Here are ten tools you'll need.
I use conference lines frequently when I'm working with people from all areas of the globe. These calls typically all have their own conference number and conference code. When calling from my cell, it's a huge annoyance to have to search my email on my phone and keep track of all the dial-in codes. The MobileDay app works with any conference call service by looking through your calendar, reminding you of the call, and with one click calling the conference line and dial any necessary codes for you.
This app saves you the time of digging out your wallet and searching for the credit card you want to use. Instead, if your phone is enabled with near field communication, all you need to do once you've registered your cards is open the app, pick the card you want to use, tap the back of your phone to an NFC checkout register, and be on your way. All your information is securely stored on Google's servers, which you can remotely disable if you lose your phone.
One of the biggest hassles I run into is when I need to quickly call someone who's not yet saved in my phone contacts. I then have to search through my emails to find the phone number. This is way too time consuming. Although not an app, WriteThat.Name improves mobile productivity by automatically scanning the signatures of people that email you, extracting their information, and merging it with your contacts in both your email and phone. If they haven't emailed you before, WriteThat.Name adds them as a contact or if they already exist, it updates their information for you. Also, it's important to me that my contacts don't just live on my phone. With WriteThat.Name, they are stored in the cloud, so they're safe even if something happens to your phone.
The Slice mobile app keeps track of everything you buy online. When your inbox is flooded with numerous emails everyday, it's hard to keep up with all your online purchase receipts. All you have to do is tell Slice the email addresses you use for these purchases and the app will keep track of all your orders for you.
I do a lot of traveling. Hipmunk speeds up the process of planning those trips, whether my schedule is flexible or very precise. The site has data from nearly every airline and hotel. It's similar to Kayak but it's smarter. Hipmunk displays results in a visual timeline or map. You can see departure times or hotel locations with one quick glance. The simple visual makes the results seem more relevant to my needs, which saves me the time of sorting through options that won't work.
Who has the time to mess with using a scanner these days? With SignEasy, you no longer have to print and send documents that just need a signature. This app lets you sign documents using your phone, which not only saves you time, but lets you get the document back to where it needs to go in a much more timely manner.
This app is probably my favorite, and it's one I use every single day--even when I know how to get to where I'm going. It's much better than Google Maps for your computer, and it also trumps the iPhone's version of this app (sorry, Apple fans!). Tell this app where you're headed, and it gives you different routes and tells you how long each will take based on the current traffic conditions.
You can even use it when you're taking public transportation. For example, I was recently in New York and used it all the time to figure out the quickest way to get somewhere on the subway. It knows that sometimes taking two or three different trains may get you to your destination faster than staying on the same one, and it's sure to give you that option. Also when in an unfamiliar city, it's nice to know the fastest route so you don't seem like a tourist to the cab driver who's looking to rack up your fee.
8. Google Drive
Google Drive is an alternative to Dropbox. It's a place to store all your files, but much more handy and secure than a hard drive because it's in the cloud. I can access my files from my phone, my computer, or even from my friend's phone or computer. I never have to worry about losing important documents I'm working on because everything is automatically saved as I write, and can easily be shared with the rest of my team.
Venmo offers the fastest way to give or receive money from someone. Say you and your friends are splitting the check for dinner or for cab fare and one of you is footing the bill to get it taken care of faster. When using Venmo it will help speed up the IOU process. You don't have to figure out all the details then and there, but as soon as you do, Venmo will automatically alert your friends when you've transferred money to them. It doesn't matter what the increment--it's all free. It's also significantly faster and easier to use than PayPal, and all you need to pay or receive money from someone is a name, number, or email address.
Glympse is a mobile app that lets you quickly share where you are with others. Glympse syncs with your calendar. With one click, you can send your meeting attendees a text or email that will open up a Google map with your location, rate of travel, and estimated time of arrival. The best part is, the people who need to know where you are don't need to have the app, or even have a phone, in order to access the information. And you have the option to stop sharing this information once you get to your location. Anymore, if you want to be efficient and productive, you must work on the go. These are my go-to apps. What do you use?
(Read more information at http://www.inc.com)