Katie Floyd SCO Magazine

10 Great Apps for Productivity

1. Due – $4.99 – http://www.dueapp.com – Perhaps I have a problem with reminder/task management apps. You’ll notice I have several on this list, but they all serve a different purpose. Due is a reminders and timers app that I use for the specific purpose of reminding me for things that absolutely have to be done, or have to be done at a specific time. The problem with traditional reminder apps is you’ll typically get a notification of a task, but that’s it. If you’re busy at the moment the notification pops up, you’re likely to forget about it and move on. Due will repeatedly remind you of items that are due until you act on them. You set the reminder interval. For extremely urgent items, you can set an interval as short as 1 or 5 minutes. For not so urgent items, you may only want to be reminded every 30 minutes or an hour.

2. Scanner Pro – $3.99 – https://readdle.com – I go back and forth with scanner apps, but currently Scanner Pro is my favorite. I try to adopt a paperless lifestyle so whenever possible I try to scan receipts, papers and other bits of paper I come across in my life so I can get rid of them. Scanner Pro is a great all round scanner app but has recently added the ability to OCR documents and create a default name based on the date.

3. Fantastical – $4.99 – https://flexibits.com/fantastical-iphone – Fantastical has replaced the Calendar App on my iPhone for time management. The big feature of Fantastical is natural language parsing. I can type out a phrase such as “Lunch with David Tuesday at Taco Toms” and Fantastical will automatically create an appointment at noon on the next Tuesday and set the location as Taco Toms and attempt to locate and add the address of the restaurant.

4. Cloak VPN – Varies – http://www.getcloak.com – if you use free Wi-Fi hotspots such as in coffee shops or at hotels and conference centers you need to use a VPN to secure your Internet traffic from prying eyes. Cloak is probably my favorite of the VPN solutions because they offer solutions for Mac and iOS and have a feature that will auto secure a connection to an unknown wireless network so I don’t have to think about it. As soon as I walk into Starbucks and connect, Cloak automatically activates and secures my connection. There are a couple of price options available. I keep a “mini” subscription active for a couple bucks a month that gives me 5GB of access each month which is good for occasional usage. If I’m traveling and need more data, I can add on data as needed.

5. Duet Display – $9.99 – http://www.duetdisplay.com – I love having a second monitor and find it’s a great productivity tool. However, when I’m traveling or using my laptop on the go, that isn’t possible – unless you have Duet Display. This App allows you to use your iPad or iPhone as an extra display and will extend the desktop of both Macs and Windows PCs.

6. Microsoft Office – Varies – https://products.office.com/en-us/mobile/office-iphone – Microsoft Office is a suite of products that has been a pleasant surprise on iOS. I most often use Word.app on my iPad and have found it to be remarkably full featured and stable. For all devices except the iPad Pro (due to its screen size larger than 10″) most of the features of the office suite such as editing and saving documents can be unlocked with a free Microsoft account. The products also integrate well with cloud services such as Dropbox and Microsoft’s own OneDrive.

7. OmniFocus – $39.99/$59.98 – https://www.omnigroup.com/omnifocus – With recent updates OmniFocus on iOS has really come into its own as a standalone application rather than simply as a companion to the Mac App and it’s my task management system of choice. Just about anything that you can do in the Mac App can now be done in iOS and Omni has now even added support for automation which is great for setting up recurring complex tasks or a series of tasks. I’m a great fan of Siri integration which means OmniFocus can read items off my default Reminders list or a specific Reminders list and when items are added to that list (either through Siri or otherwise) they will automatically be added to my OmniFocus inbox.

8. PDFpen – $19.99 – https://smilesoftware.com/pdfpen-ios – I’ve tried several PDF apps on iOS and PDFpen is still my favorite, probably because it syncs so well with PDFpen on the Mac. Especially since I’ve upgraded to a 9.7″ iPad Pro, I find myself viewing and editing PDFs more on the larger size iPad and viewing PDFs in split screen for reference while working in another document. I love PDFpen’s ability to edit PDFs and regularly find myself dropping my signature into PDFs on the go and sending them back to people.

9. Deliveries – $4.99 – http://junecloud.com/software/iphone/deliveries.html – With the exception of weekly grocery shopping, I’ve probably transitioned most of my shopping online. I buy almost all my electronics, clothing and convenience items online. This means I have a lot of packages coming to my door and sometimes can lose track of them. I use Deliveries to track shipments so I know when to expect them. My favorite feature is after buying the app you can sign up for a free account on their website, register your email address and from there you can forward delivery notification emails to a special email address and the delivery information will automatically show up in the app. It’s almost too easy.

10. Todoist – Free/$28.99 a year – http://www.todoist.com – This is my third task management related app on this list, but it serves a specific purpose. While I love OmniFocus for my personal task management needs, I was missing a way to share and delegate tasks with others, particularly in the office. To solve this need, our office turned to Todoist. As a task management app it’s pretty basic, and candidly I’m not in love with the design or implementation. But the sharing and collaboration features are good and it allows me to share projects with other attorneys in my office as well as my legal assistant and assign tasks and check on the status of those tasks. For less than $30 a year per person for a business plan, the price was right to get our office started.

 

Related Articles

  • Pump Up The Pixels With 4K

    Since getting an iPhone 6s Plus some months back, I’ve started to shoot 4K video on a regular basis. Ironically, I don’t (yet) have a monitor or TV set in...

  • Fun with Finder Windows (Part Two)

    In ScreenCastsOnline Magazine issue #45, I wrote an article entitled Fun With Finder Windows (Part One), where I taught you some tricks to modify the left sidebar to help you...

  • Will it go Round in Circles?

    Would you like a simpler, faster, more intuitive method to find out which apps you can use to open a specific file?

  • The Importance of this year’s WWDC

    It's that time of year again - Don has a few thoughts on what we might (and might not) see at this year's WWDC.