We all know our iPhones are capable of streamlining our work and home lives, keeping us organised and remembering things we’re bound to forget — but, for some reason, we still seem to prefer the apps that kill time, rather than save it. Here’s an idea: next time you’re commuting, give Candy Crush Saga a miss, and fill your journey with one of these creativity-boosting apps instead.
Evernote’s been around for a while now, and it still seems as relevant as it did when it was released. Write notes from your iPad on the train, from your iPhone in bed, and from your MacBook at work — they’re all synched to the same place. Google Drive is good for this too, but Evernote is more conducive to capturing creativity on the go.
2. Adobe Ideas
This one’s mainly for designers, but anyone can enjoy a creativity boost from playing around on Adobe Ideas. Create freeform vector illustrations from your phone (this is much easier with a stylus) and send them on to your desktop, and vice versa. Adobe Photoshop Touch isn’t bad, either. The size of the iPhone screen can be an issue though, unless you have small hands.
Doodling is far more enjoyable than playing Temple Run — and it helps get your creative juices flowing, too. Even if you don’t have an idea, just scribbling in different colours can help prime your brain for a day of creative thinking. And completing a sketch before you get to the office is much more satisfying than playing games. It’s also really good at getting your brain into free-association mode, especially if you let your mind drift while you draw.
Nothing beats brainstorming on a big sheet of paper, but it’s not often we have one of those to hand — especially not when we’re on a train or sitting in a cafe somewhere. Grid helps you plan, organise, and collaborate effectively by mimicking the way you think. Similar ideas can be placed near each other on the grid, without the restrictions of order or sequence. The interface might take a little getting used to, but once you get the hang of it, you’ll be glad you did.
Uninspired? Try Sum05 — an app which allows you to create patterns by tilting, shaking and tapping your iPhone. The finished product can act as a writing prompt, or design inspiration — or, if you’re really not in the mood for being productive, you can just use it as your iPhone wallpaper. The images you produce on Sum05 are strangely fascinating, so it’s worth downloading when you next get a dull moment.
Of course, everyone finds inspiration in different places, and there are no “bad” apps in that respect. You might even find Twitter gets you thinking creatively, if you follow the right people. And, if you try uninstalling all gaming apps for a week (you can always reinstall them — don’t panic!), you’re likely to see a surprising boost in productivity. Really, what have you got to lose?
By Sam Wright
Sam Wright is a freelance writer working for Brand Republic. He sometimes wonders if his smartphone is smarter than he is.