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Smartphones & Personal Productivity

by Izabela Turek on October 24th, 2011

Smartphones have come a long way since the days of Maxwell's shoe

This month I want to take a look at some smartphone apps geared to personal productivity. 

6 simple categories immediately come to mind: a) note takers, b) list makers, c) business card scanners, d) receipt managers, e) time trackers and f) minute takers. 

Evernote is the note-taker of choice of over 14 million users. It lets you make notes, including voice memos and snapshots and syncs with your computer. It is great for capturing creative ideas and design inspirations, for snaping photos of whiteboards, etc. – and, it has a solid management & retrieval system. 

List Makers
Checklist Wrangler allows you to create all types of checklists – whether it is your daily ‘to-do’  list, or contents of your travel bag, or tasks associated with preparing an event – that you can reuse and revise as needed. 

Omnifocus adds voice notes & image capture capability – as well, as allowing you to tag tasks by type. So, for instance,  if various ‘to-do’ lists require you to make different phone calls, you can summon up all the calls you have to make across all lists by simply tapping on the phone context. 

Things is another in this category. It is good for assigning ‘to-do’s’ to projects and areas of responsilbility and it has a handy facility to filter & sort by due dates. It also allows you to track any ‘to-do’s’  that you delegate to coworkers and teammates. 

Business Card Scanners
CamCard appears the most favorably reviewed app in this category. One simply takes a picture of a business card, and the app saves the contact information automatically to one’s addressbook. From there it can be manipulated as normal – exported to an excel spreadsheet, or used to make phone calls, send SMS, send emails, browse web pages and locate addresses on map. CamCard recognizes 12 languages including English, French, Spanish, Portuguese, German, Italian, Dutch, Swedish, Finnish, Danish, Norwegian, Hungarian.

Receipt Managers
ExpenseMagic is a good example here. You simply snap pictures of your receipts, tickets or anything else you need to claim your expenses and the app does the rest for you – even working out the VAT details for you. It also allows you to integrate the receipt with diary events in your calendar – and, if travelling overseas, it adjusts the currency for you. Ultimately, it allows you to aggregate all your expenses into one single claim form that can be automatically emailed to your employer for processing. 

Time Trackers
ClockIn is an app to track your time on different projects, replacing the tedium of timesheets. It can manage multiple projects/clients – storing their names, website and email addresses, etc. The time data for individual projects can be exported to excel for attaching to emails as needed.  

Minute Takers is a simple app for organising meeting minutes on the fly. The template and drop-down menu provided lets you track attendees and add agenda items (to-do’s questions for follow-up, etc.), with due dates and owners. Then you can quickly email the minutes to all attendees with little or no delay.  

If you have other favourite personal productivity apps, please let us know – by leaving details in the comment  box below. Thank you!

PS. For  related Torc articles, please click on the following links:
1. Cloud Computing & Personal Productivity
2. Decision-Making: New iPhone Apps
3. Career Management: New iPhone Apps
4. Interview Tips: New iPhone Apps

PPS. For related training programmes, please click on the pertinent links here:
1. Mastering Personal Effectiveness
2. Management Supervisory Skills
3. Effective Interpersonal Skills
4. Business & Report Writing  

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