Keeping on top of it all: Is there an app for that?

From team working to expenses, technology can help you save time and stay organised

TimePage by Moleskine.

TimePage by Moleskine.

 

There’s an app for everything, but what are the essentials for getting your job done? Here’s a guide to getting the most out of the latest tech to ease your workload.

Organising

Any.Do

There is something very satisfying about lists. Compiling them. Ticking things off. Watching as your to do pile gets whittled down to nothing. That’s why Any.Do is a favourite around here. You can create tasks – email someone, make a call, write a note – and set a reminder. Once you’re done, simply swipe across and it marks the task as done.

Alternatives: Google Keep, Do!

TimePage by Moleskine

Calendar apps are fine but the majority of them are devoid of personality. Timepage allows you to customise veerything from your calendar’s colour to how it shades weekdays and weekends. Weather is integrated into the calendar, so you see everything at a single glance; busy dates show up a stronger colour so you know where the hot zones are going to be before you even open your daily schedule. It also integrates with mapping software to give you travel times to events on your calendar. Worth paying for? Maybe.

Alternatives: Google calendar, Vantage

Team working

Asana

Working in a remote team? Or just in one that sits together but needs a bit more organisation? Asana offers a way to simplify collaborative work, assigning tasks to team members and keeping track of who has done what. It’s like a to-do list, but for a larger audience.

Alternatives: Trello, Omnifocus 3

Slack

If you haven’t heard of Slack, you may well have been living under a rock for the past few years. It is a digital workspace that offers teams a way to work collaboratively, sharing documents and other files in dedicated channels, keeping records of chats and messages on specific projects, and all in a fully searchable archive. That way when someone leaves the company, there isn’t a hole in the team’s communications once their email account is deactivated. Over the years, it has developed with additional apps that integrate with your company’s existing systems, from email to dedicated software.

Alternatives: Microsoft Teams

Productivity

Google Docs

Who hasn’t heard of Google Docs? Online and free, it requires a Google account, but gives you a cloud-connected text editor that saves every change you make to your documents as you make it. The days of a crash taking half your afternoon’s work with it are gone. You can also undo all the changes you’ve made by reverting to a previous version of the document. Google Docs is part of a wider suite of products that includes spreadsheets and presentations, plus some online storage.

Alternatives: Microsoft Word, Pages

CamScanner

Intelligent document scanning sounds tempting, but does the hype and the reality match up? CamScanner is primarily for scanning documents and sharing them digitally, but it is so much more than that. It converts handwriting into PDFs, extracts text from printed pages, and works as a collaborative tool for team projects too. You can scan and share documents directly from your phone, add notes and allow others to add them too.

Alternatives: Office Lens, Tiny Scanner

Toggl (Android, iOS)

If you need to keep track of your hours, whether for the sake of billing or just because you feel a burning need to know where your time goes each day, Toggl is the app for you. You can either track in real time or add data manually later on, dividing it up by projects and having the app generate reports automatically for you. That way you can see your billable hours versus the time spent looking at cats on the internet and decide what was a better use of your time.

Alternatives: Tsheets, Timely

Security

Lastpass (Android, iOS, web)

We all know we’re not supposed to reuse passwords, but how many people actually listen? If you use a password manager, there’s no excuse to keep recycling passwords, because you can generate unique log-in credentials for each site and store them inside Lastpass. And yes, that means trusting all your passwords to one vault, but security experts still recommend them for a few reasons.

First, choosing one strong password that will be easy for your to remember but hard for others to guess is far easier than having to do it for every single site you log into. Second, these services actually encourage people to think about their passwords and what constitutes a good password. Third, even though putting all your eggs in one basket, so to speak, seems a bit risky, in reality these services are likely to be more secure than the 10 different websites where you’d re-used the same login credentials over and over again.

Alternatives: 1Password, Dashlane.

DocuSign (Android, iOS)

Digital signatures are a handy thing to have. It means you can sign and return paperwork on the go, and eliminate the outdated fax machine that some places still require, once and for all. DocuSign allows users to store their signature and apply it to any document they import into the app, along with dates and other important information.

Alternatives: SignEasy

Financial

Expensify

Expenses can be tricky. Tedious to keep track of, items easily forgotten, claims not filed correctly...a good system can help cut down the time you waste on the task though. Expensify tracks personal expenses, or provides a way for managers to collect receipts from employees. The app itself is easy to use and clearly designed, so no matter if you are an employer or an employee you can get started quickly.

Alternatives: Fyle, Receipts by Wave

Invoice by Wave

If you are a small business, Wave is targeting you. The company offers accounting, invoice and payroll management, through software and a series of apps. The apps provide an easy way to access part of the Wave website’s functionality, in this instance it is invoicing. Through the app, which is available on iOS, you can send customised invoices free of charge, record payments and check the status of invoices. It also integrates with Payments by Wave, which allows you to accept credit cards.

Alternatives: Invoice2Go, Tiny Invoice

Leisure

Habitminder

Good habits are hard to make and harder to keep. The bad habits though? They seem to creep up on us all the time. So it’s nice to have a reminder to develop healthy habits. That is where HabitMinder comes in. Relaxation? Deep breathing? Keeping up with your eight glasses of water a day? All covered. There are reminders (because one habit of mine is forgetting things that aren’t immediately important) to gently prod you to walk away from your desk or schedule in some family time, and when you’ve completed your requisite task, you update the app. Which, ironically, is another habit in itself.

Alternatives: Habitica, SkickK

Udemy

Whether it is furthering your business skills or developing your personal ones, Udemy has a course that will help. The online training app has courses for everything from learning to play the piano or training in reiki to machine learning and team building. Some courses are free of charge, others cost from €10. There are over 65,000 courses on offer, with 20 million students signing up to take them. The only problem will be narrowing down which course you’d like to take.

Alternatives: Linkedin Learning, Udacity