iPhone Apps for Productivity and Organization
I had to add this article from the NY Times, because I have found it incredibly helpful. You can click below for the whole article.
A couple of years ago, I fell into such a state, and because I’ve long believed in the redemptive powers of technology, there was only one thing to do: I ran over to my nearest AT&T store and bought an iPhone.
I was hoping the phone would function as a poor man’s personal assistant — that it would constantly remind me of what I had to do next, and would record anything urgent I had to say. In truth, it took some time for the iPhone to work its way into my life. Even though smartphones can be tricked out with thousands of add-on applications, only a few prove truly useful when it comes to organization.
Here are some of the best apps to keep your life running smoothly.
TO-DO LISTS The iPhone has so many apps for to-do lists that I had to make a to-do list just to get through the main offerings. Your preference will depend on how you work. Some of the best task-management apps — including Things, by Cultured Code, and OmniFocus, by the Omni Group, which each cost $20 — are meant to be used with their very good Mac counterparts; if you’re a fan of those programs, you would do well to add their iPhone companions.
My favorite stand-alone organizational app is reQall, which David Pogue has already praised in The Times. ReQall really does turn your iPhone into a personal assistant — you dictate all your to-dos, reminders, appointments and other ephemera, and it translates your commands into actionable tasks. (I find the free version good enough, but heavy users might want to invest in the $25-a-year Pro version.)
If you’re not a fan of dictation, consider Remember the Milk, a to-do app that distinguishes itself from others by its extensive operations on the Internet cloud. The program syncs with lots of calendar programs (including those from Microsoft, Apple and Google), and can be used anywhere online. To use Remember the Milk on your mobile device — not just for the iPhone but also BlackBerrys and Windows Mobile phones — you must subscribe to the Pro edition, which costs $25 a year.
AT WORK ON THE GO A great personal assistant will always be on hand with just the right document, spreadsheet or other little gadget that helps you out when you’re traveling. To get that kind of service from an iPhone, you’ll need to download several dedicated apps.
Among my favorites is Air Sharing ($5 for the standard version, $10 for more features), which turns your iPhone into a wireless drive — think of it as a U.S.B. thumb drive, without the U.S.B. plug.
Air Sharing requires a bit of one-time set-up on your computer (Mac, Windows or Linux); after that, your iPhone looks and acts just like another drive on your machine. Drag files in and out, and they are transferred over Wi-Fi. And now they’re accessible through any other computer you come into contact with. Plus, because the app works wirelessly, several people can gain access to the files at once. You can’t do that with U.S.B.
Of course, many kinds of files don’t travel well on a phone, because they don’t look very good on a small screen. A large spreadsheet, for instance, is nearly incomprehensible on an iPhone. That’s where RoamBi comes in.
This free app takes standard spreadsheet files from your desktop and turns them into beautiful interactive “visualizations” — pie charts, bar graphs, flip books and other designs made especially for a small interface. RoamBi is a terrific way to analyze huge sets of numbers quickly. You can feed it your company’s sales list, for instance, and then brush up on each client’s detailed sales history on the cab ride to the meeting.
Sometimes, when you’re traveling, you need one of those old-school devices that is still annoyingly necessary — a fax machine. Say the home office needs you to send a file with your signature, or you’ve got a pile of receipts that you need to scan in for your expenses. JotNot ($3) turns your iPhone into a scanner.
Snap a steady picture of a document and then outline the area you want to scan — JotNot enhances the image and turns it into a document to be e-mailed. I’ve found that if you take the picture carefully, JotNot can capture a document as well as a fax machine can. And, of course, it’s much easier to carry around.
Last, an app meant to keep you safe while you multitask: Email ’n Walk is a 99-cent program that uses your iPhone’s camera to show you a live picture of everything you’re missing while you hold your phone in front of your face.
This way, you can write a message while still keeping an eye on the sidewalk ahead. That’s probably still not very safe — use it wisely! — but it’s certainly better than e-mailing blind.
WHEN YOU NEED TO EAT Personal assistants, my celebrity friends tell me, have a talent for helping out with all the little things in life — making sure that your refrigerator is well stocked, or that you have reservations to the best restaurants. Here, the iPhone excels.
Take Grocery IQ (99 cents), the best of several grocery-list apps. It has a clever predictive-entry system that seems to know about every single item in the modern American megamarket. Type in K-R-A-F, for example, and a list pops up to show every product made by Kraft, like cocktail sauce or Jet-Puffed Mini Marshmallows. (You can also type in generic items, like toilet paper or toothpaste.)
Because you need to enter only a few letters of any word, drawing up your list is incredibly quick. Even better, you can check off each item as you buy it — and if you tell Grocery IQ about the layout of your neighborhood market, it will sort the list according to aisle number.
When it’s time to check out, try CardStar, a free app that displays your supermarket or drugstore club card. You can then scan the iPhone’s screen at the checkout. You no longer have to carry around a dozen discount cards every time you leave the house.
Your personal assistant will thank you.
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