My Top 10 Applications I Use to Stay Connected on the Fly (plus a bonus)
I was a bit late to the game of using Apple products. My first Apple product was a 2nd generation iPad. Then I purchased an iPhone 5, and most recently I converted to a MacBook Air. I am not an Apple fanatic by any stretch of the imagination, but the products have managed to find their way into my life.
I’m always on the move, going from meetings with clients on their premises, to coffee shop chats with other like-minded sales folks, to my home office, and to my company’s office in downtown St. John’s. Throw in an airplane every couple of weeks, and you can see why having a solid set of apps to rely on is important to me.
If I had to break down my screen time, I would estimate that 50% of it is on the iPhone, 40% is on the MacBook, and 10% is on the iPad.
I am often asked about the applications I use to stay on top of things in both my personal and professional life (is there really a delineation?). Here are my top iOS apps and how I use them:
- Evernote. I have been using Evernote for the past four years and have over 7,000 notes in it. In fact, I am using Evernote to write this blog post. I use Evernote to take notes while I am in meetings, to create checklists and reminders, and so on. About a year ago I read David Allen’s book Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity, and I have implemented much of that methodology to help in my productivity. Evernote is the centerpiece of my approach. I am planning a post in which I provide more detail about my use of Evernote.
- Buffer. I have been using Buffer consistently for about the past three months and often wonder how I ever got by without it. I use Buffer to find and schedule the sharing of relevant content about sales, writing, productivity, and habit formation. The beauty of the app is that the more I use it the better it seems to become at recommending content. I also love how it finds not only new content but also content from the past that is still relevant today.
- Audible. Most of the books I consume are printed books. I have a rather large library of printed books. But I also enjoy audiobooks and find them quite convenient to listen to while on the move or working out. I subscribe to Audible’s monthly service and download and listen to at least one book each month.
- Nimble. This app is a relatively new addition for me, but it is proving to be very powerful. I am really only scratching its surface so far. Basically, I use Nimble as a means of getting a bird’s-eye view into the life of everyone I meet or would like to meet. Nimble aggregates all of their social profiles to tell me what they are tweeting about and give me their history on LinkedIn, Google+, and other social networks. It enables me to be better prepared for meetings. It also finds engagement opportunities for me on social media. In addition to the iOS app, I use the browser extension so that when I hover my mouse over a person’s name, the browser automatically brings up an aggregated profile of him or her. In fifteen seconds I can scan that profile and know the latest.
- Skype. I use Skype to record my podcasts, make long-distance calls for personal reasons, and when travelling to new countries from which I have no idea how to dial home. For example, last week Jennifer and I went to the Bahamas. I had to call the kennel to check in on our dog, so I fired up Skype and made the call from the beach.
- LinkedIn Connected. LinkedIn is the centerpiece of my social presence. LinkedIn Connected notifies me when one of my connections changes jobs, has a birthday, and so on. I look forward to the notifications each morning and typically take thirty seconds to send off a few congratulations and well wishes to my connections.
- LinkedIn Pulse. Personally, I love how LinkedIn has become a publishing powerhouse. Thus far, I have published over forty articles on the topics of sales and productivity. LinkedIn recently provided a significant update to its Pulse app, which is becoming the hub for my media consumption. The app notifies me when one of my connections has posted an article, which gives me an opportunity to read the article and engage if I feel inclined to do so. It also curates content based on the channels I have selected: Sales Strategies, Career, Entrepreneurship, and so forth.
- Podcasts. I have been listening to podcasts for at least the past five years. My first introduction to podcasts was via Blackberry. I currently subscribe to about fifteen podcasts on my iPhone and, much like audiobooks via Audible, I listen to podcasts while I’m on the move. Recently I launched my own podcast, for which my aim is to help entrepreneurs and new sales professionals get over the mind-set hurdles that arise when they realize, “Holy smokes, It’s Time to Sell.”
- Home Security. This one is not about productivity but rather about peace of mind. Vivint is our home security provider. From within the app I can remotely lock and unlock doors, turn the alarm on and off, and view the indoor and outdoor security cameras.
- Mailchimp. About a year ago I began building an email distribution list. I send out one email per week to my subscribers, in which I share stories, tips, and tactics in the area of sales. I cherish my email list. I use Mailchimp to manage and send those emails. The app is phenomenal. I am able to view real-time metrics, message open rates, new subscribers, unsubscribers, and other useful information.
- Bonus: Using Siri for Mail and Messages. If you send me an email or text message, there is a good chance I will reply using Siri. Siri is Apple’s voice-recognition functionality, and I use it to reply and send emails and message while on the move. It is 95% accurate for my voice, so I just do a quick scan to ensure that there are no major errors, and then I hit send. I would estimate that Siri has cut in half the time I spend processing emails and messages.
There you have it: the top 11 applications I use on the fly.
Question: What are your favorite applications that help you stay connected on the fly? Please comment below.