There’s well over million apps available in Apple App Store at the moment. I used to have a lot of them downloaded on my iPhone, just because they “look nice” or “maybe I’ll use it one day”, but very often they just sit there without me ever trying to use them. That’s why I decided to do an inventory of the apps, that I want to keep and remove all the rest (work in progress..).
My criteria for my most frequently used apps
- It’s a tool, that helps me: learn, track my progress, motivate (e.g. through reminders, badges, gamification) and stay on track.
- I’m enjoying using it, because app is nicely designed and has a clean, intuitive interface.
- I don’t mind if initial setup is difficult, as long as after that step I can forget all about it and start using it without constant re-learning what is what.
- Developer keeps the app up to date with regular updates.
- In some small way can be automated or allows to define templates.
- It links to at least one other frequently used app in some way, like a cog in a bigger system.
- If that’s an app to collect/track data – it shows my results as stats/graph or has an option to export this data, so I can do it externally if I wanted to (e.g. in Google spreadsheets).
- If that’s note taking/to-do/tracking app – it can be added as a widget on iPhone’s homescreen.
App list – my lucky 13
The set of apps, that I present below, I’m using pretty much daily. I divided them into themes, but they are listed in no particular order of importance:
Cody – library of fitness video workouts with big collection of yoga plans. There are many apps/online services like that, but what I like about this one is one off payment rather than monthly subscription fee, amazing teachers like Dylan Werner, Patrick Beach, Kino MacGregor and many others; offline access to all my plans, logging option with nice stats of my past sessions, and very supportive community.
Mindfulness – guided meditations by people like Jon Kabat-Zinn, Eckhart Tolle or Tara Brach. I especially like Tara’s gentle and soothing voice, and my favourite is her “Developing Self-Compassion” track – loving-kindness practise toward oneself. App also has a built in mediation timer for sessions without guidance. There’re also stats, which I know it shouldn’t be the main focus when it comes to meditation, but I just like graphs and numbers, can’t help it – it serves as self-accountability when the numbers grow, I want to make them even bigger and keep coming back.
Downcast – podcast player app, which I prefer so much more comparing to Apple’s Podcasts app. Downcast’s interface is simple and much cleaner. The app comes with many handy options and here are my favourite ones: playlists to separate podcasts into themes, playback adjustments: volume boost (volume on some podcast is way to low even if I max out my volume) or option to skip set time at the beginning/end of the podcast (often reserved for commercials, which I don’t really want to hear).
Audible – companion app to download and listen to audiobooks from Audible – service I absolutely love for its huge variety of books I can listen to on the go. Guess what, app also has stats and badges, which obviously is my must-have option.
Duolingo – free language learning tool, where each language is introduced in easy to follow and game-like way (earn badges and “lingots” as you go along, advance to the next levels, optionally – compete with friends), which encourages to keep coming back to learn more! That’s how I’m learning Spanish.
AnkiMobile Flashcards – mobile version of famous desktop flashcard system. Main feature – all flashcards are small html pages, so options for customisation are endless. There’s also community built free library of flashcards to download. I’m using it to learn Japanese (but hope Duolingo will add this language soon).
StickyStudy Flash – another flashcard app, but much simpler (and cheaper!) than AnkiMobile. I use it together with web version of Quizlet, which has an easy import option of terms I want to learn (like Sanskrit names of asanas) and then download this set to StickyStudy to learn on my commute.
Evernote – note taking app available on probably any possible device and web as well. It’s easy to use, I can add quick entry for every interesting podcast I’m listening to (directly from Downcast app), collect ideas, draft blog posts and so much more. It’s truly my external memory bank.
Day One – simple, distraction free journalling app. I’m using it mainly as a personal journal, dream diary and gratitude journal. Each entry is automatically updated with a geotag, weather conditions and if I’m listening to an audiobook – its title is added as well.
OmniFocus – I’m probably not using even half of possible options in this app, but that’s my replacement for Reminders. I can have there simple todos, bigger projects divided into steps or full implementation of GTD system. I like flexibility of this app and integration with my calendar.
Coach.me – habit tracking tool for anything you want: learn Spanish, do push-ups, journal 10 minutes a day etc. The reason, I’m not using OmniFocus for habits (well, I am, but just a special ones) is that Coach.me allows me to set weekly goal for each habit, say journal 5 days out of 7, and doesn’t require to tick the habit as accomplished for today at a specific time – anytime in a day is fine.
Yoga Tracker – simple app to record all my yoga classes, home practise or 200hr teacher practise sessions with any notes I want to add (feedback, what I’m working on, what’s changed etc). Oh, and there are stats (obviously..). One option, that I would like to see in this app is an export option.
Account Tracker – simple but very flexible app to keep track of all my expenses and income. It’s good to know how money (energy) circulate in my life.