I recently did a presentation at the HSBA on Business uses for your smartphone.
It (and this post) were largely aimed at those users who have a smartphone but rarely use it beyond calling, texting and checking their emails – if that’s you then you are under-utilising what can be an extremely useful tool.
At the meeting just 25% of attendees had actually downloaded an App – so starting at the beginning:
What are Apps?
Apps are small programs (or Applications) that are designed for a very specific purpose. Some examples would be things like note taking, recording your mileage or listing your expenses. Smartphones are perfect for a lot of these functions because a) you usually have your phone handy, unlike a pen and paper and b) they contain things like GPS (so it knows where you are and where you are going/have come from), an internet connection to you can upload/download/access information and also a camera so you can record things on the hop.
Where do you get Apps?
This will depend on the flavour of phone that you are using. iPhones are made by Apple and you would use iTunes to access an app. Phones such as Samsung, HTC and Sony tend to use the Android platform (which is run by Google) and the Google app store is called Google Play. Finally Microsoft Windows have their own version, with Nokia being the most prominent Windows phone manufacturer. Windows apps are accessed from the Windows Store, but in all cases your phone should have a button that will take you to the relevant App store.
Is there any difference between iTunes, Google Play and Windows Store Apps?
They are all different operating systems, so each App has to be specifically designed for each one. Apple’s iTunes was the market leader and so had the most supported Apps, but typically if it is on iTunes you will usually find the same App on Google Play. The Windows Store is a late comer and so is less widely supported. you will often find that popular Apps that are not on Windows often have an unofficial third party interface added so you end up with access anyway even if it is not officially supported.
How do you get Apps?
Find the button to access your App store and you should see options to search by category (business, entertainment, travel etc) or to search for specific Apps. Try it, you can’t break anything! Once you have found an App that you would like to try you can click on Install. Some Apps are Free, some have a trial period or upgrade options and some have an up front cost, you can see this information before you install it. Usually the cost is just a few pounds. Once installed it just pops onto your screen as a new icon, click on it to try it out.
I will start putting up a list of some of the uses, starting with Admin tools. Today I will cover how you can use an App to put your time to better use.
Ever want to know what you spend your time on? Would you like to be able to track the time you spend on individual projects or clients and have a daily, weekly or monthly summary? Time keeping apps make this very easy. There are differences between Apps but generally they work on the following basis:
- Set up job or categories (admin, accounts, sales etc, whatever you spend your time on)
- Optionally assign these to a client or a project
- Start recording what you spend your time on. Click to start,stop or switch an activity as you are working
This means you can be working on a project and record the time you spend on it; if you receive a call mid-way through that takes up twenty minutes of your time simply switch to your ‘handling calls’ category whilst talking and then switch back to your project when you hang up. At the end of the day you get a summary of what you’ve spent your time on. Some Apps have additional functionality such as putting a value on your time and even generating monthly or project invoices to the relevant client.
Time keeping Apps are great for anyone who bills their time to clients on an hourly basis as you can measure this very specifically, but are also good for helping you understand better where your day goes to. Even the act of consciously recording each action makes you much more aware of what you spend your time on, and makes you want to use it to it’s full potential.
Time keeping Apps:
Harvest (iTunes, Google Play and also desktop version)
Toggl (iTunes, Google Play and also desktop version)
Time Tracker (Windows Store)
Have you tried any of the above, or do you have any other time tracking Apps you can suggest?
Check back for more business uses for your smartphone over the next few days (and weeks, there are a lot!).