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Who would have thought that technology would be a good thing to help you relax, form tiny habits, and improve your productivity? When we think of phone apps, all too often we think of social media and those silly games people play. By and far, those apps are time suckers that only help you waste time instead of using your time wisely.
So let’s make a deal: If you have any of those time sucker apps, hide them from your home screen so they’re more difficult to find and let’s explore some more useful apps that will improve our lives overall.
Meditation is all the rage these days but did you know this ancient Hindu practice has been around since 1500 BC? If it didn’t work, it wouldn’t last this long; and the beauty is you don’t need to dedicate more than 5 minutes a day to discover the benefits of meditation.
The benefits of meditation are many: Relieves stress, controls anxiety, improves self-image and a more positive outlook, and lengthens attention span, just to name a few. Absolutely anyone can do it in any quiet place. If you get confused as to what to do after closing your eyes, consider using one of these meditation apps to start.
- Insight Timer is one of the most comprehensive meditation apps available. It contains guided meditations from some of the most prominent and experienced teachers. You can choose meditations by your favorite teacher or make selections based on how long you have available. You also have the option of just setting a timer and sitting in silence.
- Calm is fantastic for beginners because they have meditations which are 3 minutes long. Even the busiest people can afford 3 minutes to meditate. You also have the option of choosing a specific focus, such as mindfulness, calming anxiety, or breathing exercises. If you have trouble falling asleep, look at their sleep sounds.
- Stop, Breathe and Think recommends meditations based on your emotions at that moment. Identify your emotions, follow the recommended meditation, then track your overall progress.
- The Glo app (formerly YogaGlo) is a combination of meditation, yoga, and Pilates all rolled into one. They have 5-star ratings and boast a wide, ever-expanding library with new contributions added weekly. You can choose your favorite instructor or based on a specific topic or focus for the day.
Habit Tracking Apps
With the popularity of the book Atomic Habits, it’s no wonder there are apps which can track your progress for ANY new habit you want to create. Here are just a few that help keep you organized and focused with a little whimsy added in.
- Habitica is a fun app if you like video games. Starting any new habit is boring but Habitica’s video game interface and ability to challenge other friends help you stay motivated.
- Productive Habit Tracker is another option if you prefer straight-up tracking minus the video game look. Input the habit(s) you want to track and then simply log your progress. You have many different visual progress charts to choose from and these increase your motivation to continue your habit for more consecutive days.
- Balanced (Google or iPhone) has a unique twist: You focus on exercise, sleep and time spent sitting so you can see if your lifestyle is truly balanced or if you need to start some new healthy habits. It also allows you to focus on only three habits at a time so as not to get overwhelmed.
- Morning Routine Habit Tracker helps you settle on a morning routine that works best for you. Simply input those habits you want to start along with their duration and Morning Routine becomes your mobile checklist, timer, and progress checker. Not sure which habits you want to start? You can choose from a pre-set list of habits and edit them as needed. Or choose just one habit to start and add to your list gradually.
Reading self-improvement or motivational books can help motivate you for the day or set you on the right path toward your goals. But let’s face it: Finding time to read is difficult and finding quiet time is near impossible if you have a family. But these apps allow you to listen to your favorite motivational guru or to catch up on the day’s news while working out or commuting.
- Stitcher provides a multitude of podcasts for people on the go but it also has a slew of internet radio shows available on-demand. Find your favorite hosts or discover brand new shows that motivate you toward your goals.
- Audible is a subscription app which allows you to download audiobooks from your favorite authors. Now you can listen to authors narrating their bestselling titles instead of putting the book on the bookshelf, never to be touched. Perfect for long car rides, lunch breaks, or your 10-minute walk around the block.
- Relax Melodies is a popular sleep app that allows users to create their own sleep soundtracks using a combination of white noise, nature sounds, melodies, and binaural beats.
Health and Exercise Apps
You already know daily exercise is vitally important to your health, maintaining your blood sugar levels, lowering your blood pressure, and keeping your stress in check. Now you don’t have any excuses NOT to exercise with all the health tracking apps available.
- Lose It is a comprehensive weight-loss app which counts calories eaten vs energy expended. Simply log all the food you eat at each meal using their very detailed database then add in the exercise you completed. You’ll see in plain numbers your calories eaten vs the calories burned. To encourage users to log in each day, you can earn badges for completing various tasks (such as logging in every day).
- Stepz is a convenient alternative to the Fitbit if you don’t have the budget or desire to purchase their wrist tracker. Stepz is a mobile pedometer which counts your steps while the app runs in the background of your phone. Stepz also syncs with the Apple Watch so you always have your step count available. Another motivating and creative way to get your body moving.
- Map My Walk tracks your walk on a mobile map along with your walking time. Connect with friends to stay motivated, track your progress over time, use their suggestions to find new routes, or pay for the premium version to get training plans for better results. Sometimes the hardest thing about using this app is remembering to turn it on!
- 7 Minute Workout provides short but effective workouts that everyone can find time to do. Reviewers love the app and provide encouragement that even severely overweight people can make it through these workouts (but of course, always check with your doctor first).
So in this wide world of technology, apps don’t necessarily have to be used just for games or social media. Turn off those time wasters and try one of these habit formers instead. Track your progress, practice mindfulness, and live a more productive life.
Do you need some help getting your mornings in order? School is starting and schedules are changing! Use this time to get your mornings organized so that you are less stressed and able to get your day going. Sign up for a free Good Morning Worksheet here.
Loving Life–The Reboot!