Advice

18 Apps Philly Biz Leaders Use to Be Productive at Work

From an artificial intelligence email manager to nifty calendar platforms, here are the tools these leaders swear by for getting more done in a day.


b.well Connected Health • Astro Technologies • Samsung • GoCanvas

If you’re stuck in a productivity rut, it might be time to try some new tools. Whether your email is ridiculously cluttered or your calendar functions more like a list of stuff than a schedule, there’s a tool for that. Here’s what seven local business leaders rely on to stay productive throughout the workday:

Matt Gillin • CEO • Relay Network

I use OneNote on my iPad because I am a visual thinker. My office is one big whiteboard for jotting down ideas and designing solutions. The scanning feature in OneNote lets me capture and store ideas before they get erased or forgotten. Plus I can annotate images and handwrite notes right within the app.

Evernote is where I type all my notes because it syncs across my devices and I can access them from anywhere. It helps me to stay organized and archive ideas, data, websites, files and more. I like that notes are saved automatically in notebooks so I don’t need to spend time saving and re-saving file names.

I use Voice Memos because ideas strike me late at night and I can’t always write them down. I use the Voice Memos on my phone to quickly record these ideas and then play them back the next day. We also use Voice Memos to capture discussions during brainstorming sessions, since so much nuance can get lost in the translation to paper.

I try to limit my email to early morning and late at night. Email can be a huge distraction, and tends to be responsive vs. proactive, so I prefer to block off times at the beginning and end of the day so I can keep my mind and day open for thinking, problem solving, and connecting with people.


Ernestine Johnson • CEO & founder • Syncrani

As the CEO & Founder of a beauty/creative artist agency, I’m always on the go. My Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 Tablet helps me connect with my customers quickly. I can easily send emails, update my online portfolio, and edit and retouch photos with just a quick touch of my finger. It even has a camera for “behind the scenes” beauty shots or to take pictures for future beauty reference. It’s my No. 1 business tool because it makes my business life simple, worthwhile, and profitable especially while traveling and working offsite.

Apps like Photoshop Touch, Dropbox storage, Calculator, Photo Collage, and social media all help Syncrani stay productive daily.


Raj Chakraborty • chief digital officer • Lincoln Financial Group

I use Notability with Apple Pencil on my iPad Pro to take notes. It has a great search feature, even though my handwriting is not the best. I can record a lecture or event and go right to the recording by clicking on the notes I was taking at that time. The app is continually evolving and adding features as iOS improves.

Astro is a very cool technology that helps me manage my personal email using artificial intelligence (AI). With this app, I can get to the most important things, tag what I want to follow-up on, unsubscribe from junk, and it offers lots of other pattern-based actions to remove clutter.


Kira Sterling • president • Smith Flooring

With so few competitors using technology in the flooring industry today, our implementation of digital platforms and technology has given us an opportunity to gain a competitive edge. Smith Flooring uses a combination of a few apps that are key to our productivity.

The GoCanvas app creates digital forms and work process apps directly from our mobile devices. We use this app for time and material sheets, purchase orders and invoices on the fly. Project managers are able to obtain signatures and have these signed documents emailed back to the appropriate departments before leaving the job site.

The Measure Square app accurately measures your flooring project and creates digital blueprints and takeoffs on the spot. You can start your project on site, with a cell phone or tablet, share progress with your team via the cloud and finish your estimate from your desktop at the office.

I use ExakTime when it comes to managing a construction project. Labor costs are crucial to completing a project within budget. ExakTime is a software that accurately tracks time and location of your field workers. It also streamlines the payroll process.


Marc D. Miller • president • Universal Health Services

One of the best apps that I use regularly is b.Well. The app stores medical records and insurance information, integrates my Fitbit, and keeps me updated on financial information about health insurance plans. With the increase in consumerism in health care among Americans, the app helps me appreciate the most innovative approaches available in today’s marketplace.

As one of the nation’s leading operators of hospitals with more than 350 facilities, it is imperative that we at Universal Health Services keep pace with Americans’ preferences when it comes to staying healthy and offering convenience in healthcare choices.


Al Green and Cathie Berrey-Green • Flat World Media Productions

The biggest program that has helped our business is 17hats. We rely heavily on it for both sides of our businesses (BG Productions Photography & Videography and Flat World Media Productions). Our office manager keeps time through it and we organize all clients and their paperwork.

17hats has both a desktop and mobile version so it is very easy to stay connected and organized. We use it to keep track of all our clients, projects, to-do lists and billing. It is a timesaver having all of this in one place that we can easily access whether on the go or at our desks.

We also rely on Google Calendar to keep ourselves and all our contract folks organized and knowing who is filming what. We don’t use an app to help us stay focused, but we do put on our Google Home Mini so we can just talk across the room to change music or turn it up and down without having to get up or stop what we are doing.


Mary Tonita Austin • CEO • M.T. Austin and Associates

I mostly use my Google Calendar to keep me on top of where I need to be and what I need to be doing at the time. I toggle between using Calendly to provide easy access for clients to make appointments for my tax and consulting services, given my two main services are accounting or consulting projects and tax preparation. Calendly also syncs with my Google Calendar. If a client or colleague wants to have a video conference, I can easily invite them to a Zoom video conference within my Google Calendar.

I also utilize Facebook Messenger, which a significant number of tax clients also use. It allows them to get in touch with me. My other favorite customer service manager software is Dubsado. It also integrates with my Google Calendar. It’s not the type of software most accountants use because it is tailored to the creative sector, but my consulting clients love the interface, especially because it provides a work-space and private portal that they can use to house all of our email correspondence, contracts, to do lists and even invoicing.

I do a lot of work from my home office so I rely on the Relax Melodies app on my phone while I’m working. I can create my own relaxation melody that is soothing and relaxing but won’t put me to sleep!

Additional reporting by Fabiola Cineas.