5 Apps Essential to my Daily Routine
If you're anything like me, you're quite a fan of your smartphone. Mine is as much a part of me as one of my arms in all honesty and it's never far from my sight. So today, I'd like to share 5 of my favourite apps that are huge parts of my daily routine.
These apps aren't in any order of preference and they're all quite different but they are definitely useful, well designed and help improve my days immensely.
App 1 - Forest
I'm a huge fan of productivity. GTD, Bullet Journals you name it, I love it. One productivity technique that I'm a huge fan of is the Pomodoro Technique. There is a whole book on what the Pomodoro technique is but to summarise it in a nutshell:
The Pomodoro technique is where you have 25 minutes of pure, uninterrupted focus time and then a 5 minute break. You repeat this cycle four times and then on the fourth Pomodoro you take an extended break.
I tried out the Pomodoro technique and was amazed at the results I got. The results of doing it whenever I was doing any work were so amazing that it is now the automatic way I operate when doing tasks. You can experiment if 25 minutes doesn't work for you, but it is the perfect amount of focus time for me.
Forest is a time-tracking app that locks you out of using your device while it plants a seed. When your time limit is up, you have a tree. The more trees you plant, the bigger your forest!
It's pretty darn cute.
I use Forest to keep track of all my Pomodoro's since it works perfectly with the system. It even includes features where you can tag each tree, give yourself a timed break and look at your statistics throughout the day, month and year. Needless to say, I'm a quite the fan of all this tree planting!
App 2 - Sleep Cycle alarm clock
Sleep cycle alarm clock is the app I use to wake me up in the morning.
Sleep cycle alarm clock has a feature which includes smart alarms that will begin waking you up during a 30-minute window so you wake up at a prime time during your sleep cycle.
It also uses the gyro sensor in your smartphone to track your movements in your sleep so you can see how much you move throughout the night and it even gives you a sleep quality percentage in the morning, so you can analyse patterns of good and bad sleep. It's pretty nifty!
Throughout the night when we sleep, we sleep in 90-minute sleep cycles. If you happen to wake up during the middle of one of these cycles, you're not going to feel fantastic.
Along with Sleep Cycle alarm clock, I use Sleep cycle Calculator every evening before bed to calculate the best time I should wake up in the morning.
Combined use of both these apps has given me much better sleep quality so if you have trouble sleeping or not waking up feeling well rested, I'd definitely recommend using them.
App 3 - Evernote
Price: Free (On up to 2 Devices)
So I spent a lot of time earlier this year in search of the perfect writing app. Did I find the perfect writing app? Well, nothing is perfect but Evernote is pretty darn close. During this search, I'd also like to give a shoutout to the app DayOne. DayOne is a journaling app that I use regularly too but it's not something I use as frequently as Evernote since I don't journal every day.
I had previously used Evernote years ago when it first came out but I wasn't crazy on the interface and functionality at the time so I got rid of it. However, earlier this year I stumbled across this blog article and I became hooked on Evernote ever since. While that article is primarily aimed at students (Which I still am), I would still highly recommend using it whether you own and business, run a blog or just enjoy writing.
My main uses of Evernote are for brain dumping, planning blog posts and recording any information I find online, in books or when I'm out for future projects.
It's so easy to just open it up on any of my devices and I know it will all be synced seamlessly to all platforms.
The cross-functionality between devices, ease of formatting your text and being able to make handwritten notes searchable are just a few of many reasons why I love Evernote and use it so much throughout the day.
I could honestly write an entire blog post on its own on why I love Evernote so much but I'll leave it there for now. I hope if you were unsure of it before that you'll give it another try. I think you'll pleasantly surprised!
App 4 - Calm
I am a huge fan of mediation and mindfulness. Honestly if there's one thing I recommend you make a part of your daily routine it would be mediation, even if you can only manage 5 minutes a day it will do you wonders in every aspect of your life!
I've been on the hunt for a great meditation app and one of my friends introduced me to Calm and I haven't looked back since. Calm is one of the most high quality apps I've ever used. I'd describe my entire experience from opening the app as incredibly soothing, immersive and relaxing. It can teleport you away to such a soothing place and I haven't ever had that experience from an app before.
Calm includes a selection of guided mediations and also includes many relaxing videos that stay on a permanent loop. Sometimes I'll just open the app and stare at beautiful beaches or rain pattering against the trees for 10 minutes to clear my mind.
I use calm every evening before I go to sleep to relax and wind down. I'll also use it before I start the day in the mornings and sometimes even in the middle of the day if I need to take a step back from working for a while.
If you're totally new to meditation, I'd completely recommend trying out Calm and seeing if its your thing. If you're already a fan of meditation, Calm will impress you and enhance you daily meditations for sure!
App 5 - Productive
If you've set out to achieve some big goals or changes in your life, small daily habits are always the way to begin.
Productive is a beautifully designed habit tracking app that I use daily to track my progress. It can also be used to track weekly and monthly tasks too!
It's great being able to see streaks when you have been keeping up a habit for a long amount of time and the app will send out reminders to you if you forget to mark off a habit on your list. There is a plethora of habit tracking apps on the app store but I found that I enjoyed using Productive the most out of them all.
And there you have it! These are only a select few of the apps I use day to day but they're definitely the ones I would miss the most if they weren't on my phone. (Especially forest! I seriously use it so much). What are some of your favourite apps? I'd love to hear about any that you're a big fan of, you may end up getting me hooked on them too!