Episode 16 – Transforming The App Habits You Carry Every Day

Welcome to the Heroik Hour, the podcast where we discuss and bring together Technology Leadership and Culture to help get you fired up and mission ready for the great life. I’m your host, Nicholas McGill, Chief Experience Officer for Heroik Media. Thank you so much for joining us on episode 16.

If you like what you hear on the show, please send us a review on itunes or Google Play however you’re listening to the show. Oh and Don’t worry about taking notes, because you can sign up to our mailing list to receive the bullet points and action items on more over at getheroik.com that’s www. GETHEROIK.COM we spell Heroik with a K as in kickass. That’s our tribe, our brand, and our little corner of the web Ok?

So, In terms of software and apps, the market is flooded with options, and many of apps and soft tools we use result in negative returns.

How many apps are floating on your phone, tablet or laptop right now that you neglect or ignore or only keep on there because you’re hoping that someday maybe you’ll use them to their full potential – instead of admitting that they were bad investments? Who hasn’t spent a fortune on subscriptions and apps that have gone underutilized or failed to live up to hype?

People don’t have good strategy when it comes to the apps and software they use on an everyday basis. We all have an app habit, that we carry everyday on the devices we use. And that’s what we’re going to cover today. I am going to give you some recommendations for tools, techniques and principles to help you get started with Every Day Carry apps and software you can use to be more effective, and Mission Ready for life and work.

Let’s get started.

Alright – so, software  – is the paper, workspace, and medium of communications of our day. Here’s the big nugget I want you to try and chew on as we discuss it.

This is the lens, I  use to frame the discussion and digital strategy for high performers –

All the apps and platforms, that make up the soft infrastructure of your life and business should WORK not only to increase your bottom line, but also preserve the flow of your digital lifestyle and work habit without inhibiting your mobility as things change. This is the premise we’ll be working with.

Think about that. The software you use should not only fatten the bottom line, but preserve the flow and capabilities, the value of your digital lifestyle and work habit.

This is the Digital Age, change and volatility are the status quo, the default. Change and volatility are as calm as the water may get. So you need to make decisions that keep you nimble and adaptable to ride the waves and preserve your flow as you move from place to place, device to device and platform to platform. This is what we at Heroik Media believe. This is what I personally believe and it’s how I practice.

Most people and companies lose big dollars on bad investments on software platforms, in the short or long term, all because they didn’t analyze things or look for how well a solution preserved their ability to move, flow, migrate, and grow quickly without hindrance or heavy expense. This is critical to get you mission ready for life.

This flow state we refer to is part of a larger methodology and platform that we teach and integrate with our clients on their projects, digital strategy, and growth initiatives and I’m sharing it with you to give you a life skill.

This is huge topic, I could and probably will write a book or guide about in the future, but I will be respectful of your time and honor you by giving you the meatiest, MVP starting point of the EveryDay Carry area of the softer side of your Digital Lifestyle. So we will focus on the most important part – the starting point-the EveryDay Carry area we all share in common.

We all have an app habit, that we carry everyday on the devices we use.

A good EveryDay Carry approach starts by focusing on selecting and using tools that preserve and free-up time, energy and attention. When you find ways to free up time, energy and attention you increase your capacity and resources you can apply to new initiatives like growing your business or having more free time to spend with family and loved ones.

This is our starting point for every Heroik Project no matter what.


The first step is always making room for growth. You need to clear a workspace for the construction to begin. And at the software level,

this means taking a closer look at the decisions, strategies and indeed the very apps you use on an everyday basis.

In terms of apps, and your everyday carry, here are the insights and observations where most people are wasting space, time, energy and attention.

  1. Most people use their email inbox as their home page or primary workspace. If you live in email, the odds are you constantly juggling urgent but unimportant distractions, and in between, you’re managing projects, slinging iterations of documents back and forth. This is like trying to have a 20 person meeting in an open air market, with a bunch of strangers and friends and clients walking up to you and asking questions the entire time. This is a stupid habit. Further, email is not only a bad place to make your digital base camp, it is a horrible place for you manage projects or focused communications unless you’ve imposed strict order.
  2. If your inbox is the first thing that you open on a computer, you are setting yourself up for failure. This is a recipe for disaster. Not as bad as Facebook or Twitter, but still a productivity killer nonetheless. Some people may call me an extremist, but if you want to outpace the competition you’ll need to outperform them using better work habits.

So if you were to make 1 or 2 tweaks in your everyday work habit, that will have the maximum impact,  it should be to start with a better beginning, choosing a better base camp, starting point or HQ for your digital lifestyle and work habit.

Just by looking at how you start your everyday app habit,  you can increase your productivity and performance to remarkable levels.  Simply by relocating to a better home page and basecamp or HQ, that helps you focus on the most important and meaningful work, you can suddenly have more breakthrough moments and faster work flows.

