From mailbox managers to digital bookmarkers and universal passwords, there are all kinds of apps designed to increase productivity and efficiency in the office. Here are a few.
A smart mailbox is possible!
Does this sound familiar? You come home from a holiday and are flooded with emails. You’re faced with the unhappy prospect of spending several hours sorting out the most important ones in order to respond to each according to priority. Not to worry, the 21st century man can now count on artificial intelligence to help with this kind of thing. One such AI takes the form of a “Spark.” “Spark” is an application designed to better manage your mailbox. It automatically sorts messages received by users into different categories (staff, newsletters and notifications) and includes features that aim to simplify and increase the use of the mailbox. For example, automatic language processing software makes it easier to search your email history, a “send later” function allows you to schedule emails, and Spark generates reminders to remember to answer your contacts. It is also possible to put your inbox on standby when you do not want to be disturbed. Best of all, the application has recently added a feature designed for teamwork. Based on the Google Docs model, Spark lets users invite different collaborators on a conversation thread, so multiple users can effectively write an email together, with each one being able to edit the draft and propose comments before sending the message.
Digitize your business cards
There is nothing more frustrating than making a professional contact with someone, -whether they’re a client or a potential colleague-, getting their business card and no longer finding it when you want to contact them again. Even though these small cardboard rectangles are useful for exchanging information, we tend to lose them just as easily. This is where CamCard comes in. The application allows you to scan your business cards to automatically extract information and store it in a digital format. You can then easily navigate through your various contacts and share them with colleagues. The application also allows you to add notes and reminders, receive updated information about your contacts (for example, if one of them changes companies or moves up the hierarchy) and synchronize your contact list on your different devices.
An idyllic and relaxing sound universe
Between conversational noise, street noise, and all the ordinary hustle and bustle that characterizes office life, finding focus is sometimes a challenge. Fortunately, there are tons of apps designed to help you concentrate despite outward distractions. Noisli is an app that allows users to create their own sound atmospheres by mixing the most relaxing natural sounds: birds chirping, fire crackling, wind blowing in the trees, a river flowing, insects squealing in the tall grass, the sound of the surf on the shore, etc. The app provides any and all sound elements that give the impression of being transported in the middle of nature, far away from the noise of the city. Those who are afraid of feeling a little too relaxed can check out SimplyNoise application, which generates a unique and monotonous frequency that cuts off all the other parasitic noises around you, leaving your brain blank for optimal concentration.
Simplify expense reports
Completing expense reports is not really the most rewarding activity. But thanks to Expensify, this laborious task becomes child’s play. This application allows you to easily create and manage expense reports in a digital format and sends them automatically to the person in charge. It is also possible to take pictures of your receipts, so you no longer have to attach them manually to your expense reports. The best part? Expensify also allows you to create temporary accounts, to pay short term expenses for specific cases such as: paying for the return trip of a candidate who has come for an interview, or for consultants working on temporary assignments.
Save your readings for later
When searching for information on the web, you often come across an article, a company website, or any other source of information that is worthy of interest, that isn’t immediately related to the task you are doing. You then have to make the choice between staying focused on the task or reading the article. You weigh your options and choose between not finding the article again and interrupting your productivity flow to give it your full attention. This is where Pocket app comes in. A kind of bookmark adapted to the digital age, Pocket makes it possible to save everything that catches your eye when you browse the web. The app store’s written, audio and video content, and automatically synchronizes between users’ various devices. In the evening, when the user comes home from work, they only have to consult the content they’ve pinned during the day.
Better manage your working time
In the digital age, the working day of the modern man is marked by all kinds of distractions. And since we often have to juggle from one task to another, it becomes difficult to measure our productivity and really determine whether or not we balance our time efficiently. The RescueTime app automatically determines how much time you spend working, networking, reading information, etc. Users can see the different activities they’re involved in on a daily basis, and the time allocated to each of them. If you realize that you spend too much time reading online newspapers, for example, you can schedule a reminder to change your activity after a certain period of time. It is also possible to block access to certain sites or applications (such as social networks) to ensure maximum concentration.
Combine cursive writing and digital interfaces
In the age of keyboards and tablets, talking about cursive writing can seem anachronistic. However, this is not the case. Many studies show that we memorize much better what we write by hand than what we write on the keyboard. Handwriting would also be good for critical thinking and concept handling. However, computers are ideal for keeping notes and moving them from one medium to another. As a solution, MyScript offers a platform, called Nebo, that allows you to take notes on a tablet using a digital pen. These are then automatically scanned and saved. The application thus offers all the comfort and flexibility of cursive writing (possibility to underline, to make smart lists…) with the benefits of digital technology (automatic saving and possibility to search for keywords).
Juggle multiple projects efficiently
This one needs no introduction. Trello is the intuitive and highly customizable task management tool. It allows you to generate tables, task lists, note sheets and calendars, which can be easily shared and divided into individually assigned tasks for teamwork. It is thus possible to see who does what in a work group, follow the different stages of a project and collaborate easily from a distance, all in see real time. The app is also ideal for writing reminders and personal notes, recording contacts… In short, Trello is a versatile tool that allows you to organize the different components of your professional life.
When password management stops being a puzzle
To limit the risk of hacking, it is best to choose a different password for each account you use online. It must also be complex enough, mixing different types of characters, numbers, upper and lower cases, etc. And, of course, you must also memorize each of your passwords, because writing them down somewhere on your computer would be a very bad idea, which would greatly facilitate the work of hackers. It is of course possible to record them in a notebook, with the risk of forgetting or misplacing them… In short, passwords are a real nightmare in professional life. A nightmare that you can protect yourself from, however, by using a password manager. Applications such as Dashlane, or the well named 1Password, allow you to save all your passwords in an ultra-secure database. A plug-in installed on your browser then allows you to identify yourself on any account whose password has been previously entered into the application, all with a single click, like magic.
Forget the stress of appointment taking
Last but not least! I couldn’t finish this article without mentioning Julie Desk and her assistants who organize your appointments for you. Her assistants? Yes, you read that right, there is a new addition to the Julie Desk family: Slash, a 100% automatic virtual assistant. Discover it now.