My Favorite Smartphone Apps and Mac Tools

I’m fascinated when folks debate which gadget or app is the best – iPhone vs. Samsung, ScreenFlow vs. Final Cut Pro, Trello vs. Basecamp – because the best gadget or app is the one you’ll use…consistently.

I'm listing my favorite apps and tools, and also giving you one way that each app has improved my life.

Introducing: A Few of my Favorite Things

I have organized these apps and tools into five categories and limited each category to five. The list changes so I’ll create a Honorable Mention section to include any that get replaced.
The links below take you to that particular category.


Category 1: Smartphone Apps

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  1. Google Maps: It give real-time public transportation schedules when I don't want to drive. {iOS App | Android App}
  2. Google Calendar: I sync this calendar app with Waze and get notified when I need to leave to arrive on time. {iOS App | Android App}
  3. Evernote: I add receipts for purchases – and tag them – making taxes less frustrating. {Mac App | iOS App | Android App}
  4. Pocket Casts: I can listen to podcasts at 1.5x speed, which helps me get through them faster. Here's a Twitter list of the podcasts I like. {iOS App | Android App}
  5. LastPass: My MVP app! I have over 300 passwords, software serial numbers, and other pieces of identification stored. {iOS App | Android App | Chrome Extension}

Category 2: Mac Apps

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  1. Evernote: I can scan written notes and the app recognizes my hand-writing. {Mac App | iOS App | Android App}
  2. Chrome: The best browsing experience. You realize I have an entire section dedicated to Chrome Extensions right? {Website}
  3. GIF Brewery: I love replying to emails and texts with gifs and this app makes it easy to create them. {Mac App}
  4. ScreenFlow: I use this to spice up my videos with background music, images, and transitions. {Website | Mac App}
  5. Scrivener: Before Scrivener, the only way I could write was using a pen and paper. {Website | Mac App}

Category 3: Business Apps

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  1. MailChimp: Their interface makes it easy to create a beautiful newsletter. Sign up for mine here. {Website}
  2. BackupBuddy: This WordPress plugin makes full backups of my website and sends them to my Amazon S3 account. {Website}
  3. Hemingway Editor: This app makes my writing easier to read. {Website}
  4. Google Drive: I can share and edit documents in real-time with others. {Website | iOS App | Android App}
  5. LastPass: Did I mention that I have over 300 items saved in this password manager? {iOS App | Android App | Chrome Extension}

Category 4: Google Chrome Extensions

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  1. LastPass: Yes, this is here again. Listen, I love LastPass. They have a feature where it will fill in your credit card information when I'm ready to buy something online. {iOS App | Android App | Chrome Extension}
  2. PushBullet: My go-to source for dealing with FOMO (fear of missing out). If I see something interesting online, I save it to PushBullet to read later. {Website | Chrome Extension | iOS App | Android App}
  3. Pinboard: I store links that I enjoyed reading for future reference. {Website | Chrome Extension}
  4. Productivity Owl: This snarky owl keeps me off time-sucking websites. It saves me from my easily-distractable self. {Website | Chrome Extension}
  5. BehindTheOverlay: I hate pop-ups. This gets rid of them. {Website | Chrome Extension}

Category 5: Websites / Web Applications

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  1. Canva: I can create graphics in no time (including the image collages on this page). {Website}
  2. Twitter: My favorite social media platform, I learn so much here. {Website | iOS App | Android App}
  3. Tumblr: This is my favorite place to geek out on personal interests and get inspired by others. {Website | iOS App | Android App}
  4. YouTube: The first place I go when I want to learn a new tech skill. {Website | iOS App | Android App}
  5. Focus@will: Focus music helps me eliminate distractions. My favorite channels are Cafe Focus Beta, Alpha Chill, and ADHD Type 1. {Website | iOS App | Android App}

The Changelog

Last Updated: July 2016