Personal development Technology

25 great apps to improve your personal and professional lives

Like most of you, I spend all day on my phone. That means I have a selection of apps that I rely on to make me more productive, better informed, healthier, and (often above all else) highly entertained.

Evernote, Slack, Feedly, Facebook, Twitter, Dropbox, Tallie, Spotify, Google Music, Strong, ESPN, Southwest, DarkSky — these are the apps I keep coming back to, the ones that make my personal and professional lives better. They’re on the home screen of my iPhone, and with good reason: Considering what I need and want to do every day, they’re incredibly useful.

There’s always room for improvement, though.

That’s why I love to attend sessions like the one Beth Ziesenis led at the 2016 ASAE Annual Meeting. Self-billed as “your nerdy best friend,” Ziesenis offered her take on some of the best productivity apps available today. By the time her hour-long session was complete, I had downloaded five new apps and figured out ways in which at least three of them could make me more productive.

Here’s a list of some of the awesome tools Ziesenis featured during her session:

  • For finding the best air fare: Try Hopper or Hipmunk — they’ll track air fare to your destination and let you know when prices are lowest.
  • For remembering stuff you usually forget: Try Wonder. This bot will let you save information you want to remember. Later, when you need to remember it, simply search for what you need to know and Wonder will remind you. Want to remember your daughter's locker combination? Or passwords to a million different sites? Or … whatever? Give Wonder a try.
  • For scanning business cards and adding them to your contacts: Try Camcard. Better yet, try Evernote — not only will it save the contact information, it will ask if you want to connect to your new contact via LinkedIn. Pretty awesome.
  • For remembering the names of people you should know: Try Name Shark. I desperately need this app. It uses self-practice and quizzes related to faces, names, and personal details to help you remember the names of key contacts.
  • For calling someone when you really don’t want to talk to them: Try SlyDial. It will connect you directly with someone’s voicemail. No need for pesky conversations anymore.
  • For recording lectures, presentations, or other live sessions: Try LectureRecordings. This Android app will record the audio from a presentation and sync that audio directly to your typewritten notes. SoundNote will do the same thing for Mac users.
  • For scientific search: Try Wolfram Alpha. “Pretty much all of the scientific data in the world is on this site,” Ziesenis said.
  • For scheduling a meeting with lots of people: Try Doodle. It will help you find the best date for a meeting involving lots of your personal or professional contacts.
  • For finding tons of royalty-free photos: Try Pixabay. Free for commercial use, and no attribution required.
  • For no-hassle, high-definition video conferencing: Try Zoom. Host video conferences for up to 50 people and 40 minutes … for free. Plus, you can record and save the sessions.

What are the apps that you can’t live without? Post them in the comments section below. #ShareTheKnowledge


William D. Sheridan