The 5 Best Productivity Apps for Entrepreneurs

Advanced technology has changed employees’ work habits, the management of their daily goals and the way they accomplish tasks. However, this progress has also brought increased workloads that require multitasking, which eventually may decrease effectiveness. So, how do entrepreneurs actually get any work done?

Fortunately, technology has made it easier for entrepreneurs to accomplish routine tasks, manage time more efficiently and keep track of responsibilities in a more orderly fashion.

Credit the gaggle of mobile productivity apps now available on the market. However, it’s important to know how to choose the right app for your work style. Below are some of the apps that do a good job helping you to avoid the distractions of everyday demands.

  1. Evernote

Through Evernote’s web and mobile app, you can create digital notebooks for everything from keeping track of your expenses and managing your calendar, to creating slideshow presentations and planning your next trip. Whether it’s personal or business expenses, keeping track of receipts is impossible for even the most organized of people. By creating one of Evernote’s digital notebooks, you’re able to screen-shot your receipt right after payment, making it easier to locate expenses in the future.

The best way to use Evernote, though, is to take advantage of everything else it has to offer. The more notebooks you add, the more valuable the app becomes. Try taking snapshots of everything in your office and on your shelves, then insert it all into a notebook and relieve the stress of sorting through papers. All you have to do is tag the notes you’re taking for easy search access at a later date. It’s a game changer when you’re scrambling for those notes you quickly jotted down during your weekly meetings.

  1.  Letterspace

It’s imperative for entrepreneurs to make important decisions on the company’s future without neglecting everyday responsibilities and tasks. For example, no one actually enjoys taking notes, but it’s essential. This is where Letterspace comes into play. It’s a great — and free — note-taking app that utilizes hashtags to organize your thoughts into a sophisticated and easy-to-use interface. One of Letterspace’s most beneficial features is the cursor that sits directly above the keyboard. This feature allows users to move paragraphs of notes around making it easier than ever for entrepreneurs to edit anything from a paragraph switch to a simple typo.

  1. Humin   

Ask any entrepreneur: He or she will tell you that the essence of business success lies in making the right connections — whether they be for potential new business, partnerships or that next round of funding. Entrepreneurs are constantly networking and conducting meetings, but it can be almost impossible to keep track of how and where you met someone. Humin handles all of that for you. When you insert information into the app, it remembers all of the tiny details of how and where you met someone, allowing you to actually be in the moment instead of trying to remember information later. Humin solves this problem by combining your contacts, dialing and voice mailbox to calculate who your most important contacts are.

  1. LISTEN

Another productivity app to consider is LISTEN, developed by RealNetworks, the company I work with. LISTEN’s innovative app utilizes ringback tone technology to respond to incoming calls when you’re too busy to answer the phone. Its newly released 2.0 features also include auto SMS reply capabilities which, when enabled, respond to both inbound calls and incoming text messages. You can also customize both your voice and SMS responses, giving contacts a specific heads-up (e.g., “About to close on a deal; let me call you back!”).  LISTEN further boasts such 2.0 personalization features as Calendar Integration (syncs your auto replies with your meetings) and Location Detection, which responds to calls and text messages based on your geographic location.  Also be sure to try LISTEN’s Drive mode, which will play a status message informing callers (and texters) when you’re behind the wheel.

  1.  Workflow

Time management is yet another key part to building and running a successful business. Managing workflow is the foundation of utilizing time effectively. With the Workflow app, you’re able to customize your phone so you can bypass tasks that are a waste of time. For example, you can call an Uber in advance of your next calendar event or create a button to give your mom a quick call. Workflow allows you to create any type of button for any type of activity that you may do on a regular basis and with the simple click of that button your task is being completed.

Entrepreneur

Tips and tricks to get more from Android Lollipop

Google may have taken the wrappers off Android M at Google I/O last month, but the next installment of its mobile operating system doesn’t even have a name yet, and it’s going to be several months before it starts appearing on devices. In the meantime, here are some of the most useful and powerful features in Android 5 Lollipop that you might not be aware of.

