5 Apps to Get Organized at Work
You’re at work when the onslaught of email arrives. Then more come. And more. Next, your boss calls because you’re late for another meeting. Oh, and don’t forget about the two-page list of today’s to-do items. Those two things written at the top are marked “urgent!”
We at The Recapp sometimes find ourselves a second brain and a few extra hands short of actually being productive at work. Fear not, fellow cubicle dwellers, technology is here to help you get organized, motivated and working like the well-oiled robots you are.
Here are five apps that will help you work smarter—if only the phone will stop ringing and you can keep reading.
Step one to working smarter is staying organized, especially with all those random bits of information you gather during the workday: your to-do checklist, dictation of a memo you need to write, a quick note reminding yourself to follow up with a client…. The list goes on.
The free Springpad app allows you to create all this information and compile it alongside images, content from the web, online searches and other useful content. Related items can be stored together in a notebook, and each item can be tagged to further connect them.
You can even go a step further and visually organize your stuff by moving it around on a virtual corkboard. Add what you want, including maps, and move the items around on the board. You can loosely outline the flow of a presentation or diagram the steps needed for your boss to OK your next great idea. All of your content syncs with the Springpad website and its browser extensions, so the information is easily accessible whether you’re on the go or at your desk. (Free for Android and iPhone)
As its name implies, iDoneThis keeps a tally of what you or your team accomplishes each day. The hope is that these lists will inspire you to do more the next day.
Each day you receive an alert on your mobile device (you can set the time) or an email asking you or a group of people to list what you have accomplished. Whatever you respond with is added to an iDoneThis calendar and, if you choose, emailed back to you and the team the next day at a time of your choosing. With the email should come the inspiration.
The theory isn’t without holes. You have to be inspired enough to take a minute and list everything you accomplished. And you have to be inspired enough to read the email the next day and ponder its many completed tasks. But at least you get the reminders to do so. (Free for iPhone)
We all have that drawer, basket, pocket or black hole where all of our important work receipts go (for the meal you bought a job candidate or that last-minute USB flash drive you needed for a presentation).
Lemon helps you digitally organize all those receipts—important so you can appease the accounting department and get reimbursed. Just take a picture of the receipt with your device and the free app will digitize the important information from it. You can view the image immediately—though digitizing its items can take a day—or simply input the information by hand.
You can label and categorize each purchase, easily glance at the tallies or email yourself a report. If only filling out your expense reports was this easy. (Free for Android, BlackBerry and iPhone)
Avoid listening to long-winded voicemails and remembering which number to press to delete them with YouMail. The free app records your voicemail and emails the recording to you, along with information on who left the message and when.
So instead of navigating your voicemail (that is, if you even have time to notice that blinking red light on your phone), you can scan your emails for that important call instead and listen to the voice recording via a link within the email. For a fee, you can even get the voicemail transcribed to text and emailed to you.
The app is a must if your job keeps you in meetings or seminars: You no longer have to listen to the voicemail, take notes and then contact somebody who can help the caller. Simply listen to or read through email and forward it to whomever can respond. The multiple personal greetings that you can leave are also useful—you can even address certain customers by name when they call. (Free for Android, BlackBerry and iPhone)
If your job takes you out of the office, the Vlingo digital assistant can help you perform basic tasks from the road. It works similar to Apple’s Siri and allows you to use voice commands to make calls, send texts, search the web and more.
It’s not without the challenges typical of other voice-recognition apps (a recent voice search for a business in North Carolina brought us a map of New Jersey), but for basic communication, the app’s in-car mode is extremely helpful for keeping in touch, finding nearby gas stations and getting directions. And the Get Answers function is handy for quick voice-command research for any last-minute appointments. (Free for Android, BlackBerry and iPhone)