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Oct 21 2008

Top 5 iPhone Applications for Productivity

I cannot believe that I have never done a Top 5 list on this blog. In fact I have never done a blog entry based around a list before so here goes. What better place to start than with a list for my Top 5 Productivity Tools on the iPhone. I love my Apple iPhone. it has to be the single gadget that has most affected my productivity. Being an advocate of the Getting Things Done methodology, I love to talk about ubiquitous capture, and the iPhone is my capture device of choice. In my opinion, Apple have brought together an amazing collection of tools that you can carry around as a single device in order to help you achieve what is required from your working day, as well as leaving some room for the fun and social aspects of the iPhone. Here are my Top Five iPhone Apps for Productivity.
  • Calendar - Bit of an obvious one this but my life runs around my Calendar. The built in Calendar application is one of the most used apps on my iPhone. I sync to my desktop using MobileMe which now works fantastically after the initial teething problems. I can enter an appointment on my iPhone or on my Mac and they sync in the cloud without having to do anything. What a great technology and it means my calendar, and work schedule is always on my iPhone.
  • OmniFocus - OmniFocus is the current GTD application that I use. I have multiple projects configured both for my home and work lives and this application is in constant use. I capture my thoughts to OmniFocus and they sync again over MobileMe back to my Mac. I have not really played with the location aware profiles yet but I am sure I will.
  • EverNote - I record all my receipts and photo notes straight to Evernote. I have every invoice and purchase order in PDF from my business as well as all the other files that I want to share between multiple locations stored in EverNote. The Web application, Mac Application, and iPhone application make this a killer note taking and storing app for me.
  • iBlueSky - I recently reviewed iBlueSky, the newest Mind Mapping application for the iPhone. I have found myself using this app rather than creating paper Mind Maps. The developer assures me that my little niggles with it are being addressed in a later version for which I cannot wait.
  • Zenbe - Zenbe for me is about making lists. OmniFocus in my opinion is too heavyweight for simple recurring lists so I have tended to create these in Zenbe. These sync with Zenbe on the Internet and the very simple click process for ticking off your list items makes this my list manager of choice.
I would love to hear from the rest of you to see what your best apps are for productivity on the iPhone. Thanks for your time. Andrew..
  • 24 Comments... What do you think?
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  1. ikd said on October 21st, 2008 at 8:54 pm

    Andrew,

    Nice review. I concur on the calendar and the zenbe lists.
    Especially the latter app is must have. I have not tried omnifocus yet, although from what I hear and read it may be too heavy sometimes.

    Have you considered thinkingrock? it’s a java thing.

    I.

    Reply
  2. SmoketheHun said on October 21st, 2008 at 10:30 pm

    I like to use Things…pretty good implementation and free!
    C

    Reply
  3. Troy Malone said on October 22nd, 2008 at 5:52 am

    I have been using more and more of Evernote on my phone. It makes for a great ubiquitous capture device. We recently integrated with the Evernote API and now I can assign out tasks, create messages and upload files directly from my Evernotes in my project management system Pelotonics. It makes Evernote all the more useful and relevant to me getting things done.

    Reply
  4. Andrew Mason said on October 22nd, 2008 at 6:34 am

    @ikd

    I looked at Thinkingrock early on on my GTD journey but I love the way OmniFocus works, it really suits me. Zenbe is really great for lists and the sync with the online version is great.

    Thanks,

    Reply
  5. Andrew Mason said on October 22nd, 2008 at 6:36 am

    @SmoketheHun,

    I would use Things if OmniFocus was around. Things is a really cool app that has a much more appealing interface than OmniFocus. I really do need to do a comparison review of both.

    Thanks.

    Reply
  6. Andrew Mason said on October 22nd, 2008 at 6:40 am

    @Troy

    What a great idea to utilize the Evernote API! I will have to check Pelotonics out and review it.

    Thanks,

    Reply
  7. Jim Mankin said on October 22nd, 2008 at 4:28 pm

    Andrew,
    I love your blog. Your picks are great and I would add Jott. When you are in traffic this is an awesome way to capture thoughts.
    Jim Mankin

    Reply
  8. Andrew Mason said on October 22nd, 2008 at 4:33 pm

    @Jim Mankin,

    Hi Jim, glad you like the blog :)

    I would love to use Jott, but it is not available in the UK. We cannot even download it as we get an error message from iTunes saying it it not available to the UK Store :(

    Hopefully one day I would be able to use Jott as I know it is a service that I would use, and love.

    Thanks, and have a great day.

    Andrew..

    Reply
  9. John B. Kendrick said on October 23rd, 2008 at 12:21 am

    Calendar is my first stop as well, especially since it syncs with the mobileme cloud, and also gets appointments realtime from my GroupWise account at work through a PDA server. They are forwarded to mobileme which I have setup to automatically accept all appointments sent from work.

    And of course my GTD is Nozbe, for which I have written extensively on my blog at http://johnkendrickonline.com Nozbe is an online app which allows me to view my entire GTD at work on my Win machine, at home on my Macs and even on my iPhone.

    And, like Andrew, Jott is another app that I wouldn’t be without, even though they have recently gone out of Beta and now charge for the app. Jott allows me call in tasks to my Nozbe GTD without any writing or typing, great for those thoughts that hit me while driving. And I also use it for quick reminders as it sends an SMS alert to my iPhone 15 minutes before the appointed time.

    And finally there is AirSharing, which allows me to have my worksheets, docs and pdf’s with me wherever I go.

