13 Apps That I Can’t Imagine Living Without

Here it is – the list you’ve been asking and waiting for.  Recently, I narrowed down thousands of downloads to list the 13 most effective, smartphone / desktop apps for business professionals and entrepreneurs.  From a business perspective, each app on the list of 13 does something different.  Most importantly, they make difficult/arduous tasks easy.

If you’re anything like me, you’re looking for apps that are habit forming, easy to use, flexible and reliable.  Probably explains why I have downloaded thousands of apps, but primarily use only 13.  I have tested and used multiple apps in similar categories to find the right tools to match me, what I do and how I do it. Ultimately, not leveraging technology to get organized and focused would be akin to stacking books on the floor next to an empty bookshelf.

Quite simply, these 13 apps get everything productive and organized in my life so I AM FREE TO LIVE IT!

In no specific order, here’s the list (all cross-platform [iOS or Android] and all size screens):

  1. Google Apps:  Under this banner, an endless number of useful tools including Hangouts, Drive, Keep, Maps, Analytics, as well as the best browser and calendar on the planet.  I was an original Google Voice subscriber to which now all phone calls route directly through Hangouts.  If you’re not using Google Apps for your business and benefiting from the integration across these tools, you’re handicapping yourself and your staff.
  2. Google Now:  If you use this tool correctly, in conjunction with Google Apps, it will begin to anticipate and plan for you – in more ways than one. (ie: sending you notifications for when to leave your office for a meeting with traffic taken into account)
  3. Pocket:  This app is my treasure chest.  During the midst of a busy day, I drop a lot of content (articles, news and blogs) here so that I can go back later and read it.  I am voracious consumer of content on the web, which is how I collect ideas, knowledge and perspective across a wide range of topics.
  4. Evernote:  I store EVERYTHING here.  Period.  Anything important that I need to find at a later time, including all of my blog posts, e-books, writing, and other important documents.  Most people are using Evernote already, but if you’re not, this one is a must-have.  If you have any thoughts of truly going ‘paperless’ in your business life, this is the app for you.
  5. MailChimp:  Another, easy to use app for accomplishing a difficult task.  I use MailChimp to manage all of my blog campaigns and general email marketing.  Lots of flexibility to create, segment users, and measure effectiveness.  The drag and drop interface is second-to-none.
  6. Hootsuite:  All of my social media accounts on one dashboard.  It doesn’t get much better – I schedule all of my content sharing across networks and easily track all views/clicks analytics in one place.
  7. Todoist:  I just started using Todoist after trying several different tasks-oriented apps.  It’s extremely flexible and helps me easily manage urgent, work-related tasks as well as personal items such as errands, shopping, etc, whereas Trello serves as my main project management tool for client work.  Multiple to-do lists in one place on any device.
  8. Expensify:  I use Expensify to track and record all of my business mileage – it’s a breeze.  The GPS function will track the miles you’ve driven and multiply it by the reimbursable amount per mile.  I then upload several months at a time into my Freshbooks account for easy reporting come tax time.
  9. FullContact:  Hands-down, the best contact app that I’ve used and I feel like I’ve tried them all.  UGH! The software syncs data across all of your contact sources, including social networks, and builds one, unified contact.  The camera app for business cards is laser-sharp accurate.  There’s even a Gmail extension that integrates with your mailbox so you can see who you’re communicating with!
  10. Trello:  I use Trello to manage of all of my projects.  The flexibility of the board system that Trello features allows me to customize each project based on the client needs from complex brand strategy tasks to sales funnels for business development.  Not to mention, how easy it is to collaborate with clients and team members.  You can access and use on virtually any screen, even the new Android Wear smart watches.
  11. Freshbooks:  This is my all-in-one accounting software.  In my opinion, its an easy-to-use, less complicated version of Quickbooks, especially for a smaller size business.  It functions as a mini-CRM for me and integrates with other critical business apps on this list such as MailChimp and Expensify.
  12. Canva:  Since I am not a graphic designer or expert user in Illustrator, I need all the help I can get.  Canva is exactly that.  I use Canva to create just about anything graphically, whether it be a brochure, image, blog graphic, or even, email headers.
  13. Feedly:  A one-stop content collector for all of my content consumption.  I use Feedly as my RSS reader and much, much more.  I have all of my top blogs, news and articles being fed to Feedly so I can read all in one place.

There you have it – my 13.  Many of these apps have become so habit-forming that I could not imagine living without them.

How about you?  Do you use any of these apps?  Are there any that you would add to the list?

I hope this particular list was beneficial for you.

Perhaps not only freeing you to live your life, but freeing you to think, dream, imagine and create – something very few of us ever get to do.

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This post is part of our 1010 Growth Series, featuring 10 different ‘Top 10 lists’ of products, services, tools and resources that drive growth.  You can access additional posts from our 1010 Growth Series by clicking on the link in the Category list on the right hand side of this page.  If you have ideas or requests for future Top 10 lists, please comment below.

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Founder Todd Garreston

With over 15 years of experience leading market share growth initiatives of top consumer brands in Fortune 500 and privately-held business environments, Todd Garretson advises and helps organizations identify new growth potential, craft strategy that moves people to action and enhance overall performance.

Having a passion for helping people and organizations to unlock dormant growth potential, Todd writes and speaks for audiences in three core areas: business growth strategy, leadership and personal / professional growth.

Residing in Atlanta, GA with his wife, Lauri, and their four children, weekends and free time are spent with family, coaching youth sports, and sharing his passion for fitness and nutrition.