On my first day at my current job, I promised myself I would never take work home with me. I was going to draw a clear line between the office and home—and that line started with never connecting my work email to my phone. Alas, much like so many New Year’s resolutions, I was fooling myself into believing I could ever achieve such a ridiculously lofty goal. The fact is, my phone is one of the best tools I have at my disposal. Not only does it benefit me on a personal level, but it’s also a fantastic work aid.
Now, I’m not saying you can’t use your phone’s hardware for work purposes (i.e. your camera), but apps are truly where it’s at. While there are probably thousands of apps that are helpful to the run-of-the-mill office worker, these are the five I believe everyone should have installed.
Are you still working in Microsoft Office? Well, stop it. Just stop. This is the 21st century, and you need to get with the program; your work belongs in the cloud! Docs, spreadsheets, slideshows, drawings, and forms — Google can do it all. You can collaborate with team members, interface with apps, share documents with ease — I mean, hell, the autosave feature alone is worth the switch. And best of all? Installing the app means all of your files are with you, wherever you go. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve popped into a spreadsheet over the weekend to dig up information I would have had to otherwise wait until Monday for.
Download the Google Drive app here.
Whatever manner of work you do, it’s always a good idea to stay up-to-date with industry news. Feedly allows you to organize news publications, blogs, and even YouTube channels into easy-to-read collections. You can even set up Google Alerts within the app to monitor news about your company and your competitors. Being this well read can make you look like a rock star at your next company meeting!
Download the Feedly app here.
For the 98% of those reading this that have already heard of the business godsend that is Evernote, feel free to skip to the next app on the list. This section is for the 2% that have been missing out.
I could easily write an entire article on the wondrous gifts that the folks at Evernote have bestowed upon us, but for the sake of brevity, I’ll try to keep this to a minimum. Evernote allows you to gather everything business into one, easily searched location. You can save web articles, manuals, pdfs, and so, so much more. However, my favorite feature is Evernote’s optical character recognition. This gives you the ability to take photos, store them, and then search for the text within the pictures! A smartphone like the iPhone 6s, with its 12-megapixel camera, is the perfect tool to snap pictures of business cards, receipts, and even whiteboards to store in Evernote for later reference.
If you’re not an Evernote devotee yet, you’re missing out.
Download the Evernote app here.
If my mother has taught me anything, it’s that guilt is a fantastic motivator. Forest works on the same concept — but with trees instead of crushing disappointment. With Forest, you can destroy the urge to procrastinate by opening the app, planting a tree, and then ignoring your phone and buckling down to work for 30 minutes. The more you work, the larger your forest grows! But beware, if you leave the app, your tree will be killed.
You don’t want to be responsible for killing a helpless little tree, do you?
Download the Forest app here.
Download the Forest Chrome extension here.
We’ve all heard how bad sitting all day is for us — now it’s time to do something about it. Move encourages you to get up and exercise with helpful, programmable reminders. You can choose from pre-programmed exercises — like the fantastic office-friendly pack — or program your own!
Download the Move app here. (iPhone only).
I never thought I’d be using my phone to increase productivity, stay focused, and as a way to shape myself into a well-read, valuable employee — but here I am. Looking back, laugh when I remember those early days at work where I left my phone in my purse.
And in case you were wondering, yes, I did connect my work email to my phone.
Liz Greene is a dog loving, beard envying, pop culture geek from the beautiful city of trees, Boise, Idaho. You can catch up with her latest misadventures on Instant Lo or follow her on Twitter @LizVGreene.
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