7 Apps I can’t Live Without
I’ll admit, I’m that person that often offers up weird and wonderful software and apps to colleagues and friends that I’ve heard of if they’re asking. As far as I’m concerned, more often than not there will be technology that can help us manage day-to-day life better if we just know what’s out there and try it.
As I work in the technology industry, I really enjoy checking out new software to see how I can improve what I’m doing, be more organised or more creative, so here is a list of the apps I can’t live without and those which I use on pretty much a daily basis. Some you’ll have heard of an others you may not have. Enjoy!
P.S. I haven’t included social media apps, because that’s just a given!
7 Apps I Can’t Live Without
As the saying goes, “an elephant never forgets” and Evernote is top of the list of 7 apps that I can’t live without. Think of this app as your external brain. I’m a huge list-making fan so I really like how customisable the list-making functionality is in this app, although it’s not solely used for making lists.
You can copy and paste parts of websites to go alongside your text, add photos, squiggle in a list or project – anything you want to make your notes come to life for you.
I have the Evernote app on my phone, I use the web version on my Mac and I have the Evernote shortcut on my bookmark bar and they are all synced which I love. I use Evernote throughout the day, its the default app I use to take notes on anything, I love how customisable it is without being our complicated. My external brain indeed.
I started binge-listening to audio content about 5 years ago now, which rather unsurprisingly corresponds with when Poppy was born. Like most mothers, being a new mum means that:
i. its like you don’t have any spare hands available to hold a book and to hold your baby and,
ii. plus, as a new mum who has the time to sit down and read?!
But being a new mum didn’t mean that I stopped reading, I have been avid reader my entire life and since having Poppy, it just meant that I needed to find a different way to consume books. Audible is it.
Nowadays, I usually read about 20 books a year and the majority of them are non-fiction – you can take a look at my top 10 books here: Books I Love.
Audible is my favourite way of consuming books that otherwise you wouldn’t have time to read. I listen whilst on the tube, driving, cooking dinner, tidying up and when exercising. Audible works with Alexa too so you can play through the Echo devices too – which is GREAT – “Alexa, play my book on Audible”, and it will pick up where you left off on your phone, I love it.
Audiobooks are a brilliant way to use otherwise ‘dead’ time and everyone from Tim Ferris to Holly Willoughby use Audible. If you’ve haven’t tried it yet, you can choose a book of your choice for free, below and the membership options start from £7.99 per month. I get the 2 books per month plan (which is £14.99) and you can roll over any unused credits.
Who really likes having a purse full of receipts?? I definitely do not. It doesn’t help that I can’t ever find the receipt I need because there are usually so many to keep track of, and if you don’t have a system you’re bound to lose them if they’re just scrunched up at the bottom of your bag.
Expensify means that I can take a photo of the receipt and store it in the app so that I can attach it to an email and send it to whomever needs a copy of it – the finance department, my accountant, or even HMRC (hopefully not!). You can also create reports and the Expensify app also has other expense management tools. The basic plan is free and does exactly what I need it to and I’m confident that my documents are all stored in it safely, but to be on the safe side, I download the PDF each month with the information and send it to my accountant. Its clearly another app I can’t live without.
Spritzlet is a speed reading app that helps you to ‘spritz’ the internet. This is how I read long-form blog posts, usually think pieces without many photos – Sprizlet really will change how you consume information online, especially is you read a lot of blogs or long-form content on the screen.
Download Spritzlet to your bookmarks bar and when you go to an article or a piece of content you want to read, click the Spritzlet app. The Spritz widget will pop up with the full text and you can read it however fast you choose, between 250 – 1000wpm. The red letter is intended to help your brain to actually ‘comprehend’ what its reading instead of just consuming individual words. I’m not sure of the science, but it works.
Time recording. Possibly the bane of most lawyers’ lives or anyone else that works on a time-basis for that matter. I haven’t had to record my time for a long time, and in all honesty recording time was one of the many reasons I moved away from working in private practice so early on in my career. However, now as a freelancer I think its good-practice to understand where the bulk of my time is spent and to record my time for my clients’ peace of mind.
An unexpected benefit of using Toggl is that, funnily enough it makes me more productive. I’m aware of the clock and what I do and don’t want to charge my clients for. I want to spend my time doing valuable work and toggle makes me more aware of that.
Toggl has free and paid-for options, I currently use the free version which works well enough for me and it’s definitely one of the apps I can’t live without.
Now when I tell you that an app has got me out of more situations than I care to remember, it’s Waze. I hate traffic, can’t stand traffic and would rather drive around the ‘back-doubles’ than sit in traffic.
Was works by tracking other drivers’ journeys once they’re logged into the app and presents to you a journey planner that takes into consideration what is happening on the road, including how fast other road users are travelling and therefore detecting traffic, if there has been an accident etc – its fabulous. Users can also report what is happening on the roads, such as car accidents, road works, even police sightings and speed cameras. It’s the Facebook of sat-nav! Super easy to use too and you can store home, work and favourite journeys.
Last but by no means least, love it or hate it the last app on this list has got to be Uber. Uber is available across Europe and of course the US. It has got me to the airport on time when other transfers have let me down. Uber has got me across the City when there are no black cabs to be found and its pouring down with rain or my shoes are killing me (come on we’ve all been there, right?!) and Uber has got me safely home after a rather late night out on the town with friends.
It even helped us on the school run when the car had a flat tyre one morning. Poppy now considers Uber a normal method of transport – “I think that’s our Uber Mama”, *points to random Prius in the road*. She does make me laugh.
Knowing how much your journey is going to cost you before you get in your cab is a bonus, as is sharing your ETA and location with someone you know if you’re travelling on your own. I haven’t used the ‘Uber Pool’ feature and I’m not sure if I would.
Find out how to share your location in an Uber here.
It’s not without its issues sometimes, but in terms of contingency planning and for ease of not needing to travel with cash or even a card – Uber is perfect, it’s definitely an app I can’t live without. Even if you prefer getting a black cab, public transport, for contingency purposes Uber is a must-have app on your phone. It also helps that I can use it in most countries when I travel too, oh and lots of Uber drivers use Waze – win:win.