Welcome to a new week, everyone! This past week flew by, phew!
A few of you have requested that I share some of my favorite apps on my phone so I wanted to highlight some great recommendations. Now, I want to drop in a disclaimer that these aren’t all just for productivity… but these are any third-party apps that I view as a necessity. I use them nearly every day and they help make my day easier and improve my overall happiness and well-being!
So let’s jump right in:
The first app you should go download your phone is Day One. I’m not kidding, if you don’t have this app on your phone… go into the App Store and download it immediately. It’s a journaling app that works for even the busiest of people. You might be thinking, but what if I’m not a big writer? Here’s my answer: it does not matter. You know how to type and therefore, you can jot down your thoughts and use this app effectively. Just start writing and you’ll soon learn how journaling has so many positive effects on your mood and overall lifestyle.
It is password protected, backs up to the cloud, is always with you on all your devices, is ridiculously convenient, has a feature that reminds you to write every day, and you can have multiple journals. For example, I have a journal for my daily thoughts and to vent, I have one for gratitude (which I’ll elaborate more on in a few weeks!), I keep a dream journal, and I have a journal for creative writing and to quickly jot down ideas for my poetry and fiction writing!
To be honest, I bounce back and forth between these two a lot. I adore OmniFocus but sometimes find it to be too heavy when I’m not balancing as many big projects. 2Do syncs with iCloud reminders but also gives you more than the stock Reminders app gives you because you can create checklists and projects, rather than just individual tasks. The interface is beautiful and user-friendly, and also has location-based reminders and tags. However, if you’re someone with a lot going on, consider giving OmniFocus a try. The price is worth it if you’re going to be using it frequently (and there’s a free trial period, so you have nothing to lose). There are so many web tutorials on how to set it up to get the most use out of it if you’re a power-user looking for something that can keep up with you.
Since my blog is meant to serve as a way to help you stay organized, I’ll share a quick tip for getting the most out of your to-do app: keep it organized and up to date! I accomplish this by color-coding my lists and also utilizing Siri to quickly add reminders so I never forget anything! Here are the current lists I have in my to-do app:
- Read/Watch List
- Family (a shared list that syncs to my phone, my mom’s phone and my sister’s phone!) – great for those of you who live with a friend or significant other and you share a grocery list!
Another tip I suggest trying is making lists based on location, which some people find to be more effective. You could create lists like these:
- Grocery Store
Okay, I love everything about this app and cannot even find the right words to do it justice. I wasn’t big on meditation, despite numerous attempts (and other apps) to try and get into it. But once I gave Calm a try, I was hooked and now I use the app every single day. In case you can’t tell based on the name, the entire app interface is just so… well, calming. When you first open the app, it shows a beautiful animated landscape and plays relaxing sounds of your choosing. I even got my mom to download the app just so she could see and hear the crackling sound of a fireplace any time she wanted to (it’s one of my personal favorite sounds and always gives me that cozy feel). The meditations are amazing and they have ones that cater to different moods, meditation experience levels (beginner or expert), times of the day, etc. such as for when you need energy or when you cannot sleep. My absolute favorite part of the app, though, is the Sleep Stories feature. It’s a collection of many soothing bedtime stories that will knock you out immediately. I always wake up feeling for well-rested because of how quickly I fell asleep thanks to the sleep stories! Some of the stories are classics, such as Alice In Wonderland or The Magic Swan, and some are originals. However, I can’t actually tell you the plot of most of these stories, because I’m asleep within the first five minutes. Also, if stories aren’t your thing, you could opt to just listen to sleep music when you’re lying in bed and need help drifting off. Give this app a shot ASAP!
These are a great alternative to the stock News app, which I do enjoy, but I know it’s not for everyone. Flipboard has a very fun and clean interface (I highly recommend it if you’re a very visual person), while Feedly is great for those who want to organize their news sources into folders and make it as organized as possible!
I’m always in the middle of a book… I’ll even admit that I’m guilty of reading multiple books at the same time and switching back and forth. I don’t recommend that, because it gets frustrating, but I can’t seem to break that habit just yet! The app is great because all your books are right on your phone or tablet, no matter where you are. Also, you can download them to your phone so you can read offline – whether on the train, sitting through a long flight, or just out of range from reliable cell service. Amazon’s Kindle Store sells Kindle versions of books for a much cheaper price than the paperback versions, so you’ll save a bit of money just by making that switch.
Okay, you probably already have this one on your phone, but I need to include it because it’s probably my most-used app. I am always listening to music, nearly 24/7. I have so many playlists and find joy in organizing playlists and making new ones. Spotify is great because if you’re not like me and don’t like spending time making playlists, you can just pick your mood and they have so many available playlists for you to choose from.
I used to be the biggest Evernote fan, but lately I’ve been using the stock Notes app. But if you’re in search of a notes app that is more robust, feature packed, and syncs well across all devices, check out Evernote. This is a great one for taking notes. I used it in college and at my first job out of school and had all my notes organized and available on my phone, laptop, and tablet!
This is such an underrated feature on every smartphone. It’s a stock app and I highly recommend giving Apple (or Google, or whatever phone you have) Wallet a try! It holds all your rewards cards right in the app (so you don’t have to keep trying to remember the email and phone number you have linked to your account) and it’s also significantly safer, despite what people may think. Birchtree did a great job summing up how it’s safer:
“The credit card number passed to the merchant in an Apple Pay transaction is a special number that links to my credit card number, but is totally unique. That means if a place I pay with Apple Pay is hacked, the hackers don’t get my credit card number, they get my Apple pay number.
This Apple Pay card number is totally useless outside of Apple Pay transactions, so it’s worthless to hackers. They can try to run that card manually all they want, but they’re not going to get anywhere.”
I hope these help, and if you’re looking for more recommendations for a specific type of app — for example, say you’re looking for a distraction-free writing app — feel free to reach out or comment and I can give you a handful to try out!
Let me know what you guys think of the apps and what apps you recommend to other 20somethings!