I hate to admit it, but I really don’t know what I’d do without my iPhone. Though I try to give myself a little bit of non-tech breathing room, it’s usually the last thing I look at before bed and the first thing I look at in the morning. Though typing on a full size computer is a lot easier than texting, I get everything I need delivered right to my phone, so all my business info is mobile and I can take it anywhere with me. Whether I’m checking my website analytics, scheduling a tweet, or replying to a blog comment, my phone does everything I need it to do. Though almost everyone has smart phones today, it’s tough to stay up to date on all the new apps that are out there, with hundreds being added for download every day. There are many alternatives to every app out there, and different versions for apple and android, but these are the free apps I use to stay up to date on the go every day.
This is a given, because it comes as a preinstalled app when you get an iPhone (actually you can’t even delete it). I don’t know what I would do without iCal. I have different calendars for all the areas of my life (home, work, freelance, etc.) and I have them shared with necessary people depending on who needs to be updated on my activities. I can invite people to individual events, share full calendars with others, and add reminders for events depending on time and location. Though I’m pretty good at remembering things on my own, and I do keep a written day planner as well, it’s good to make sure I’m always alerted and aware of what I’m doing day to day.
I love the Google Analytics app, especially since the recent update made it look so clean and streamlined. All you have to do is setup Google Analytics on your website (there’s a plugin if you use WordPress) and then sign in to the app. There you are presented with real time analtyics of your website including everything from how long someone spends on your site, what pages their looking at, and if you’ve met your goals. Just having the app is one thing, but there are so many hidden features that I am still learning about and loving when it comes to understanding my audience. I especially love the new feature of being able to compare one day’s traffic to another.
This is something that I’ve only recently downloaded myself, but it’s already been such a big help. I’ve started saving and working on documents on Google Drive more and more over time, and now a big chunk of my work is saved there. Though I don’t like to edit the documents on my phone (I don’t even know if you can actually) I do love being able to have them all accessible on the go. If I need to consult some work or check in with a client’s progress, I always have my drive with me.
Feedly is a great service that lets you stay up to date on your favourite blogs and RSS feeds all in one place. I use feedly to keep an eye on some blogs in my niche, as well as blogs that I love to read and keep in touch with. I love being able to sort blogs yourself into different lists, explore blogs you don’t follow yourself, and save articles for later reading. Feedly is a great way to stay up to date on all your favourite content, especially when you’re on the go and you can read and access articles for reading during your commute.
Facebook Pages is another great app to install, especially if you are an admin on several different Facebook pages. I’m an admin on a handful of different pages, and I like that this app makes it really simple to keep organized. I especially like that with this app it’s easy to know exactly who you are signed in or acting as, because in the regular Facebook app, I always have trouble making sure I’m signed in or commenting under the right account. This app makes it easy to check in on all your pages, answer comments, view insights about your page traffic and post reach, and keep your audience happy.
Keeper is one app that I rely heavily on. I have all my passwords for everything in there, and it’s always my go to when I can’t remember a login. Though I’m usually pretty good and remembering passwords, this app helps me out when I get the scary ‘if you enter an incorrect password one more time you’ll be locked out’ message, and I need to be sure of a password. The only thing that irks me about this app is that every time I log in it asks me to upgrade (since I’m using a free plan) and threatens that my passwords aren’t really protected under a free plan. Though it says you have to upgrade, you can just skipping around that message by ‘staying unprotected’. You can divide your passwords into categories, add notes and login information, and make sure you always have the logins you need. All you need is one central password that you know you can remember to get into the app itself. I had to turn off the self destruct feature so that if I enter my password wrong I don’t lose all my precious info.
If you use WordPress as your CMS then you need to have this app. You can follow your favourite WordPress.com blogs, get notifications every time someone comments on your blogs, and even write new posts or pages through the app. Though I wouldn’t recommend coding on the go, I have had to log in there a few times to make minor changes to my CSS when something has gone wrong, and it’s not as difficult as it may seem. This app keeps you connected to your blog and readers on the go, and is especially helpful if you’re travelling and wouldn’t have access to a computer. I’m a little peeved with this app right now because since I installed Disqus on my site (which I love) answering comments within the WordPress app doesn’t work. SO I’m patiently waiting for a Disqus app to be introduced so I can reply on the go once again.
Evernote is a great on-the-go note taking system so that you always have access to little asides. If I had to characterize it, I’d say its the virtual version of sticking sticky notes to your walls, but this way you always have notes with you. I love being able to share and update notes with others, and even being able to chat with other users. This is a great way to keep notes and important information available between colleagues, or just a great way to keep notes for yourself available on the go. I have silly notes like what my family wants on their subway order, and more serious notes like my blog disclaimer and legal info.
Wunderlist is one app that I’m really in love with. I’ve always been a list maker as it makes me feel super productive and on track to have a collection of things that needs to get done, so this app is a great way to keep virtual lists that are accessible from anywhere. You can set recurring tasks, important tasks, and tasks that have a due date, so that you’re always aware of what needs to get done. I’ve got lists for everything from potential blog post ideas, to books I want to read, to events I need to add to my Project Life. I have recurring tasks for my Monday, Wednesday and Friday blog posts, so I always know I have them done in time, and I have an ongoing list of to do items that I can go to when I have a spare moment.
This is one app that I’m trying to start using more frequently, but I’m still having trouble remembering to do so. It’s a time keeping app that helps you track how long you’ve been working on a project. It’s made specifically for entrepreneurs, so you can add new clients, and then add jobs for each client, and then you just select a job and hit start when you’re working on it. Then at the end of the task you just stop the timer and it adds the time you spent working to a total. At the very end of a client project you can see how much total time you spent working and charge an hourly rate (if that’s how you work). I work on flat rates because hourly just doesn’t feel great to me, so this is a great way to see if my flat rates are really worth it or if I need to charge a little more.
This is one that I’ve started using only recently, but I’m already in love. It’s an app, and service, that allows you to upload and send contracts out for virtual signing. You just design your own contract, upload it in PDF form, and then mark off the places that need signing. You can sign it yourself by drawing your own signature or selecting a premade font, and then send it off for your client to sign. The service is free with limited contracts per month, though there are paid plans when you need more. The app is mostly great for having contracts signed on your phone if you meet a client in person, or scanning your own contracts in.
Last, but not least, is Hootsuite. As you probably know, Hootsuite is a great service to manage all of your social media accounts. I use it primarily to schedule tweets and Facebook posts, and to participate in Twitter chats. I’ve recently started getting into a really great workflow where I write posts for the week every Sunday, schedule tweets about them throughout the coming weeks, and then schedule tweets and Facebook posts about third party content that’s share worthy. This only takes me a few hours, and then all my social content for the week is done, and I just tweet or share things on top of that as I find things interesting. It’s a really great workflow that’s helping a lot with my productivity, and Hootsuite makes it all possible. You can do everything on the app, from viewing any of your social streams to scheduling new posts. Love it!
Of course, each of these apps has alternatives that you might be using, and could be just as useful, but these are the ones that I know and can stand behind. I am hardly ever willing to pay for apps, since there are so many free options available, but I will also never work with an ugly interface just because it’s free. These apps up my productivity tenfold, and make it really easy to stay in touch and up to date when on the go, which is especially vital for my lifestyle right now. I hope you are using some of these, and if not they are definitely worth trying out!