A Few Favorites: Apps

Happy March!

I went a bit MIA in February. I’m blaming the weather, but really, the weather was an excuse for me to “turtle up” as my friend Emily likes to say (“turtle up” = to hide in your shell when things get too overwhelming). Still, sometimes there are benefits to hiding for a bit, and for me, one such benefit was learning about and beginning to use new self-improvement and productivity apps on my phone!

Since I’ve been loving these apps, and how they’re helping me better myself and keep my life in order, I thought I’d share a few of my favorites with you!

NOTE: I have a Google Pixel. All of these apps are found in the Google Play store. I don’t know if (but I assume they) are available on iOS or what the iOS interface/experience is like.

NOTE #2: All of these apps have a free version + paid/premium/unlock version(s). I’ll note which version I have at the end of each discussion block.

Duolingo


I took high school level Spanish 1 in seventh and eighth grade as a zero period class. I took high school level Spanish 2 in ninth grade. I live in San Diego.

I cannot speak Spanish. I know a decent amount of Spanish words, but conversationally… I mean, I can follow the study group on Community. Which should say everything you need to know.

But I want to be able to speak Spanish, at least conversationally. I also want to be able to speak Italian and French. And I’m getting myself there, one language at a time, with Duolingo.

VERSION: Free. Considering “Plus,” but I’m happy with free for now.

Lumosity

Okay, I’ll be totally honest, I started with this one because I wanted to play games on my phone but I wanted to trick myself into feeling like I wasn’t wasting time while I was playing games on my phone…

But, surprisingly, these “brain games” actually do seem to work at helping strengthen cognitive processing skills! And, they’re really fun. Sometimes really frustrating, yes, but still fun.

I like that there’s a Math and Words component too, in addition to the “Classic” training for things like memory, information processing, and task switching. It’s reminding me how terrible I am at math (lol) and also how quickly you can strengthen/rebuild skills with quick daily practice.

One of my favorite Lumosity games is called “Word Bubbles.” The game gives you a set of letters to start a word, and you have to type as many words as you can think of that start with that set of letters before the timer runs out. There are three rounds per game. Once you’ve played the game a certain number of times (I think it’s five; I’ve played it a lot more than that), the app will give you insights as to how you compare to famous authors. Here are my comparisons based on all the times I’ve played this game:

Of course I’m going to like an app that compares me to J.K. Rowling and Agatha Christie.

VERSION: Paid, One-Year Subscription. On the free version, you get to play less games per day for “training” (three instead of five), have access to fewer games/apps, and don’t get the insights. BUT I did use the free version for a while, and I still found it fun.

Daylio

I probably should’ve put this app first, because it really is my absolutely favorite that I am currently using, but it’s also the “newest” app in my rotation, so maybe it’s just the “YAY! NEW SHINY!” factor? (Though, I doubt it. I really love this app.)

Daylio is a mood and activity tracker. You can also set goals for yourself based on the activities you track. You can do one entry per day to summarize your whole day, or (if you’re like me), you can check in throughout the day and group your activities + your moods, and then the app will “average” your mood for the day. You can also add notes with each entry.

This are my actual entries I wrote prior to sitting down and writing this blog. When I’m done with this and have it published, I’ll add another entry with my mood + “blogging” as an activity.

For those who may be curious, BBP stands for Beachbody Performance Line — they’re supplements I use when I’m working out. The full line has five different supplements; I only use four of them, and I don’t use them every day, so I like to keep track of which ones I use when.

Moods are on a 5-point scale, from RAD (Best) to AWFUL (Worst). You can customize your moods and the colors you use to track them. “Traffic” is really common, with the best moods being bright green, the middle mood being yellow, and the worst mood being red. I’ve opted for a shades of blue/green on mine, which you can see above.

You can also customize your moods – you’ll notice in my above entry, I have ENDORPHIN RUSH and SLEEPY. Those are ones I made for myself. On a free account, you get a limited number of custom moods.

You can ALSO customize/add activities! (Again, limited on free, but I got quite a few in there before I paid to upgrade!). Work Out, Sleep, and Reading were all “standard” Daylio activities; I added “Coffee” because I’m trying to keep track of how much coffee I drink daily. I can’t remember if “Learn Language” was standard or if I added it, but you can see, I used my Duolingo already today. 😉

The other thing I love love LOVE about this app is the goal tracking. As you can see, I’m tracking a lot of goals:

You can also see that I’m doing REALLY WELL with some and REALLY NOT WELL with others, lol. Some are also new goals, and some I just forgot to hit the activity button on…but the good news is, I can go back and update past dates at any point!

You can customize how often you want to complete each goal,

You can set reminders too, so Daylio will alert you at a certain time if you haven’t tracked a specific activity yet. And when you click through each one, it will show you which days you’ve completed the goal, and what your mood was when you recorded it (or the mood for the day, if you’re only tracking once per day).

And finally, for my gamer-minded and/or ribbon-chasing friends, the app has ACHIEVEMENTS!

These are the “basic” achievements. There are also goal-related achievements and secret achievements (I’ve already unlocked one of those!).

Of all the “productivity/organization/life/habit/self-improvement” apps I’ve tried (and I have tried A LOT of them), Daylio is by far my favorite one.

VERSION: Paid, one-time unlock to premium. Definitely worth it to me, because I like having ALL THE CUSTOMIZATION OPTIONS (like more color options for my sliding scale + ability to add more moods, activities, and goals than the free version allows).

What about you?

Are there any apps out there you just can’t live without? Apps that are changing your life? Tell me about them in the comments, or tweet me at @ThatColette so I can check them out!

And, if you decide to try any of these apps, let me know what you think of them!