I would be lost without my iPhone…. there. I said it.
I honestly think that of all the recent technological advances in the world, smartphones (in particular iPhones) have provided the most benefits to everyday life and in particular to productivity.
While I love my MacBook, my Apple Watch, and my iPad (are you sensing a theme with the brand?) I think the biggest loss to me would be my phone. It’s my go-to for everything; keeping notes, staying in contact with people, tracking spending, checking transport, getting directions… the list goes on.
So, with that in mind I wanted to do a post on the types of apps that I find most useful for staying on top of a busy life (and they also happen to be the ones I use most days).
If you live in Dublin and use public transport, download the corresponding apps. Because of where I live and where I work the one I use most often is the Dublin Bus app.
The function on it I use most often is the saved bus stops, which are stops you’ve chosen as your favourite or most often used. The app gives you real time information about when the next bus it. The amount of times this has saved me waiting 20 minutes, as I can check the stop when I leave work and can gauge whether I can casually stroll there or I need to sprint.
The Dublin Bus app unfortunately doesn’t rate highly in the iTunes store and I can understand why. The map isn’t very user-friendly and it’s hard to look up routes if you’re not sure of the names of the roads that the stops are on. I would love to see a more general search function which would allow you to search general areas like “Donnybrook” or “Dame Street” and get all the route options for that.
However, because it’s free and because of the favourite stop option, I still use it nearly every day.
And if you don’t live in Dublin, I’m sure most cities with large transport networks have their own apps similar to this which would be well worth downloading.
Another type of transport app that I find quite useful is a taxi booking app. Hailo was the main provider of this service in Ireland, but have since changed to MyTaxi, and while I was a MASSIVE fan of Hailo (a sort of self-appointed brand ambassador, if you will) I am so far not a fan of MyTaxi. The service itself is great but the app is not very user-friendly and I’ve had a few issues, so I will hold off on my review for the time being!
MONEY, MONEY, MONEY
As you probably all know by now, I’m a big fan of saving money. It’s ALMOST a hobby at this stage and there are three apps I use most often when it comes to saving. I have also spoken about these apps before in my ‘How to Save Money’ video:
The first is my Bank of Ireland Mobile Banking App. The majority of banks have an online banking app, and mine is no different.
I like having immediate access to my accounts so that I can check balances, transfer funds and check transactions. I sometimes wish it had a few extra features but for on-the-go banking it’s perfect. It also has two step verification which is good for making me feel safer about having all this precious info on my phone.
The second one is the Account Tracker app, which is a bit of a pain in the hole to manually log your spending but it is worth it for seeing where all your money is disappearing too.
It allows you to categorise your spending under different categories and gives you charts and data to show where your money is going and how much of a saving you’re making month by month & year by year.
And my last one is excellent if you’re sharing finances with someone, a partner, family member or housemate. It’s called Splitwise and has honestly made sharing my life with someone a lot easier from a financial point of view.
With this app you once again have to log everything manually but you can set up various groups for different events or types of spending and it shows you exactly who owes what. It also emails you at the end of the month with your balances and allows you to ‘settle up’ whenever you want.
LISTS & NOTES
There are SO many apps for lists and notes, and I have yet to find one that does everything I want AND is a good enough substitute for paper, so I’m still relying on my trusty Calendar.
However, for shopping lists and to do lists I’ve been using Clear. It’s a really great app that is very simple to use for lists. It allows you to add items, tick them off when they’re done, delete them when you’re totally done with them.. and I really like the graphics.
The Irish Radio Player app is great! I’m a bit of a channel hopper (despite working in the industry) as I like different types of radio for different times of the day. The Irish Radio player is great for this.
You can save your favourite stations and switch quickly between them, and the app rarely cuts out mid stream. Strangely enough, listening to Drive-time talk radio shows in the gym is actually quite motivating, as I completely switch off and get on with the workout.
The second mention here is of course going to be Spotify. I still use the free version (cheap) and while there are annoying elements to it like ads, skip limits and not being able to play offline, it’s still a great app for listening to music out walking (and discovering new tracks).
The third entertainment app I can’t live without is my Podcast app. I recently bought wireless headphones for the gym, because I find when I’m lifting the headphone lead gets in the way. I’ve also found that when I’m training on my own that I get VERY bored between sets, however listening to podcasts helps to keep me entertained and ensures I take adequate rest periods.
My favourite podcast at the moment is called the ‘Night Time Network’ and mainly stars Ray Foley & Al….. something or other. They haven’t posted in awhile because Ray got a new job on Cork radio but I still have two of the old ones left to go and they’re quite long.
You’ve probably noticed a lot of my favourite apps are stock apps.. so if you have any suggestions for better apps that fit these categories, please pop them in the comments below. I’d love to find some alternatives (with more features).