First, I hope that title conjures a frenzy for apps more than a need for an emergency visit to the dentist. Second, taking a quick diversion this week to follow up on some app-related conversations of the last couple of weeks. And no, this is not (entirely) because the next post on the outline is fitness related and it is much more difficult to sample lots of fitness programs than, say, movies. Of my seven weeks of research, the app post, Just Venmo Me, has led to the most follow up conversations, additional suggestions, and targeted questions. It is also the week that resulted in the most tangible change in my day-to-day life (with the possible exception of the week I learned about daily podcasts and committed to The Daily). With all that in mind, there are two areas where I want to follow up: (1) the extent to which I am actually implementing the apps selected and (2) sharing some apps that were suggested by others after Just Venmo Me that I am using with fidelity (and loving).
The first one is easy and quick. I have fully committed, without turning back, to Chrome and Overcast. The Google app and Apple Podcast app have been permanently deleted and are a thing of the past. That said, while they both make life easier, they haven't been life changing. What HAS been life changing and that I use on a daily basis is Pocket. I love it, use it regularly, and actually do follow up and read the articles saved. I particularly like that you can sync it to additional devices, so I can save things on my phone and read them on my computer. A complete win for me, and the app that I have heard the most positive reviews of from others that have just implemented it.
Those are the success stories. And, it's not terrible that of six apps selected, three made it firmly into daily routine. Plus, Waze remains in a neutral area: I am still intrigued with it, but because of the amount of data and battery that it uses, I find myself falling back to Google Maps. That said, I have not been on any road trips or out-of-the-ordinary adventures since adding it, so I anticipate that it will still be a value add.
Alas, the two aspirational apps belong, at the moment, in the non-success category. Kitchen Stories, which I have not used beyond the researching weeks, I am holding on to because I still believe it will be helpful if only I can get it into the routine. 7 Minute Workout is going to be deleted today. I say that I understand that 7 minutes of working out is better than nothing, but I don't think that I actually believe it. I love the energy boost, endorphins, and general sense of accomplishment that comes from a good, painful, sweat-filled workout. It seems that, without those carrots waiting, I can't be induced to get moving, even when it's only seven minutes. I like the idea of it, but apparently seven minutes of writing, reading (see above re: new Pocket obsession), cleaning, or HGTV is more enticing to me.
Now on to the fun part: new apps that I have been introduced to and am using faithfully. I have learned of SO many new apps in the last 2 weeks or so. It is intriguing the number of different ways that people make technology work for them. I have sampled many, but there are three that I am using regularly:
1. Wunderlist. Wunderlist is an app that lets you create and share to-do lists, reminders, and tasks. It's a pretty simply concept, but one that makes life a little bit easier. I like it because all of my lists are now in one place (as opposed to on the back of a receipt, on the dry erase board - which does me no good at the grocery, or on what was a list and now has been repurposed as an art project by my favorite four-year-old). More importantly, you can share lists with other people. This is handy for day-to-day tasks - my husband and I both have access to a real-time version of the grocery list - and for special events - you can add the whole book club to a list and people can sign up for what they're bringing to a shared dinner. It's simple and seems somewhat obvious, but this is an area where I was not being a smart consumer of technology. No longer!
2. Pinterest. Did you know that Pinterest isn't just about design, decorating, or home projects? I did not. I thought if I had a crafting or design-related need, Pinterest would be the place to turn. Until such a need arises, I figured there was no need for me to check it out. All wrong. Pinterest is basically a search engine that uses images (aka, pins) to show results. You can save pins that you want to keep for later or just view them and move on. When logged in, you get a news feed of pins that might be relevant to you based on your interests or previous searches; however, you can also search for specific topics - I had good luck this week with a "what to do for a bee sting" search - or follow friends and see what they're reading and doing. While there are obviously lots of ways to navigate it, here's what I've been doing: searching for a particular topic (my most recent search, as an example, was "best preschool books"), clicking on the pin to go directly to the link, and then saving the results to pocket (where I now have an article, "100 of the Best Books for Preschoolers," patiently waiting for me). The search option is really effective, it's very enjoyable to navigate (the pins are visually appealing), and I have found a ton of really interesting articles and ideas, none of them related to decorating or home projects. If you're not using it, it is much more of a resource than you think. Give it at least five minutes of your time to check out all the features!
3. Yelp. I had seen Yelp come up on a number of lists as a top app, but was reluctant to explore it before hearing a few personal, and glowing, reviews (I figured it didn't add that much more than a good google search). I gave it a try, and the sheer volume of restaurants and businesses that Yelp has in one location makes it worth using. You can search for a business in any category - from restaurants and bars to automotive or professional services - and immediately get a list of matching businesses in your area, the distance to each option, and a rating and review for each. It is helpful even at home because it gives you a complete list of all options close by and gives some easy to navigate feedback on those options. That said, while it's convenient at home, I can imagine it will be life-changing while traveling to be able to do such specific and targeted searches and in one location get a list, reviews, hours, overview, and directions. Much like Wunderlist, it's a relatively simple concept, but using the app simplifies life and makes searching for and getting to services easier.
Alright, with those loose ends tied up, I will leave the topic of apps for at least a few weeks. However, I have loved everything I have learned along the way and, while there might not be another blog post for a bit, there is plenty of memory on my phone. So please keep sending on any and all of your favorites!