I’ve had a cell phone since the late ’90’s. I’m pretty sure my first was the StarTac, and I still remember how much I loved the Razr. My phone was for keeping in touch, however that evolved, but little more. I still kept my main organization system on paper, or eventually, on my desktop.

For the first time ever, I think I’m ready to admit that my “phone” is my main support. And with the help of carefully selected apps and screens, I think it does the job well. Here are the nine apps that help me live and lead at my best. I think you’ll enjoy them too.

img_5594Calm (Free, premium available | iOS, Android)

Perhaps no other habit has received more attention in recent times than meditation. Countless studies demonstrate the benefits, even in tiny doses. Our heart rate and respiration slows, and our blood pressure drops. Over time, our brain actually changes, shrinking the amygdala – the part of the brain where reactive fear and anxiety originate. Just minutes a day can be beneficial.

I started my meditation practice with Headspace and still keep a membership, but I’m finding that I love the flexibility of Calm even more. With the customizable timer and options as short as 1 minute, it’s hard to make the excuse that we don’t have time. (Two minute breaks seem to be working well for me these days.)

Grateful (Free | iOS)

Combined with meditation, focusing on gratitude is another way to keep a healthy mindset. And this simple app makes it super easy to develop this habit. At a time when it’s easy to focus on all that’s wrong, finishing the sentence “Today I am grateful for” guides us right to thinking about what went right.

7 Minute Workout (Free | iOS, Android)

I’ve long been a fan of “tiny habits,” and no other app reinforces that approach more than Johnson & Johnson’s 7 Minute Workout App. Counting the warm up, the workout cycle takes less than 10 minutes, and can be completed with only a chair.Whether at home or in a hotel room, this app is a perfect support for maintaining a basic mobility and exercise habit. Again, its simplicity and brevity cause excuses to evaporate.

Stitcher (Free | iOS, Android)

Want to have plenty of patience in traffic and look forward to your commute?

My car is a rolling library, and Stitcher is my curator. By selecting and giving a “thumbs up” to my favorite shows, Stitcher’s recommended list ensures I always have something new and inspiring to listen to. (Here’s a link to the Top 100 shows, and a directory by topic.)

Coach.me (Free | iOS, Android)

Several years ago, I decided on the concept of bumper bowling for my life. I could get off track and make mistakes (plenty of them!), but if I could keep myself from falling all the way in the gutter, I’d probably be okay.

This app is the coach in my pocket that holds up those important guardrails. It reminds me of my commitments to ‘tiny’ habits (no matter how challenging a day might be) and gives me easy access to coaches that support me in key areas. It’s the first thing I check in the morning and the last before I head to sleep. (The app is free, and you can use KENDRAWEEK for a complimentary week of coaching if you’d like to test it out too.)

Remember the Milk (Free, premium recommended | iOS, Android)

When I’m finished with my morning habits and ready to face the day, RTM is the dashboard that keeps me moving forward in the right direction. During my weekly review, I assign the important action items for each day. I aim for about 90 minutes of focused work on a key project. I also use recurring items and subtasks as checklists to make sure I don’t forget the details. (Here’s a guide for getting started. Caveat: I only use one to-do list for work, personal, volunteer, or anything else. One life = one calendar, and one list of priorities.)

Evernote (Free, premium recommended | iOS, Android)

A cross between a swiss army knife and a second brain, Evernote is my go-to for everything I need to keep or create. I use it to keep all sorts of lists (groceries, recommended books, etc). I write the first drafts of all my articles there – mostly because I can access it from any device. And it’s perfect for my swipe file of stuff I’d like to create or do someday. (Bonus: If you really want to become an Evernote Ninja, invest in Brett Kelly’s $29 guide. It’s the fastest black belt you’ll ever get.)

Instagram (Free | iOS, Android)

Sometimes I’m too tired to read or listen to anything meaningful. Or, I’m stuck in line and losing patience. I’ve trained myself to head straight to Instagram. By following folks that post inspiring pictures and messages, I can combat my fatigue with a dose of positivity. It’s like my own custom inspirational slideshow. (Think of it as all the benefits of social media, without the political arm-wrestling.)

Pokémon GO (or another game) (Free | iOS, Android)

As a child, I lived for video games (and the rare snow day when school was cancelled). Declaring myself grown, I abruptly stopped for 20 years, considering them a waste of time. And then I read SuperBetter. (Here’s an article with an overview.)Essentially, games are a great antidote for stress. Debate it, or try it. I finally gave in to the Pokémon GO craze and found myself exploring different parks and walking lots more.

What’s your faves?

These tools have been helpful in keeping me on track, and I thought you would enjoy them too. I’d also love to hear about your favorite apps and systems. Please share!


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