The smartphone is increasingly claiming the position of the mostly popular computer. Millions of people use their smartphones from the moment they wake up until they fall asleep for communications, productivity, and entertainment.
These smartphones are used for virtually every task imaginable; calendaring, task management, socializing, photography, emailing, gaming, etc. There are, literally, millions of apps available and it is overwhelming to pick and choose the truly useful and productive ones.
In this post, you will see 30+ great iPhone apps (built-in and third party), tailored for productive people. The given apps and scenarios would be especially valuable if you also use an iPad (Pro) or MacBook for heavier lifting on the go, an Apple Watch for time-keeping/fitness/Siri, and Apple CarPlay in your car.
So, let’s delve into it.
# Morning – Waking Up
Being a productive person, you have to wake up early! So, set the built in alarm (Clock app) at something like 5:00 am. You have the option of setting that up for the weekdays only, while setting up another alarm time for the weekends.
To be ready for the day, and depending on your location (and the season!), a glance at the weather forecast on the iPhone or Apple Watch would be helpful. The built in Weather app is decent at this task.
For religiously devoted people, one of the first things to do in the morning is to check the next next prayer time (Falah) or read verses from the Quran (Quran Majeed), the Bible, or other sacred text. Alternatively (or in addition to that), it’s a good idea to spend a few minutes early morning for meditation; it calms your mind and centers your soul. Two good apps with useful features are Calm and Zen.
To be productive, you need to be healthy! After waking up, you could check stats of your sleep on the Sleep Watch app (with the Apple Watch), which gives you total sleep time, sleep pattern, total restful sleep time, sleeping heart rate dip, and sleep rhythm. Once you start keeping track of that, you would be gradually improving your sleep quality.
A good 10-15 minutes biking (or using an indoor bike) or walking (outside or treadmill) is an easy way to start making your life more active. Make sure this activity is tracked in the Health app, and especially with the Apple Watch. You may then log your weight into the Health app via Shortcuts.
At the breakfast table, you could have an overview of what’s coming up in your day using the built in Calendar, OmniFocus for your tasks, and GoodNotes if you prefer to have handwritten plans.
Of course, it is also good to check the Phone app and the Messages app for incoming communications during the night. It is advisable, though, to only do that after mindfully following your morning routine.
# In the car – commuting to work
Being a productive and growth-minded person, you would want to get the most out of your commute time. Nothing really beats a good book, which could be read to you via Audible. If you prefer, you could also use the time to listen to a good podcast (Apple Podcasts app) on the topic of your preference; technology, politics, news, or other special interests.
CarPlay makes it easy to continue listening to your current book, or to check out recent podcast episodes to choose from. While listening, you may skip back a few seconds to re-hear that great part of the book! This is also possible via the on-screen button, or via steering wheel controls, depending on the car model (check with your dealer!).
As you leave the house, it is a good idea launch Apple Maps to check the traffic status and navigate to your destination. If Apple Maps navigation is not supported in your region, try other apps, like Sygic or Google Maps.
To stay safe, keep your hands on the wheel and eyes on the road. If you need to perform a task on your phone, just press and hold the virtual home button on the CarPlay screen or on the dedicated voice control button on the car’s steering wheel (model dependent), and invoke Siri by voicing “Call my wife/husband,” “Text my boss,” “Remind me to buy milk at 6 pm,” or ask Siri something related to the subject of your conversation with other passengers, like “What is the capital of Georgia the country?” (You would hear Siri replying, “The capital of Georgia is Tbilisi!”)
If you’re not going by car, you could call a cab/taxi/other! via Uber, or – in Oman – Mwasalat! That would not only give you time to listen to an audiobook, but perhaps read one via the Kindle app!
# At the coffee shop
For creatives, writers, freelancers, and the like, a visit to the coffee shop is an almost daily routine. If no Internet Wifi is offered (or if it is too slow, not private), you could easily tether your iPad (Pro) / MacBook to your iPhone (or – of course – just go online via the built in cellular feature, if available).
So, you are sitting there with your iPad Pro punching down those creative words and a group of people at a nearby table are having a (really loud!) good time! You could then play something on your iPhone (with headphones!) to create a much needed sound curtain. Try SimplyNoise, or some nature sound tracks in Apple Music.
# At the workplace (University as an example)
Working at your office, the surrounding ambient may be too high for you to focus, in which case you would use a sound curtain (as pointed out above).
The iPhone could also be useful in the classroom by enabling a hotspot with the iPad (Pro) / MacBook (hooked to the projector) and remote controlling the Keynote slides. You may also decide to preserve the iPhone’s battery and use another iOS device for the remote controlling task (what about that old iPhone/iPod touch in your cupboard?).
And while completing various work tasks, different tools would be helpful, like a calculator (Calc HD Pro) and an app to choose random numbers (say, picking student groups) (Fast Random Number).
For most jobs, you don’t only stay at your office. If you are out of it (and without your handy iPad), your iPhone could serve well checking and writing short emails (Airmail) or double checking on the time and location for the next meeting (Calendar).
# Back home
It’s been a long and productive day for you. As you are back home, you follow some custom news sources (Apple News) or check out Twitter (Twitterrific). For more mindful reading of the blogosphere, you could checkout Medium. You then remember that you need to buy something, so you launch your favorite e-Commerce app (Amazon, AliExpress, etc.), target down that product, and give them your money!
If you need to remember any passwords, then you could launch your trusty and secure Enpass app. I hear you, there are just too many accounts and passwords to try to keep track of!!
Oh, and it’s that time of the month to pay the bills. So you launch your local app for that (in Oman, it would be OIFC Khedmah). How wonderful – and time saving – it is to be able to pay (almost) all your bills with one shot!
Smartphones could be very useful!
That is a fact we are might not be conscious of until we track our usages (like what you see in this post).
One pitfall that we need to be careful about is not to solely use our smartphones for entertainment, communication, and social networking. It would be immensely valuable to explore the countless ways in which a smartphone could make us more healthy, informed, and productive.
Take the scenarios above, and the given 30+ apps, as a starting list. There are many more that could help enhance your productivity and – ultimately – your life satisfaction and enjoyment.
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