    I’ve written about my experiences with all of these applicatons on my blog at http://johnkendrickonline.com if you would like more details. Just click on the index to locate what interests you most. John

    Reply
  10. David Pierce said on October 23rd, 2008 at 3:08 am

    Andrew,

    Thanks for checking out my blog! I’ve been a fan of yours for a while- love this post! iBluesky is an awesome app, thanks for reviewing it. Keep up the good work!

    David
    http://www.the20life.com

    Reply
  11. Andrew Mason said on October 23rd, 2008 at 5:56 am

    @John Kendrick,

    Thanks for the comment John. I also use Air Sharing and find it the best way for sharing files between my Mac and the iPhone.

    Keep up the good work!

    Andrew..

    Reply
  12. Andrew Mason said on October 23rd, 2008 at 5:57 am

    @David Pierce

    Thanks for your comment, and keep up the good work with your blog.

    Cheers

    Andrew..

    Reply
  13. estravizhausen said on October 26th, 2008 at 3:23 pm

    Really interesting your comments. Actually I’m a bit in a trial mode with some productivity and note-taking programs. Some of them were very simple and them I discovered reQall, with a pretty cool interface. It allows you to create to-do lists, shopping lists and voice notes. I wasn’t quite convinced about Zenbe despite its good syncing. But then I gave a 2nd chance to Easytask, which is also free and syncs quite well. I think it suites my needs: you can make use of contexts, projects and projects of projects, etc. The bad side: it is not very stable sometimes… Evernote for fast voice comments and photos with quick notes. Air sharing as s.o. has said before… And finally, the native calendar.
    Could anybody explain his/her experience with Things (and btw with Omnifocus)? Thank you in advance.

    Reply
  14. Louis Franco said on November 24th, 2008 at 12:57 am

    I use Things on my iPhone, and I love it. However, there was always something missing for me in GTD apps — recurring events without an exact time. There are some things that I want to do consistently, but don’t want them cluttering my Calendar. Things like calling my Mom once a week (any time) or going to the gym every 2 to 3 days.

    I created a GTD Companion app called Habits to meet this need for myself (http://www.loufranco.com/habits). It’s meant to be used with Things or OmniFocus (or any other to-do mananger), not instead. I’m finding it incredibly useful for these kinds of “sort-of” recurring tasks.

    Reply
  15. Adam said on December 29th, 2008 at 6:25 am

    Is there a GTD application out there that has an alarm notification when something is due? Haven’t found anything yet. Thank you for all your thoughts very interesting.

    Reply
  16. Andrew Mason said on December 29th, 2008 at 8:28 am

    @Adam:
    Hi Adam,

    There have not been any apps like this yet as up to now the applications cannot run background processes so the app only works whilst it is running on the phone. This is scheduled for release by Apple pretty soon and when it does, the iPhone will become an even better tool for productivity!

    Thanks for the comment,

    Reply
  17. Kyle said on February 19th, 2009 at 3:37 pm

    Hi there,
    I have been looking for an iPhone app for ages that will replicate the functions of the Palm Pilot task application. All I want is a Get-Things-Done app that is OFF-LINE, and I don’t want to have to pay subscription fees to synch with my desktop, either (as with Mobileme).

    Any ideas? I was reading with interest your reviews on the site, but they seem to feature online apps. Please advise!

    Reply
  18. cloudrider said on April 12th, 2009 at 5:18 am

    @ Andrew

    Thanks for the list! I’ll try out iBlueSky and Zenbe.

    I would put Calendar, OmniFocus on my list as well. I’ve recently put Evernote up there after they came out with a recent release to mark an item as “Favorite”, which makes the note accessible offline.

    Three other apps are:
    1) Notes2Self – this is my Ubiquitous Capture Tool. It has the best design of all the voice recorders on the Appstore. It has a cool feature of putting the iphone to your ear, and it will start recording, and putting the phone down to stop recording.
    2) Camera – My visual Ubiquitous Capture Tool. I take pictures of restaurants I want to go to, or books or DVDs I want to buy, and type them into my “system” when I get home.
    3) FileMagnet – to upload your documents to. It’s a nice app overall. Good design.

    Reply
  19. Aamy said on May 18th, 2009 at 11:42 am

    Hi there, you all should surely try out – Appigo Todo 2.0, its a wonderful iphone GTD application. I tried Omnifocus and was not happy with in lot of ways. Would be great to hear from you about Appigo Todo.

    Affly Aamy

    Reply
  20. Adam Chavez said on September 10th, 2009 at 3:54 pm

    I definitely agree with you that Evernote is a great app for note-taking and can potentially save you time with its awesome search feature — especially when you take advantage of its web+desktop+mobile applications.

    I thought of a few more apps that I like — some of which came out after this post. Here’s my list: http://blog.snappsoftware.com/iphone-application-developers/5-iphone-apps-that-will-make-you-more-productive/

    Let me know what you think, thanks!

    Reply
  21. Amanda said on October 21st, 2009 at 2:06 pm

    I couldn’t live without AwesomeNote – organizes all of your lists and has reminders & due dates.

    Reply
  22. bikram yoga queens said on January 16th, 2011 at 5:46 pm

    Apple iphone is great for it’s thousands of apps. Iphone is more smooth in operation than Android or other capacitive touch cell phones.

    Reply
  23. movm said on February 4th, 2011 at 7:45 pm

    I found a new iphone application named KoolTask having an ingenious mode to display the tasks

    and it seems to be very easy to use

    http://smartkool.com

    Reply
  24. [...] iPhone and productivity? interesting…I record all my receipts and photo notes straight to Evernote. I have every invoice and purchase order in PDF from my business as well as all the other files that I want to share between multiple locations stored in EverNote. The Web application, Mac Application, and iPhone application make this a killer note taking and storing app for me. (via did i get things done) [...]

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