The Edit

Liz Copeland

Liz Copeland shares her favourite apps for leadership, making decisions and getting things done.

Liz Copeland of works with CEOs, executives and high fliers who want to be a leader in their own lives, as well as influence the lives of others. Liz has studied Psychology and has qualifications in Coaching & NLP and is experienced at public speaking, training and one-to-one coaching.

Here she shares her favourite apps for leadership, making decisions and getting things done.

Phone Timer - It sounds basic but timer setting on your phone is actually one of the most useful apps you can have, especially if there is something you really don’t want to do or a task that you know will be difficult to start or finish.

If it is a task you dislike set your timer for 10 minutes: if you’re not in unbearable pain you can stand 10 minutes of almost anything! So do what you have to do in 10 minutes and when the timer goes you have the option to continue or stop.

If you have a task where you know you will lose all sense of time and spend all day whilst working on it, so other things don’t get done, again the timer on your phone is useful. Set the timer. Usually working on something for between 40 and 90 minutes is ideal. This is long enough to get into the task but not so long that you become weary and lose concentration. You can set your timer to work at 90 minute intervals with short breaks in between and then optimise your efficiency and be refreshed so you can concentrate fully.

Dragon NaturallySpeaking - Strictly speaking this needs a lot of processing power and therefore is most appropriate for a laptop rather than a phone. This is a voice recognition programme that will take dictation so that you can talk to get text into documents rather than typing: helpful if you have a lot of typing to do or are susceptible to repetitive strain injury. Or, if like me, your typing is very bad!

There may be free dictation software with your computer but the Dragon is easier to train and gives better results! When you first set up the software you have to train it to recognise your voice but this isn’t difficult. If you’ve used previous versions, this latest one is far superior and a lot easier to use. Once you have trained the Dragon you will find it a lot easier to talk rather than type. If all you intend to do is type documents using Word or similar software the Dragon home version will be all you need. If you want total voice control of your computer and want to be able to use PowerPoint and Excel using this software you will need the premium version.

Sticky Notes - We all love sticky notes in real life so why not get them on your phone too! There is something about the throwaway nature of sticky notes that make them very useful for jotting down random ideas and creative thoughts. With the sticky notes app you can have different colours of sticky notes for different categories of thoughts. I like the eye-catching format: clever in that it works in exactly the same way that physical sticky notes do in real life. I use it to capture ideas when I am out and about. Various version are available – my favourite is Sticky Notes by Droid-Veda LLP. You can use different fonts and text size and when you have created a sticky note you can share it on social media or send the text in an email.

Brain Training - Anything that gets your brain ticking over in new and different ways is good, which is why the brain training Apps are wonderful for those wasted moments on the train or tube when you haven’t got enough time to get into your book…or the space to open your newspaper. Peak offers a free version with a decent selection of games to revive a flagging memory, refresh word skills and rev up your focus and mental agility. You can see how you fare against others in the same age group, and watch your progress week by week. There is also a premium edition available, with more games and a more personalised programme.

Choice Map - We are all used to using pros and cons in decision making, but this App allows you to list your priorities on your phone and assess each option according to what’s important for you. It’s not something that I would suggest basing your company’s business plan upon, but it’s helpful for anyone who finds it hard to make decisions to get used to the mechanics of decisions making, and get comfortable with the process.

HBR Tips - An App jam packed with business tip from one of my favourite publications. The Harvard Business Review. Each day you’ll get short (and I mean short) articles and tip on leadership and management which you can then savour or share. Recent pieces include “Are you acting like a pushover” and “Focus on persuading your employees, not directing them.” A quick, but nevertheless inspiring, ten second read.

August 2015