Apps for Managers


A couple of years ago I ended up, somehow, taking over management of a team of very skilled I.T. engineers and architects. It’s been a learning curve for me given I didn’t have any management experience. I came from an engineering and architecture background, with a bit of consulting on the side. Getting into leading people has been challenging but awesome.

Recently that role expanded and I took over management of an additional team, so my head count has increased, but also the two teams do slightly different functions - therefore the complexity of my role has increased and changed. Also challenging but awesome.

About a year ago I got tired of carrying my MacBook Pro around to meetings all the time and decided to use an iPad full time to take notes. This came after about a month of playing around with a couple of Surface Books (faulty devices that went back in the end) and settling on an iPad Pro 9.7". From then on I used Apple’s Notes app to take all my notes, naming them with the date and a brief topic and using the Smart Keyboard to belt out the notes. It never felt natural and any time I went back into the Notes app I had a hard time finding a flow or seeing any uniformity.

Recently I was flipping through the App Store and noticed that I had bought Day One in the past but never used it. I decided to give it a go, and did a bit of quick googling about whether people were using it for work notes and journalling. There’s a lot of people doing this. So a few weeks ago I decided to try doing this and committed to at least logging a journal once a day about what happened that day. It quickly became something I use all day, after every interaction. I’m now logging all my staff 1-1 catchups, all the meetings I go to, any random chats I have, and a daily log. This might be overkill but for my OCD tendencies it’s perfect. And it looks beautiful which is a big thing for me to stay motivated to use it.

I also use Things. When there’s anything in log in the journal that says I’m doing to do something, I flick to Things and add a task to do it. So my workflow is now very much fixed in Day One and Things, with a bit of Outlook and whatever other line-of-business apps I have to use. But more often than not I’ll be sitting at my desk or in the cafe with just Day One and Things in multitasking view on my iPad. See below, which has been blurred a bit to protect privacy of some people.

Anyway, it’s a long winded post but I just love finding great apps that fit the way I want to work, and as a manager I find that what I need to do is much different than it used to be, and my workflow has had to change a lot to suit it in the last 2 years. Of course the great thing about the way I’m doing things now is that it’s all in sync and there are great looking apps for Day One and Things on my Mac and iPhone too!

Anyone else in a similar boat with any recommendations on things that help?


I dont do journaling anymore, but Day One is pretty darned good, IMO. I also own Macjournal but I preferred its earlier incarnations. Instead of Things (which I somehow acquired) I now use a combination of Anylist (which, although primarily for shopping, can be used, as its title suggests, for any kind of list at all) and 2Do which I found to be very friendly.


Of course, not being in a work situation so no urgency for things to be done, I do let stuff go. Often. Still, its a useful app for me to manage myself and things needing to be done, as I get older. I’m going to have to add house tasks soon.


The folk at Mac Power Users podcast talk about this issue a lot