Here’s how:

  1. Use a better browser. I use chrome as my primary browser as many people do, It has a huge ecosystem of wonderful extensions that can help you improve your performance and your starting point. Here are some chrome extensions that can transform your work habit and keep you away from distractions
  2. Momentum – This extension will replace every new tab you open with a beautiful background, a tiny inspiring quote, and most importantly a space for you to declare a singular thing to focus on the day. There’s also a small to do list in the bottom right. This is great because before you open Facebook or Distractionville flavor of the minute, you will be reminded of your priorities and to dos, and are more prone to get them done. I love this simple tool.
  3. Infinity Tabs – a beautiful sea of your favorite places and tools is a better starting point than your inbox. This is good if you open a bunch of tabs at anyone time, like me.
  4. UBlock Origin – will block ads, and other distractions to help you focus on the content you clicked for and wanted in the first place.
  5. Do not make your home page your inbox. This is a sure fire way to get distracted and away from your most important goals and meaningful work. Place boundaries on your time, energy and attention and enforce them. What should you focus on? Where do you look to find out what you should focus on? Is it a task list, project app? What is it? Start there. Here’s what I use most often.
  6. Trello – A great, visual, to do system, with an app on every platform. Why use this over anything else. It is visual, persistent, and interactive.There’s a spatial and tactile relationship between your tasks and goals as you move cards around from to do – to done. This creates a stronger, more meaningful feedback loop for your brain and gives you a stronger physical sense of momentum and achievement that is better than just checking off or crossing out an item on a to-do list.
  7. MindMeister – allows you to map out In Detail, all of your thoughts and organize them. This is great for nonlinear ADHD thinkers like myself. They’ve got a great app integration with the G Suite or Google Apps as it used ot be called, and you can share maps with clients and teams. Most people don’t take the time to map out their thoughts and strategy – and it leads to quick and stupid decisions that take years -YEARS to course correct. Don’t be one of them. Map it out. I love MindMeister for this.
  8. Google Drive – docs, sheets, and slides – you know where the work is! If you’re still using Microsoft Outlook and Office, you’re spending a lot of money for a product that underperforms and hinders your flow of your digital lifestyle. And I can prove it. I was an IT consultant for a decade, and can prove it in one sentence, if you have to have a meeting figuring out if you can use your everyday apps on a mac, you’re already hindered and locked down. This doesn’t work in the 21st century. You need to preserve the flow of your digital lifestyle and work habit.
  9. If all else fails focus on your calendar and blocking out your time. If today is lost, set yourself up for success tomorrow by blocking out your day. We use Google Calendar, you can use anything you want. It’s important that you protect your time energy and attention consistently.
  10. Do not collaborate or project manage via email. Collaborating on a document by volleying versions back and forth via email is time consuming and often leads to mistakes, lost time, and version confusion. Email is so 20th century. It’s time to join the 21st. There are many collaborative platforms that provide a more focused work environment sans distractions.
  11. We use slack, you can use your CRM I suppose if it’s any good.
  12. Avoid the big, bold, overbuilt, overpriced platforms. Here’s the filter, if it started as an excellent product for the prosumer, it’s probably, leaner, meaner, cheaper and more effective than the big, slow, bulky, enterprise solution. Slack is the latest example. You shouldn’t pay for other things that don’t scale well down to the individual user. If you’re paying thousands of dollars each year for the Adobe Creative Suite, the odds are, people on your team are using $20 worth of features.
  13. When it comes to creating visuals – and getting away from big bad vampire services and slow to adapt, low value enterprise solutions, I recommend tools like Affinity photo.
  14. This isn’t to say all enterprise level solutions are bad, but having worked in the space for almost 2 decades I can confidently say most of them are designed with glut, so much that locks you in, features you’ll never utilize and engagement that creates performance drag on the company. I’m like the only outsider and maverick who doesn’t have a dog in the race, so I can look out for my clients and their growth.

So a quick recap:

Focus on deciding your everyday carry software based what truly moves the needle forward and preserves the flow of your digital lifestyle and work habits.

Transform your EDC, by straightening out your starting point, change your homepage and workspace basecamp, and try some of the everyday carry apps and tools I’ve mentioned today.

The most important area to get right is where most people start; the digital base camp, the home page or primary window or tab you leave open on your computer, the go-to app on your phone.

So take the time, start right now, and think about the app habit that makes up your everyday carry. What would you like to change or improve? What are you willing to try? This might drum up a lot of fear and excitement, that may cause you to hesitate.  My advice? Get Heroik – lean into the excitement, try some of these tools and change your everyday app habits to open yourself up to more opportunities, better performance and all around growth. That’s all the time we have for today. Thank you so much for listening, and be sure to give me a review on iTunes.

It’s time to rev up for that last push, to pick your energy back up, get you out of your head and back into the moment, dance, move, wiggle, sing along, jam out with a little air guitar, get excited, do something and then come back and join me on the next episode. All right – let’s go.

Most of us, generally do a few simple things in the digital environment on an Everyday basis; we browse, communicate, collaborate, strategize and create. So if we can learn to do these 5 things better than the competition with more focus, speed, and efficiency, we can increase our capacity for performance and apply the gains to the most important growth areas in our work and life.

The hidden track tip today is a  paper practice challenge. Take some time, whip out your notes app or Google docs to think about these 5 everyday app areas of your digital lifestyle,think about the apps you use to browse, communicate, collaborate, strategize and create, and ask yourself what works about them and what doesn’t work about them. And to make this challenge worth it for you. If you’re up for it, send me an Email to nicholas@getheroik.com thats NICHOLAS @ GET HEROIK.com with the subject line – Episode 16 Hidden Track Challenge – and I’ll review it and give you some personal recommendations as long as my schedule allows. I’m confident in sharing this because I know very few people listen to the hidden track section and only 1/100 will take advantage of this opportunity – so reach out and connect with me. And in the meantime – enjoy this last sprint and jam session to the finish.

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