Whether you’re a recruiter, parent, writer, HOA president, or all of the above (and more), there are apps that can make your life easier. (There are also apps that can waste your time, disappoint you, and make your life harder. We won’t go into those here.)
These are a few of the standouts that have proven themselves to reliably solve day-to-day problems for me. I think you’ll love them, too.
Hate giving out your personal mobile phone number for work? I do too, but sometimes it’s the only way to make sure I can be reached.
For years I’ve either had to carry two phones (one work, one personal), or consolidate to just one, commingling work and personal so that any given ring could just as easily be my mom as it could a customer or a member of the media. It’s cumbersome, at best.
Sideline is the solution—it’s like having a second phone. You choose a number, and anytime you dial or text from the Sideline app, that’s the number the other party sees. And a call to your Sideline number has its own distinctive incoming call screen, so you can easily tell the difference between that and calls to your primary number. Voicemail and call log is also listed in the app. So you don’t have to give out your personal number, but you’ll still get those important work calls. Problem solved!
Ever get one of those PDF forms that doesn’t allow you to type into the fields? (Do they actually want us to print it out? What is this, 1998?)
Or maybe your PDF app doesn’t allow you to enter a signature. Maybe you need to send something that you only have in old-fashioned paper format, for whatever reason. Without a scanner, you can really be up a creek. And even if you have one, sometimes getting the scanned image into your computer can be its own saga.
Tiny Scanner solves all of these problems. It uses your smartphone’s camera to produce a scanner-quality (and sized) image. You can email or text it to anyone—or even efax it, if you want to go really retro—without needing access to a dedicated scanner.
(iPhone, Android, Mac, Windows)
Do your thoughts come to you in torrential sheets of consciousness? Do you need to remember visual ideas that sometimes mean drawing a sketch or taking a photo? Need a place to note the names of people you interact with professionally, or even to keep track of the hosts and servers at your favorite restaurants?
Evernote has become an extension of my brain. I jot down work ideas, vignettes, shopping lists, song ideas, and recipes. I store pictures of whiteboards from brainstorming sessions. I search it when I can only remember one keyword related to something. It even syncs your notes between your phone and your computer, and you can log in via any web browser, as well as the Evernote app.
I’d be lost without it.
(iPhone, Mac, Android, Windows)
I like lists. Probably too much. At times I have to impose a Post-It note ban on myself.
The best part, of course, is checking things off the list when you finish them. (True confession: if I accomplish a task that wasn’t on my list, I sometimes add it to the list just so I can check it off.)
Wunderlist is an elegantly simple list app that you can use on just your phone or computer, or sync between the two. It lets you set reminders and deadlines for tasks, and—most importantly—has a box you can check off next to each item once you complete it.
The Great Suspender
This isn’t technically an app, it’s a browser plugin. But it’s so great, I had to bend the rules a little to include it on this list. (It was pretty easy. My list, my rules!)
I’m sure you don’t do this—you’re probably a lot more sane and organized than I am— but at any given time, I have about a million browser windows open. (Yes, a million. I don’t think that’s an exaggeration. Not much of one, anyway.) They help remind me of things I’m researching, or need to refer to, or follow up on. Multitasking would be the kind way to put it.
The Great Suspender lets all the browser windows and tabs you’re not using go to sleep. When you need to see those pages again, a simple click brings them right back up.
This keeps your processor use to a dull roar, and prevents your computer from running painfully slow, and/or crashing.