Technology. It was supposed to save us time. So why does it seem to suck up so much time? I’ll admit it, my wife has said to me more than once, “Put that phone down.” And I’ve watched the heartbreaking Facebook video that says, “After I Saw This, I Put Down My Phone And Didn’t Pick It Up For The Rest Of The Day” – I watched that on my phone. I’ve been a little obsessed with Apps on my phone that could streamline my day, make me remember everything that I want to remember, and save me time. I’ve sampled a million of them and it boils down to 6.
First, I use an Android phone, but that doesn’t mean these don’t work iPhone people. I like Android because I use Gmail and Google Calendar, which at one point were a little slow on iPhone. (I have no idea if this is still the case.) If you have a Blackberry or Windows phone, just stop. Stop being like that. It’s over. Saab isn’t coming back and I don’t care if Betamax was better, it lost to VHS (sorry, my slightly younger wife won’t get that joke.) On to the Apps:
1. I’m going to start with the obvious. I use Gmail and Google Calendar. If you like your email choice and calendar? Stick with it. But I’ve tried all the other pretty calendars in the App store that can sync with whatever calendar you use and and they just don’t bring anything to the table. Whatever you do, you don’t need 2 calendar apps.
2. Evernote: Everyone knows about Evernote now. But I’ve been using this pretty much since it came out. Give me a medal. I’ve tried a million other TO DO LIST apps and none compare to Evernote. It syncs across platforms (to your desktop, laptop and tablet) and it’s free. They have slew of premium features that you can pay for, but I’ve been more than happy staying free. I use Evernote seamlessly between my work life, writing life, and personal life. I particularly like the photo notes because it keeps me from cluttering my phone up with work-related shots. Finally, from a sales perspective, I use it as a CRM. Don’t know what that it? You lucky bastard.
3. Podcast Addict: I’m an outside sales rep, so I’m in and out of my car all day. I love music and NPR, but sometimes I get overloaded on politics and Adam Levine’s endless supply of soundalike hits. I tried Stitcher for my podcast habit, but my phone went to 400 degrees and battery ran out in 20 minutes. I listen to a few publishing podcasts, get my pop culture from Bill Simmon’s ESPN affiliated Grantland and get NPR’s Fresh Air and highly addictive America’s Test Kitchen.
4. Don’t have time to read? Now you do. I’ve got 2. First, I downloaded Amazon’s audiobook app, Audible, and got a free audiobook for signing up. That was cool. The monthly service is $15 and you get 1 audiobook per month, sometimes two book when they run a special. It isn’t cheap, but with writing at night, I don’t have time to read, so I get this done in my car. And damn, if I look forward to my road time a little more. The only thing I hated was that once I was home, I couldn’t pick up reading where my Audiobook left off. Just about the time I was inventing this concept on a cocktail napkin, I realized Amazon already had it with Whispersync. Most recently, this cost me an extra $2 when I purchased an eBook. I’ve “read” 4 books in 6 weeks just in Audiobooks. I would have never finished Girl With The Dragon Tattoo reading it 15 minutes a night before I fell asleep.
5. This one is another personal preference. I use OneDrive (formerly SkyDrive) for Cloud Storage of my documents. I used to use SugarSync, but they stopped being free. As long as you aren’t storing every photo you take you’ll never run out of space. OneDrive gives you 15GB of free storage. That’s a lot. Just enough to tempt you into sending all your photos there and breaking down and buying more storage.
6. This one is pretty new. I have slew of other apps on on my phone and it was totally cluttered. If Yahoo survives to the next decade, part of the reason will be Yahoo Aviate. I downloaded this free little app to my phone and suddenly everything was organized into tidy categories. It is brilliant in its simplicity and you can leave it alone or customize it all you want.
What’s your “must have” app? What have I missed? Leave a comment or, if you’re shy, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.