6 apps to add to your list

Is there such a thing as an obnoxious recommender? I think I am one of those. I’m forever telling people about this great app I found, or my physio, or the fact that the shoes in Kmart are on sale right now. I just can’t stop myself.

So Lauren’s link up is perfect for me and it’s only due to disorganisation that I haven’t joined it before.

I’ve been on a real app discovery kick lately, so here are some that I think you might love.

Tide app ¦¦ If you are someone who struggles with focus and concentration, do I have the app for you. It’s basically the most beautiful Pomodoro timer you’ve ever seen, with bonus white noise features. The interface is sleek and clean, with absolutely no ads, and there’s a daily tasteful background and quote. Here’s the one from the other day:

You can also set the app to not let you navigate away from it on your phone when it’s on, thereby removing my most common distraction. You can change the duration of timer vs break. It dings happily to let you know when it’s time to take a break, and when break time is over. There’s even a sleep feature that plays you white noise to help you nod off. The one thing I wish it did is tell you how long you have left in your focus/break on the lock screen – there’s a widget that shows you that when you swipe right, but I’d rather it was right up under the time like the native countdown timer is.

Anyway, I am especially in love with the white noise feature. My favourite white noises are ocean and rain; I use rain the most when it’s hot out because it makes me feel cooler? I don’t know. I’ve found this app the most helpful thing yet when trying to get my brain to knuckle down and get some reading or writing done. Give it a go, and let me know what your favourite white noise is.

You can download Tide app here (Android and iOS).

Smiling mind app ¦¦ Let’s call this part 2 in my quest for productivity. This app is a meditation/mindfulness app developed in conjunction with psychologists and is not-for-profit. Again, no ads or in-app purchases here (hoo-flipping-ray). I like that there’s a mood tracker built in which you use to mark how happy, content and alert you are before every session. I’m new to this whole shebang but have started doing an exercise before work every day and I do believe it’s helping with my overall ability to focus and positivity.

You can save your favourite meditations to come back to later, and there are all sorts of interesting programmes to follow like ‘daily commute and digital detox’ which I 100% need.

The Smiling Mind website is here with links to app stores etc.

TripIt ¦¦ Fellow travellers! This is for you. Thanks to Kristen for the recommendation of this. I used to use Wipolo, and it was good, but I think TripIt is just a hint better. It automatically imports booking information from your email account(s) and populates an itinerary for you. I find it so helpful to have all the information I need in one place, rather than having to open up various different apps and search for things whilst trying to remember what on earth it is I’m looking for in the first place. There’s a pro version you can upgrade to if you’re a super serious frequent traveller (also American as I think a lot of the extra features are US-centric).

Here’s a small part of our pre-pat trip itinerary from last year, showing flight times in local time, flight numbers, accommodation details including address, and the booking confirmation documents are all stored within each entry. So easy to see it all in one place and using this app is how we realised we’d stuffed up some of our bookings.

Find out where to download TripIt here.

Pocketbook ¦¦ Through listening to the Dave Ramsey Podcast I became convinced of our need for a budget, and discovered that his recommended app You Need A Budget doesn’t integrate directly with Australian banks. So I did some Googling and found Pocketbook instead. It’s great, and links to all the major banks so it populates all your transactions automatically. We drew up our budget on paper/a spreadsheet, then input our budgets per category (travel, groceries, entertainment, etc) into the Safely Spend feature. This then tracks your real time spend against those targets, hopefully leading to fewer surprises. It’s not perfect, and there are a few things I wish it did differently, but it has helped me so much in feeling in control of our spending. I installed in back in November, spent November setting it up and getting used to it, then December was December – but we’ve spent way less in January and February than usual and I think the app is a significant part of that.

I’m not going to put a screenshot of it in because it’s full of all my financial information so have another inspiring quote from Tide instead (also I feel it’s vaguely pertinent to budgeting – if you’re waiting for the moment when you feel ready to do a budget, it’s probably already too late):

Find out where to download Pocketbook via their website here

NextThere ¦¦ If you’re like me and scared of buses, this app is for you. Although I’m afraid it’s another one just for the Aussies, sorry about that. This app shows you your nearest bus station, what buses stop there, when they are due, how busy they are, where they’ll be stopping and when… And there’s a map where you can see where your bus is in real time. This is helpful not only before you get on the bus (surely it must be nearly here by now?!) but also when you’re on the bus (is this my stop????). I love this app.

Find out where to download NextThere here although I think it’s only iOS at the moment SORRY

Pepperplate ¦¦ I use this app to organise all of my recipes, and I use it as the cookbook on my phone. You can import recipes directly from websites using their widget thingamabob, or type things in manually using the app or via desktop. You can scale recipes up and down easily, create meal plans and shopping lists. Those last 2 functions I don’t use as I don’t find them the easiest, but if you can crack it, go ahead. I like that this saves the original place you found the recipe, and you can tag recipes for easy filtering (eg slow cooker, quick meals, breakfasts). Plus, it displays stuff cleanly and neatly. Shout out to probably the most referenced recipe in my app, Kristy’s Healthy Vegan Neapolitan Baked Oatmeal (if you haven’t tried making this yet you are missing out).

Pepperplate’s website is here.

Be warned, they don’t seem to have updated the app at all for quite some time, so what was a fabulous app 5 years ago when I first downloaded it is liable to be outstripped by the competition any day. But for me, for now, it works well.

Do you have any apps you just can’t stop recommending to people?

-Rachel

P.S If you’re a Sydneysider and you want my physio recommendation, let me know!

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I'm all about discovering new apps that make my life easier, more productive or just more enjoyable. These great apps help me travel, cook and be more productive. Find out which ones I love at http://www.anestingnomad.com/2018/02/apps-i-recommend-australia.html/

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