Applications in my eyes are one of the most amazing pieces of technology around today. They can help and improve our life drastically in so many different ways. All of them can be found with just one swipe of the finger on our smartphones, enabling us to enter a much less stressful, smarter, healthier and social world. While there are millions or even billions of apps out there, only a handful have the capacity to truly make improvements or changes to our lives. Here is my list of 7 applications that do have that capacity. Don’t take them for granted; use them to change your life. I am not sharing this list just for the sake of, but for the reason that these applications have made a HUGE difference in my life. These are tools that you can benefit from just as much. So lift your finger, and swipe away (no, not Tinder style!).
1. Evernote – Second Brain (Free or Subscription Based)
Evernote, also known to me, as my second brain. Thousands and thousands (literally) of notes of thoughts, articles, projects and more thoughts are stored inside my Evernote. It’s the smoothest application for note taking, storing them all safely away, and just so much more… Anyone in need of a second brain (who isn’t ?!) should download Evernote onto their phone, right now! I could not imagine a world where I don’t have Evernote. That might sound dramatic, but it’s been that valuable to me.
A big thank you to Stepan Pachikov for this most amazing app.
2. Headspace – Mindfulness, Relaxing, Stress (Subscription Based)
Control the mind and you control your life – a maxim not many people truly seem to know about. The mind is a busy place, especially in this age where information is bombarding us from all directions. Therefore, training the mind, becoming aware of it and giving it space to breath is a key part to achieving a tremendous amount of benefits in life. Less stress, less anxiety, more creativity, better focus,… Enough reasons that should make you wonder why you haven’t yet tried out and downloaded Headspace.
Headspace is a guided meditation app that makes meditating simple. After only 10 minutes a day, you will create a different mindset and a different world for yourself. Check out the Ted Talk from Andy Puddicombe, the founder of Headspace where he talks more about the power and changes meditation will bring to your life. And while you’re watching, you can download the app…. !
3. Noisli – Focus & Sleep ($1.99)
Noisli offers a selection of background noise and white noise which helps me, and has been scientifically proven, to INCREDIBLY improve focus and sleep. Whenever I am doing any work that requires focus (like this) I use Noisli to put on some background noise. My preferred ones are nature sounds such as the ocean or birds. Whenever I go to bed, I switch over and put on some white noise and turn into sleeping beauty…!
Here’s a quick explanation as to why white noise works so well to aid sleep:
White noise is a type of noise that is produced by combining sounds of all the different frequencies that the human ear and brain can perceive. As a result, white noise masks out any unwanted sound, which is why it is so good when you want to sleep. It blocks out any disturbing noises or sounds, meaning you don’t get distracted, before and during your sleep.
So, if you want to improve your focus and sleep better… you know what to do.
Who said meeting new people was harder in this day and age? Grandma? It’s become a lot easier. I use apps such as Couchsurfing and Meetup continuously to meet new people. On both Couchsurfing and Meetup (Meetup is specifically designed for this) you can find a whole list of events and things to do. If there is nothing going on where you live, chances are, you live in a small town or village. If that’s the case, make a bit of an effort and search for events in any nearby larger town or city and go for the weekend! All you have to do, is sign up, and turn up. Couchsurfing on the other hand can be used in other ways for meeting new people. You can, for example, open your place up for hosting travelers, which is of course the basic principle of why Couchurfing was created… I have written an article about Couchsurfing and the different possibilities it gives you to meet new people. Have a read!
Whether I am traveling or at home in Barcelona, I have met some very interesting people and made some great friends through both platforms. Give it a try, they are both free, great fun, and an incredible way to meet new and promising friends.
5. Blinkist – Fast Learning (Free or Subscription based)
I love knowledge, and am constantly seeking to learn more about myself, life and this world. Blinkist is an app that I only recently discovered. Once I tried it out for a bit, I immediately told all my friends about it. This app has more than 1500 non-fiction books on science, business, psychology, relationships, biography, self-improvement, etc, and it has taken the important key lessons out of the original books and turned them into a 15 minute intensive learning session for you. I have been using this app almost every day to read at least a book or two. It’s not just an incredible way to learn the most important lessons on all manner of different topics and areas of expertise, but it can also be used as a search tool to scan for any books that you may want to then go and read the full version of.
6. Udemy – Education & Work
Want to study again? Take up professional courses on almost any subject with Udemy. Udemy is an incredible education platform, which to me is a perfect example of what the future of education should and will look like. I have taken quite a few courses on Udemy, including ones on Business, Languages, Personal Development, Music, Photography, and many more besides. As well as the great courses they offer, Udemy regularly has amazing discounts, when the courses become available for less than half the normal price. One last, but far from least reason of how Udemy has changed my life, and can change yours too, is that you can sign up as a teacher and launch your very own course. I have a photography course called The Ultimate Photography Course for Beginners, (ninja advertising, sort of…), earning me some pretty decent money. If you have a skill or expertise, why not use it to create a course and start earning a passive income from it!
Please note, even though anyone can sign up to become a teacher and send in a course, they do go through a thorough screening process and it does need to be of the required standards in order to be accepted. Creating a GOOD course does take a lot of work, but it certainly pays off, if it is high quality.
7. Sleep Cycle – Optimizing Sleep
Sleep is an important factor in our lives, one that is often not taken seriously, or, one that we are not able to manage very well because of work. While Sleep Cycle won’t give you any more sleep, it will however help you with another important factor that will determine the quality of your sleep – waking you up during the right cycle. Most alarm clocks are only designed to wake you up with a BEEP BEEP, and scare the hell out of you. That is a bit of an old fashion way in all honesty, especially once you start using Sleep Cycle. What Sleep Cycle does is analyze your sleep and when it senses you are in your lightest sleeping state, it will wake you up with an alarm that goes from a soft tone to a louder one. Along with that it also creates a graph each night showing your sleep quality. If technology can help, why not let it, right? I never use any other alarm clock anymore other than Sleep Cycle as it has helped me wake up each morning just so much more rested. If you want a better alarm clock than the horrible BEEPING one, check it out!