At 35, I decided that I truly wanted a smart phone. It was time to go beyond Facebook, Pinterest, and Angry Birds. While those apps served as great distractions in my twenties, it was time to level up and make the most out of my idle time. Now, with apps like Pocket, Coach.me, and Goodreads, I’m smartening up, and using my time with technology wisely.
Pocket. The Pocket app lets you easily find, save, and share articles, videos and other online content. The beauty of the app is that it allows you to “pocket” your findings for later, off-line consumption. In the morning, I’ll save a bunch of articles and read them throughout the day. It’s perfect for those days that I forget my book at home. Also, before long journeys, I’ll browse Pocket for some interesting reads, and then read them off-line on my mode of transportation. Last year, I saved an article about the history of the Myers Briggs Type Indicator, and it kept me awake (and disturbed) during my flight from Calgary to Victoria. I used to proudly assert that I was an INFJ, the Advocate, but now I am not only hesitant to put myself in that box, but to identify with a test that was created by such a woman. Curious? Here’s the article: Uncovering the Secret History of Myers-Briggs. Of course, there are a wide range of articles to be pocketed in Pocket. The most recent recommendation for me is The 7 Fatal Flaws of Thinking — and How to Fix Them. Pocket is the app that feeds my curious mind.
Coach.me. This app lets you track your habits, set goals, and connect with an online community. Do you want to meditate everyday? Are you trying to create a daily writing habit? Do you want to know how others stay motivated? With Coach.me, you can create or join goals, give props (thumbs up) to support others, and ask questions to help you in your habit shaping. My current goals are Study, Read a book for 30 minutes everyday, Write 500 words a day, Learn to speak a foreign language, no sweets, wake up early, Exercise, Eat breakfast, Drink more water, and Motivational quotes. Some goals are easier to achieve than others, but since I’ve started using Coach.me, I’ve been reading more, and eating breakfast. Baby steps. Coach.me is the app that keeps me on track, and it comes with messages of encouragement — “Good job, you checked into 3 goals yesterday! I’ll be right here while you eat no sweets, wake up early, and study (hard).”
Goodreads. This app lets you rate the books you’ve read, stack your virtual shelves with the books you want to read, and track the progress you’ve made on the books you’re reading. It’s fun to check out the books your friends are reading, and receive suggestions based on your favourite genres or the books you’ve already read. Recently, I’ve also started tapping into reviews, especially when I’m reading a book that has received rave reviews, but I’m not feelin’ it. It’s validating to read a review that reflects your thoughts; it’s comforting to know that even though a book’s a New York Times Bestseller, you’re not alone in your struggle to finish it. Goodreads is the app that keeps my reading habit alive and lets me indulge in my nerdy side.
These are the apps making my phone smart, and in turn, making me smarter, too. Technology is a double-edged sword; it has the power to boost our creativity and make us more knowledgeable about the world, but it can also do just the opposite. At the end of the day, it’s up to the user. Do you want to be used by technology or do you want to use technology? With Pocket, Coach.me, and Goodreads, I feel like I am using technology and making smarter choices, but they are still distractions. Sometimes it is better to just sit with my idle time or go fly a kite.