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The apps I use to run my life

A child of the '80s and '90s, I remember thinking we were at the peak of space-age developments when I got my first Nokia phone (aka the brick) in high school. There I was, furiously click, click, clicking away, texting my friends in class and feeling like I was more advanced than the Jetsons… Fast-forward 15 years, where the only things that have remained the same are my thoughts of wonderment towards the ever-developing tech sphere. (I'm convinced smell-o-vision must be next!)

In this shiny new world of smartphones, and hard drives that no longer take up entire rooms, apps reign supreme. As you have probably already noticed, there are apps for everything! But beware as they are not all created equal and some are far more useful than others. Being a manager of a busy virtual assistant company, it is a daily balancing act for me to juggle staff, clients, and family, so finding clever apps to help me through the day has been a real time saver. The following apps, I use daily and couldn't do without.

Evernote - With THE most incredible search function I have ever seen, Evernote can even read handwritten notes and it allows you to save resources, and ideas very quickly! At the moment, I'm saving all my renovation receipts, all the paperwork we get in the mail, insurance policies, and birth certificates! The list is of uses is endless and it is all so searchable. If you hate having to file things away using the traditional folder structure then you'll love this. No more folders - just search-awesomeness!

Image Credit: Evernote

Skype - Skype isn't just for making video calls! I actually don't even use the camera that much (side note - remember when we were so excited as a kid of the prospect that someone would invent video phones!). I love the chat feature and use it for long one-on-one calls while working with someone on a project.

Image Credit: Windows

WhatsApp and Voxer - I use both but essentially they do the same thing. These apps are basically 'walkie talkies'. Being a 'Driver' personality type, these are gold for me! It's the best way to get a message to someone quickly and without the fluff and unnecessary chat. It also tells me when they have seen/heard the message, so I know if I need to call them. No more wasting time finding their number, calling, waiting for them to answer, leaving a message (or not), and then waiting for them to call you back. Perfect! You can also send pictures and text messages - all in the one app. I use this with all of my team and they use it to communicate with clients (just another way we keep our communication efficient and ensure clients get good value from our time)

Image Credit: Voxer

Slack - Total game changer! If you have a team or are working on a project with someone, you MUST get this app. It's free and it's truly AMAZING. Thanks to Slack we have almost eliminated internal emails. My inbox is less cluttered and easier to keep on top of. Slack is a chat tool that you can download for your desktop, use on your mobile, or online from any web browser. You can send direct messages to people, multiple people or post a message in a channel (topic). We have channels set up for New Clients, Client Projects, Newsletter, Online Post Ideas, IT App Support, and Overflow Work. It also keeps the chatter/noise down in our open plan office because the team use Slack to chat. If that's not a triple threat I don't know what is!

Image Credit: Google Play

Google Maps - If you have plenty of data and reception then you couldn't do without Google Maps. No more asking for directions or explaining to someone: "Turn left at the roundabout with the big statue, then around the sweeping corner you come to a T-intersection with the blue house and then we're the fifth road on the right about halfway down with the yellow letterbox..." Nope! GPS it, "You have arrived at your destination"

Image Credit: Google Play

Kiwibank - As far as the banking apps go, Kiwibank is legendary. Their easy to follow format allows you to do ALL your banking on your phone. You can pay tax, check who's paid you, and transfer money between accounts at the checkout when your card declines (oops). I honestly can't remember when I last went into the bank.

mage Credit: iTunes

Pinterest – My house is currently undergoing renovations, so Pinterest is my go-to for collecting ideas from the web. I have set up an online Pinterest 'board' for each room in the house where I 'pin' images/links to things that I like the look of, so I can see all the ideas together. No more 'now where did I see that awesome light feature'.

Image Credit: iTunes

MySmartpayroll – It is my very 'smart' payroll app! I can approve my team's leave on the app and they can apply for their leave, see their leave balance, and even see the countdown to their next pay. Genius!

Image Credit: SmartPayroll

Sortd - This is currently in Beta stage, but Sortd has transformed my inbox view in Gmail. It takes your ugly Gmail interface and transforms it into a stunning column view of lists of tasks. A-MAZ-ING. Still a few bugs but it'll get better. Check it out. They have a phone app too so you can see your to-do list on the go.

Image Credit: iTunes

Phew…there you have it, that's my list of must-have apps at the moment. Hopefully I have given you some ideas for clever shortcuts in your day. Feel free to download and try a few so you may also go forth and conquer! I'm always open to ideas that will help take a bit of stress out of life, so I'm looking forward to hearing what your favourite apps are too. Maybe I'll even add your suggestions to my collection. Whatever will those clever app designers think of next?


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