My Favorite Ways to Get Things Done

Have you ever just really loved using something? We guys love our gadgets and tools. And, with Father’s Day this weekend, I thought about my favorites. Next to my Leatherman, my iPhone is, without a doubt, my favorite and most used tool. In particular, I love the apps on my iPhone and especially the ones on my home screen! They help me work and live more productively, so I thought I would share them with you…and, yes, this is a super geeky blog post!

Here are my favorite apps from top to bottom (on the screen):
1. Messages: This is Apple’s messaging app. Honestly, I’ve never tried another messaging app…why get rid of a great thing! I use it regularly to send text messages to friends and team members.
2. Calendar: This is Apple’s calendar app. I’ve tried other calendars, but I really like the new daily and mothly views. This app syncs perfectly with my Google Calenders and even my tasks in Nozbe (more about this later).
3. Google Maps: Google Maps is my go-to app for maps and directions. I recently tried Apple’s default Maps app, but Google Maps has voice guidance directions that are easier to understand, the directions are more precise, and the maps show more detail than Apple Maps.
4. Camera: This is Apple’s Camera app. I really like the way Apple allows the user to switch from video to still shots within the app. And, the picture quality on the iPhone 5 is a great improvement from iPhone 4.
5. FastEver Snap – Camera for Evernote (FE Snap): FE Snap is my camera app for Evernote (more about Evernote later). I take pictures of equipment and other items to remember in Evernote, and I don’t like for these pictures to get mixed into many pictures Jorjanne and I take of our family events. FE Snap is a quick and easy way to take and store pictures into Evernote.
6. Scanbot: Scanbot is the newest addition to my homescreen. This is my iPhone document scanner. What’s even better is that this app also automatically uploads the documents to the cloud (Evernote for me)!
7. Instagram: Instagram is my app of choice for sharing personal pictures to my social media channels. I love the filters, too!
8. Cobook: Cobook is my social address book. I already store friends’ and colleagues’ contact information in my Google account, but Cobook connects their information with their social media profiles (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.). How cool is that?!
9. Calculator: As if I wasn’t geeky enough for writing a post about iPhone apps in a blog post, I included the Calculator app in the post! But seriously, I’ve tried other apps, and I like the simplicity and ease of use of Apple’s app.
10. Podcasts: I LOVE listening to podcasts! They help grow my faith, leadership skills. and knowledge of cool new apps to help me be more productive. Apple’s Podcast app is the easiest and best way to do this.
11. Audible: I love to read, and Audible is the best way to listen to books in the car and when I’m running.
12. Dropbox: Dropbox is my server in the sky. I share files at work with my team, and I store my personal files in Dropbox, too… all accessible on any device.
13. Buffer: Buffer is the service I use to schedule my social media posts. I scheduled this blog post’s announcement with Buffer. And, Buffer allows you to post to multiple social media sites using predetermined schedules!
14. Hootsuite: Hootsuite is social media’s version of drinking from a fire hydrant! Hootsuite allows you to connect to all of your accounts with one app. And, you can view it all on one screen. Talk about catching up in a hurry!
15. Feedly: Feedly is the way I follow, organize, and read other blogs. Much like podcasts, I read blog posts that help grow my faith, my leadership skills, and knowledge of cool new apps to help me be more productive.
16. Lift: Adam Suter and I stay accountable to each other with Lift. We each have a goal of getting up early to conquer the world. But, when no one else knows about my goals, it’s easy to just sleep in. This app allows us track our progress and cheer each other on as we create great habits.
17. Safari: Safari is Apple’s web browser. I’ve tried other browsers, but I really enjoy the features Safari offers such as syncing bookmarks and browser history between all of my Apple devices.
18. Drafts: Drafts is the way I write down quick notes that also sync with Evernote. I open up the app and start typing. I don’t have to create a new note. The app just opens up with a blank page…very handy for conversation or meeting notes!
19. Mint: Mint is my personal finance app. Mint is produced by the same folks who make QuickBooks, Intuit. They really know how to make functional and easy-to-use financial software. Mint is easy to use and it syncs with my all of accounts.
20. Converter+: When your day is filled with converting tanks of muscadine juice to bottles and performing various other mathematical conversions, Converter+ takes care of every unit. Super geeky and easy to use!
21. Phone: Apple’s Phone app is the easiest way to make and receive my calls. The apps syncs up with Google’s contacts. And, the built-in voice mail system helps me keep track of missed calls without an extra app or service.
22. Mail: Mail is Apple’s default email app. I’ve tried using other apps, but I keep coming back to the basics. Email addresses sync with my Google contacts. And, I never miss an incoming message. One of the few features to improve is the app’s search function. I just use Google’s Gmail app to search for old emails as a work around.
23. Nozbe: Nozbe keeps me on task. I’ve tried other task managers. But, no other app or service syncs across my devices and with team mates, Google Calendar (yes, Nozbe tasks will sync with Google Calendar to show tasks on their due dates on the Calendar!), and with Evernote (notes from Evernote can sync with tasks) like Nozbe. This is the way to really Get Things Done!
24. Evernote: The app of all apps! Evernote is my digital brain. I scan documents into Evernote. I take pictures of cool ideas. I write down notes for later reference. I write down tasks within my notes and sync into Nozbe. Seriously, if I want to remember something, I store it in Evernote. In fact, Evernote is a blog post all on its own.

So, these are my most useful tools & apps. I hope one of these sparked an idea to try something new and become more productive. These apps help me throughout the day. I’m sure they can help you, too.

Question: What are your favorite apps? What helps you get things done? Please leave a comment below.

Lessons from Walt Disney

My family and I went on a five day vacation to Disney World last week. We had a blast on a truly magical trip! We went to every park and rode every single ride that the boys were old enough to ride, and we were thoroughly exhausted when we got back. My favorite attraction of the trip is called Walt Disney: One Man’s Dream. This multimedia gallery exhibit showcases artifacts from Walt Disney’s life like his 2nd grade desk, various cartoon sketches, and early Disney toys and memorabilia. The attraction ends with a 15-minute video of Walt Disney recounting his lifelong story. Today, the Walt Disney Company is a fascinating company, and I (along with others in my family) am truly inspired by the movies they produce and the experiences they provide within their theme parks.

While walking through the attraction, I learned several lessons from Walt Disney’s life:
1. Disney combined curiosity and courage to fuel his career. I especially love this quote: “When you’re curious, you find lots of interesting things to do. And one thing it takes to accomplish something is courage.”
2. Disney aimed to accomplish one goal – “entertain people, in bringing pleasure, particularly through laughter.” When people truly enjoy the experience you offer, they will become fans, become customers for life, and bring their friends.
3. Disney viewed his full-length animated movies as nothing really unique, even though Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs was the first movie of its kind. He viewed them as a unique business opportunity to combine movies and cartoons to entertain people. Other people made movies. Other people made cartoons. But, no one had ever put the two together. And, he applied the same thought process to his attractions. After visiting a carnival with his daughter, he saw the opportuntiy to launch an amusement park like none other – one that adults enjoyed visiting with their children.

I am grateful for the opportunity to spend 5 magical days with my family. I am also grateful for Walt Disney’s influence on our culture and my life. His curiosity, attention to detail, sense of humor, and ability to combine profitable business opportunities offer many lessons. Maybe these 3 lessons will inspire you keep moving forward (which is a line from my favorite Disney movie, Meet the Robinsons)!

Question: What is your favorite Disney movie? Leave a comment below.