That 9-to-5, Monday-through-Friday model for business? It's about as out of touch as curly fax paper and carbon-copy credit card slips. Today's business professionals are in contact with their work 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
We don't have time to guess and get lost. There's not a lot of wiggle room in our schedules for misfires and wastes of time. And our smartphones have become the hub of our business activity. There's so many tools designed to make our lives easier. To try them all would take forever. There's irony in that, sure.
How long would it take to figure out what's best for helping us manage our time?
The evidence is everywhere: When we meld essential elements together, we wind up with a more efficient, productive experience. Whether it's Pandora in our BMWs or a Verizon Triple Play for Internet, TV and Digital Voice, when things work well together, life is good.
Who has time for apps that crash and don't deliver on their promise? Us either. If you don't have these six trusty apps downloaded, do it, now.
1. Air Display 1.2 for iPad
I need a minimum of two screens to do my job. I'd love a third screen, but not at the expense of the remaining foot of desk space I enjoy. Air Display 1.2 for iPad gives me that third screen, which I can secure to the side of a monitor. Air Display 1.2 also brings Windows functions to that third screen. You can skit from screen to screen with ease, between email, essential office applications, and any website.
2. Android AutoClean
Keeping a clean house for your Android will boost speed and preserve battery power. This free app will clear your phone and web-search history on a schedule. Your startup time will improve, too, with reclaimed memory. It's free to add the app's full capability to your device, so your phone can clean itself. Move apps and files to your SD card with a single click with Android AutoClean. Everything about this app points to eliminating the background apps and memory drains that slow your device down.
Signed, sealed and delivered isn't always easy in a digital world. EchoSign allows you to upload your document to the web or send it by fax. You can then place data or signature boxes within the document, and allow the recipient to sign and return. Your recipient will get an emailed link, not a download, and can sign with a mouse or stylus, by fax or by typing their name. The account is free, with upgrades available.
Meet your smartphone app accountant. Expensify is free, and it creates a PDF of your expenses and receipts from your credit card. Track your expenses digitally, and easily integrate QuickBooks software to your device and this app. You can automate expenses that recur in your travels, and log mileage and associated expenses. The coolest part: A customizable spreadsheet export to sync with your accounting package of choice.
It's free, with a slightly upgraded version at slightly more. It requires a membership. If you need flight-status alerts and a way to schedule an alternate flight, the pro version is for you. Otherwise, the free version is pretty comprehensive. TripIt will take emails from your airline, hotel, and rental-car company and compile an itinerary based on the dates on your reservations. Just forward emails from just about any travel entity, and all your travel plans are kept in a tidy app home. Imagine: All your confirmation numbers, at your fingertips.
Here's another free app with a load of value (there are no limits on conference calls, either). Users access audio conferences without PINs and phone numbers. The numbers in your contacts authenticate users, and the app's suite of functions include earmuff, mute, and record. A streamlined interface displays call participants and speakers, and allows users to share Box and Evernote documents. Evernote notebooks will also save call summaries automatically. Lifehacker.com compares UberConference to "Google+ Hangouts for conference calls, on steroids."
Guest post by Elizabeth Phillips