A smart phone is a double-edged sword.
It can improve your life, or it can be abused. Unfortunately, I see far too many adults wasting time by either playing games or scrolling through social media. If you are ready to grow up and reach for larger goals, these android apps can optimize your phone for greater productivity, efficiency, and impact.
Insight Timer is a free alternative to Headspace. Basically, it’s a social media app for meditators. You can use it not only as a timer, but also to track your meditation practice over the course of weeks and months. It records both your accumulated time and the number of sessions that you meditate, and it presents the info in simple bar graphs. Additionally, it comes loaded up with thousands of guided meditations which are frequently updated. Insight Timer also has a few social media functions such as groups and messaging.
Librivox is a free barebones alternative to Audible. It features hundreds of creative commons audiobooks. Most are dated, but you can find some interesting works of ancient philosophy, autobiographies, and popular titles from the early 20th century metaphysics movement (a precursor to books like ‘The Secret.’)
Podcast Addict is highly functional and allows you to search for podcast from across different platforms. You can either stream or download individual episodes, adjust the playback speed, and play mp3s from your phone. I often use websites like www.youtubemp3.to to download the audio from longer youtube videos so that I can listen to them during my commute. Either way, audiobooks and podcasts are a great way to squeeze out value when doing things like driving or cleaning.
4get is a note taking app which stands out with it’s simplicity. It only holds four notes, each attractively displayed in a quadrant of the screen. Each note is a maximum length of 6 lines (about 60-70 characters), and each note is ultra easy to delete. Obviously, this isn’t an app for writing drafts of social media posts. But 4get is a useful option if your main note taking app is typically filled with dozens of notes that you’ve long since forgotten about.
Hopper is an app which tracks and predicts flight prices. It allows you to secure the best deal on airfare. You can enter a destination, and it will tell you the cheapest dates to fly. Choose a date, and it will tell you if and when the price is likely to change. This can save a lot money if you are planning a trip a few months ahead of time.
Sleep Cycle uses the motion sensing technology in your phone to determine the best time to wake up. You set a time range to wake up, and leave the phone on your bed. When the app notices you are in a lighter stage of sleep within your waking time, an alarm goes off. This allows you to wake up feeling more refreshed. Sleep Cycle also logs your movement throughout the night so that you can analyze what your sleep cycle is like.
Alfred turns your old smart phone into a reliable security camera. This was especially useful when I was traveling across Vietnam by bicycle. Our group stayed at a lot of seedy hotels. Rather than worry about whether it was safe to leave our stuff in the room, we used Alfred and the hotel’s wifi to monitor our room remotely. The app has a lot of great features such as motion sensor, night vision, alerts, and an intercom.
Family Locator is another useful app for traveling. During the same cross country cycle tour, each member of our group used Family Locator to see where everyone was. This enabled us to split up and quickly reconnect. This also gave us peace of mind in case one of us lost our phone.
Monefy is a personal expense tracker. I’ve just started using it, but it seems promising so far. Great for seeing exactly how you spend your money and pinpointing ways to save.
Business Calendar is a great alternative to Google’s standard calendar app. Personally, I find Business Calendar more intuitive and functional. Recurring events are easy to log, alter, and delete. Color coding makes sort through various types of activities a breeze. The widgets are attractive and can be optimized for maximum utility. Finally, a task list is perfect for keeping track of short-term goals.
Questions Diary is a neat app which asks you one thought-provoking question per day. If you don’t like the question, you can always choose a different one. What makes the app remarkable is that after a year, it asks the same question again. Thus, you can see how you thoughts and feelings have changed over time.
Most phones have an eye-protection feature. However, if yours doesn’t, you need to download Twilight now. Blue light from screens interferes with sleep cycles, which leads to lower performance and productivity. Twilight is an easy, free solution.
Happy Cow is the go-to app for vegan and vegetarian travelers. It’s perfect for finding places to eat when you’re in a new area. Best of all, it works all around the world. The interface hasn’t been updated in some time, so it’s not the most attractive app. Nonetheless, it’s incredibly useful.
Fiverr connects you to freelancers who cane help in all sorts of projects. It’s great for people who have a vision but lack one or two minor skills such as graphic design or video editing.
Unless you are a teenage girl with too much free time, you’ll probably never use all the fuctions that Toolwiz Photo Editor offers. Nonetheless, they are nice to have. This is one of the most powerful and impressive free photo editors available. If you want your photos to stand out, Toolwiz is a great choice.
Logo Maker Plus is great when you need to make a logo on the fly. It’s easy to use, allowing you to quickly create attractive custom logos for free and without a watermark.
The Red Pill Quotes is minimally designed. What it lacks in bells and whistles, it makes up for in blisteringly unapologetic truth. It displays an insightful (though admittedly controversial) quote sourced from The Red Pill reddit community. It’s a must have for any man who is in the process of unplugging.
While not apps, these are also very useful.
Wallpapers created by Gary Vaynerchuk are a great addition to your smartphone. They create a constant reminder to focus on what’s important. I always choose black wallpapers. Not only does it look better, the darker color eats less battery.
Binaural Beats are produced by your mind when listening to two slightly different tones with stereo headphones. Depending on the frequency of the beat, they can induce feelings of relaxation or excitement. There are apps which allow you to create your own binaural beats. However, I find it much easier just to find them on Youtube. I frequently use them to fall asleep quickly for power naps.