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5 New Features of iOS 5 That Can Save Time and Boost Productivity

5 New Features of iOS 5 That Can Save Time and Boost Productivity

Well, today is iPhone 4S day and because of its immaculate pre-order sales, it’s a pretty safe bet that many consumers like the idea of a faster, better camera equipped, personal assistant toting iPhone. Not to mention all of the updates that come because of the newly upgraded iOS 5.

So, can the iPhone 4S and iOS 5 make one more productive? Can it help them save time with normal everyday things? Well, no tool can make you more productive, you make you more productive, but a tool can definitely save you time and augment your productivity.

Here are 5 things that iPhone 4S and iOS 5 will help you save time and boost your productivity.

    Reminders

    Reminders is a new app that comes with iOS 5. It allows users to create simple lists of tasks that can contain a due date, a reminder (either a date/time or location), a name, and a note. Pretty simple. But for the masses of people that are GTD fanboys and girls like you, the reminder app will be more than enough to support their productivity.

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    Reminders also syncs with iCloud, so if you have any other iDevices you can get access to your todos from anywhere.

      Fast Camera Access

      One of my favorite new features of iOS 5 is the quick access to the camera. I take a lot of pictures of things that I need to remember for later meetings or phone calls (not to mention awesome pictures of my puppies) and being able to get quick access is nice.

      To get fast access, double click your home button at the lock screen and a camera icon will appear. Touch the camera icon and you are in. I’ve also noticed that when you access the camera this way on the iPhone 4, you won’t get the dreaded “shutter of death”. The shutter opens quickly and you can start snapping away.

        Keyboard shortcuts

        Even though the iPhone’s keyboard is pretty darn easy to use, it can be a little annoying to type and re-type certain phrases over and over again. If you are a TextExpander nerd, then you have probably been using TextExpander Touch on your phone for some time. The only issue is that TE Touch can’t be used system-wide.

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        In iOS 5 under Settings > Keyboard you will notice a new ‘Shortcuts’ section that allows users to enter phrases and a shortcut to get to them. Once you’ve added a shortcut combo, you can type it anywhere on your iPhone and you will see the familiar auto-correct bar come up with your “expanded” shortcut. It isn’t as robust as TE Touch, but still will save you tons of time in the long run.

          iCloud

          iCloud is Apple’s new cloud storage / syncing service that now ships with iOS 5. Signing up for an iCloud account gives you web access to a new email client, calendar, contacts, Find My iPhone, and documents in the cloud. Basically, MobileMe done right. You can then use this account to keep your iPhone in sync with the server, not to mention with all of your iCloud friendly devices.

          This is one thing that the iPhone has been missing that other devices (I’m looking at you Android) have been giving users for a while now. The thing is, and this goes for almost all Apple products, iCloud tends to be more “polished” (not more feature rich, Android fanboys) than any other cloud/mobile service that I have encountered.

          What does iCloud mean for productivity? Ubiquitous email, calendar, and contacts with web access. Not to mention daily “cloud backups” of your iDevice. Enough said.

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          Siri (iPhone 4S only)

          Siri is the voice recognition/personal assistant that ships with the iPhone 4S. There is a really nice video that Jason Snell did from Macworld showing off the personal assistant. While it is still in “beta”, Siri seems to work pretty well and can definitely help out users who don’t have typing access to their phones.

          Siri allows the user to listen to and reply to text messages with voice, search for local businesses and map them, search Wolfram Alpha for statistics and things, give themselves reminders, set timers and alarms, and also manipulate their calendar and email. Yes, Android phones have had speech recognition for a while, but once again Apple seems to have polished this and made it accessible to mere mortals.

            One more thing: Notification Center

            Any productive iPhone user has had to have known that the notifications on iOS stink. They interrupt what you are currently doing and force your attention to them. You could turn them off, but that was really an all or nothing type of approach.

