The iPhone is an amazing productivity tool or an amazing distraction depending on the apps you use. I have my share of apps for distractions, but I also accomplish a lot of work on my iPhone too. It surprises me that more people don’t know about how the iPhone can help you accomplish more wherever you are at. You can waste a lot of time and money trying to find the best productivity apps, so let me save you a little of both.
In this post I will share thirteen of my top productivity apps and annotate them with suggestions on how they can be put to best use. I will elaborate on some of the apps in separate, individual posts later.
I would love to read what apps you would include on this list and how you use them in the comments below.
Day One: I have kept a daily journal now for over sixteen years. I credit most of my accomplishments to journaling, and up until the last couple of years my journals have always been paper journals, like Moleskine. (I still use Moleskine for projects.) I made the leap the Day One app, and I have no regrets. The best journal is the one you have in your pocket. It has a beautiful user interface, looks great, and you can search your journal for the information you are looking for. The search feature is key! So often I tried to find information in my written journals by flipping pages. Most of the time I never found what I was looking for, and when I did I lost huge amounts of time. Day One is simple to use, is password protected, and has some great advanced features. I highly recommend this app for your iPhone.
: Evernote is my secure electronic filing cabinet. While I don’t keep a daily journal in Evernote, all of my notes from meetings, conferences, upcoming events, and projects go here. Evernote is secure and searchable. I can find whatever I am looking for. When I want to remember something I use Evernote. It includes audio, picture, web clippings, and so much more. I keep finding more and more uses for it. You can start using Evernote for free at this link forever; it only costs money when you out grow the free amount of space. Also, and most importantly, it is safe and secure.
(Please click the ‘continue reading’ below in red on the right to read about eleven more great apps.)
I have tried just about every single ‘to-do’ app in the App Store in an attempt to replace my index card for my daily to-do list. I finally found the solution, and it’s Nozbe. It is clean and simple, like my index card, and well, it just simply works. I can access my to-do list and projects via any device easily, and it appears in the notification screen on my iPhone. I’m finally done losing my to-do list. I can’t believe I finally found the replacement to my index card. Nozbe also works off your MacBook too, which is a joy to sync the two. Nozbe
is an absolute joy to use and I am really utilizing the Projects functions too, which I can share with others. Plays well with Evernote too.
Drafts is a nice little writing program that if perfect for taking notes and writing posts for social media that you will repost again and again. It gives you a character count and allows you to publish to any social media account and works with many other apps. A couple of uses I enjoy are keeping of lists that I will send to people when they ask, like what books do you recommend. I also use Drafts for rough drafts of future tweets and posts. Yes, I actually do that. For instance I occasionally ask readers to purchase my book or leave a review. I have this post stored in Drafts. Handy.
Coach.me use to be called Lift and it is great for creating daily habits with reminders. Add habits you wish to create into this app and you can opt to collaborate with others working on the same habit, get props, reminders, and so much more. You check off the habit you complete and the app keeps track of your progress. I really like this app for keeping track of my writing goals, practicing Spanish on DuoLingo, workouts, and so much more.
It’s just a great online storage center to store lots and lots of files. I backup writing projects here, some photos, and projects I am working on. I can create a folder to share with others so they can collaborate on a project of keep it private for myself. You can sign up FREE for Dropbox here
Dictionary.com Dictionary & Thesuarus
: I’m surprised how many smartphone users don’t have a dictionary installed. This one is free and works offline too. I still find myself needing a dictionary regularly on my phone and I wish the iPhone had one built in like Spotlight on the Mac. I don’t always have access to the internet believe it or not and I need a dictionary.
: This little app does one thing really well. It finds all the screenshots you’ve taken on your phone and gives you the option to delete all of them or pick the ones you want to keep. I take a lot of screenshots for reference and it fills up my phone. I like this simple little utility app.
: This is a unique timer that nearly makes ‘getting things done’ into a game. The concept is simple, you set the timer for whatever amount of you want to focus on a task distraction free, then when the timer is up you work on another tasks. How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time. That’s what this app does… it takes a big task and breaks it up into bite sized time allotments. You will love the user interface. You can keep things simple or explore its more diverse and enriching features.
: This is a great app that works with Evernote that allows you to annotate and mark up photos. I use it all the time to explain things visually to others, from problem-solving an issue on their phone or computer to annotating a picture or a piece of writing. Works great.
: I am still in shock that even the latest iOS does not allow me to create and name groups of people to email. If I have a group of people that meet regularly like my investment club Mail+ does the trick. I use this on my iPhone and my iPad.
I like to know how many minutes, hours, and seconds it is to my next 5K, speaking event, or family trip. This app handles that for me. There are several on the app store. The one I use is no longer listed but is still on my phone. I recommend one that you like.
I have downloaded many scanning apps for my iPhone to get documents into Evernote and other utilities. Now, Scannable, by Evernote has conquered them all. It easily scans and manages at the same time. Great for business cards, kids artwork, to contracts and anything else that needs to be scanned and filed. Great app and free.
I have a lot of other great apps that I use for productivity that I’ll share later, but this is a powerful list to get you more productive right away. I plan to cover a few of these in greater detail in individual posts.
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Two other quick productivity tips I recommend include the following. First, have an extra charge for your devices when you are on the go and I recommend Gembonics Portable Charger
for your iPhone and iPad for only $22.99 it’s a bargain
if you only use it once. Best yet, it is elegant and powerful. I also recommend the Mophie Heilum
case charger. I am waiting for it to come out for my iPhone 6.Second, if you’re not backing up your Mac with Time Machine, you are way past time to start doing so. Grab a nice hard drive
and start backing up. It is easy and important. No excuses. My favorite is Lacie’s Rugged 2 TB USB 3.0 Portable Hard Drive for $169, but there are good hard drives available for half the price
Productivity is in the palm of your hand. Good luck.
For even more help with personal and professional leadership, please check out Kelly’s book, Along Came a Leader
Kelly Croy is a professional speaker and speed artist.
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