Apps I use every day
We’re all looking for shortcuts all the time. Want to lose weight – how can lose 10kg in 1 month? Want to get rich – how can I do it in 2 weeks? Want to be more productive – what app do I use?
We rarely think about the underlying process of these changes. There are (usually) no quick fixes in life, and same goes for personal productivity. And while tools should be an afterthought, they can make a difference. Here I’ve gathered some of my favourite apps, the ones I use everyday.
I use an iPhone 6, so I’ll be talking about the iOS versions. But a lot of these apps have Android versions as well, so wherever possible, I will link to those as well (or suitable alternatives).
Phone and Messages
That’s what mobile phones are for, right? …right?
MinimaList – reminders
I use Todoist for work-related tasks, but all other reminders go to MinimaList. The main reasons for using this app is the ability to add a new task and reminder quickly, along with its beautiful design. One of the few apps on my phone that have notifications enabled.
Recently switched to MinimaList from Any.do, because I’ve noticed it takes too long to load and that’s a big no-no when your main goal is to set a reminder as fast as possible.
Android alternative: Any.do
Pocket Casts – podcast player
I’ve recently switched to Pocket Casts, when Overcast changed their business model (ad supported free version, subscription for premium). I knew I was going to pay for a podcast player, so it encouraged me to look for possible alternatives. I like Pocket Casts the best and have been using it for a few months now.
The app is beautiful and offers great advanced options, such as setting up special lists with filters, adjustable playback speed, volume boost and trim silence — all great for interview-format podcasts.
I suggest starting at 1.3 speed and increasing it 0.1 every week. You’ll be at 1.8 at no time and won’t even notice the difference.
Android link: Pocket Casts
Clock – alarm clock
Nothing fancy, using the stock Clock app for my alarm clock. Their new “Bedtime” feature allows you to wake up peacefully with nice and calm sounds. I use the Birdsong wake-up sound. And no snooze, ever.
I’m actually looking for an alarm clock to replace my phone, since I do not want to have it next to my bed every day. Suggestions welcome.
Android alternative: Sleep as Android
1Password – password manager
Only recently decided to take the plunge and subscribed to the desktop version of 1Password as well. But for the past year or so, I’ve been using the iOS app only. Great for storing and generating passwords. Still think the desktop app is not crucial… If you don’t feel like spending $2.99 a month and don’t have a problem with opening 1Password on your phone to check the password and then retyping it on your computer.
Android link: 1Password
Google Maps – navigation
Evernote – digital brain
Evernote is the first app I install on every new device. It serves as a central database for ideas and any kind of other useful information, as well as an email reference folder. I am on the Plus plan (because forwarding emails to Evernote is a must for me), but even the free plan probably offers everything an average user needs. Truly a must-have.
Android link: Evernote
Chrome – internet browser
Chrome is a quick, reliable and syncs tabs across devices. It is what I use on my desktop, so it makes sense to have it on my iPhone as well.
I prefer it to Safari, mainly because of the way it manages tabs.
Pocket – read it later
The second app I install. Whatever interesting piece of information I come across and can not read at that specific moment, goes into Pocket. I generally don’t have games on my phone, so whenever I find myself sitting around waiting for something, I read an article I’ve previously saved to Pocket.
Android link: Pocket
Calendars 5 – calendar app
There’s two key features a calendar app must have – a good overview of your schedule and a quick and easy way of adding new events. Calendars 5 does a great job at both these things.
Also, I use Zapier to copy work calendar events to Google Calendar so I can get a complete picture of my schedule.
Android alternative: aCalendar+
Day One – journal
I know I could put all accounts in a single app, but I find it better to separate them to different apps. That way each app has a specific purpose. We probably all spend the most time in our work email, so it makes sense to use the best application for it – for me, that’s Outlook. A nice interface, fast, with customisable swipe options. I’ve tried a fair share of different email clients, but Outlook is still my top choice.
Android link: Outlook
Google Keep – quick capturing of ideas
Google Keep recently replaced Braintoss. 95% of the time I use it for a quick voice recording of an idea I come across when listening to podcasts. It automatically transcribes the audio and does a pretty good job at it. I then transfer the notes to my Field Notes notebook, or directly to Evernote.
Android link: Google Keep
Headspace – meditation
A great app to get you into meditating. Headspace offers a free “Take 10” course that will guide you through the first 10 days of your meditation practice.
Note: There’s no need to actually subscribe to Headspace, if you’re just getting into meditation. I just open the app and select one of the “Take 10” courses at random.
Android link: Headspace
Photos and Camera
Not really big into photography (on my phone), so when the need for a quick photo arises, stock apps do just fine.