Time to get ‘appy

The year is in full swing, but have you done a recent device audit to ensure you have the most productive apps at your fingertips? The key to supercharging your efficiency is in the palm of your hand with these suggestions from Tim Stackpool

Beyond the pocket version of MS Word, Excel and Outlook, consider these apps as essential tools for the office professional.

Projects

Whether it’s a small board event, or a major sales award ceremony, superior project management software can relieve the stress, monitor progress and improve team collaboration.

Trello: Great for work, a side project or even the next family vacation, Trello helps the team stay organised. Basic services are free, with differing offers billed monthly or yearly. trello.com

Monday: monday.com is a cloud-based project management solution that caters from small to midsize businesses across various industries. This solution helps manage different projects and facilitates knowledge-sharing amongst team members. Free trial period.

Communication

Old fashioned phone communication is well and truly challenged by VOIP (voice over internet protocol) offers, many of which are more secure and some even offer video calling.

Skype: An oldie but a goodie that also allows you to call real phones, and create your own local number too, for a fee. Skype still enjoys professional popularity for worldwide communication, but is slowly being superseded by more user friendly alternatives. skype.com

WhatsApp: Great for keeping in touch locally and internationally. Users must have a regular phone number in order to register, but this service remains free (excluding any data costs) to make encrypted voice and video calls. whatsapp.com

Wickr: For when you need to keep your text messages really, really private. Wickr uses military grade encryption to ensure your communication cannot be intercepted. It’s super sneaky and popular with weapons dealers and politicians. You can also decide how long the message remains readable on the recipient’s device. Free, with a pro version available. wickr.com/products/personal

Messenger: Born out of a feature on Facebook, the reliability and convenience of Messenger is its greatest strength. Considering the high incidence of Facebook installed on mobile devices around the world, Messenger is the second most reached for internet telephony service in use today after WhatsApp. While not ‘corporate-savvy’ the standalone app no longer requires callers to be Facebook users, and you can even close your Facebook account, while still using Messenger and keeping your contacts. messenger.com

Inspiration

A few apps to stimulate our thinking can generate creativity, our own natural resource when it comes to being efficient, clever and productive.

Kindle: Believe it or not, having the Kindle app installed on your phone gives you access to some of the most inspirational writing ever published. The app itself is free, and while there are always some new titles available at no cost (generally as an introductory offer), the world’s leading motivational speakers and authors have their secrets available for download, readable on your phone or tablet during your commute or lunch break. kindle.com

Day One is designed to capture your own inspiration. This popular, award-winning journalling app keeps track of every chunk of your memory in a convenient and secure way. And it’s versatile too. It can be your calendar journal, memory journal, travel journal, work ideas journal, and it’s great for both business and personal interests. dayoneapp.com

Headspace is a popular personal guide to health and happiness. It helps users focus, breathe, stay calm, perform better, and get a better night’s rest through the life-changing skills of relaxation, meditation and mindfulness. There’s plenty to love about an app that improves ourselves by having you merely sit back, relax, and breathe. www.headspace.com/headspace-meditation-app

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