Many of us are making a point to be more productive in 2015. Here are some of the best apps available for iOS and Android to help you this year insanely productive.
For years I’ve been a huge fan of Contactually, which lets me keep in touch with everyone, from teammates to former colleagues to prospects, with ease. Its mobile app is a cinch to use, too. You simply put your contacts into “buckets,” and then decide how often you want to follow up with the people in each one. Contactually will do the rest, automatically creating follow-ups for you and letting you know the last time you spoke to the person in question. Contactually also lets you save dynamic templates to make your holiday wishes, congratulations, and follow-ups after meetings incredibly easy, while still retaining a human touch.
Given the simplicity of its interface, it’s amazing how much Evernote does. Think of it as extra storage for your brain: With Evernote, there’s almost no excuse for forgetting any important information ever again. When you’re away from your laptop, you can use Evernote to take a note incredibly easily, and add an audio file or picture if you need. Want to set a reminder for yourself or make a to-do list? Evernote can do that. You can also send yourself articles to be used as inspiration for future blog posts and research. An easy Chrome extension let’s you clip just about anything you want from a browser, too.
Simply put, Refresh is the best-kept secret of anyone who takes business meetings frequently. Refresh is a terrific relationship-builder: By syncing seamlessly with services such as Gmail, Facebook, and LinkedIn, it helps you go into your meetings prepared and informed. Refresh gives you the ability to review past interactions with the people with whom you’ll be meeting or to learn new information about them. Using Refresh, you might discover that you and a contact both speak French, that you have 11 mutual friends on Facebook, or that her birthday is coming up in three days. You’re also able to see who first introduced you, or whether you’ve taken any notes about her in Evernote.
A poor calendar app can easily make you less productive. If you find yourself in that situation, Sunrise is the solution. The app has an interface that is very easy to navigate and connects seamlessly with all major calendar services. Every event for which you have to RSVP is clearly marked at the very top of the main interface, so no meetings will ever fall through the cracks. Sunrise also lets you drill down to get more information on the contacts with whom you’re having meetings. With Sunrise, there isn’t much of a reason to be using the calendar app that comes with your iPhone–Sunrise is that good, and free as well.
There was a time when Basecamp reigned supreme in the project-management and getting-things-done sector, but Asana is clearly the champion these days. I’ve been able to cut down on internal email between me and my Firebrand Group colleagues by as much as 40 percent thanks to Asana, which lets us assign tasks to one another, organize them into projects, have discussions pertaining to each particular task, add subtasks to get more granular when necessary, and get a snapshot daily of how everybody is doing and which deadlines are in danger of not being met. Asana’s the name of the game with respect to team productivity.
It’s hard to think of something that you want to get done that you can’t get done using IFTTT, short for If This Then That. Consider IFTTT programming–without actually doing any programming. Using IFTTT, I have created recipes that connect my services to one another in many interesting ways. For example, when I receive an email from Lead411, I have that email automatically turned into an Evernote entry. When I post a photo to Instagram, IFTTT automatically turns it into a Twitter-friendly picture and posts it on Twitter as well. If the weather conditions change to rain, I have IFTTT send me a text to warn me, so I can allow more time to get to my next meeting. Whether you’re using Android, iOS, or the browser, the possibilities are endless with IFTTT.
It’s imperative for entrepreneurs to make important decisions on the company’s future without neglecting everyday responsibilities and tasks. For example, no one actually enjoys taking notes, but it’s essential. This is where Letterspace comes into play. It’s a great — and free — note-taking app that utilizes hashtags to organize your thoughts into a sophisticated and easy-to-use interface. One of Letterspace’s most beneficial features is the cursor that sits directly above the keyboard. This feature allows users to move paragraphs of notes around making it easier than ever for entrepreneurs to edit anything from a paragraph switch to a simple typo.
Ask any entrepreneur: He or she will tell you that the essence of business success lies in making the right connections — whether they be for potential new business, partnerships or that next round of funding. Entrepreneurs are constantly networking and conducting meetings, but it can be almost impossible to keep track of how and where you met someone. Humin handles all of that for you. When you insert information into the app, it remembers all of the tiny details of how and where you met someone, allowing you to actually be in the moment instead of trying to remember information later. Humin solves this problem by combining your contacts, dialing and voice mailbox to calculate who your most important contacts are.
Another productivity app to consider is LISTEN, developed by RealNetworks, the company I work with. LISTEN’s innovative app utilizes ringback tone technology to respond to incoming calls when you’re too busy to answer the phone. Its newly released 2.0 features also include auto SMS reply capabilities which, when enabled, respond to both inbound calls and incoming text messages. You can also customize both your voice and SMS responses, giving contacts a specific heads-up (e.g., “About to close on a deal; let me call you back!”). LISTEN further boasts such 2.0 personalization features as Calendar Integration (syncs your auto replies with your meetings) and Location Detection, which responds to calls and text messages based on your geographic location. Also be sure to try LISTEN’s Drive mode, which will play a status message informing callers (and texters) when you’re behind the wheel.
Time management is yet another key part to building and running a successful business. Managing workflow is the foundation of utilizing time effectively. With the Workflow app, you’re able to customize your phone so you can bypass tasks that are a waste of time. For example, you can call an Uber in advance of your next calendar event or create a button to give your mom a quick call. Workflow allows you to create any type of button for any type of activity that you may do on a regular basis and with the simple click of that button your task is being completed.
Now go and get to work and do something productive!