An app a day

Technology can simplify your life in some many ways but it can only do so once you have mastered the art of knowing how to make it useful. Only confusion lies ahead if you use a myriad of different apps but do not assign them a specific job or role in your life. Take a typical day in the life of (nearly) everyone and see how technology can change your day for the better.

Waking up (is hard to do)

We all dread the alarm going off in the morning because we know then we have to leave the comfort of home and go to work. Most of us nowadays use our cellphones to wake us up and a few even still use the traditional clock radio. But it seems that despite all of these things, many of us still have those days where we overslept or cannot seem to get out of bed. This app will definitely get rid of that.

Alarm Clock Xtreme (for Android only)

Alarm setting home

This alarm app helps you to wake up and stay awake as the settings can be adjusted to make it very difficult for you to turn off or snooze the alarm. You can set the app up to allow you to snooze or dismiss by either shaking the phone, solving a complicated math problem or entering a captcha code. Thinking may be the last thing you want to do at 6 o’clock in the morning but it helps to avoid oversleeping. You can also adjust the volume to a crescendo effect and use existing songs on your phone as an alarm sound (something that is absent from most built-in apps).

Before leaving the house

The weather and the traffic are two of the things that can be considered most unpredictable on any given day but it doesn’t need to be. Google provides a traffic service that tells you what areas are most congested as any given time of the day. Simply type in “traffic” in Google’s search engine and it will show your area’s traffic issues live (red for slow-moving and congested areas and green for free-flowing). But what about the weather?

1Weather (for Android only)

1Weather App

This weather app has the highest rating among its peers in the Google Play Store. It is beautifully designed with animation to make it even more fun. It has a real-time weather forecasts, a 7-day extended forecast along with hourly updates and precipitation information. It also updates when you switch locations, and has animated sunsets, sunrises and lunar phases.

Latest happenings in the news

Many things can happen overnight and it is always good to start your day with some news. With the demise of Google Reader it has come to the attention of many that there are easier ways of staying up-to-date. There is no need to bookmark a large number of sites since you are going to either miss out on the ones you don’t check or end up not having enough time to do so. Use a reader like Feedly to summarize all the important tidbits from around the web by adding all of your favourite sites to your account.

Feedly Home Page

Feedly is a magazine-like reader where you add your favourites and then organize them in folders according to the categories they belong to, such as World News or Technology. Once you have read a particular article, it is removed from your feed so that it no longer clogs up your space. If you do not have the time to read something, simply save it for later.

Planning your busy day

Some of us have many meetings to remember throughout the day and many tasks to complete, often within a certain amount of time. It may be fine to use your current phone built-in calendar app but sometimes you need a little extra help and organization.

Maluuba (for Windows Phone 8 and Android)

explore menu Maluuba

Maluuba is a personal assistant app that is voice-activated to comply with your every whim. One can ask the app “Will it rain tomorrow?” and it brings up a weather forecast for that day. Or ask the app to schedule a meeting with a particular person and tell it the details, and it will do just that. It has three main functions. Search where you can find anything you want to know by asking the app and then you can also explore a list of interesting movies, music and restaurants when that doesn’t do the trick. Organize helps you set up reminders, meetings and alarms to make sure you know exactly what to do and when. Connect allows you to add your social media accounts, chat to colleagues via email and a call feature as well as share events you have come across.

Tempo AI (for iPhone only)

tempo AI

Tempo AI allows you to organize your day with a beautiful interface to boot. When you have a meeting but do not have an address this app will guide you in the right direction while also giving you estimated driving time and where you can find parking. The meetings you have lined up are placed in what is called an agenda view and one can choose to your calendar daily, weekly or monthly. When you are running late it sends out a message to say you are late and what time you are estimated to be arriving. While in the meeting it can provide you with profiles on the attendees based on their LinkedIn accounts. Emails that pertain to a certain meeting are at your disposal while planning your next move. Flight statistics can be loaded onto the app and it will notify you of any delays or changes. It is compatible with Siri so you can use your voice to initiate a new activity.

Bonus: Still not convinced that an app is better than a good old-fashioned paper calendar? Check out Plaaan. This site gives you the option to custom-design your own calendar, export it as a PDF and then you simply print it out. All for free!

Staying active and healthy

Even if you are holed up in an office for the better part of your day, there are apps that can help you to achieve your health goals of eating healthier and exercising more regularly.

Zombies, Run! (for Android, iOS and Windows Phone)

Zombies Run

Who ever said that getting fit needs to be serious business? This application turns you into Runner 5 who needs to save the rest of the world from a zombie apocalypse by, you guessed it, running from the zombies and collecting items along the way. It has a built-in soundtrack with voice-overs cut in to notify you of a new mission or item you need to get. Slow jogging is interspersed with sprints to give you a full workout. There are many other features like play-back of your runs to see how much faster you run in certain missions. You can use this app while running outside or on a treadmill so no need to give up your gym membership.

MyFitnessPal (available for all operating systems)

Food Diary MyFitnessPal

This is an app that focus both on nutrition and fitness, and is a great way to start losing weight or simply get fit. It has a food database of over 2 million and it helps you keep track of the calories, fat, protein and other nutrients. Along with this you can add your own recipes and it calculates the contents of the recipe for you. There are over 350 exercises to choose from and you can add custom exercises as you go along. Set goals of where you want to be a month from now and receive reports on the weight you are losing or your fitness level.