Geek Love- 5 Biz & Productivity Apps
To be honest, I’ve got the attention span of a goldfish sometimes, especially with all of the tech and social media and oh look, shiny things! I’m not proud of it, but it’s true. So, for me, anything that can help me stay focused, organized, and keep my (insane amounts of) files organized is a big huge YES. I’ve picked out 5 of my favorites today to get you started. And apologies to non-iphone users (hi, mom!)- I’ve gone Apple and refuse to look back, so I have no idea if these are available on other/lesser/dinosaur-age phones, sorry!
I may or may not say the name of this app in a ridiculous Sound of Music-meets-Transylvania (VOONDERKIT!) accent. My stupidity aside, Wunderkit is, hands-down, one of my favorite apps, both in terms of functionality and appearance. The design alone is worth a download, and using it is super simple. You make “workspaces” for each project or client, and then under each workspace, you create to-do lists and action items, which you can sub-categorize and add important dates. For each workspace, you can add a custom icon, which I love to do with either my client’s pictures or their logos for easy reference. Oh, and you can share your workspaces with other people, so you can use it for in-house task management as well.
Another gorgeously-designed and terrifically functional app, 30/30 is basically the iPhone version of an egg timer, only cooler. Adding and changing tasks is all based on gestures- swipe, pinch, hold- so it’s super easy to get the hang of. You can color code tasks, add an icon, and then set the timer for specific lengths of time. The app then sets off an alarm when it’s time to move on to the next task, as well as showing you the countdown on the timer during tasks. I’m hoping they’ll release a desktop version of this soon so I can silence my phone while I work, but in the meantime, it’s still a great digital task-master for us distracted types.
If you’ve heard of any of these apps, you’ve heard of Dropbox. Basically, Dropbox functions as digital file storage, but the great thing is that it is so crazy versatile. Ways you can use DB include:
- sending pictures to your mom
- uploading proofs and documents for clients
- backing up your WordPress files (I use the WP2DB plugin)
- automatically syncing photos from your ipad/iphone (backups ftw)
- organizing files “in the cloud” for use at work/school/away from home
Plus, you get bonus storage space for referring friends. (Disclaimer: that link above is “my” referral link, so if you sign up I get a couple extra MB to store stuff, whoohoo!)
I actually just signed up for a trial with Harvest this week, on the recommendation of quite a few people on Twitter. What I like about it so far is that, from the web app, I can send (customized) invoices and estimate, keep track of all of my clients, track time for each project, see who owes me how much, and get handy reports for expenses and revenue (once I log it all in). As for the actual iphone app, as of right now, it’s only for tracking time and expensing, but those actually eliminate two additional apps that I was using. Oh, and you can snap pictures of your receipts through the iphone app to log your expenses, which is really handy and cuts down on the receipt drawer insanity come tax time. After the 30-day trial period ends, I’ll be using the $12/month plan, which is for 1 user (you can add 2 more at an additional $10/user/month) buuuut you get unlimited number of clients, projects, and invoices. My biggest gripe with the free version of freshbooks was that I could only have 3 clients at a time (hence my looking into paid options), so the unlimited clients aspect is huge. Plus, they have great twitter customer service, andit’s a great centralized way to manage things. The only thing I’d like to add eventually is the ability to fill out and send contracts through the site as well (and invoicing/estimating through the iphone app).
Sparrow actually ruffled a few feathers (pun intended) this week when they announced that they’d been acquired by Google. As a longtime gmail/google user, I say congrats to the Sparrow team- I’m not too worried since Google owns all of my personal data anyways. That said, Sparrow is a really nice alternative to the Mac mail app. It’s well-designed, has a lot of the same or similar familiar gestures (swipe to get the delete button, etc.) and also lets you label (color-coded, of course) and archives messages from within the app. You can connect with Facebook to have your friends’ user pictures appear with their emails, which is fun. And one of my favorite features (and I think the reason I installed it in the first place) was that you can get a unified inbox for multiple email accounts and easily switch between accounts, even within your emails.
Phew, that turned into a lot of information! If you already use these apps, what do you think of them? Am I just overloading myself with apps and making myself more distractable? And what other apps for business, time-tracking, etc., would you suggest that aren’t on here?