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“5 Essential Business Apps to Help You Get Organized” by Brandie Kajino

Organization can happen at any time, but we tend to focus on it in the beginning of the year. It seems like a fresh start, and we’re all determined to get things right this time around. Luckily, in the past few years, smartphone and online apps have made managing the details a lot easier.

So, what’s an “app”? Think of it like a small piece of software, custom made for your smart phone, tablet device or logging in and using it online. Most of these uber-useful tools are less than coffee for two at your local cafe. Many of these are “freemium” apps. What’s that? “Freemium” means you can start with their free version, and if you like it, upgrade to their paid version for more storage, features or both. Or, you can continue to use the free version.

So, what are some of the apps your business can’t possibly live without? Let’s go beyond the obvious email and note-taking, and focus on mobile working. If you’re using app, it’s likely on the go.

Here’s a handful of my favorites, which I personally use or recommend regularly:

I had heard about this little tool years ago, in the beginning of my career as a professional organizer. It was literally a clock you could buy, which has now become an app. There are a few ways you can use this, but basically your timer is a big red pie, which disappears as your time runs out. How is this useful for business? Time your presentation, client appointment or coffee date. Still see red? You have time. Out of red? You’re out of time.

Have more than one or two passwords? I bet you do. Let’s also hope that you have more than one password (or you’ll pinky swear to do this starting today). Having a good strong password is crucially important to keep your information as safe as possible. There’s no guarantee the bad guys won’t get in, but we can at least make sure we’re not rolling out the red carpet for them with easy passwords. The easiest way to track your passwords is by using a password “keeper” like 1Password. Assign unique

Dropbox
Wouldn’t it be great to have a folder you could access anywhere, and share with people at will? Wouldn’t it also be great if said folder worked like a regular folder on your computer, where you could drag and drop things into it? Oh wait, someone has done that. Dropbox is free to start, and you can upgrade for more space and features. Once you sign up, a Dropbox folder is set up on your computer. Drag, drop and share to your heart’s content. Use the app on your smartphone, and have access to your stuff anywhere. How’s this useful for business? Ever worked on a project with a group of people and needed share things without clogging up valuable inbox space? Give this a try.

Siri
Oh how I love a digital assistant, that understands words, and can tell me what I need to know whenever I want. If you’ve read my other article on how to work from a coffee shop, you’ll know I frequent them. Between appointments, I’ll stop in and get a lil’ work done. What if you’re somewhere you’re not familiar with? Ask Siri, who uses advance voice recognition software to listen to your question and then give you information. You can also get weather updates, send out a Twitter status, find out a flight status or even set a reminder. The possibilities are endless, and I think they are just getting started. It’s like having a digital assistant in your pocket, who doesn’t need a coffee break. Ahh, digital assisted bliss… even if it necessary to get a new phone.

HiTask
Tasks. We all have them. What if you want to remember to do something on a certain day, or wished to set a recurring task for yourself? There are lots of task apps out there, and this one is my favorite right now. I love the ability to track tasks by project, date and whatever else. It also seems small, but if I want to move a task to another day, I can simply drag and drop it to another date on the calendar (it’s the little things that make me happy.) This app is as simple or as complex as you need it to be, and it may not matter to you, but it is also a gorgeous design. Hey, pretty and useful speaks to me. Oh, and it’s free or about the cost of a latte per month. Bring it on, task list.

Brandie Kajino helps women entrepreneurs (and a few good men) leverage technology in their business. Find out more at…
SOHOTechTraining.com – Tech Training for Women Entrepreneurs
SMOBooks.com – Organize & Measure Results in Social Media

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