            Apple has added the new Notification Center to iOS 5 that allows user to use a drop-down shade from the top of the iPhone, much like the Android notification bar. In Notification Center you can set up notifications for any app that supports it as well as include snazzy weather and stock widgets. I can’t begin to describe how much time this has saved me from having to “hunt and peck” for app badge icons to see the notifications I have missed.

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            Users can set up their notifications in Settings > Notifications and can choose just how they want them to show up.

            This is just a taste of all of the new features of iOS 5 that can help boost your productivity and save you time. I’m sure we will find more of the small time-savers that Apple has included over the next several days and weeks, but for now these are the most obvious ones. So, if you are a lucky one getting your snazzy new iPhone 4S today, try these 5 (+1) features out to save some time.

            More by this author

            CM Smith

            A technologist and writer who shares advice on personal productivity, creativity and how to use technology to get things done.

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            Last Updated on October 16, 2019

            11 Meeting Scheduler Apps to Boost Your Productivity

            11 Meeting Scheduler Apps to Boost Your Productivity

            Automations are key to improving efficiency. Set the system up right from the beginning and you’ll reduce the amount of no-shows and cancellations.

            Whatever your business is, with automations, meeting scheduler apps do more than just streamline appointment setting. They prime your workflow for maximum results.

            Meeting scheduler apps are awesome if you use them right. Use them wrong and you can look like an arrogant elitist.

            In this article, I will share with you 11 great meeting scheduler apps you can start using today to boost your productivity.

            1. ScheduleOnce

              ScheduleOnce is an industry leader and robust solution. Whether you work alone or have a large team, ScheduleOnce can support you.

              ScheduleOnce allows you to create multiple users and multiple calendars. I use one calendar for booking podcast guests with automations set up to prep my guests for our interview. I use another calendar for strategy sessions and coaching calls.

              ScheduleOnce also has embeddable widgets so you can keep the scheduler inside your own website.

              Starting at $7 a month and a 14 day free trial, ScheduleOnce can fit a variety of needs in business.

              Available on Web

              2. Calendly

                Calendly stands out for its clean, easy to use interface. If you like clean design, Calendly might be your choice. It too has robust automations and integrations for individuals and teams alike.

                You can try Calendly free for 14 days. Their basic plan is free while their most robust plan is only $12 a month.

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                Available on Web | Google Chrome Extension

                3. Assistant.to

                  For those who use gmail, Assistant.to is a super simple solution.

                  From inside an email, you click on the Assistant.to icon and pick times your free. Assistant.to embeds the times directly into the email so the recipient can quickly pick a time that works for them.

                  While it doesn’t have all the bells and whistles of apps like Calendly or ScheduleOnce, Assistant.to is completely free.

                  Available on Web

                  4. Acuityscheduling

                    Acuity is a robust meeting scheduler very similar to ScheduleOnce. It integrates with CRMs, Email Marketing platforms, Analytics tools and accounting software.

                    It comes with a 14 day free trial. They have a free solo account but if you want the benefit of the integrations, you’ll start as low as $15 a month and can cost up to $50 a month.

                    Available on Web | iOS | Android

                    5. Pick

                      Built for simplicity, Pick is direct and easy to use. You can create your own url extension like pick.co/yournamehere and it integrates with Google calendar and Office 365.

                      At $3 a month, this is a great tool for quick scheduling.

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                      Available on Web

                      6. X.ai

                        For those who are early adopters of AI, this may be the solution for you. X.ai created two AI assistants they call Amy and Andrew Ingram. After setting up your account you simply CC them on your emails with the person you’re wanting to schedule and the AI assistants will email your guests from there until your appointment is set.

                        This type of scheduler feels more personal because of the dialogue. There are stories on their site of people thinking Amy and Andrew are real people. X.ai integrates with Google, Office 365 and Outlook.

                        Starting at $29 a month for an Individual account and $39 a month per user for a Team account, Amy and Andrew are ready to schedule meetings for you. Want to try it out first? They do have a free trial.

