If you own a business, you probably juggle dozens of tasks each day just to keep it running. With so many responsibilities, a pen-and-paper to-do list just won't cut it. That's where your iPhone comes in: With the right apps and a little know-how, there are countless ways to plan your day, week, month and year. And if you just need to remember to make an important business call one hour from now, there's an app for that, too.
Every iPhone comes with Apple's own Calendar app, which offers basic functionality to help you schedule meetings, remember appointments and more. But the default app can't do it all. Other apps offer deeper options and more streamlined functionality to help you stay on top of your daily duties. Here are five of the best.
Calendar/Meeting scheduler: Mynd (Free)
Calendar: Fantastical 2 ($1.99)
Fantastical 2 is a top-rated alternative to the stock iPhone calendar app because it strikes a great balance between deep features and ease of use. It has all the features of competing apps, including the ability to view your calendar by day, week, month or year, and easily drill down to view individual events. And it lets you add events using natural speech, such as “Meet Ted for lunch at 2:00 on Tuesday.” Fantastical 2 parses your sentence to fill in all the relevant information and then automatically notifies you when the event approaches. Most important, the app is intuitive and easy to use. For example, moving an event to a different time or day is as easy as tapping and holding, and then dragging it to the correct spot on your calendar.
Day Planner: Schedule Planner (Free)
Schedule Planner puts the focus squarely on the minutiae of your daily tasks, and then provides the tools you need to see if you're spending your time wisely. It features an easy-to-use interface to help you quickly plan out your day in the morning, and lets you place items in color-coded categories, such as Work and Free Time. The app then generates charts to help you see, at a glance, where your time is going — a key feature for small business owners who make their own schedules. Like other day-planner apps, Schedule Planner allows users to set custom alerts, repeat tasks and move items around with easy cut-and-paste functionality.
To-Do List: Any.do (Free)
Any.do takes the simple power of a traditional to-do list and adds functionality, to help you burn through your tasks. Its bare-bones interface lets you easily add items to one of four categories: Today, Tomorrow, This Week or Someday. Eliminate tasks by crossing them out as they're completed, or by taking an "Any.do Moment." That feature presents your tasks to you one by one, so you can reprioritize the order in which to do them, and set deadlines for tasks you intend to complete immediately. It's not cut out for complex, long-term planning, but Any.do is a simple and effective motivator for business users who need to complete specific tasks on a certain day.
Personal Assistant: Siri (Free)
If you use your iPhone for business, Apple's voice-activated personal assistant is still one of the best ways to manage your schedule on the go. When you use Siri, adding a new event or appointment to your calendar is as easy as stating the details aloud. It even allows you to edit the details of an event, cancel events, or invite one of your contacts to an event, all through simple voice commands. Siri can also show you your calendar or tell you when your next appointment is — just ask. Siri isn’t exactly an app; the software is built into the iPhone operating system and is activated by pressing and holding the home button on the device.
Smart Calendar: Tempo Smart Calendar (Free)
Tempo Smart Calendar combines the best elements of a traditional calendar and a personal assistant. The app features most of the same functionality you'll find in a solid calendar app such as Fantastical 2, but it adds extra context that it gleans from your contacts list, email and even social media profiles on sites like Facebook and LinkedIn. For example, when you create a meeting event, Tempo scans your address book and inbox to add detailed contact information for each attendee and a summary of relevant email messages and attachments. It also integrates with Google Maps to estimate how long it will take you to commute to your next appointment, and can even notify you if a flight is delayed. In other words, Tempo is smarter than your average calendar app.