I carry a Chromebook, but more often than not I find myself doing some sort of work (or work related activity) on my phone. Over the years, I’ve identified my most common pain points and found apps that address those gaps. Find those below.
Please note that, as the title indicates, I write these from the perspective of a leader. I’ve led teams both big and small, and these have helped me along the way. They may be helpful to others, but I wrote it with the leader audience in mind. I hope they’re as useful for you as they are for me.
So. Many. Passwords. I can’t remember them all (and I bet you’re the same way).
That’s why I love Dashlane. It remembers all of my passwords, allowing me to program whether I want it to automatically log me into a site when I visit it, or if I want to click a button to do so. (This last option is useful if you have a couple of different logins for one website — such as two different email logins). Another plus is that Dashlane will autogenerate a password if you want it to (and provides a few options for what should be in that password; see screenshot).
Dashlane also remembers your credit card information if you want it to, which makes online purchasing a breeze.
Here’s the downside: Dashlane encrypts locally. This means that if you’re on your phone or a Chromebook it will not log you in automatically. You have to log in (there is a phone app) and copy the password, then paste it in manually. There might be a few other apps that don’t require this process, but I don’t like them (and I’ve shopped around). Dashlane, in my opinion, is the best you will find.
Even though Evernote is the ‘obvious’ option, I chose it for three specific reasons.
- I’ve seen so many articles suggesting different expense tracking apps. Leaders are often on the road; I know what that’s like and how time consuming it can be to track expenses. That’s why I like Evernote. Create a notebook, then use your phone to take a picture that saves into that notebook. This is one of the reasons I upgraded my phone; the iPhone 6s has a 12megapixel iSight camera, which keeps the pictures crisp (important when taking pictures of receipts). Sidenote: this feature can also be applied to taking pictures of business cards or other documents, ultimately combining the features of 5 apps.
- Just as often as expense tracking apps, I found articles suggesting project management apps. My opinion: this is silly. Project management apps work best when lots of people use them, which means you’ve already transitioned your company to one or you haven’t. If you haven’t, I suggest Evernote. It lets you create a simple checklist where you can tick off each item as you go.
- I love the ability to clip articles to different notebooks. Whether you’re clipping for a business meeting or to keep a record of the best articles you’ve read, there’s no feature like it (and you can clip from your computer and your phone).
Ken Blanchard has long been a respected name in the leadership community, and his app does not disappoint. It’s a content consolidation app that allows you to narrow into articles and other content that makes sense for you. Along the bottom it offers four sections:
- Ken’s Blog
A fifth section, titled “More”, provides content around the subjects of “Government”, “New Leaders”, “Leading with Trust” and “YouTube”.
Overall, I found the content helpful and a useful way to fill in the small spots in my day. But the app isn’t perfect. Clicking “YouTube” causes it to crash, and I couldn’t get the Twitter stream to load during the time I tried it. If you’re into Blanchard, though, and want to check it out, you can find it on his website.
I don’t use this app myself on a regular basis, but I’ve heard good feedback on it. You talk into the app (up to 30 seconds at a time), and it converts it into text for you. Particularly useful when your hands aren’t free to type, or when you can’t type fast enough to get the words on paper.
One question I had is whether it will work with other apps. The answer: sort of. Once you dictate, you can hit an “Export” type button that will move your message into iMessage, email, or a social media platform (or you can copy it outright). I find this only semi useful, as I would also want it to export into Evernote — but you can’t have everything you want. Find this app here.
I truly believe that the best leaders never stop learning, which is why I’m including one more ‘content’ app.
As opposed to the Ken Blanchard app above, this one sources content from lots of places: LDN International, Hudson Global, Inspirational Workplaces, and others.
The video option also actually works on this app. One downside: some of the videos are quite long (in the hour range), and they do not save your spot if you exit out and come back.
Like the Blanchard app, this one offers categories — ones that may be more useful to the executive leader: Organisational Change, HR Strategy, and Performance Management.
If you find yourself struggling to find the right content to read, give this a try. Find it here.
Here are a few other apps you might consider but that I don’t have the time to go into. I’ve named them below with a quick description.
WhatsApp — A messaging app you’ve probably heard of. Useful if you need to stay in text communication with people overseas (or when you go overseas).
Path — Alternatively, try Path. It keeps your social media and contacts to 150 people, to keep your circles tight and useful. It also offers private messaging.
Moov — I throw this in as a fitness app, because it’s the one I use. I do a lot of swimming, and this is one of the few that I can use in the pool. It also straps to my ankle and tracks my running metrics.
Quora — I love Quora both as a content platform, and as a way to stay in touch with what people are curious about (both in my industry and in other subjects). Downside: sometimes you have to muddle through the muck to find the gold.
I probably missed a great app that you use on a daily basis, so don’t be stingy — share with us your favorite leadership app in the comments below.