Free Mobile Apps to Boost Productivity

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    Working in a small to midsize business often means taking on many roles. You may be in the office, out to a meeting, on a job site, or working from home. So how do industrious business people stay organized and productive? Usually it requires a team of tech gadgets and a lot of hustling.

    Many mobile apps today bring together life on-the-go with life in-the-office. Start out your day using them on your mobile device and end up seated with your laptop accessing the same information. Organize your schedule, track your time, save your receipts and keep tabs on your mileage, then review the information and share it with others—all without having to keep up with a stack of notes or pieces of paper. Technology is amazing.

    And who doesn’t love saving time and money? Some of the top mobile apps for business productivity are also available for free—which is a huge benefit to any size budget. Four such apps to increase your efficiency include:

    • Yast—time tracking
    • Dragon Dictation/Dragon Mobile Assistant—voice-to-text apps
    • Shoeboxed—receipt and mileage tracking
    • Evernote—note and idea capturing and organizing

    yast-mobileYast provides a simple way to track your time from your PC or your mobile device. Set up a task and click to start timing. Tasks are color coded and you can view them on a timeline to easily see how much time you’ve spent on each task during your day. This makes it easier to create an expense report or timesheet for your workday. You can log in to Yast from any computer with Internet access, or you can download the free personal app for iPhone or Android mobile devices. Business plans start at $14 per user per month.

    Dragon Dictation and Dragon Mobile Assistant are voice-recognition apps available for iOS and Android devices, respectively. Dragon Dictation allows users to speak and direct content to email, texts and even Twitter posts from any iPad, iPhone or iPod Touch. The app is available as a free download, and other Dragon apps such as Dragon Search and Dragon Go can also be downloaded for free to help you find content on your iPhone and the mobile web.

    Dragon Mobile Assistant works on any Android device. This app actually detects when you are in your car and will switch to hands-free mode, allowing you to connect and direct your phone via your voice. It can read your Facebook status updates and calendar appointments to you and allows you to send email and text messages by just speaking. This robust personal assistant application also uses voice commands to open apps on your phone, search for content on various apps, and even find the right song to play from your song library. The best part is that it is also free.

    Shoeboxed is one of the most popular apps for business people who travel. Receipts are organized and categorized after being scanned through the free mobile app. You can also share data and generate expense reports that include images of the receipts right from your phone or tablet. This app also supports scanning and management of business cards and contact information. You can also track, save, and organize mileage data with the app.

    You can access your Shoeboxed information online from your computer or from your mobile device and it exports data to QuickBooks, Wave Accounting, Excel, Outright and Xero accounting software. The app is free for the do-it-yourself mobile app, but you can pay for a Lite, Classic, Business or Executive plan that includes personal organization of even snail-mailed documents and receipts and usage by more than one employee (up to 10 for the Executive membership).

    Evernote can help you organize and save data for projects in one convenient app. It works like a “digital file cabinet,” which allows you to organize audio files, images, documents and even written notes in layers using Notebooks, Notebook Stacks and Tags. You can collaborate with other users or teams and search via keywords or tags to find exactly what you need, quickly.

    The personal Evernote app is available for free download via iOS and Android devices and for BlackBerry and Windows Phone. You can also use Evernote on MacOS, Windows Desktop and Windows 8 operating systems. Evernote Business costs $10 per month per user and includes extra storage space, business-level support, and a business library for company-wide access. It allows users to access their personal accounts, too.

    Whether you’re an overloaded business person looking for mobile apps to keep you organized, or a diligent SMB manager looking for apps to help your employees stay on track, these applications provide easy-to-use services at the tip of your finger. And when the price tag says “free,” you won’t feel like you’re overextending your budget just to keep yourself on task and efficient with your time.

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