Top productivity apps
Smartphones and tablets aren't just playthings, they're also serious productivity tools – but only if you've got the right apps and services at your fingertips.
From smart to-do lists and collaboration tools to travel management and expense tracking, here are ten of the best apps to help you save time, work more efficiently, and make it through the busiest of days.
As well as typing notes, Evernote also lets you embed photos, sketches, web links and audio recordings into your notes – which is extremely handy whether you're in the boardroom or out on the road. Your notes are automatically backed up online and synced between your devices. It's simple to categorise notes and divide them into projects, making them easy to search and share with colleagues.
Google Drive ensures all your important documents are always at hand. Using Google's companion apps like Docs, Sheets and Slides you can edit your documents in the cloud anywhere, anytime, from any device. Your changes are synced to the cloud so you can jump between devices and pick up working where you left off. You can even work offline, with the apps automatically syncing when you reconnect to the internet.
A business card scanner in your pocket, CamCard lets you snap a photo of a business card, convert it to text and upload the details to the cloud where they're available from all your devices. The app can even automatically create a new contact in your address book. When you meet other CamCard users you can both keep your business cards in your pockets and electronically exchange contact details.
Beyond scanning business cards, Scanner Pro uses your smartphone's camera to capture entire multi-page documents, generate PDF files and convert them to text. From here you can upload them to your cloud storage service of choice or share them with colleagues (you'll also find scanning features in Evernote and Google Drive). If you're in a rush you can just snap a photo with your camera app and import it into Scanner Pro afterwards.
Remember the Milk
Far beyond a simple to-do list, Remember the Milk helps organise your day and can send you reminders, as well as show important tasks based on your current location. It syncs across your devices and integrates into popular email and calendar apps. You can break down major jobs into a less daunting list of subtasks, as well as share lists with colleagues and delegate tasks to others.
Toggl helps you keep an eye on the clock if you need to track your time for billing purposes, plus it can manage employee timesheets. The data is synced to the cloud and accessible from all your devices, so it's easy to use Toggl whatever you're working on. It's also handy for keeping track of how you spend your time so you can look for ways to squeeze more out of your day.
Escape from ‘Reply All’ hell with Slack business messaging, which lets you create multiple chat rooms to stay in touch with colleagues – whether they're across the office or across the globe. Slack also integrates with a wide range of services which can appear as helpful bots within your chat rooms, assisting with everything from conducting surveys and managing project status reports to overseeing an inhouse knowledge base.
A slick project management tool, Basecamp ties together task management, scheduling and communications tools to help you manage your team and ensure everyone is on the same page. Basecamp integrates with a wide range of business services and lets you oversee your projects at a glance, to ensure things are running smoothly and helping you tackle little problems before they become big problems.
Rather than carrying reams of travel documents, Tripit puts all your travel plans on your phone. No need to manually entered details, you simply email your flight and accommodation bookings directly into Tripit and they're loaded into the app. It sends you travel reminders and even notifies you when your flight is delayed.
Concur takes the hassle out of tracking and claiming your business expenses. Some airlines and hotel chains will submit your receipts directly into Concur so you don't need to worry about paper printouts. Otherwise you can snap a photo of a receipt to scan it into the system, ensuring that it goes straight through to your accounts department so you spend less time on paperwork and see your reimbursement sooner.