Enable on-body detection for smarter security

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Since Lollipop arrived, some handsets have been given an extra feature called on-body detection – from Settings, tap Security then Smart Lock to see if your phone has it. What it does is keep your phone unlocked while you’re carrying it (by monitoring the handset’s movement), and the PIN or pattern code access requirement is only activated when you set it down.

Quiet notifications

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Tap on either of the volume buttons on your Lollipop device and you’ll find a shortcut to a Priority mode. When it’s activated, all notifications show up as normal, but only apps you’ve marked as priority ones can make a noise (tap the cog icon to set this). You can enable the mode for a specific period, until the next alarm (if set), or indefinitely.

Check battery charge and drain times

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Lollipop brings with it a host of new features for battery management, so make sure you’re making the most of them. Choose Battery from the Settings menu and you can check how much longer you’ve got left before you need to find a wall outlet, see the apps using the most juice, and activate the battery saver utility. While charging, the lock screen tells you how much longer to a full charge.

Check your data usage

If you like to keep an eye on the amount of data you’re getting through while not connected to Wi-Fi, Lollipop has a new feature to help. Pull down the notification panel from the top, then swipe down again to see your quick settings. Tap on the cellular data symbol to quickly see how much data you’ve used this month.

Use “OK Google” from anywhere

The “OK Google” voice shortcut can be handy when you need to run a search or do something quickly, and Lollipop lets you access it from anywhere on your phone if you want to. Launch the Google app, choose Settings from the app menu, and under the Voice heading you can set the “OK Google” detection to be always on.

Use guest mode for friends and family

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Android Lollipop works a bit more like your laptop or desktop computer as far as user accounts go, and that means if you need to hand your phone over to a friend or relative you can switch on guest mode: It keeps all of your own apps and settings safe while they play around. Drag down the notification panel and tap on your avatar to find it.

Hide sensitive data from the lock screen

Lollipop’s revised lock screen notifications make it easier to see what’s happening without unlocking your phone – but that also means anyone else can see this information too. Under Sound & notification in Settings you can tap the When device is locked option to hide sensitive content, or use the App notifications link to configure it app by app.

Search for settings

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Lollipop comes with a bunch of useful settings to take advantage of, but they’re not always particularly easy to find. Handy then that Google’s added a search feature: Drop into Settings and you’ll see a magnifying glass icon you can use to search for specific options. You can search for Wi-Fi and Bluetooth networks by name too.

Pin apps

If you want to pass your phone over to someone else, but want to restrict them to one app or game, use screen pinning. You can switch it on from the Security menu in Settings, and the pin button is on the Overview screen (tap the square navigation icon to see it). Once pinned, you can’t leave an app without entering your phone’s PIN or pattern code.

Turn on the flashlight

Bad news, third-party flashlight app developers – there’s one included in Lollipop by default. Pull down the notification pane, then swipe down again and you’ll see it in the quick settings options (it’s called either Flashlight or Torch depending on where in the world you are). You can then navigate in the dark using your phone.

Change every volume level

One new feature Google added in the Android 5.1 update was the ability to change the system volume and notification settings while music (or other audio) is playing. Tap the volume buttons and you can adjust the music volume as normal, but now you can tap on the bell icon to change the notification volume separately.

Play Google’s Flappy Bird clone

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And finally… if you haven’t yet discovered the Flappy Bird clone Google hid in Lollipop, you might want to give it a whirl. Go to Settings, open the About phone (or About tablet) menu, and quickly tap four times on Android version. At the lollipop, tap quickly several times then press and hold to get to the game, which is just as difficult as the original.

