Some facets of life require daily attention – our financial well-being, our relationships, and our health – to name a few. Fortunately, tools to help us manage these aspects of our lives are both useful and plentiful.
If you’re of a certain age, you may remember tracking your finances in your check register, and maybe writing down your physical activity or weight in a log book. Today, we can track it all in one place, on one device. What and how we can track the different aspects of our lives gets more sophisticated by the day. As Gary Wolf writes in his 2009 article in Wired on this topic, we are looking at the world through a “macroscope.”
Daily checks and check-ins can help you stay on track with goals, remind you to keep up healthy habits, and so much more. Organized by different areas of our lives, here is a list of some of the apps that get top ratings from users in the app stores.
Staying atop of your finances is good for your wallet and your health. One of the highest rated finance apps on the market is the Mint.com app for iPhone, iPad, and Android systems. Perhaps best of all is the price tag – free.
With Mint.com’s app, you can track your finances on the go, sync your mobile device with your Web account, get bill reminders, and much more.
Despite the ability to send and receive up-to-the-minute status updates, it’s easy to let too much time go between contact with friends and family. Even with Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and others, we can miss important life events and good-old face-to-face contact. Now with some new tools to help us manage relationships and our social networks, we can remind ourselves to nurture our relationships a little better.
One such tool is Mingly. Now, I’m deviating a bit here from the apps, since Mingly does not yet have mobile apps rolled out (though they do have a Google app), but this is the best I’ve seen for this purpose.
Mingly can connect with your email, Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn accounts to provide life event and status updates all in one place. What’s different about Mingly is that you can schedule time to keep in touch with your family and friends, a bit like a business contact management system. It’s up to you to go beyond that post on your friend’s wall and schedule time to see each other in person.
Do you spend most of your work day sitting at a computer? By now, you’ve probably heard that we should take breaks once an hour, for the sake of our eyes, moving our bodies, and maintaining sanity. But how often do you sit at your computer for hours without realizing it? Why not try a gentle reminder to take regular breaks?
For Android users, you may want to check out Take-A-Break. You tell it when your workday occurs and what intervals you want to break, and it gives you that nudge you need. This app is free.
For iPhone and iPad, Take a Break, by another maker, gives you a similar service as above. This app, however, will cost you $0.99.
Getting your 8 glasses of water each day a challenge? A few apps out there can help you stay hydrated, which will help you feel better.
On iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad, try Waterlogged. On Android, your fellow consumers overwhelmingly choose Water Your Body.
These two sleep cycle apps function as an alarm as well as a sleep tracker. For iOS systems, try Sleep Cycle alarm clock. Android users should check out Gentle Alarm, but note it costs an odd price of $2.84.
These five focus areas can make a big difference in your quality of life. If you missed my earlier posts on health apps, follow the links to read up on apps that help with medication management, coping with cancer, and managing diabetes. What other apps do you find help you be well, and manage the day-to-day well-being? Share with us in the comments!
Bridgette Collado, MA, RD, is a health communication consultant and registered dietitian who writes for Health Dialog. As a passionate explorer of the intersection of health and technology, she advises health care and wellness companies, as well as public health organizations, on design and evaluation of all types of health communication, including new media. Her focus areas include gaming for health, user experience design, and social media. Follow Bridgette on Twitter: www.twitter.com/bcollado.
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