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With the right apps, our phones can become the assistants we never had. Whether you call your phone Siri or Steve, it can serve up insightful reading, help you organise your day or give you a workout to tone the body and sharpen the mind. Here’s a selection of apps that will supercharge your phone and put the 'smart' back in smartphone.

1. Planning: Asana

The creators of this productivity app have a lofty goal: to get rid of email. With excellent features such as due dates, assignees, file sharing and team chat built into the free version, Asana will help you manage everything from shopping lists to your next major ad campaign. And when you complete a task, a flying unicorn is there to congratulate you.

Download Asana for Android or iOS.

Also try Slack (Android or iOS), which is like your favourite chat app on a sugar rush.

2. Notes and lists: Google Keep

If you’re in the habit of making lists, this app will keep you company. You can make notes, draw pictures, take voice recordings, save pictures and make lists. You can also share your shopping list with hubby when it’s his turn to pick up the groceries.

Download Google Keep for Android or iOS

Also try Paper by 53 (iOS only). It’s the most beautifully designed app for notes, sketches and photos.

3. Keeping fit: 7 Minute Workout

Who says you need to spend hours in the gym? The app promises to make you sweat in seven minutes with a combination of body-weight and resistance exercises. All you need is a chair and a towel. For a more intense workout, the app can guide you through longer workouts of up to 30 minutes.

Download 7 Minute Workout for Android or iOS.

Also try Down Dog (Android or iOS), the yoga app that helps you fit your practice into your everyday routine.

4. Reading: Medium

The publishing platform Medium was founded by Evan Williams, who also co-founded Twitter. In contrast, Medium is about long-form content presented in an engaging way. It’s filled with everything from book reviews, short stories and poetry to articles on innovation, entrepreneurship and women in tech. It’s a perfect gap-filler while you grab a quick sandwich or take the commute home.

Download Medium for Android or iOS.

Also try Pocket (Android or iOS). Save articles and videos to read later, so that you can focus on the important things during the day.

5. Cleaning: SweepSouth

Go to SweepSouth to book a professional cleaner – or even a team of cleaners. Aside from offering thoroughly vetted, professional and fully equipped cleaners from a mere R38/hour, SweepSouth is helping to create jobs. The cleaners are fairly compensated for their labour and can come to rely on regular income. So not only do you get a clean house, you also get to help someone else in the process. You can even ask the cleaners to bring their own products (for a nominal fee).

SweepSouth is available in Cape Town, Centurion, Johannesburg and Pretoria.

6. Manage your spend: My Vodacom App

The My Vodacom App is a must when it comes to managing your mobile phone spend. Get your balances at the touch a button, and buy extra data in bundles when you need it. Best of all, the app is zero-rated, which means it doesn't use any of your Vodacom data!

Note: While these apps may be free, the data needed to download and use the apps is not. You can buy bundles now from Vodacom Online. 

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