About a year ago I wrote a post entitled Technology Tools for Ministry. In that article, I promised a follow-up article about technology tools that I use on my iPhone. I enjoy “geeking out” on technology tools. As I mentioned in my previous post, I have no problem with people who resist using certain forms of technology. One needs to be comfortable with the tools and not get sucked into spending too much time figuring them out, etc. Over time, and with much trial and error, I have come to really appreciate these particular apps on my iPhone that I will mention below. They have helped me be efficient in my duties as a pastor. I would hazard a guess that these apps could be beneficial to any profession.
Some of these apps are also on my laptop. I really appreciate when one can access information on any device. Some apps, I’ve found, are better on an iPad instead. I currently have an iPhone 6S+ and have enjoyed the larger screen. The case for my phone is magnetic, which allows me to put my phone on the fridge, metal door, and on the dashboard of my car.
Omnifocus– This app is my task manager app. I am constantly coming back to this app to remind me of what needs to be done. I have set certain tasks to fall under certain “contexts.” I have tweaked these to be “Perspectives.” This lingo makes sense if you are familiar with Omnifocus. For example, I have a list for all of the “communicating” I need to do, be it a phone call, email, text message, etc. I have a context for ‘Home’ and one for ‘Content’ (anything that I need to brainstorm, research, or write including sermons and Bible studies). Another context I have is ‘Admin’ which is any administrative task I need to do. I really appreciate Omnifocus.
Evernote– While I use Evernote primarily on my desktop or laptop computer, it is really nice to have the iPhone app of Evernote as well. It provides me the ability to access my notes on the fly while I’m out and about. This iPhone app was recently redesigned and made much easier to use.
Drafts– This app is my digital scratchpad. Similar to using a piece of paper to scribble notes, this app provides a digital version of that. It works really well with other apps. For example, I can type a quick note and then click ‘Save to Evernote’ if I want that information as reference material. Other times I type a task and click ‘create a task in Omnifocus.’ I also use this app to capture blog ideas to Trello, compose text messages, compose messages for social media platforms.
For devotional life
PrayerMate– It’s the best option I’ve found for facilitating my prayer list.
ESV Bible– I’ve only started using this app recently. One of the things that I like a lot is that while listening to the audio Bible through this app, it syncs verse by verse with the screen.
For fun/continued learning
Pocket– I save articles I find on the web on my desktop or on my iPhone to read later in Pocket. When I have a few minutes, I read through those saved articles. The ones I really like or find useful get saved to Evernote.
Overcast– I LOVE to listen to podcasts! When I am driving or doing something that doesn’t require my full mental attention, I listen to many different podcasts. This app is my favorite podcasting app. It allows me to organize my podcasts easily and has wonderful options of “smart speed” that shortens the silence in the audio file and speeds up to 1.25x speed. It takes a little while to get used to, but I am able to listen to more this way. Sometimes my kids hear a podcast and they try to talk fast like the speaker I am listening to.
Kindle– While I prefer to read my Kindle books on the iPad, it is fine on the iPhone. I love that I can highlight and make notes on selected portions in a book. Later, I can save these annotations into Evernote for future reference.
Tweetbot– I like surfing Twitter on this app. I have a few lists I keep here, but the one I check most is ‘Sports.’ 🙂
These apps either run more in the background and enhance the other apps I’ve mentioned above or they are used infrequently, but I still find much value in them.
Text Expander– With the click of a few buttons, a longer stream of text appears. This saves quite a bit of time! My most often used “snippet” is one that expands to show today’s full date. I type the letters “dd” and I receive this: “March 9, 2017- ” This works very well with the Drafts app in particular.
PDF Expert– I have found that it works best on the iPad. I tried to use it on my iPhone for awhile, but despite my large phone screen, I found it cumbersome to zoom in and zoom out constantly. I can read, highlight, and annotate PDFs. When I am finished, I save them to Evernote.
Trello– This is a great app for keeping lists. I especially like how one can drag to reorder. I have lists for books to read, house projects to do in the future, blog post ideas, among a few other lists. I also do some brainstorming of visitation with a list in Trello.
Scanner Pro– There are a number of scanning apps. I really like how “Scannable” is easy to use, quick, and saves to Evernote. I have found, though, that I really like ‘Scanner Pro.’ It is a little more powerful than Scannable and allows me to scan a document as a PDF so that I can highlight words in that document, especially in PDF Expert.
Thanks for reading and for allowing me to ‘geek out’ here. What apps or technology tools have you found to be useful to you? Obviously I don’t have an Android phone, but I would be curious to hear if there are similar apps to the ones I’ve mentioned that meet your needs on that type of phone. Either way, may these things stay what they are: tools. They never eclipse the most important work we do that happens in a face-to-face context. Blessings!