Selecting the Perfect Time and Document Mangement Apps

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This is the final article (for now) in my series of working on the go with an iPad. As with previous articles in the series, most of the suggestions will work with tablets running Android.

Having all the right hardware and productivity software is just part of the battle. Without good task and document management, you’ll still end up in a mess.

My two favorite apps for keeping myself organized are Pocket Informant and Evernote. I could probably manage everything with Evernote, but I’ve been using Pocket Informant since the days of my Palm Tungsten T5. Old habits die hard.

Pocket Informant is a complete calendar and task management system. It can be set up to use various time management systems, including Getting Things Done and Franklin Covey. I personally use Getting Things Done, and I’ve found Pocket Informant works well with that system.

You have a lot of control over your tasks and calendar entries, including priorities, tags, repeating events, and context locations. The last is a particularly good feature if you’re prone to forgetting to pick up things when you’re on the go. You can select a location alert for a task, and Pocket Informant will remind you when you are close to that location.

Obviously that last feature works best with a smartphone, which leads to another reason I like Pocket Informant. It’s easy to keep everything in sync on all your devices and computer. Pocket Informant syncs with Google Calendar, iOS events and Toodledo (a popular online task management system). I switch back and forth throughout the day between my iPad and my iPhone, and my tasks and calendar are always in sync with each other. On Saturday, I added a Nexus 7 to the mix, and it stays updated as well.

A full review of all the features of this powerful app is beyond the scope of this article, but I highly recommend you check it out. Coming soon is a subscription-based service that gives you similar features on your computer. I will be checking it out when it’s available.

Task management is only one of the challenges of the on-the-road professional. You also need to have the right documents and information with you. Evernote has an application for almost any smartphone, tablet and computer operating system. It has a web clipper for saving articles. Think of it as the electronic version of:

  • sticky notes scattered around your home or office
  • clipped articles you “will read someday” recipe box
  • business card holder
  • journal

And lots more. You can archive photos, voice memos, documents, sketches and almost anything else you can think of.

Evernote can be more powerful with applications and additions, like Evernote Food (for recipes and more), Evernote Hello (for keeping track of people you’ve met) and Skitch (for adding drawings to notes).

Its search feature is amazing. You can photograph a business card (using your phone or tablet’s camera), save it to Evernote, and then search for information in the card.

Notes can be created with check boxes, so it’s possible to use Evernote as your task and project management system.

As with Pocket Informant, Evernote has too many features to cover here, but since it’s free, why not check it out? There’s a premium level, which I do have, but everything I just wrote about can be done with the free version. In my opinion, the best feature of the premium level is “offline” notebooks, where you can specify certain notebooks to download to your phone or tablet, so you can access them even when you’re not connected.

With Pocket Informant and Evernote, you’ll know where you should be, what you should be doing and have everything you need with you to be completely productive, no matter where you are.

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