We’ve all got those apps that we just can’t imagine going without. Of the millions of apps, there’s only a handful that I need to have installed and on my phone, ready when I need it. These apps can be particularly helpful at helping you streamline the operation of your practice. They are all just a few of the apps that I’ve found to be helpful for me – If you’ve got some more to share, post them in the comment section at the bottom of this page.
We all have a ton of passwords. If we think about our personal life alone, between banking, email, bills, social media, school accounts… the list goes on and on. When you start to add in the various accounts for you practice, it just gets ridiculous.
But it does more than just help me remember my passwords. It helps me be secure. When you’re dealing with sensitive information – client data – one of the fundamental defenses is a strong password. LastPass helps me create passwords that no one, anywhere would ever be able to guess.
It’s got some other great features that I use, too. You can unlock it with your fingerprint as long as your phone supports it. And, because it’s built with security in mind, you can also store secure notes and other items within the app too. It can be easy to jot down a phone number using the notes app on your phone but that can be risky. What if you let someone borrow your phone? What if your child plays with your phone? By using the secure vault, you can keep just about anything secret. Other apps (include the built-in iOS Notes app) will let you secure notes if you choose, but in LastPass, everything is secure by default.
As more and more everyday, real objects become virtualized, sometimes I push back. I like having a tangible, book in my hand, with paper and ink. Sometimes, I just want to sit down with a real board game and not play a video game version.
Loose sheets of paper, though? Not so much. If I never receive another handout, I think I would be OK. I’m can be careless with individual sheets of paper. Granted I know the single sheets will always be with us so I’m glad I have Scanner Pro. It’s a simple idea and you might already have something similar on your phone. Using your phone’s camera and some fancy software, this app can take just about anything and turn it into a file like a .jpg or a .pdf.
There are a couple of reasons why I choose this app over the alternatives, though. First, I love that I can lock it down with my fingerprint and/or a password. If I ever do have to scan a sensitive document, I don’t have to worry about little people deleting it or sending it to my entire email list inadvertently. It also synchronizes with other services that I use, like Google Drive or Dropbox. Finally, it saves me from having a fax machine - it’s got relatively cheap faxing built in so, as long as I can scan it, I can fax it. I use it several times a week!
Speaking of Google Drive, I also use this app incessantly. More and more, I’m relying on several aspects of the Google ecosystem and drive seems to be the hub. The great thing about the app is that it gives me access to any of my files stored in the cloud. As a therapist, if you get a new appointment request come to your phone while you’re sitting in the school pick-up line, you can email your new client a link to your intake paperwork store in the cloud. Need to send an excel spreadsheet to your accountant? No need to break out the laptop; just send it from drive.
Google unfairly gets a bad rep around security too. This app, just like the other two, can be locked down with a passcode and/or fingerprint so that the data is still protected even if you phone is in someone else’s hands.
Also a nice touch is the fact that, if you make a regular practice of saving files from your laptop to Google Drive, then you’re essentially backing them up AND keeping a history of revisions. Accidentally delete a whole page of your intake paperwork and then save the file? Drive will let you pull back a previous version so all is not lost.
While this app isn’t a workhorse, it’s incredibly helpful if you regularly give presentations. When I’m in presentation mode, I can sometimes lose track of time. I learned early on that I need to have a countdown timer running to help me respect the time of the people in the audience. It changes color at intervals that you decide so you know when it’s time to start wrapping up and it turns an obnoxious red color when you go over! This particular app is nice because it can synchronize with other people using the same app. This is helpful if you’re giving a talk as part of a larger group, like a treatment team or students giving a group presentation.
We are all busy people so if I’m ever privileged to present information to you, you can be sure that I’ll have this app running so I can get you out and on to your next session on time.
The last app is Headspace – a mindfulness app – because we all need a little mindfulness break, right? I’ve installed many of these apps recently but Headspace is the only one still on my phone. It’s a little fun and goofy – personality traits that I admire – and at least encourages me to make sure that I take time for me. Of all these apps, this is the one that I probably need to use more than I currently do. But, hey, we’re all still learning.
Now that I’ve shared five, I’m sure there are dozens of others that probably could have (maybe SHOULD have) been on this list as well. You can wait for my next installment, or you can keep this post going by commenting below. Add the apps that you love to use or you’d hate to lose.