Android apps for getting organized and efficient

For Android users who need to get more organized and capture ideas on the fly, here are two useful apps.

I've been picking up so much freelance work lately that I decided it was time to get better organized.

With the help of some rudimentary tools such as email and Word, I've managed until now to keep article deadlines, interview times, invoice statuses and other business-critical information reasonably organized in my head.

But that method isn't scaling with my business, so I decided to find some Android apps that could help me better manage my time, keep track of multiple projects, and capture ideas on the fly. Here are two apps I downloaded from Google Play, tried out, and liked.

Trello

Trello is a free organizing app that relies on a card system similar to Google Now's. Users can create cards for whatever they want daily to-do lists, joint projects, comments for co-workers, photos and video, etc. with a tap of their smartphone screen and a little typing.

Essentially Trello offers mobile white boards for however Android device owners choose to use them. The first step after downloading and creating an account (I signed in directly from my Google account, which was painless) is to create a new board by clicking the "+" sign on your device screen or computer. (Trello also works on the desktop, which is immensely helpful; just sign into your account and you'll be synced up with whatever you've done on your Android device.)

A board can be for a project, a product, a resource typically big-picture stuff. Within the board (see graphic above) a user can create lists, which contain cards. Users can drag and drop cards and lists from one board to another as activities are completed and projects progress.

The cards themselves are no more than notes you write to yourself until you click or tap on a card to open the "back" of it. And that's where you get to the stuff that brings your cards and boards to life and helps you be more organized and more productive.

The back of the card allows users to insert a due date that is visible on the card summary pinned to the board menu. And by clicking on the "calendar" link at the top of the board menu, users can see their various deadlines arranged within a calendar. It's helpful, in a sobering kind of way. Users also can add checklists to their cards, along with labels and attachments.

Though I use Trello only by myself, the app can be used as a collaborative tool by adding "members" to cards and boards. (The people you want to add must have Trello accounts.)

Another way to collaborate with Trello is to creating an "organization" that groups people and boards to better facilitate projects.

Finally, Trello which has been around for three years and claims more than 5 million users now supports Android Wear, enabling users to create cards directly from their Android smartwatches by saying "OK Google" and then "take a note."

EZ Notes

Speaking of notes, I've been looking for a note-taking Android app for when I get those moments of inspiration while walking, driving, riding, etc. I do have Evernote on my HTC One, but the truth is I've never really warmed up to it. For me, Evernote's interface is not particularly user-friendly.

So about a month ago I downloaded EZ Notes, a new note-taking app that only has a few hundred users right now, but likely will attract more.

In terms of the back end, EZ Notes is attractive because of its small size (2.75MB on my phone, compared to Evernote at 26MB) and the fact that it requires no permissions. EZ Notes is able to keep small because it doesn't store audio files or photos. That might be a drawback to some people, but it's supposed to be a note-taking app, not a multimedia storage file.

The EZ Notes user interface is simple and uncluttered exactly what you should want in a mobile note-taking app. Most convenient to me is the microphone icon at the top that is easy to tap if you want to take notes via speech-to-text.

If you press and hold on a note, you get a long list of "desired actions," including:

  • Reading back the note aloud to the user (great feature)
  • Send as a text or email
  • Set a calendar reminder
  • Print to Google Cloud
  • Dictionary and thesaurus search

You also can prioritize notes by marking them as important, urgent or normal.

Bottom line: EZ Notes allows users to take audio notes while on the go, as well as easily share, print, search and prioritize them. That's a good list of functions for a note-taking mobile app.

This story, "Android apps for getting organized and efficient" was originally published by CITEworld.

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