If you’ve yet to own an app smartphone or a tablet computer, uhm, where have you been? I’m just Kidding.
Of course, the straightforward just-text-and-call phones are still good, especially if you have simple needs that make multi-functionality a burden. But you may just be missing out on applications that can make you more effective, both in your job and your personal life. It might be worth considering updated technology for value-laden conveniences.
Below are some areas of effectiveness where mobile apps can be useful. Because of the many sources of apps to cover, with each store typically compatible with just one operating software, we’ll not discuss all the available apps under each list. But you’re encouraged to start checking what your app provider has for you, whether for free or for a fee.
Project Management Apps
Not all of us are skilled in project management; in fact, if you’re like most people, you get lost trying to track your different undertakings. And this is where project management apps can help. Project management apps remind you of tasks, schedules, resources, budget requirements, point persons, accountabilities, and in some cases, pre-requisite communication channels. Some project management apps are for individuals but others can be used by teams.
Consider Project Planner HD made for iPad. If you’re a fan of Gantt charts, a tool for monitoring project schedules, this app can make your life simpler. There’s also Project Schedule Free, offered by Google Play for Android users, and yes, as the name says, it’s free. You can also check out Nozbe for iPhone which can help you manage remote teams wherever you’re located.
File Hosting Apps
Ever had moments when, just when a document you’ve worked on all day is finished, boom! Your hard drive crashed and you don’t have back-up anywhere. Or maybe you’re in the middle of a business trip when a client starts demanding immediate revisions to his contract, but all your files are in your office PC. In both these cases, you wish you can just pull copies of your documents from the cloud.
Well, you can. There are many cloud storage apps that ensures you have access to your files wherever you may be. Some storage apps even allow editing by multiple users, in case you need to collaborate with your team mates remotely.
Popular file hosting apps include Dropbox, Google Drive, and DropSync.
Relationship Management Apps
In most industries, the ability to create and maintain solid relationships spells the difference between failure and success. If you’re a marketer for example, you need to be able to keep track of your leads in order to not miss out on a prospect. If you’re foreman in a building construction, you need to have a ready list of suppliers and workers to ensure that the project proceeds on schedule. Even if you’re just an independent provider, you need to dig your well before you’re thirsty.
And this is where relationship management apps come in. Unlike the typical Rolodex, relationship management apps synchronize every address book you have: from that in your email to your phonebook to your social networking profiles. It points out who your top contacts are and reminds you of potentials slipping through the net. Contactually is an example of a relationship management app that works this way. Other relationship management apps go one step further by allowing you to send automatic emails to people in your contact list, view contacts’ activity on social networking sites, and collate public information about those in your network.
Time Management Apps
This one needs no explanation; if you want to be effective, you need to be able to use your time wisely.
The App store offers Focus Time, a productivity tool that applies the Pomodoro technique: a time management method that divides tasks into 25-minute chunks, allowing for greater focus. Clockwork Tomato and Pomodoro Timer for Android also work the same way. You can also check out Toggl Online Timer, which helps you keep track of where you spend your time. Just be prepared, you might get shocked at how many hours you’ve invested in time wasters!
Idea Generator/Organizer Apps
Great projects stem from great ideas, but sometimes creativity needs a bit of nudging. And this is where idea generator/organizer apps are for. Not only will these apps help you generate new designs for something that has got you stuck for hours, they can also assist you in thinking through a potential solution. The best idea generator/organizer apps don’t just let you jot down random thoughts, they also help you devise a way to act on your otherwise unstructured musings.
MindNode and MindMeister are examples of brainstorming apps based on the concept of Mind Mapping. You can also consider Creative Whack Pack which aims at snapping you out of your customary ways of thinking, so that you can come up with something out of the box. If these all sound complicated, IdeaDeck is an idea organizer that’s simply the equivalent of electronic post-its. Don’t knock it down before you’ve tried it, many a good idea came from those little yellow squares!