The best apps to keep you focused and productive.
CTOs have seemingly endless lists of tasks and trends to stay on top of. It would take a near-Herculean effort to keep up with every change in the world of mobile app development along with your own seemingly endless list of tasks. Luckily, there are a few invaluable apps that make this process much easier.
Here are my five secret weapons for keeping myself on task and organized:
A mentor of mine, Michael Gass, taught me: “Leaders read and readers lead.” As a CTO you need to be on top of what is going on in our industry, which is an overwhelming amount to focus on.
One of the best tools for this is RSS, and Reeder is my app of choice for managing my RSS feed. FeedWrangler is my RSS service of choice, which integrates with Reeder and allows you to sync unread states across all devices.
No matter how busy I am, I can keep on top of what’s going on quickly and make sure I flag longer things to read when I have more time.
The perfect companion to Reeder, Instapaper is a brilliant “read later” service and app. Whenever you see something on the web or in Reeder that you need more time to digest, throw it over to Instapaper, which immediately scans and saves all the text on your phone for later reading.
Instapaper is curated (by me!) to hold all of the articles I need to read – and I don’t even need Internet access. Add to that an interface designed for reading and easily sharing/blogging and you have an essential tool.
Passwords are a constant struggle for users of all stripes. But for anyone leading a technical team who has access and responsibility in an ever expanding universe of passwords, it’s an overwhelming task.
1Password allows you to generate and store extremely large and complicated passwords for each service/site you use. All you have to remember is your 1 password to unlock the app and you have access to your password on anything. With a companion desktop app and web browser plugin, it’s a comprehensive tool for never forgetting or using a low-strength password again.
Ever since I first read David Allen’s Getting Things Done I was a fan of GTD. OmniFocus is simply the most thoughtful and well-crafted GTD app I’ve ever used. With the powerful synching engine (provided for free by OmniGroup, the developers of OmniFocus), it allows you to get everything you need to get done out of your head and into a system.
The mobile app includes features like location-aware contexts that alert you to things you can only do in one location, and a forecast view that lets you see today’s calendar alongside all of your pressing tasks.
The tech world is incredibly well-served by thoughtful, intelligent, and thorough podcasts. Overcast is how I manage them. Overcast is a wonderful example of how an app can have a simple, yet beautiful design that simply gets the job done and gets out of the way.
It also has two powerful tools that shrink dead space in a podcast and speed it up (without sacrificing audio quality), giving you more information in less time.
Have you found any additional apps that have made you more productive? Let us know.