It is increasingly apparent that I am delegating many daily tasks to the apps on my iPhone. Apps that help me with productivity, aiding in life activities, or just doing something awesome. Below is a list I have curated of the apps I turn to the most.
1 Second Everyday –Android/iOS
As the name implies you take one second of video from every day and compile it into a video you can watch at the end of the year. It’s a remarkable way of making every day count, as days do tend to blend into one another.
What I do is take a few videos a day, sometimes it’s only one, and a few days or a week later select the most relevant (sometimes funniest) second of that clip for each day. So you only have to go into the app once a week if you want to. I move photos and videos onto my PC after that for space. Once the year’s up compile it into a 5 minute video. You can compile by month if you want to–I couldn’t wait until the end of the year to watch!
Have a look online for some of the videos people have done. It’s a highly personal look into their lives, and you can make one for yourself.
Want to learn a language from scratch? Duolingo is the perfect way to get started by using gamified mechanics to keep you motivated. The app uses a few different methods of teaching whilst testing. Some give you the words you need to drag and drop in the right order, while others have you writing it out from audio, or even speaking in the language yourself. Spanish is my language of choice and my favourite feature of the app is ‘Weak words’. Over time each subject needs ‘strengthening’, in order to stay relevant in your memory. This is just a quick test of words you should already know.
Sure I’m not expecting the app to teach me the complete language of Spanish. I’ll need to actually use words in my daily life and have conversations for that to really happen. But it’s a good start.
I first used Evernote back in 2009. Other than a couple of croaky dream diaries I didn’t have much of a use for it. But seeing as it’s still rated as one of the top organisational apps I gave it another go. Now I’m using it to take quick screen caps of brainstorms, invoices, and other small documents and uploading it the cloud. This way I have an online backup and can ditch the paper copies that take up physical room.
If I had a spare $500 USD lying around I might invest in their Evernote scanner.
Since Google Reader’s sad demise, I had to find a new outlet for my blogs and RSS feeds. Feedly came well recommended. Importing my feeds didn’t work so I started off from scratch, but I was in need for a good clean out anyway. You can organise your feeds into categories, but more often than not I just click on the All tab and have a quick scan of posts that look interesting.
Most articles won’t display fully and you need to go to the actual article to read them, but that’s par for the course for RSS feeds, and of course fair on the content creators. Just not ideal!
Before Pocket I used instapaper to store articles and videos for catching up on later. But my instapaper clogged up and I didn’t want to go back through it. Starting fresh with Pocket I can read articles for offline viewing which is perfect for those moments you find a free second. Most of the time the app can extract the article text and relevant pics, but sometimes it will need to save the whole webpage. This isn’t the best for mobile devices, but it’s better than no article!
A new feature Pocket recently added categorises posts as Trending, which are articles that have been saved the most by Pocket users, Best of (I’m not sure how they work that one out), and Long and Quick reads. This can help when you don’t want to wade through a list of items you saved months ago.
Sleep Cycle — iOS
When I activate Sleep Cycle before bed I wake up feeling refreshed. When I use a standard alarm I wake up groggy and end up snoozing. The secret is it’s all about when in your sleep you wake up. Sleep Cycle is essentially a glorified alarm clock. You place your iPhone face down next to your pillow (Airplane mode on of course), and set a wake up between time–the recommended is a half hour gap, but I have mine set to a quarter. Using sorcery, science, and well, movements in your bed, the app can determine when you’re in a deep sleep or close to waking. It will then wake you up in that close to waking phase between the times you set. You can select a few calming alarm sounds that ease you into your morning.
As a bonus the app can track your sleep throughout the night and determine if you had a quality sleep. If you have trouble falling asleep you can also use the sleep aid and it’s assorted tracks such as rain on car roof and ocean waves. This turns off as soon as the app senses you are asleep.
Zombies, Run! 2/5k Training— Android/iOS
Back last year when I was beginning to run regularly, 5K Training was the perfect companion for training for The Warrior Dash. Using a story driven through audio, and starting off slow with my choice of music it helped me get out the door and actually run for a bit.
It features exercises and a mix of walking, jogging, running and sprinting. The problem with a story focused app is when I fell off the wagon (running speaking), I didn’t want to go back and play through the earlier missions again, and jumping in at the harder stuff is certainly not ideal. So it’s not the most forgiving in that regard.
Recently I picked up Zombies, Run! 2, which is a story featuring the same town and characters. I’m not sure if it’s set before the events of 5K Training, after, or if it’s set in a parallel universe! Compared to 5K Training it doesn’t have as much variety in running speeds or exercises, but it does feature random zombie encounters. 2 also has a proper town management system where the items you collect on your runs actually mean something.
If you need encouragement to get out the door or if you just find running boring, give one of these Zombie apps a try.
There’s an app I just started using called Lift. I’m not putting it on this list as I haven’t decided yet on it’s usefulness. I’m still putting it through its paces. Essentially it’s a daily goal app to make sure you’re going for your daily walk and writing 500 words. Yes, those goals are mine!