                        Available on Web

                        7. YouCanBook.me

                          is another competitive solution for scheduling meetings online. You can manage the calendars of your entire team, configure booking forms, and integrate with your calendar.

                          They have a free account branded with their company name or you can have some control over your branding and appearance at $10 a month for all their features. Either way, this company is worth a look.

                          Available on Web

                          8. Doodle

                            Doodle is unique in the space of meeting schedulers because it helps groups of people find a time to meet that works for everyone.

                            It integrates with your calendar and allows you to send a poll to all invited. Once people vote on the poll you can see which time works best for everyone.

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                            You can also run polls for food preferences if you’re scheduling a lunch meeting or a section of town if people are coming from all over.

                            While there is a free account, you’ll unlock it’s potential starting at $39 per year.

                            Available on Web | iOS | Android

                            9. WhenAvailable

                              WhenAvailable is another scheduler that works for groups of people. You can use it to schedule a pickup game of basketball, decide on your next book club or book your family reunion.

                              Their free account allows up to 20 guests, unlimited events and one contact group. For $15 a year you unlock all the goodies including reminders and chat messages.

                              Available on Web

                              10. Rally

                                Like Doodle and WhenAvailable, Rallly is helpful for scheduling meetings and events with multiple people involved. You create a poll and everyone votes. It’s quick and easy.

                                Unlike Doodle, it doesn’t have as many features, but it’s entirely free.

                                Available on Web

                                11. NeedtoMeet

                                  Finishing strong, NeedtoMeet is our last app that allows you to schedule meetings or events for multiple people. It has mobile apps, custom urls, easy polling, notifications and commenting.

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                                  NeedtoMeet also allows 1:1 Meetings for things like performance reviews for your whole team. You send out the your calendar slots to your team and they can only pick 1 slot, minimizing the amount of emails and scheduling you have to coordinate.

                                  While they have a free account, you can unlock all features for only $19 a year.

                                  Available on Web

                                  Bonus: Don’t Make These Common Mistakes When Using Meeting Schedulers

                                  In the excitement of streamlining your scheduling process, it can be easy to forget the feelings of those you’re inviting to meet. I know. I’ve done this.

                                  To say “Hey, schedule time on my calendar” feels colder than “Hey, here’s my calendar. To avoid all the back and forth, pick a time that works best for you.”

                                  Always make sure to frame your invite with your scheduler app with the benefit to them and why we’re doing it this way rather than the old fashioned, personal way.

                                  A little finesse goes a long way. Without it, you risk seeming transactional and cold.

                                  Some meeting scheduler widgets you can embed in your site can take a couple seconds to load. If you go this route, make sure there’s text just above the widget that lets your guest know the calendar will appear below and to wait for it to load.

                                  If you use an online meeting tool like Zoom, it’s also important to explicitly let them know the meeting will take place on Zoom and include the Zoom link in the email reminder. Many make the mistake of not clarifying where the meeting will actually take place which can create last minute chaos at the time of the meeting.

                                  Should you require special settings, like ethernet, external mics or lighting, let your guests know that on your thank you page and reminder emails so they are prepared for the meeting and you end up with the best meeting possible.

                                  With clear communication in your automation, your meeting scheduler tools can almost perform like a virtual assistant for a fraction of the cost, or free, depending on the app you choose.

                                  The Bottom Line

                                  Meeting scheduler apps are diverse in features and unique in design. Before committing to one and realizing it’s not a fit, I recommend exploring which 3 might best fit you and then doing a trial with each of them at the same time so that you can see how they feel as you use them side by side.

                                  Scheduling meetings the old fashioned way can be tedious. Conversely, finding a scheduling app that works seamlessly in the background is heavenly.

                                  Like cell phones, meeting scheduler apps are moving from a nice-to-have luxury to must-have necessity in the lives of productive people. As you explore your options, stay true to your brand and the tools that have worked well for you to this point and simply find a meeting scheduler app that plays well with what you have created.

                                  Featured photo credit: rawpixel via unsplash.com

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