Thursday, February 16, 2012

Apps for Productivity

I know what you're thinking... we spend so much time goofing off on our smartphones and tablets, apps function more often as a distraction than something productive!  (I'm an admitted Words with Friends addict.)  But ever since my iPhone (and now, iPad) became essential to my everyday life, I've actually really incorporated them into my work AND home life in more productive ways.  Here are a few that I can't go a day without!

iCal.  This comes free with Apple devices.  With the advent of the iCloud, I LOVE that my iCal and Contacts stay updated on my phone, iPad, and computer.  I use these constantly and really couldn't do without them.

Evernote.  (Free) I use this EVERYWHERE.  I have it on my iPhone, iPad, MacBook Pro, and use it on my web browser at work.  It's the ultimate notebook for you, because it syncs and updates no matter which device you're using.  You can even use images.  You can organize it however you want, and it's organized/sorted well.  Love the easy use and access, almost like carrying a box of index cards with me wherever I go.

Dropbox.  (Free up to 2GB)  Dropbox is online storage, a web-based file hosting service.  It allows you to load documents online and store them, so you can pull them via web browser, iPhone, iPad, etc. whenever you need them.  "Never email yourself a file again!"  So long as you have internet access, you don't need to carry unsecure thumb drives anymore, either.  Over 50 million folks already use it, so it's being integrated into more and more apps... And if your computer crashes, whatever you stored on Dropbox is backed up.
AwesomeNote. (Free 'lite' version, or $3.99)  I used this on my iPhone, though there is an iPad version... but unlike some other apps, the two versions have to be purchased separately! (Boo...)  That said, AwesomeNote replaced both Reminders and GroceryIQ on my phone.  I love that I can have a sortable to-do list, a grocery list (I create tags for the different aisles), and give everything deadlines and alerts.  I've got mine divided into To-Do, Work, Study, and Shopping!  I highly recommend upgrading to the full version; I rarely pay for apps, but this one is worth it to me.  I don't even use my paper planner anymore, between this and iCal!  There's even a diary function, where you can include photos.  Definitely a lot of uses for this app.  I love customizing the folder colors too!

GoodReader.  ($4.99)  This is the PDF reader/annotater I use on my iPad.  It links up with Dropbox, so your files can be loaded into GoodReader from your storage.  I like to convert Powerpoint presentations from work into PDFs, so I can mark all over them during meetings with my notes. I don't use the separate version on my iPhone, because PDFs are viewed better on a tablet.  There are a lot of PDF reader apps out there, but I love the ability to take notes on this one.

Onlive Desktop.  (Free up to 2GB)  This is a new iPad app that lets you run Microsoft Office (complete versions!) on your iPad as a virtual machine... for FREE.  I really don't know how it's allowed, how it works, nothing.  But you can do all the things you need in Microsoft Office using this!  Just sign up for an account, download the app, and you're good to go!  Get it while it's available.  :)
Onlive Desktop

Another thing I did?  I went to Verizon and added a Personal Hotspot to my iPhone.  It's totally been worth the money!  I have Wifi for my iPad (I don't have the 3G version) or laptop whenever I travel; never have to pay fees at a hotel again, or drive to a coffeeshop/McDonald's with free wireless.   You can even use it on long car rides!

So while you've got plenty of apps that distract you and are awesome mobile applications (Netflix, games, etc.), at least you know there are some things out there to help you get some work done too.

What productivity apps do YOU use?

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