These days, cell phones do a whole lot more than just making calls – yes, they still make calls. Of course, with apps that do everything from connect you to latest social network to addictive games that can keep you busy for hours, the fun can cancel out the productivity pretty quickly. I have an Android phone and I love it (for my iPhone friends, you may find that many of these apps are in the iTunes App store as well). And yes, I play lots of games on it. However, I have found some great applications that actually help me be productive. Here are my top five:

1. Evernote

You can do so much with this amazing online notebook. You can store and organize notes, voice recordings, pictures and more. The app is free, all you need is an Evernote account (also free) and you can start organizing your notes. The great thing about Evernote is that you can access it from your Phone (it supports iPhone as well as Android), PC (Windows & Mac) and via the web. While it offers a premium service at $45 per year, most people can make do with the free version.

2. Mint.Com

Like Evernote, this app links in to a web-based service (which is free) that is extremely helpful. allows you to track all your financial data from credit cards to bank accounts to loans to investments and much more. While you can’t use it to pay bills, you can use it to quickly check transactions and make notes to any transactions that are made to any of your accounts. You can also see if payments cleared, check balances and see how you’re tracking within your budget. It takes a while to set up (you might need about half a day to collect all your information and register for access to your different accounts) but then after that, you’re good to go. It’s a must have for anyone who’s serious about their financial health.

3. Gentle Alarm :

Gone are the days of needing an alarm clock – most cell phones (even those without all the fancy bells & whistles) have alarms built into them. But this app takes things a couple steps forward. First, the volume of the alarm starts off low but than gradually increases, which helps you wake up in a more natural way. Another great feature is the pre-alarm, which goes off at a low volume before the regular alarm (default is 30 minutes, but you can adjust it) so if you’re partially awake, you’ll hear it and get up (if you’re so inclined). We’re all looking for more hours in the day and this app is a great way to get some (at least partial hours).

4. Juice Defender:

This app is essentially a tool that helps prolong your battery life by shutting off things that you’re not using. Smartphones are notorious for having short battery life so these types of utilities are essential. I’ve found that by using this app, I typically get a 75% increase in battery life, which is very helpful. You might be wondering how a battery saver makes you more productive. Well, if you’re not able to use your phone because your battery has run out (or you’re waiting for it to charge), then you have completely lost any productivity. Minimizing these types of situations will certainly help with productivity.

5. Business Calendar:

While the calendar included with Android is okay (and the one that the HTC Sense phones include is pretty nice), I’ve found this app to be helpful because of its display and its widget. Again, the calendar widget from HTC Sense is nice and scrolls a bit better, but the Business Calendar widget uses a smaller font so if you’re like me and keep your to do list in your calendar, then you can see a lot more entries right away without the need to scroll. It also comes preloaded with US holidays and lets you have multiple calendars (work, home, etc…) which you can turn their displays off and on.

So these are some of my favorite apps that I feel increase my productivity. As I discover more, I’ll be sure to add them to future posts. And if there are apps that you think I should know about, leave a comment below or contact me.

Five Android Apps to Increase Productivity
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