Smartphones, tablets and phablets (an intermediate between a tablet and a phone) are now very popular to all of us and some could not even imagine going on through their daily tasks without such great helpers, as they have improved tremendously our lives both at home and in our work. But how to choose the best apps while navigating through its growing universe of more than 1 million offers ? In the midst of such an overwhelming quantity of possibilities I have organized here a list of apps that can improve your life in various areas connected to your well being and lifestyle. Why not give it a try for 2014 ?
1. Time Management
The frenzy of contemporary life demands that one develops time management skills. Various apps can help you organize your time so you can cope with your various tasks.
Remember the Milk If you are struggling to manage everything you have to do and you work with many different devices, this app is for you. It is a great free tool which is compatible with your mobile, computer, gmail, outlook, etc. It helps you to manage your tasks easily and reminds you of them wherever you are.
Evernote is a free productivity tool that allows you to capture all your ideas, thoughts and images in many different ways, for example with voice, notes or images. You can even record your meetings, interviews, speeches and ideas, create lists, add voice or text attachments and share your files with friends. Now you can also sync Remember The Milk with Evernote to really optimize your time.Evernote
Universal Password Manager is an app allows you to keep all your passwords in one encrypted database, protected by one password. This saves you time when you forget your passwords and need to retrieve them, and also allows you to use various passwords so you don’t compromise on security.
Focus at will is a great app that combines neuroscience and music to boost your productivity. This app helps you to increase your attention span. Ideal for those who find it difficult to focus while studying, working or reading. As you focus and become more productive, you will find more time to cope with other tasks.
Bank apps – One of the best benefits of having a mobile device is the simplicity of banking apps. All major banks and many smaller and independent institutions have apps for smartphones and tablets, so be sure to download yours and save time by accessing your account, proceed to payments and transfers while commuting.
Waze Even though most smartphones come with a pre-installed navigation app, these days, everyone should also have Waze. This Google-owned app uses real-time data from all of its users to find the fastest routes available, avoiding unexpected traffic, construction and car crashes that may cause drivers delays. Available for free on iOS, Android and Windows Phone.Waze
3. Apps to reduce stress and improve your sleep
According to the Great British Sleep Survey, over 51% of us find it hard to turn off from our stressful daily activities. But to sleep properly and at least 7/8h a day, is now well known to be fundamental to your health and productivity. The best way to achieve this is to find ways to reduce the stress you accumulated throughout your day. Various apps can help you to relax through guided meditations:
Calm – meditation and relaxation : This simple to use app presents the 7 Steps of Calm. There are seven guided sessions running from 2-20 minutes with a varied range of background scenes and sounds to choose from (think beaches, meadows and pouring rain). The voice on the guided sessions might be a bit spacey but the music by Kip Mazuy – a big name in the music meditation world – is a surplus.
Buddhify is a nicely-designed UK-created app that is aimed at busy urbanites. You tell it whether you’re at the gym, walking, commuting or at home. You can then pick a track “flavour” or style of meditation and choose from male or female voices. There’s a two-player meditation mode so you can get someone else involved.Buddhify
Sleep Easily Meditation is an app that offers a 25-minute guided meditation that combines soothing music with talking you through the relaxation process. The female voice is extremely calming.
4. Apps to Improve your cognitive functions
Throughout our lives its important to continue to stimulate our brains, so we can improve our attention, memory, and other cognitive functions. There are apps that can help us with that:
Lumosity calls itself a “gym for your brain.” The app was developed by a team of neuroscientists and cognitive psychologists. Lumosity customizes a brain-training schedule for users in five categories: Memory, Attention, Speed, Flexibility, and Problem Solving. To use the application you should download it onto your iPhone or iPad, register with an e-mail address, and then answer a series of questions to maximize your learning experience. Lumosity compiles users’ statistics into a BPI (Brain Performance Index), and has features that compare your BPI scores with other players.
Fit Brain Trainer is one of the most popular mobile brain trainers around for the iPhone and iPad. It offers various games designed to improve your cognitive abilities, including memory, processing speed, attention, mental flexibility, and problem solving.
5. Apps to be inspired everyday
Why not starting everyday of the new year with some inspirational quotes that warm up your day with wise thoughts, beautiful images, inspirational videos, or help you exploring and learning something new on a daily basis? These apps can help you improve your creativity, which can be great to develop your business insights. Here is a list of my favorite inspirational apps:
Inspirational and Motivational Quotes – Daily Quote of the Day This app brings you motivational quotes that function as powerful nuggets of wisdom condensed into one or two lines. These quotes aims to provide you with a brief daily moment to reflect, or in times of adversity, inspiration to persevere.
TED app The TED app allows you to watch talks from some of the world’s most fascinating people: education radicals, tech geniuses, medical mavericks, business gurus and music legends. The TED app currently has more than 1,400 talks in more than 90 languages with subtitles. You can create your own playlist and tune in to the talks later.TED app
Wikiweb takes the information from Wikipedia and makes it look much better. This app has all of the information that Wikipedia has to offer, but in a re-formatted, phone-friendly interface so that you can let your curiosity run wild browsing through different entries. As I am an enthusiastic user of Wikipedia, it was great to discover this app, particularly its infographic feature, which is the best part of the app and perhaps the only real reason you should pay $4.99 for it. The infographics creates a web of how one entry is related to the next, an interesting and thought-provoking take on word association.
DailyArt Why not getting a bit of culture everyday on your smart phone with the Daily Art. This application gives you a brief write-up on one painting a day, and includes enough information to keep both art novices and connoisseurs entertained. Daily Art also has options to share the work of art through Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or e-mail.
6. Best Apps for Music
Shazam This is the app you use when a song comes on and you want to learn its name. Simply open the app, tap the tag button and let the app do the rest.
Spotify With Spotify users can pay $11.99 per month to stream the company’s entire catalogue from their phones whenever they want. Non-paying users can also use the Spotify app to stream songs from playlists and artists they follow on shuffle mode with ads played after every few songs. This app is available for free for iOS, Android and Windows Phone.Pandora – Internet Radio
Pandora When it comes to internet radio, Pandora is still the best apps. Users simply tell the app the name of an artist, a song or a genre of music, and Pandora will create music stations that users can then adapt to their tastes by liking and disliking songs. Available for free for iOS, Android and Windows Phone.
Maria Fonseca is the Editor and Infographic Artist for IntelligentHQ. She is also a thought leader writing about social innovation, sharing economy, social business, and the commons. Aside her work for IntelligentHQ, Maria Fonseca is a visual artist and filmmaker that has exhibited widely in international events such as Manifesta 5, Sao Paulo Biennial, Photo Espana, Moderna Museet in Stockholm, Joshibi University and many others. She concluded her PhD on essayistic filmmaking , taken at University of Westminster in London and is preparing her post doc that will explore the links between creativity and the sharing economy.