3 Simple To Use Apps For Better Life Management #59

By Pauline Sargent.

Pauline Sargent #59

There are a huge amount of productivity apps promising to make you better at GTD (getting things done). And over the years I have downloaded many of them in the hope that they will change me for the better. 

And of course, I’ve ended up with tons of apps sitting on my phone and I wasn’t really using any of them consistently. In fact I was using 2 or 3 apps for the same thing and not really understanding how to stick with one and use it properly.  

At the recent DigiWomen Time unConference, one of the most popular sessions was ‘all about apps’. We talked about which apps were great for tracking daily tasks and managing big projects. So, for the last few months, I have been experimenting with some of the apps cited by DigiWomen as must haves.  

One of the things I really wanted to do was develop a daily workflow and I was ready to stick with the apps I had selected. I mean, every app has its pros and cons. And unless you stick with one app you are never going to understand it or use it to its full potential.

So for what it's worth, here are my 3 chosen apps that I can say are changing how I do things.

1) ANYLIST 

This is an app worth raving about. It has changed my grocery shopping habits forever. Roseanne Smith of OnlineHub was singing its praises at last year’s Congregation. And yet, I only started using it for real this September and I'm sorry that I did not start using it sooner. 

AnyList makes it simple to make food and shopping lists. And best of all you can share the list with your partner, family members or room-mates. You create a list, say, for the weekly family shop once, and then you can hide or unhide items with one tap as you need them. We have over 100 items on our family shopping list. 

It took some time to remember to check the app but once you get into the habit of using it, you will not look back. As soon as the list is modified AnyList sends a notification to the other people using the list. This is helpful when you’re out and about and haven't had time to check the cupboards at home. 

Another list that I am finding successful is one I created for my 14 year old son. I know, I can hear you groan. But anyone with teenagers will know that getting them to do things around the house is a nightmare. So I created a list for him with today only, daily, and weekly categories, and lists of tasks under each one. It saves us having to ask him to do things over and over again. And better still, it stops him saying he didn’t know he had to do something or forgot. He says he doesn't like it but secretly I know he likes ticking the items off. And it has cut down on the drama around household jobs. 

There are so many uses for AnyList, I think my head will explode. Xmas lists. Holiday lists. Fun things to do lists. Bucket lists. I could go on. I loved it so much, we upgraded to get some of the pro features at a cost of $11.99 per year for the family. Download it today. I can guarantee it will change your list writing habits forever.

2) Bullet 

So, managing my finances has never been my strongest point. Looking after cash flow on a daily basis is something that I tend to avoid as much as possible. Deciding to use the Bullet accounting software app has helped improve my receipt management. 

Instead of stuffing my receipts into an envelope and trying to sort them out at the end of the year, I now take a photo of each receipt everyday using the Bullet app. Every evening I then upload the receipts into the Bullet accounting system. It takes less then 5 minutes. 

Bullet's focus is on simplicity, consistency and usefulness. And for me it is all these. Having used other accounting systems in the past, this app is for me, the most effective. 

Bullet helps keep you up to date with logging your finances. I have learnt from bitter past experience that this is vital for keeping your business going. Using the Bullet app has helped me understand my daily expenditure better. And most importantly, it has given me a better interest in tracking and monitoring my cash flow. Which in turn is making me better at generating sales. 

3) My Fitness Pal 

These days there are 100s of apps out there helping us to track and improve our fitness. And the My Fitness Pal app is one that I will be using forever. My husband used it last year consistently for 9 months to track his daily eating and fitness habits. And went on to lose over 3 stone. 

What makes My Fitness Pal so good is that it remembers what you eat the most often. So you are not always having to enter in the calories. And the absolute best bit is being able to scan the products using the barcode on the packet. It then adds the calorie details automatically. 

Best of all, food data is crowd sourced through the My Fitness Pal community. And a lot of them are fanatics about what is in our food which is great. Because that way, you are not relying on the food producers who sometimes have confusing, even slightly misleading information on their labels.

It only takes a few minutes after each meal, or before it, to log what you are eating. And then you get a nice little graph at the end of the week telling you how you are progressing.  

So, I guess for me, the big lesson is to pick one app for one task and stick with it. Hopping and jumping between apps that do the same thing is a waste of time. 

We all want to be more productive. And technology can help us do that if we are smart about how and what we use. Getting small tasks done every day and using apps like the ones above to record these tasks is a great way to eat the elephant. 

I know I feel better and more focused when I use the apps consistently. There are less arguments with the teenager. My grocery shopping is so much easier to manage now. There is not that sense of dread about my accounts anymore. And well, hopefully next year I will be reporting back as a slimmer and fitter person.

What about you what apps are making a difference to how you do things? And why? 


© Eoin Kennedy 2017 eoin at congregation dot ie