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10 Ways To Improve The World With Your Smartphone

10 Ways To Improve The World With Your Smartphone

Volunteering with and helping charities has been proven to provide people with a mental health boost. However, some of us are either too busy or lack the necessary inspiration to make a commitment to regular volunteering. Fortunately, there are many ways that you can make a difference in the world by doing something you probably already do countless times per day — using your smartphone.

1. Walk for Animal Shelters

Regardless of whether or not you are actually taking a dog for a walk, you can turn on the Walk for a Dog app to contribute to your favorite local animal shelter or rescue group. One of the best things about this particular app is that it has a long list of smaller animal organizations that may otherwise fail to receive a large influx of donations. You can also let your preferred local group know about this program so that they can get added to the list.

2. Run for Charity Miles

Charity Miles is an app that allows you to rack up donations for your chosen charity by walking, running, or cycling. Each mile is worth .10 to .25, depending on the type of activity you choose, and you can change charities each time if you want to help several organizations. This is a great incentive for people to exercise, but make sure that you take the necessary precautions. For example, wear bright, reflective colors if you will be walking at night, and consider investing in a high-quality massager for runners to release knots and tightness and correct muscle imbalances. After all, you won’t be able to keep exercising if you end up getting injured.

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3. Donate a Photo to Support Your Favorite Charity

Most people take photos with their smartphones on a daily basis. Although you may not want others to see some of these images, it is highly likely that you also have innocent pictures of animals, sunsets, the beach, and more sitting in your photo gallery. Donate a Photo, which is sponsored by Johnson & Johnson, accepts one photo per phone per day, and they turn these photos into donations for a variety of campaigns. One of the most interesting aspects of this particular charity app is that you can choose from very specific campaigns such as helping people who have psoriasis.

4. Feed Children with Feedie

Do you enjoy eating out? Studies have shown that 58 percent of Americans go to a restaurant at least once a week. The good news is that you can turn your craving for your favorite diner into a meal for hungry children in South Africa with Feedie.

Simply open the app, check for a local restaurant that is participating in the program and be sure to take a photo of your food. To date, more than 12 million meals have been donated to the Lunchbox Fund. This level of charitable giving is easy enough for every smartphone owner to get involved in, especially because it essentially rewards you with feel-good hormones for doing something you were planning to do anyway.

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5. Donate 20 Seconds to Your Favorite Charity

If you’re like most people, your day is packed with activities, and this doesn’t leave you with a lot of time to focus on charities and philanthropy. This doesn’t mean that you don’t care about making the world a better place. Instead, it is often the natural byproduct of having the typical middle-class lifestyle, which is filled with work and other pressing commitments.

Fortunately, it now only takes 20 seconds per day to help your favorite charity. Tinbox donates $1 on behalf of each user who allows an advertisement to display on top of their smartphone for a mere 20 seconds. This innovative app is currently only operational in the San Francisco Bay area, but look for it to be nationwide in the near future.

6. Give2Charity by Visiting Your Favorite Locations

Some people purposefully keep their location data turned off, but if you are not among them, you can begin earning money for charity by simply going about your daily routine. The trips that you take and places you visit are tracked via your phone’s GPS, and this is converted into points for the Give2Charity app. It only take 1,500 points to donate $2 to your chosen charity, and this will be easy to accumulate many times over if you simply allow the app to do its thing in the background.

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7. Recycle Your Way to Local Discounts

Recycling is one of the best ways to reduce unnecessary waste and help conserve the environment for future generations. In other words, the very act of recycling is rewarding, but you can now take this to another level by earning discounts at local stores. Each time you recycle with the Recyclebank app, you will accrue points that can be turned in for a wide variety of discounts. For example, many local restaurants participate in this program, which means that you can make a difference twice if you combine this with the Feedie app.

8. Find Volunteer Opportunities on the Go

If you do want to volunteer but need to find opportunities that don’t require a long commitment or a training program, you can use the Reward Volunteers app to look for local organizations that need assistance. As an added bonus, every hour that you log helping a charity can be turned into prizes from sponsors such as Seventh Generation and DakinFarm. You can also partner this with the Volunteer Match website, which makes it extremely easy to look for the right volunteer opportunities to fit your lifestyle, interests, and available timeframe.

9. Help Food Banks by Dining Out

The previously mentioned Feedie assists children in need from South Africa, and you can also combine this with TangoTab to provide food to needy and homeless individuals in Texas, New York, California, and Oklahoma. All you have to do is go to a restaurant that is registered with both apps in order to make an even bigger difference with each meal. This will definitely make your weekly splurge feel better as you will have the personal satisfaction of a good meal and the knowledge that you have helped people eat in two countries.

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10. Help Others While Playing Pokemon Go

Pokemon Go is currently one of the most popular apps and smartphone games in the world, and it requires people to explore their local area in order to level up, find new Pokemon, acquire special objects, and fight with other trainers. The game itself does not feature any charitable giving options, but you can easily run at least one charity app in the background to improve the world while having fun. This may require a battery pack to keep your phone charged, but this is a small price to pay for providing cash and food donations to others at the same time as catching Pokemon and getting some exercise.

If you want to help but need advice about which charities to walk, run, or take photos for, be sure to take some time to research your options to ensure you select a charity that aligns with your goals. Charity Navigator can also give you some much-needed transparency about all of the major charities you will see listed in apps such as Charity Miles.

Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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Holly Chavez

Writer, Entrepreneur, Small Business Owner

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Published on September 20, 2018

11 Google Chrome Apps and Features to Help You Get More Done with Less Effort

11 Google Chrome Apps and Features to Help You Get More Done with Less Effort

In today’s fast-paced and never-ending busy world, we are overwhelmed by tasks that need to be completed by tight deadlines. With so much technology it is difficult to find the right tools to help boost our efficiency. And, many tools get obsolete so its essential to stay up-to-date to know when you will have to make adjustments to these tools. Independently of where you work, there’s a good chance that you have to be working on a PC or a laptop.

Do you are feel like you do not have enough time, or cannot accomplish much as of late? It is recommended to take a step back and look at the big picture. Also, you want to explore new and innovative ways to improve productivity.

In this article, I outline 11 features and apps within the Chrome browser that can help you do just that.

Minimizing Tabs

Let’s face it we all have more than a dozen tabs opened on our computers. One neat trick to still keep most of them open is to turn them into pinned tabs. On Google Chrome you can right-click the tab and select “Pin Tab” option. This turns the tab into an icon enabling you to continue multitasking.

Pinning a tab anchors the tabs on the left of your toolbar; a great benefit of the “Pin Tab” feature is that you can’t close these tabs accidentally since the “X” disappears after pinning them.

Incognito Mode

Google Chrome is a very easy-to-use and intuitive. But, Google does collect our browsing data; so to remedy this, you can use Incognito Mode. This feature does not keep your browsing or download history. You can enable or access it in three different ways:

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  1. Press Ctrl/Command+shift+N
  2. Select File Menu and choose New Incognito Window
  3. Download extension New Incognito Window

This feature is very handy if you’d rather not have your browsing history stored and utilized for future advertisement or suggested pages.

Save Webpages as PDF Files

Have you ever browsed interesting or important information and then forgot to bookmark or save it in “favorites”, making it impossible to find again? Chances are you have done this on a number of occasions.

Thankfully, there is an easy solution. You can save webpages as PDF files. On your keyboard, press control/command+p and you will be able to save webpages as PDFs.

Open Recently-closed Tabs

Ever had dozens of tabs opened and all of a sudden your browser shuts down? It has probably happened to all of us. You can easily recover all of your tabs using two approaches. Don’t panic if this happens because there is a workaround and solution for it.

One is by pressing Ctrl/CMD+Shift+T.

The other approach is to click on the three vertical dots on your browser and hover over “History”.

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Solve Mathematical Problems

Google’s Chrome browser doesn’t just search for relevant and updated information. It is also capable of performing some mathematical problems. Within the omnibox (Chrome’s address or URL bar), you can perform mathematical exercises.

For example, if you are struggling with percentages you can search 20 percent of x amount and it will instantly provide a result. Pretty handy, right?!

Play Media Files

Are you frequently met with difficulties when playing or watch a video files? Well, once again Chrome comes to the rescue. You can can listen or play videos from all sorts of movie or music files (mp3, mp4, .mov, .mkv, .ogv, .webm, .wav, etc.) by simply dragging the file into the search bar.

In addition, you can view images, PDF files and Microsoft Office files, too.

Navigate Swiftly Between Tabs

With all of those tabs opened comes great navigation responsibilities. Rather than clicking through every tab, you can use shortcut keys like Ctrl+Tab to navigate all of the different tabs. Also, you are able to navigate to the first tab by pressing Ctrl-1, Ctrl-2, and so on. If you want to switch to the very last tab, press Ctrl-9.

Stay Focus(e)d

Computers nowadays have awesome capabilities.

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Sometimes we like to get work done, but let’s face it, we’re all human. We sometimes procrastinate by visiting a website we really like, or maybe take a break with watching a flick on Netflix, a video on YouTube or browsing Facebook.

With Chrome’s StayFocusd extension, you can truly stay focused and get more done in less time.

This extension naturally helps you stay more productive by limiting the amount of time you spend on websites. You can set the time and it will automatically block those sites after a certain period.

Grammarly for Editing

Grammarly is a must have, and it’s really a complete powerhouse. Grammarly helps you check your grammar and spelling for everything you write online.

You can use it professionally or as a student, which will make the editing process much easier and more efficient. Furthermore, it can automatically check for typos when you send an email, type a Tweet, or post a Facebook comment. It’s like having your own personal copyeditor!

Loom

There are times that words in an email or written text in a chat app will just not convey the right meaning.

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There is a saying that a picture is worth a thousand words. Well, the same is true of videos.

With Loom, you can capture, narrate and immediately share video recordings of your screen, which will help coworkers understand issues you are facing, or to easily convey an explanation on screen. Plus, with video you will be able to easily walk people through a process, and you can use it to create simple how-to videos.

Chrome Calendar Extension

No matter what your level of responsibility is at your job, Google Calendar is another essential resource to have at your fingertips.

Specifically, you can have this extension added as an icon in the toolbar of your browser, which I highly recommend. Once you add the extension to your browser, you can check for upcoming events with a single click without leaving your current page.

Final Thoughts

Google Chrome has definitely evolved from its inception. As you can see you have a very powerful tool that comes as a free installation and is loaded with dozens of capabilities. The above listed Chrome apps can resolve some of the most common obstacles to your time management and productivity.

Featured photo credit: Andrew Neel via unsplash.com

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