Apps to plan your workday
Are you busy running your small business? Juggling dozens of daily tasks isn't easy. A wall calendar and a pen-and-paper to-do list can help, but there's a smarter way to plan your workday: By using your Android smartphone. With the right apps you can plan your day, week, month or year – and really get things done. Whether you need to remember an appointment next month, or a business call later today, there's an app for you. Your Android phone comes with a basic calendar app out of the box, which integrates with Google Calendar and lets you schedule appointments, set reminders and jot down a basic to-do list. But the stock Calendar app can't do it all. Other apps have more options and deeper functionality to help you stay on top of things. Here are five of the best.
Calendar: aCalendar (Free)
The innocuously named aCalendar might be the best overall calendar app for business users on the Android platform, striking a great balance between ease of use and powerful features. The app hits all the basics, making it easy to toggle between day, week, month and year views, and it has plenty of options to set reminders and notifications for important engagements. But it also offers a slew of business features, like the ability to schedule a meeting and invite meeting attendees straight from the app.
Day Planner: Jorte Calendar & Organizer (Free)
As a full calendar application, Jorte trails Business Calendar in overall design and ease of use. But for business users seeking an application to keep track of daily tasks, Jorte might come out on top. What makes this calendar app stand out is the ability to tap any day of the month and view your full agenda for the day at the bottom of the screen, without navigating away from the main calendar view. The feature lets you easily browse your daily schedules over multiple days quickly and easily. Overall, Jorte is a solid calendar app for Android devices that syncs with Google Calendar and lets you view and tweak your schedule in a variety of ways, set reminders and more.
To-do list: Google keep (Free)
Google Keep is a highly visual, no-nonsense to-do list app. Just open the app and select from one of four input options: Type or speak to add a quick note, enter items into a list, or snap a photo. All items are added as cards on a pinboard-style list, so you can survey your tasks and to-do lists with just a glance. To check an item off a list, just tap the box beside it. An alarm can be added to any item as a reminder, and the ability to quickly snap a photo and add it to your board gives you a streamlined way to catalog items of visual interest for later viewing.
Personal assistant: Google Now (Free)
Google Now isn’t exactly an app. Instead, the software is baked into the operating system of all newer Android smartphones; to access it, tap and hold the home button on your smartphone, then drag your finger up to the Google logo. It’s essentially an intelligent personal assistant designed to know what you need before you ask for it. The service works by monitoring your activity within the Google ecosystem and pushing relevant notifications to you as they're detected. The service can notify you of traffic delays, flight delays, weather, upcoming appointments, package shipment information and much more. It's more powerful than other notification services because of its tight integration with Google search and your existing Gmail and Google Calendar accounts. The information provided by Google Now can help business users handle unforeseen delays as well as planned appointments.
Smart Calendar: Any.Do Cal (Free)
Any.Do Cal builds on the basic calendar app concept, but adds extra context to your events by pulling in information from your contacts list, maps app and more. For example, when scheduling a meeting or appointment, you can add contacts from your phone's address book to the event. That lets you easily send out invitations and reminders via text or email. Or if you're running late on the day of the meeting, you can fire off a message to let them know. Any.Do Cal can also access your smartphone's GPS sensor so you can input the location of a meeting or event. Then when it's time to go, you can access turn-by-turn directions with a single tap. In other words, the app streamlines the process of planning and attending meetings, making it a boon for busy business users. It also syncs with the original Any.Do app, which lets you create short- and long-term to-do lists.
Project Manager: Asana (Free)
Asana is an excellent project management app that's great for long-term planning. The app makes it easy to break large projects down into smaller milestones to help you -- and your team -- stay on track. There are plenty of collaboration tools, like the ability to add notes, tags, comments and attachments to keep everyone on the same page. Unique to this app is the ability to set dependencies, ensuring that tasks are completed in the correct order, and details aren’t overlooked. As team members check off sub-tasks, each goal comes closer to completion.
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