Turn your iPhone into a productivity tool with useful business apps.
I've been looking for ways to make my iPhone a real business tool. Besides downloading a number of podcasts for myself and games for my toddler, I am also trying out a variety of applications - or apps - that should be useful for my day-to-day work.
Are you looking to make your iPhone work for you? Here are some apps I've been using specifically for my business.
Productivity Apps for the iPhone
When it comes to getting things done, I find I need two main tools:
- A to-do list of some kind to keep track of tasks, and
- A way to track the time the tasks are taking and be able to tag the tasks and time spent to a client.
The iTunes Apps Store has an entire section on productivity tools that you can peruse or search by keyword.
Right now, the apps I'm using to fulfill my two main productivity needs are iTimeX from Actus and Checklist from BP Software. iTimeX is part of TimeXchange.net, a utility to track time and expenses for team members of a project. The app helps you track your time and then uploads the information to the corresponding project on the website.
I'm still on the fence about the to-do list I'm using called Checklist. It is very simple which I love, but basically makes a list and places a number on the app to draw your attention to the number of tasks that are outstanding. Touch the task once when you finish, and it remains on the list but with a checkmark and the number of outstanding tasks is automatically reduced. The app doesn't integrate with a web site which isn't essential but can be helpful. I was using a To-Do list that integrated with ToodleDo but was getting a bit overwhelmed with keeping track of how to use it. So at the moment, simple wins out.
Financial Helpers for iPhone
My next key business need are to keep better track of company money, which includes income and expenses, as well as paying more attention to the time I'm spending on the phone with clients above and beyond what I normally build into a project.
For managing my business register on my handheld, I am using Checkbook produced by programmer Jeremy Jacob for only $1.99. I get a little help with managing company cashflow with a separate application called CashFlow Free which is the lighter version of CashFlow which also costs the low low price of $1.99. The free app lets me export financial data as CSV format and email it from my iPhone to my computer.
When it comes to client calls, I often include that time in a project fee, however, there are times when I'm spending time on the phone and it goes beyond normal interactions. I probably should bill for that. Then there are clients who I solely consult on the phone, and it would be helpful to track that time and tie it to a fee and to a particular client. My invoicing program Freshbooks recently came out with a free iPhone app that links the time you spend on your cell phone directly to each client within your Freshbooks account by matching up phone numbers. And it can upload the appropriate hours and fees associated with those consulting phone calls straight to your Freshbooks accounting system. Sweet!
Data Management Tools for the iPhone
So much information, so little time to keep it all straight. To keep my document drafts under control and accessible, I use MightyDocs. This free app accesses my Google Docs so I can review my documents anytime, make revisions as needed, and share them with team members. The only downside is that handheld devices like iPhones aren't always ideal for typing substantial amounts of text.
When I'm reading industry news, I often skim articles and want to save them for later when I have more time to read more carefully. With the free Instapaper app, I can access all the articles I've been saving using the Instapaper bookmarklet on my Web browser. I skim an article on the Web, click on the Read Later bookmarklet, then when I'm in line at the post office or in line at the bank, I can download recently saved articles from my account to my iPhone and read them in their entirety. I feel better informed and tedious tasks seem less boring.
For files I want to have at the ready, I've been using DataCase from VeioSoft, the priciest app I've purchased at $6.99. Lately, I've been using this app to store PDF files of white papers that I'd like to read, but I've also used it to store client proposals so I can refresh my memory before going into client meetings. DataCase not only makes your iPhone a file server and storage bin, it has a built-in reader to handle Word docs, Excel spreadsheets, audio, video and photos in addition to PDF files.
Bottom Line: There are so many applications being created as you listen to this podcast. Many are free or are free versions of other apps that cost usually between 99 cents up to around ten dollars. The apps I listed above cost me under nine dollars for eight apps. Always look for the app that is right for the way you like to do things. Your iPhone should work for you, not make you work harder just to get things done.
That's all we have time for today. Visit the show’s website at digitalmarketer.quickanddirtytips.com for links to all of the sites mentioned in the show. If you'd like to ask a question or request a topic for The Digital Marketer, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org .
The Digital Marketer's Quick and Dirty Tips for Building Your Business With Web Tools is part of the Quick and Dirty Tips network at quickanddirtytips.com.
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iTimeX - http://www.timexchange.net/
InvoTrak - http://invotrak.com/
Checklist - http://www.bpsoftware.com/blog/
CashFlow Free - http://iphone.tmurakam.org/cashflow/
Freshbooks - https://www.freshbooks.com/mobile-apps
DataCase - http://www.veiosoft.com/
Instapaper - http://www.instapaper.com/