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Personal and professional development: there are apps for that

Maximize your productivity while creating work-life balance

In today’s fast-paced world, personal and professional development are necessary for success. “I’m passionate about using the latest apps and tools to improve productivity,” says Victoria Lennox, CEO of Startup Canada. “Working to ‘improve’ yourself can have a significant impact on your mental well-being, the culture within your organization and the growth propensity of your business.”

Many professionals have begun to take their development more seriously; research shows that approximately 75 percent of adults consider themselves “lifelong learners” and 93 percent of Millennials are willing to spend their own time and money on further training.

Fortunately, today’s technology is making personal and professional development increasingly accessible to those willing to invest in their growth. There are many affordable, often free, resources for skills development and learning, goal-setting, productivity and more.

Integrating your personal and professional development goals into your digital life is an easy way to keep them top of mind, and increase your chances of achieving them. This list of apps—adopted by successful industry professionals—can help you maintain to-do lists, project workflows, professional connections and your sanity.

Asana

Asana lets you break projects down into sections and sub-lists, as well as directly task colleagues or share project details. For your own tasks, you can make other lists that may be either shared with others or kept private. Asana is an excellent tool to manage your projects, deadlines and teams.

Trello

Trello is another project management app that allows you to organize your projects in easy-to-use kanban boards. It’s designed to streamline projects with customizable task lists, checklists, due dates and notifications, so you can efficiently manage your workflow.

Hootsuite

Maintaining an active digital presence is tough—but necessary for both your personal and professional brand. Hootsuite allows users to monitor social media accounts through one streamlined dashboard. “We use Hootsuite to manage all our social media,” says Lennox. “We’re one of the most followed entrepreneurship organizations in Canada on social media, in large part thanks to Hootsuite.”

Be a networking ninja

Forming relationships with like-minded professionals in similar or related fields is key to growth in any organization or industry. And while great for both personal and professional development, networking can feel like another chore on your already endless to-do list. Thankfully, there are many apps to help you become a networking ninja, from the comfort of your phone or computer:

LinkedIn

It may not seem necessary to mention LinkedIn, but it is essential for maintaining a strong professional network and updated portfolio. In 2016, LinkedIn also launched LinkedIn Learning, which offers more than nine thousand courses for professional development and career advancement.

Slack

Networking and communication amongst colleagues are equally crucial for professional development and improving performance. Direct messaging apps can keep teams connected and working collaboratively, both in office settings and remotely.

Keeping all your communications in one, convenient app, Slack allows you to segment conversations by creating channels for various topics; it also supports sending direct messages between individuals or groups of contacts. And with the ability to integrate with most other productivity apps, Slack lets you find and directly share things like project details and contact information.

Shapr

Shapr is a free networking app garnering attention from both Canadian and international professionals. Blending the swipe technology of Tinder with the professional focus of LinkedIn, Shapr is a quick and easy way to connect with local professionals. “Networking should be a joyful experience,” says Shapr CEO Ludovic Huraux. “Connecting regularly with inspiring individuals is the key to a more meaningful, fulfilling, healthy existence.”

Headspace

Beyond benefitting your physical and mental health, personal development can also positively affect your professional performance. Meditation has been shown to help people stress less, focus more and sleep better. Headspace puts the power of meditation in the palm of your hand, helping you relax and improve your mindfulness, in just a few minutes a day.

Yoga apps

Most people know about the physical benefits of yoga, but research shows that those who practice yoga regularly are also less stressed and better able to stay calm under pressure. After a long day hunched over your desk, unwind and build some muscle with Daily Yoga; loaded with more than fifty yoga sessions and videos, this app will help you become a yogi in no time. And if you’re the multitasking type, you can take your yoga practice to work with Office Yoga, which offers video workouts tailored to your workspace.

Luminosity

Become even smarter with brain-training app Luminosity. This app includes engaging games to challenge your brain, developed by cognitive scientists to improve focus, memory and overall brain health. To keep you on top of your brain training, Luminosity provides a schedule of recommended exercises and reminder notifications.

Mobile learning, networking, communications and productivity apps make learning and streamlining processes easier than ever before, giving every entrepreneur and business owner instant access to tools designed to support their growth.