I imagine we are not the only ones wondering how in the world it is already 2017! 2016 was an...interesting...year to say the least. But we're focused forward in order to make the most of the upcoming year.
To help you also make the most of your year, we wanted to share our top 10 favorite apps that we use to help us make the most of our time.
This is Amazon's audio book app, which is my app of choice, but there are others with similar functions. The selection is amazing and the app is very easy to use.
I have to drive a lot for work - after using DayPoint I realized I drive 12-14 hours a week on average, with a lot of that time being frustrated in LA traffic. Once I realized how much time I was spending in a car, I approached it from a different angle: how can I use this time more enjoyably and to learn more. With a typical audio book lasting about 10 hours, I could finally make progress against my always-growing list of books to 'read'.
Also, consider asking your local library if they are partnered with an audio book app. I learned the LA library uses Overdrive and have started to listen to a lot of the books for free.
Prefer to read your books instead of listen to them but still short on time? Blinkist is an interesting app where their team reads then synthesizes popular books into very bite sized pieces. I've found they're typically about 10 to 12 pages, or "blinks", that convey the key takeaways and learnings from the book.
While it’s not a substitute for fully reading a book, you get the majority of the insights and it can also help you decide whether the full book is worth your investment of time.
3. DayPoint - See Where Your Time Goes
I built DayPoint because it was something I wanted for myself and something I deeply believed could help others live more conscious and meaningful lives. While there is much more we want to build into it, already it provides a very powerful perspective into how you spend your days to help you take greater control of what you do with your time and ultimately live more towards your purpose.
When I started using a fitbit, I noticed I was subconsciously making decisions that made me more active - taking the stairs vs. elevator, walking to get coffee vs. driving. DayPoint works in a similar way, where even just becoming aware of your patterns can have an implicit/non-conscious impact on the way you spend your time, nudging you in a positive direction.
Use to do lists? Use a calendar? If yes to both, then using Trevor means 1+1>2. It helps you slot your to do list items into your calendar, helping you block off time to actually get it done.
I just saw a post that they are integrating a chatbot into the app - sounds cool but I have not had a chance to explore that feature yet.
Perspectime is a simple yet beautiful app that offers a unique perspective on time: the hand on the dial of the clock makes a single revolution each year. It’s a subtle yet helpful reminder of the broader passage of time and I’ve found it very motivating in taking advantage of bigger chunks of time (e.g. a quarter / season).
Growing up in the midwest, when I moved to California and started hearing more about meditation I mentally grouped it in the same category as witchcraft. But more and more of the people I look up to were swearing by it, so my interest was piqued. Hearing about its power from Casey Sheahan (former CEO, Patagonia), Arianna Huffington (formally head of Huffington Post, now CEO of Thrive), and in articles like this one from Harvard Business Review. I had to figure out how to start.
Enter Headspace. Headspace makes meditation easy and accessible, but is still powerful whether it's your first time or fifth year. You get 10 sessions for free to decide if it's 'for you' or not. If you try it, I strongly recommend toughing it out for 10 full days before deciding if you want to continue.
7. Mojo Gratitude Journal
It's ridiculously easy. At most it takes 5 minutes a day, on average I probably spend about 60 seconds. While there are a bunch in the App Store, my go-to is called Mojo (previously 'Gratitude Journal'). There is plenty of research that touts the value of practicing gratitude, including this Psychology Today article and this HuffPo article, so it's well worth your time.
The things I enter in range from a good surf in the morning, to a successful work call, to a long and meaningful conversation with a close friend or family member. But, what I've found is that regardless of what you enter, it helps create a mindset where you seek out the good and the things you appreciate. It has has a big impact on my happiness and ability to recover from negative events.
8. Relax Melodies
This one is very helpful for focus. There may be other ‘ambient sound’ apps that do the same, but I swear by the binaural tones in Relax Melodies. You have to use stereo headphones for them to work, but the basic idea is that alternating tones help ‘guide’ your brainwaves into optimal levels depending on what you’re trying to do. I use the Concentrate option almost every day, but Relaxation, Pre-Sleep, and Dreamless Sleep are also some of my favorite options.
Simple? Yes. Effective? Oh yes. Clocks is an app that offers…as clock. But it’s in a larger format than the built in options. I use it in a variety of situations (e.g. to keep me on track when giving presentations, I’ll leave it out on my coffee table at home to help me be more mindful of the time if I’m scheduled to do something) but one of my favorite uses is while I’m in the shower. I’ll leave it on the bathroom counter and I give myself a set number of minutes for my shower (both to save time and for conservation reasons). When the clock clicks to 1 minute before I have to get out, I turn the water to full cold for 1 minute which is a rocket booster for starting the day.
Hold yourself accountable to the good habits you want to build. Momentum is a very simple app where you enter daily goals and this keeps a tally of your progress and adherence over time. Mine range from specific (meditate, walk 10k steps, write in the gratitude app) to broader (plan for the day, do two things to advance my business, have a meaningful conversation).
It has had a positive and noticeable effect - sometimes I feel like just laying down for bed but if I forgot to meditate, the app is a subtle nudge to do so, which I never regret.
Hopefully you find these as helpful as I do and they have a big, positive effect on your 2017.
Would love to know if there are other apps that you find helpful! Specifically, do you know of any great day planning apps? In 2017 I'm trying to be better about proactively planning my months, weeks, and days.