3 iPhone Apps that Changed my Life (a Little for the Better)

iphone appExecutives who I coach struggle with the same issues as the rest of the working world.  They are generally quite happy with life (most rate themselves an 8 out of 10) yet at the same time they lack quality time with their family, are under slept and feel overwhelmed by the barrage of information that email, social media and everything else is throwing at them.

I asked each executive to recommend the iPhone Apps that they have found most helpful to them.  I have also experimented with each of these for over two months and would concur.  For what it’s worth…

  1. Headspace.  Well straight off the bat, this recommendation surprised me.  It is an app that promotes mindfulness.  If it had come from a flaky new-age yoga spiritualist then I would have quietly ignored this.  But three CEOs swore by it and, now. I do too.  Mindfulness and guided meditation are two on a very short list of interventions that have been empirically proven to increase well-being over a sustained period of time. The problem is that it is incredibly hard to do.  If you have tried it you will know that within 15 seconds you are daydreaming about your To Do list or what you ate for lunch last Saturday.  This series of guided journeys are the antithesis of new age flakiness and promise you results in 10 minutes per day.  As one client told me, “After a month of using Headspace I am no longer as argumentative in meetings.  I am able to step above it all and think much more strategically.”
  2. Balanced.  This is a nifty tracking app that lets you measure your progress against whatever it is that you care about.  When I use it reminds me to talk to my sister at the weekend; jot down one thing am I grateful for; go on a run…that kind of thing.  It then pings you calmly when you have not achieved one of your goals and nudges you back on track.  One Private Equity deal partner told me, “two months in and I am now a better husband and older brother to my younger sister.”
  3. Up (by Jawbone).  This is a slight cheat – it is both a wearable device and an App.  Like Fitbit and the many other competitors, this tracks your sleep and your movements each day.  You can see how well you are sleeping and how far you walk.  I was surprised about both my sleep (I get a good amount: about 7½ hours) and my activity (when I travel to Chicago from NYC and back in one day I only get 800 steps). 
  4. I was expecting to hear more work efficiency or travel Apps.  Instead people are using their phones to help them become the right kind of person both inside and outside of the office.

Geoff Smart, Randy Street & Alan are publishing their new book, Power Score in June 2015.  You can pre-order it here.
Follow Alan at @alanvfoster
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