Gizmag

8 Android security tips for IT, corporate users

1) Don’t root that Android device

“To do significant damage in the mobile world, malware needs to act on devices that have been altered at an administrative level,” according to Dionisio Zumerle, principal research analyst at Gartner. “The most obvious platform compromises of this nature are ‘jailbreaking’ on iOS or ‘rooting’ on Android devices …

While these methods allow users to access certain device resources that are normally inaccessible … they also put data in danger.”

2) Don’t overlook Android security or focus only on malware

“Perhaps one of the biggest risks of mobile malware is the fact that mobile malware, in itself, is not yet abundant,” says Domingo Guerra, president and cofounder of Appthority. “This creates a false sense of security in government and enterprise organizations.”

Guerra also identified a number of additional Android risks, including “corporate data exfiltration, poor app development practices, mismanagement of user names and passwords, poor implementation of encryption, and data harvesting and sharing for marketing purposes.

“These risks are often overlooked by shortsighted, malware-only security strategies,” Guerra says.

3) Don’t install Android software from unofficial app stores

“Only install apps from the Google Play store that are from known and trusted developers,” says Terry May, an Android developer with Detroit Labs. “It would also be a best practice to take advantage of the multiple users feature in Android and have a user account that is just for enterprise.”

4) Pay attention to Android app permission requests

Reading an app’s access requests is critical, according to Mark Huss, senior consultant at SystemExperts. For example, a flashlight app doesn’t need access to services that cost you money (such as SMS messaging), system tools, your call list or any personal information, network communication or location service, Huss says.

5) Always keep Android software and firmware updated

“Always check for available firmware updates and patches and download the latest version if possible,” says Gleb Sviripa, an Android developer at KeepSolid. “The newer the version is, the fewer the chances that hackers can attack your device.”

6) Install security and VPN apps

It’s simple to find a plethora of security apps for Android. Look for apps that scan for malware and block apps from non-approved sources, according to Geoff Sanders, cofounder and CEO of LaunchKey. Disk encryption should be enabled, and apps that have “overreaching access to potentially sensitive data” should be denied, he says.

When surfing the Internet, Android devices should be protected with virtual private network (VPN) software such as VPN Unlimited, Sviripa says.

7) Organizations should set and enforce clear access policies

Companies need to be clear about the sensitive materials that users can access via mobile devices and ensure those devices have “the right infrastructure in place to protect against mobile threats,” according Swarup Selvaraman, senior product manager at Dell SonicWALL.

8) The four basic tenets of Android security

Troy Vennon, director of Pulse Secure’s Mobile Threat Center, says enterprise mobile security boils down to following four essential steps: Disallow rooted and jailbroken devices; ensure that devices are protected by passwords; keep devices updated; and require users to connect through a VPN.

CIO.com

3 Money-Saving Apps That Won’t Cost You a Dime

Entrepreneur Staff

For some people, to say times are tight financially is an understatement. A recent Bankrate survey revealed that three out of five Americans are only one medical emergency or unexpected car repair away from emptying their savings, if they have any savings in the first place.
Part of the reason is that many of us don’t take the time to properly budget — especially not the slow, inconvenient old-school way, via pen and paper. And we all know how well tracking cash in our heads works out. It generally doesn’t.

The good news: It’s never too late to master your finances and start saving. That’s where today’s web and mobile financial apps come in handy, making it easier and faster to scrimp and save than ever before, sometimes automatically.

Here are three of our favorite free apps to help you start saving money now.

  1. Digit

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If you’re among the one in three Americans who hasn’t saved a single penny for retirement, Digit aims to get you stashing cash pronto. It’s a web- and texting-based digital piggy bank app that “automates your savings so you don’t have to think about it.” We like the sound of that.
Digit dials into your checking account (with your permission) and studies your income history and spending habits. Using an algorithm, it then crunches the data and figures out how much you can afford to save. Every two to three days, the Google Ventures-backed tool transfers small amounts of cash from your checking account (typically between $1 and $150) and funnels it to an FDIC-insured Digit savings account, notifying you all the while via SMS texts.

The startup guarantees that it will “never transfer more money than you can afford.” That way, you need not worry about overdrawing your checking account.

