There are many apps designed to make people’s personal and professional lives easier, from boosting productivity to keeping fitness plans and diets on track. Because there are so many different options, it can be hard to know which apps are worth your time and which ones you’ll want to delete after a few uses.
As tech industry leaders, the members of Forbes Technology Council are always exploring the latest and greatest apps on the market. If you’re looking for a new app that can genuinely improve your professional or personal life, check out the 16 recommendations below.
Managing finances can be draining, but using Cleo makes it truly engaging and less painful. It’s like having a witty personal assistant who gives you a fresh perspective on your spending with weekly recaps, games and roasts. Aside from the entertainment aspect, it’s a great example of personalized AI and a chatbot you don’t hate to interact with. These guys are paving the way for the chatbots of the future! – Logan Brown, Visible
Tracking to-do lists and prioritizing them based on projects and areas of focus across the whole work/life spectrum is a must for me. I’ve tried lots of apps and approaches, and Todoist is the app I landed on that is easy to use, with handy features for easily setting recurring items and reminders. – Matt Schmitt, Reflect Systems
3. YouTube Premium
This one is not new, but I am a huge fan of YouTube Premium. Of course, it can be a rabbit hole of entertainment, but it’s also an incredible venue for education. You want to be inspired as a leader or learn about productivity, organization, philosophy, language, engineering, medicine or machining? Virtual education’s possibilities are endless, and expanding your mind is always a great investment. – Justin Hatch, Reach Reporting
Blinkist has changed the way I consume information. This service provides an executive summary of books on a variety of topics, including leadership (my favorite topic). Each book is summarized to an audio file or reading of about 12 to 18 minutes. – Nimrod Vered, Zipwhip
Following a year of lockdowns and sporting activities being canceled or closed, Centr has become a daily application in my life. It provides daily training planners, coached workouts, meditations and meal plans that have really helped me keep moving and focused over the last six months. Even when lockdowns are gone, I can’t imagine going back to gyms as home exercising is much more convenient. – Glyn Roberts, iTechArt Group
I use SimpleMind, a mind mapping tool, to organize thoughts and projects. It works on a tablet or a laptop. It’s great for brainstorming and project planning because you do not have to think linearly, but when it’s all done you have a nice outline with understandable information and a clear design. – Thomas Polk, Midwest Eye Consultants, P.C.
7. Apple Fitness+
One of the most useful apps of 2021 is Apple Fitness+. Like most tech leaders, we view health and fitness as essential; however, we feel like we are too busy to exercise or log our exercise activities whenever we can squeeze them into our schedules. Apple Fitness+ provides dozens of exercises as short as 10-20 minutes, and it automatically logs each exercise without user interaction to boot. – Bob Fabien Zinga, Directly, Inc/U.S. Navy Reserve
8. Apple News+
Using Apple News+ has been a game-changer for me. As someone who likes to stay on top of multiple news threads in my industry as well as more broadly, the combination and efficiency of this app really make it easy and enjoyable to absorb the latest news. – Sam Amrani, Olvin
9. Headspace And Waking Up
As strange as it sounds, I find the apps that I use the most are my two meditation apps: Headspace and Waking Up. I have used meditation apps for several years, and they have helped me to stay focused and clear my head so that I can effectively and with sanity concentrate on my work and my life—especially through the chaos of this last year. – Joel Montvelisky, PractiTest
10. Microsoft Office Lens
For me, in a business role, one of the best but most often overlooked apps is Microsoft Office Lens. In its simplest form, it allows you to capture photos—of documents or a whiteboard, for example—but it’s much smarter than a simple camera or scanner. It can take a photo of a table of numbers and convert it into an editable spreadsheet or convert text from a document on my desk into an editable file ready for use on my desktop. – Al Kingsley, NetSupport Limited
Working from home has given me the ability to have nonstop meetings with people whenever I want, but it can also hinder productivity. Actions, by Moleskine Studio, helps me keep a list of the topics I want to cover and allows me to have more deliberate conversations versus conversations that wander or veer off track. – Robert Weissgraeber, AX Semantics
We’re all sitting too much because of Covid-19. The difference between Wakeout! and a lot of fitness apps is that it encourages small, active breaks—sometimes even things you can do in your office chair. – Kevin Parikh, Avasant
I run my life by OmniFocus. I used to keep lists in notepads of things that were “someday,” “today” and “urgent.” Over time I found myself adding more categories, and then I got into lists of lists—it became untenable. OmniFocus (on my phone, iPad and laptop) allows me to focus on getting things done and easily categorize and organize everything else so I don’t forget. – Alexander Hill, Senseye
I’m a big fan of the Coggle mind-mapping app. It’s an easy-to-use service that enables you to quickly build mind maps, which is a great way to organize thoughts on complex, unstructured topics. I find it particularly helpful when wrapping my mind around new topics or new industries—you’ll see patterns emerge quickly, and getting a fast visual representation can be illuminating in unexpected ways. – Paul Lipman, BullGuard
As an avid cyclist, I am a huge fan of Strava. Not only can I use it to track my rides and kill local hills by competing with fellow cyclists, but I can also help cities better plan their infrastructure. Strava is global and helps not only cyclists but also transportation planners use the massive data collected to better plan safe routes and streets for kids, families, workers and recreational users like me. – Jason Carolan, Flexential
16. Sleep Cycle
The Sleep Cycle app tracks and analyzes my sleep, waking me up at the ideal time to ensure I feel rested. There is plenty of data users can analyze if they want to understand their sleep patterns. This app has reduced my number of missed workout days, thus allowing me to be more effective throughout the day. – Jay Marshall, EyeLock LLC