Y’all know I love apps. Apps can entertain you, educate you, make you more productive, and so much more. But do apps really make your life better? I’ve thought a lot about this and I can with certainty, that yes, these seven apps I’ve picked out to talk about have, in fact, made my life better.
I figured I’d save some time by starting with this one. I use Evernote every single day for many aspects of my personal and professional life. I’ve blogged about it several times, including recently where I explained how I’d started using it for task management as well as document storage and project development. Because it is highly customizable, you can use it in a lot of different ways.
Free | Paid
Excel and Google Sheets are ugly and kind of hard to use unless you know what you’re doing. But sometimes a spreadsheet is the best tool for the job—that’s where Airtable comes in. Airtable is perfect for documenting anything you want into a neat and tidy table, allowing you to make certain columns have certain functionality with the click of a button. I currently use Airtable to keep track of my business income and expenses, as well as client info and blogging contacts.
And all these spreadsheets are pretty!
Free | Paid
If you follow as many blogs as I do, you need an easy and efficient way of collecting new posts. I tried over and over to get into Bloglovin’ but that platform is so focused on style and fashion blogs that the “if you like this blog then you would like this blog” functionality is basically useless. Feedly is fast loading and isn’t all about the hyper-feminine blogosphere. It’s easy to see what the new posts are from my favorite blogs and find new posts to read. I usually collect them in Feedly before sending them to my To Read notebook in Evernote, but Feedly’s reading interface is nice and clean for reading too.
Free | Paid
You Need a Budget (YNAB)
I’ve blogged about You Need a Budget (YNAB) before and I might just do it again because it is genuinely a great app. Seeing where all the money goes has made me think about money in an entirely different way. I paid off my credit card (yay!). I no longer fear Christmas gift-buying because we started saving for it back in January, adding a little bit to the designated pot over the course of a year.
Free Trial | Paid
I use guided meditation almost every night while going to sleep. I find it hard to sleep without one as I end up thinking instead of relaxing. Listening to guided meditation at bedtime gives me something to focus on that won’t keep me awake. I’ve used several paid apps, including a few where you paid per meditation, but I’m recommending Insight because it’s free and offers a lot of content for free. You can find meditations for different tastes (voice type, meditation length, etc.) and needs (sleep, calm, focus, etc.). I love this app and I wish I’d found it sooner.
Free | Paid
I listen to podcasts almost every day. When Apple updated their Podcasts app, it became basically unusable. So horrible. I tried a few different podcatcher apps and found Pocket Casts, a truly great app. The interface is simple and tidy while simultaneously allowing for lots of customization, depending on your tastes.
Pocket Casts stands out because of its filter function, allowing users to collect podcast episodes of a certain type. Example: my filters are Calming, Comedy, Crime, Culture, Gender/Race, History, Writing/Publishing, and Productivity/Finance. Depending on my mood, I can choose one of these filters and find something to listen to. These are especially useful when you listen to a lot of different shows.
Brought to you by the wonderful folks at Overdrive, Libby is an ebook/audiobook app for library users. Browse your library’s digital books and borrow away. You can also put ebooks and audiobooks on hold through Libby. It’s a beautifully designed app with an adorable logo.
I’m actually disappointed I didn’t realize you could borrow audiobooks from the library until last year. I’m an avid user of Audible so when I learned I could borrow audiobooks too, this changed everything. More audiobook options equals more books! More books equals more happy!
Are there any apps that make your life better? Let me know in the comments!
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Jillianne Hamilton is the author of Molly Miranda: Thief for Hire, its two action/comedy sequels, and The Lazy Historian's Guide to the Wives of Henry VIII. She is also a graphic designer, a history enthusiast, and a dog mom. Learn more.