Digit users can access their nest eggs 24/7/365 via text message. Transfers are free, unlimited and have no minimums. The only drawback is that you won’t accrue interest on your savings as digit accounts aren’t set up that way. But, hey, when you hit your savings goals, Digit texts you cheeky congratulatory messages featuring GIFs of killer whales and Bill Murray. That’s something to look forward to, right?

  1. RetailMeNot

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Sure, growing your savings is great, but who doesn’t want to save some dough on their next shopping spree? This free coupon app — spun off from its popular namesake website — scours the web for deals and coupons from more than 50,000 retailers. It then delivers them as barcode scannable and printable digital coupons that you can redeem right from your smartphone screen.

You can also use RetailMeNot to set up customizable notifications so you’ll always be on top of the latest in-store and online deals. Major retailers featured on the site include Amazon, Home Depot, Kohl’s, Old Navy, Target, Staples and more. The app also tracks several national chain restaurants — including Papa John’s, KFC, Chili’s, Olive Garden, Red Lobster — for special deals and discounts.

To discover deals, you can either browse retailers by category (Accessories, Automotive, Beauty, Books, etc.) or by using the app’s keyword search. The visually simple app also has a helpful “Nearby” map feature so that you can see the deals closest to your location (per your device’s GPS coordinates). RetailMeNot is available for iOS and Android devices.

  1. GasBuddy

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While you’re out shopping, you might as well save a few bucks at the gas pump, right?  Every cent saved is another penny you can put back into your budget (uh, and you do have a budget, don’t you?).
GasBuddy, a free user data-driven app, can help you cut down on your gasoline costs by directing you to gas stations that sell the cheapest gas near you. The best part, other than saving on gas, is that GasBuddy does this in a fun, gamified way, similar to Waze, hooking you up with points and snazzy new car icons as you report gas prices. Also, the more prices you report, the better shot you have of gracing the GasBuddy leaderboard.

Available for iOS and Android devices, the app draws on user-supplied gas price information to “drive” you to the lowest gas prices in your area, based on your device’s GPS location. The prices are displayed on a map, but you can also search for them by city or ZIP code.

Are you using the hidden triple-click shortcut on the iPhone?

When I triple-click my iPhone home button, the colors on the screen invert. Check it out:

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This dazzling trick is one of several functions that can be assigned to the iOS accessibility shortcut (see: Settings / General / Accessibility / Accessibility Shortcut).

Along with Invert Colors, other options include the ability to turn on or off VoiceOver, Grayscale, Zoom, Switch Control, and AssistiveTouch.

While these functions are designed for a narrow user base, some may appeal more widely, and they’re all more useful when they can be turned on or off in an instant. (Try assigning only one function for maximum speed.)

I’d recommend Invert Colors. Aside from looking cool, this mode is useful for reading in a dark room, as it makes the phone give off less light — which not only helps other people in the room sleep but also helps you sleep, given that light from devices has been shown to screw up your sleep cycle.

AssistiveTouch is also worth playing around with — indeed, millions of people frequently use this alternate input method (which lets you perform commands without pressing hard buttons or swiping irregularly). While some consider this a more effective way of controlling their phone, however, most who use it do it as a way to avoid pressing the home button for fear of breaking it — and they certainly won’t want to use the triple-click shortcut.

Zoom, which lets you magnify parts of the screen, may appeal to people with bad eyes. It’s also got advanced options — detailed at LifeHacker or in the video below — to make it function as a low-light mode. (As for whether to use this or Invert Colors to read at night, that’s a matter of choice: Low-light mode plus auto-brightness adjusting for nighttime gets extremely dim, though it may be too dim, while Invert Colors plus auto-brightness can be a good compromise.)

As for the others: VoiceOver reads text on the screen; Grayscale removes all color; Switch Control cycles a cursor around available input fields.

You might as well pick a special function, and some are pretty useful.
Business Insider