James Marable, Manager, Social Media (Executive & College Recruitment) @Macy’s Inc.
Imagine living in a world without multiple deadlines, no crazy travel schedules, no back-to-back (to back) meetings, or a world where you don’t have to rush from work to your kid’s band practice because you forgot it was your turn to pick him or her up! Now imagine living in a world where your spontaneous ideas weren’t forgotten as fast as you came up with them, or a hard drive crash erases the presentation that you’ve been working over a month on because your hard drive crashed! Well keep dreaming because most of those things are still going to happen, but there are some great tools to help minimize all of this stress.
We live in a nonstop world—it’s almost a full-time job to keep up with everything going on. With the advent of the smartphone, we are armed with a device that allows us to be creative, informed, entertained, and productive. Although smartphones have great power, they can easily become another distraction without the right set of apps to keep you on track.
The first app that I recommend is Todoist, a productivity tool which allows one to detail project tasks in a very meticulous manner through a simple and direct interface. I was introduced to this program in 2013, and I can’t remember how I got by before it. I sometimes liken myself to the “absent-minded professor,” because I’m constantly working on something (whether it’s for my role as a social media manager or for one of the countless external activities I’m involved with) and it’s easy for me to forget a step or two (or three). It allows me to separate all of my projects, then break down individual tasks, and even share responsibilities/tasks with individuals I may be partnering with. The app is accessible on almost every device/platform you can think of; iOS, android, PC, Mac, Gmail, and Outlook, so you can access your lists whether you have your phone or not. Tasks can be flagged with “priority levels,” allowing one to decide what needs to be done and in what order. It’s very flexible—it allows one to mesh their own approach to productivity. If you want to gain greater control over defining what needs to be done Todoist is worth a look.
So you’re running a little late for a flight and after doing lap after lap of the parking lot, lugging all your (and/or someone else’s) bags, and making a mad dash to the terminal only to find out your flight has been delayed. Ever happen to you? Yeah, me too.
TripCase is a great app for iOS and android devices (there’s a web version too), that lays out an overview of a full trip itinerary in chronological order, detailing flight information, hotel addresses, car rental reservation numbers, and more. It strips out all of the unnecessary information in those ridiculously long confirmation e-mails and just gives you the pertinent facts. TripCase also updates flight status in real time so you aren’t that guy racing through the airport (unless you’re really, really late)!
Inspiration strikes at a moment’s notice; when it hits, you want to be able to capture it completely to expand upon later, and Evernote is the app to facilitate this. One could simply write off Evernote as just a note taking app and question why one shouldn’t use the notepad on their phone. My pushback to that thinking is based on its flexibility and connectedness. Evernote lets you create all kinds of notes; text, photo, voice, and video, and gives you access to them on all of your devices (PC, Mac, android phone/tablet, iPhone/iPad/iPod). No matter where you capture your thought, it becomes accessible on any device that has the app. The interface is totally user friendly and everything is searchable via keywords and tags. All your notes are stored within digital notebooks that live in your personal cloud, so you don’t have to worry about your notes dying with a malfunctioning/lost device or misplaced piece of paper. Whether you’re in a team meeting and forgot paper and pen to capture everyone’s ideas, or you’re on an evening jog and the solution to world peace comes to you, Evernote allows you to compose your thoughts and store them in an archive you will always have access to no matter where you are.
These are just three of the apps that I use to bring a little order to my life from home to work to play and back again; give them a whirl and see if they don’t increase your productivity!
Lastly, here are a few other apps that I’d recommend you take a look at: Feedly, Pocket, CudaSign, and Google Drive —they are great time savers and make life on the go that much more bearable.
James Marable is the social media manager at Macy’s Executive Recruitment & College Relations. Macy’s is sponsoring the 2015 Conference TECHbar in the Expo Hall.