We’re a month into the new year and I’m trying to hold myself accountable for my new years resolutions. My personal-life resolutions were to find more mental balance, bring more music into my day, improve my Spanish & go out more (preferably on dates). Looking at some apps on my phone (Samsung S3) and their usage suggests that I’ve got some work to do. Here are the apps I identified as key to these goals, why I like them, and how I’m using them.
I first picked up this app after seeing Arianna Huffington speak about the 3rd Metric at Inbound 2013. The idea was to build more time for reflection and balance into each day. I figured meditation was a good place to start since I’d always been curious about it, and the app seemed like a good way to kickstart a program. Right now, I’m only using it once or twice per week.
The best features are the ability to set different intervals for your meditation (I have it set to 2 minutes) & the quotes they give you to think on during your session.
Duolingo was suggested to me by a friend that was moving to Mexico for a sabbatical. I’ve been struggling with languages since high school and my lack of language skills has been bothering me for a while. I recently took a trip to Mexico where my shortcomings were evident BUT I do feel that the app gave me enough knowledge to handle basic discussions (asking for directions, ordering food, reading signs). Right now, I’m using Duolingo once a week, but I’ve started scheduling time for it into each day.
The best features are the well-structured lessons, the mix of learning styles, and the gamification.
I’m not a foodie, but I tend to date a lot of them. As a low-maintenance omnivore, I’m happy eating anything that is dead, not burned, and not made in my own kitchen. But many of my dates have more discerning palates and they want to try new places. If I’m dating regularly, then I tend to be looking at OpenTable 2-3 times per week or more. Right now, I’m barely using it 🙁
I trust reviews and ratings from OpenTable far more than I do those from Yelp. Of course, the best part is being able to get the reservation handled without getting on the phone.
UberHype is a all about discovering new music via streams from music blogs. I “discovered” this app at a Drinks on Tap mobile developer’s night. I love music, but don’t listen to the radio much anymore. Most of my soundtrack comes from Pandora stations that I’ve been pruning for years. I wanted to get more new music into the mix. I probably use UberHype once a week when I’m reading. I think the main challenge here is battery life: streaming from the blogs tends to kill my battery quick if I’m not using wifi.
UberHype makes music discovery very easy. It has a strong search capability, presents new music constantly and lets you build stations on the fly based on artists or blogs.
This is one of my favorite apps. I’ve gotten great results with it in Boston, San Francisco, NYC and Chicago. Similar to OpenTable, I use it a lot when I’m going out but usage goes to nothing if I’m not staying social. Right now, I’m using Meetup and EventBrite to find things to do, but I’m definitely due for a night on the town in the next couple of weeks.
Most major cities are covered, and I’ve never had problems finding a good spot when I use it. I especially like that the options change based on the time of day and location, so you aren’t scrolling through a bunch of useless options.
Overall, I think I’m making progress on my resolutions, but I’m not putting enough effort into them. My social life is probably the most in need of attention. These apps are good, but will only help me if I use them regularly. Fortunately, it’s early enough in the year for me to make adjustments and make progress.
How are you doing on your resolutions? Did you pick up any apps to help you? Share what you use and how it’s working in the comments.