It’s always nice to have a personal assistant that can deal with all the small details that drain your day. The sad news is that hiring someone isn’t as realistic as most people think. The good news is that, if you’re one of the 81% of Americans who own a smartphone, there are lots of decent apps out there that can act as substitutes.
As the coronavirus spreads across other parts of Asia, Europe, the Middle East, and the United States, major tech companies like Google, Amazon, and Microsoft are asking their employees to work remotely as a measure against the rapidly-spreading disease.
This might be a great opportunity to explore these assistant apps to help you get things done faster. First, you should start transitioning your analog methods and try out digital tools. Start by researching and testing out apps that boost your productivity. Here are some tasks that you can relegate to a personal assistant and some free highly-rated apps that you can use instead:
1. Message Sorting
If you’re an average professional, you’ll most likely spend 28% of your day checking emails. In most cases, you’re deleting unwanted emails. That’s why you should let technology help you out instead.
Gmail is great since it has categories that allow you to sort your mail into groups. These include primary, social, and promotion. That way, you can see more important email and process the less important ones like social notifications and newsletters sometime in the future.
An alternative is Edison Mail, a free app that you can use with your email client. Edison Email helps you take control of an overflowing inbox with intuitive features to unsubscribe from junk, block senders, bulk delete and notification settings that you can configure the way you want.
Edison Email puts your messages into categories to ensure that you’re getting the more important emails first. Its bulk unsubscribe feature ensures that you’re removed from email lists that you don’t want anymore.
It also built in a fast search feature within the mail that works simultaneously across all your email accounts. Experience Edison Email’s accelerated AI-based search for all your purchases, bills, subscriptions, travel, and entertainment.
Edison Email supports Outlook, Yahoo, Hotmail, iCloud, Office/ Outlook 365, Exchange, AOL, Gmail, and IMAP* mail accounts, and is supported on iPhone and iPad.
2. Managing Your Schedule
The most annoying part when scheduling meetings and appointments are looking for a time that works for everyone. That’s why you should use Calendly, a popular app that enables you to book appointments using your free time. You can put your availability and add buffers to ensure you’re not booked the entire day.
The good news is that you can integrate Calendly with other platforms and apps. This includes Outlook, Office 365, Google, and iCloud calendars. That way, you won’t get double bookings and get the best time for yourself.
Another good app is Clockwise. It’s an app that helps to manage your calendar while automatically move meetings to schedules that work better for both parties. You can reserve schedules to ensure that you’re focused on work, travel time, lunch, and personal meetings.
Clockwise will assist in resolving meeting conflicts and takes time zones into account. It also takes your preferences and adjusts the schedules according to that. It’s a good app that you can use when coordinating with different schedules.
3. Organizing Your Trips
It’s often surprising to see how flight and hotel prices can fluctuate within a few days. If you want to get the best deals, try installing Hopper. It’s a money-saving app that predicts the best time for booking flights or renting hotel rooms.
Put your desired destination and it will track the place for you. You can use the app to book yourself once you’re ready. That way, you’ll know whether waiting will decrease the price of your flight and accommodations.
The most confusing part of planning a trip is organizing the flight, hotel, and transportation numbers and details. To make it easier for you, you can use TripIt, an app that helps you make a master itinerary. This app allows you to have easy access to your travel dates and times, destinations, and confirmation codes.
Are you worried about the length of the security checkpoint line at the airport? If so, get MyTSA and you’ll get real-time reports straight from people in the locations. It’s a great app for booking rides to the airport since you’ll have a better idea of the amount of time needed to get to the gate.
4. Remembering Important Tasks or Dates
Calendar apps have automatic reminders, but you could still need a heads-up in advance. The good news is that there are lots of these apps in the market, but so far 24me is a top contender. It’s a calendar app with a to-do list and note functions, telling you the things you should do and their dates.
For example, the app reminds you to run errands during lunch hour, as well as paying your bills and picking up a birthday card for an associate next week. It also enables you to finish some tasks within the app, like making calls, booking flights, or sending emails. The app gives you traffic alerts before your meetings, enabling you to know the right time to leave.
An alternative is to use the apps that you already possess. Use Google Assistant, Siri, Cortana, or Cortana to give you a reminder. For instance, you could set a reminder to book conference rooms for next month’s meeting or something similar.
5. Taking Dictation
Regardless of whether you want quick notes or letter drafts, you can use dictation apps. These help by translating your speech into text. The best use for them is to record interview notes for later review.
There are lots of options in the market, but the three mentioned here are free and their user ratings are high. Otter.AI can record and take meeting notes in real-time while SpeechyLite is an AI-based solution that you can use for iPhones and iPads. For web-based apps, you can use Dictation.io for email and document dictation through Google Chrome.
6. Use Voice Assistant To Do Your Research
Are you in need of help with research? If so, Siri, Cortana, and Alexa are viable choices for asking information. Voice-recognition software is nothing new. But put it on a smartphone, and it comes to life. These apps can do quick web searches and return with the information using your voice commands.
And it’s becoming more popular all the time, thanks in large measure to the improved speech recognition capabilities of today’s mobile phone platforms, such as Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android.
A lot of time-consuming activities don’t need to be manual any more. That’s why you need to find some specific tasks that you’d want to automate and get their corresponding apps. Whether it’s web-based, mobile-based, or desktop-based, you have a lot of free and highly-rated options.
This list is a good starting point if you’re not sure which tasks should become automated. Make good use of these apps and you’ll see your productivity soar through the roof. With that, you won’t worry about a lot of things as the day progresses.
Also, check out these 8 Simple Morning Routine to Boost Your Productivity For The Entire Day
Founder, Editor-In-Chief // A native Angeleno. John studied engineering at UCLA; founded Schmoozd, an offline social tech networking event in LA with 30,000 subs; ran a startup accelerator (StartEngine). Worked for several major brands like Toyota, DIRECTV, Hitachi, ICANN, and Raytheon. A mentor at Loyola Marymount University (LMU) Entrepreneur School, Dr. David Choi. And advises a dozen local LA startups building amazing tech in various industries; and invested in some. // Let's Connect: firstname.lastname@example.org