Have you ever thought about getting a PA? A personal assistant could take care of all the little admin jobs that fill up your day, freeing you up to do your real work or just give you some breathing space.
A good PA could go further - he or she could take care of things you haven't even thought of and make your life easier without you having to concern yourself with the boring minutiae.
You might not be in a position to hire a Person Friday, but if you have a Samsung GALAXY Note II, you might still be able to get some of the benefits. Can your Note II replace a PA? We think it might. Here's how.
Talk is cheap, time is money
The Note II works very well as a mobile phone, but actually talking to people and responding to SMS messages can seriously eat into your time. Your Note II can take care of that for you in a couple of ways. Firstly, voice mail.
The voice mail provided by your mobile network is fine, but it can be tricky to manage, particularly if they use a complicated menu system. HulloMail Smart Voicemail [Free ad-supported version / £5.99 full version] is a complete 'visual voicemail' system for your Note II that will show you each message on your Note II's 5.5-inch HD Super AMOLED display, with an optional avatar pic for the sender.
HulloMail will actually contact your mobile network and get it to route all your missed calls to its servers, completely replacing your operator's voicemail service. You can also use it to record individual greetings for calls from selected contacts and the paid version will automatically send an MP3 of each voicemail to your email inbox, for you to listen on your PC or to file for later.
Successfully screening calls
Secondly, you can use a variety of decent, Note II-friendly apps to automatically screen calls or respond to messages. The dialler app on your phone will let you quickly fire off an "I'm busy, call back later," SMS instead of picking up a call, while an app such as Auto SMS [£1.26] can send custom SMS replies automatically based on several criteria. Spam texts can be quickly binned and you can get back to your contacts instantly even while doing something else.
Another useful app to help you keep in touch with your contacts is Nextcall. Simply tag important work or personal contacts (there are categories for both) and Nextcall will keep an eye on how often you contact them.
You can set threshold for each category or for individuals so you don't have to worry about remembering to touch base once a month with a colleague or call your mum every week - your Note II-based PA will remind you.
"Note II, take this down…"
Any PA worth their salt should be able to take dictation and the GALAXY Note II is no exception. Tap the microphone at the bottom of your keyboard and you will start voice typing.
Using this handy feature effectively can take a little practice at first, as it can struggle with rapid speakers or those with particularly strong regional accents. Nevertheless, once you've got the hang of it, voice-to-text on the Note II works surprisingly well and is certainly good enough to dictate texts, tweets and other short notes.
The Note II's aptitude for voice control means that it can also take full advantage of the growing number of apps that let you speak directly to your phone. One of the best of the current crop is Maluuba, which doesn't 'talk back' like some of its rivals, but is incredibly adept at finding information.