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12 Free Apps to Improve the Three Most Important Aspects of Your Life

12 Free Apps to Improve the Three Most Important Aspects of Your Life

There’s an app for everything nowadays, from tracking steps to tracking Pokemon. A good app offers some level of added utility to your day-to-day life without intruding in on your real-world responsibilities. When looking to get the most use out of your smartphone, look for apps that can enhance your work, hobbies, and relaxation.

Apps can help you to take charge of three of the most important aspects of your day-to-day life: your family, your health, and your time.

Family

1. Tinder

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    Your relationships start and end with your romantic endeavors, and a host of online dating sites have led to Tinder — the most efficient romance app available. While it may not be as romantic as meeting the love of your life in a chance encounter, it’s fast and fun to meet and chat with potential love interests through Tinder’s intuitive design. Consider similar apps like Hinge or Bumble if you’re looking for a more specific experience.

    2. Family Locator by Life360

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      “It’s nine o’clock in the evening. Do you know where your children are?” A parent’s worst fears can be easily assuaged with Family Locator by Life360, an app that uses GPS tracking to map the locations of registered family members. It’s a simple solution that brings major stress relief. The app’s group chat feature allows family members to communicate quickly and easily.

      3. inBudget

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        inBudget is the only personal finance app on the market that allows users to make public budgets. If your friends went on a great family vacation to San Francisco, they can share their budget to help you recreate the experience. Users can also sync group budgets between family members, simplifying things like bill paying and bookkeeping. Of course, individual users regularly make use of private budgets for everything from household finances to long-term savings.

        4. Khan academy

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          If you’re raising kids, you’re probably concerned about giving them the best possible education and upbringing. Khan Academy offers valuable free lessons to users in important subjects like math and science. Turn idle time into a learning experience by setting Khan Academy up on your family’s iPad or smartphone.

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          Health

          5. Insight Timer

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            Mental health is every bit as important as physical health, and Insight Timer helps to improve your mental health through mindfulness and meditation. Give your mind a chance to relax from the stresses of a busy day at work.

            6. Lifesum

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              While there are dozens of calorie- and fitness-tracking apps on the market, Lifesum stands out by offering feedback and inspirational advice to its users. The biggest challenge for users of fitness apps is to stay on board and consistently enter data; by providing encouragement, Lifesum gives the user a reason to stay on top of their fitness goals.

              7. Strava

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                If you’re the type of person who can’t go to the gym without a buddy, Strava is the app for you. Billing itself as the “social network for athletes,” Strava helps you connect with other fitness enthusiasts to engage in group fitness activities or even do simple exercises together. Strava also offers great utility with its fitness tracking, using GPS technology to follow and catalog your activities.

                8. Sleep Cycle

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                  Sleep is one of the most often-overlooked aspects of a person’s health. The Sleep Cycle app helps users achieve optimal sleeping habits by waking them up at the best possible time each morning. Intelligent graphs and insights help the user to understand their sleeping habits and how to achieve a more restful sleep cycle.

                  Time

                  9. Asana

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                    Most employees dread the prospect of team assignments, recognizing it as the place where efficient work goes to die. Asana helps to combat this problem with useful tools for project tracking and time management. By clearly delineating responsibilities and keeping up with expectations, Asana keeps every on target and eliminates wasted time.

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                    10. Google Keep

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                      If we had the ability to act on our thoughts from the moment they first occurred, the world would be a more efficient place. Google Keep is a simple app for achieving this goal, allowing users to upload notes from any device into a central location. Don’t forget about your most important ideas and responsibilities — let Google keep track of them for you!

                      11. Wattpad

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                        Make the most out of your free time. Wattpad is a popular app for reading enthusiasts as it provides a diverse library of materials that don’t require downloading huge PDFs or connecting to the internet. Liven up your commute or make better use of your downtime with a book, article, or short story.

                        12. IFTTT

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                          Every technological advance offers an opportunity for users to save time and effort. IFTTT is a free app for automating processes from printing and setting alarms to making coffee. Explore the different ways that IFTTT can automate your life and have more time to do the things that you love.

                          Featured photo credit: Mockuuups via mockuuups.com

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                          Alex Bickov

                          Product designer

                          12 Free Apps to Improve The Three Most Important Aspects of Your Life 12 Free Apps to Improve the Three Most Important Aspects of Your Life

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                          Last Updated on July 10, 2020

                          How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

                          How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

                          We all have them—those hurtful, frustrating, offensive, manipulative people in our lives. No matter how hard we try to surround ourselves with positive and kind people, there will always be those who will disrespect, insult, berate, and misuse you if we allow them to.

                          We may, for a variety of reasons, not be able to avoid them, but we can determine how we interact with them and how we allow them to interact with us.

                          So, how to take control of your life and stop being pushed around?

                          Learning to set clear firm boundaries with the people in our lives at work and in our personal lives is the best way to protect ourselves from the negative effects of this kind of behavior.

                          What Boundaries Are (And What They’re Not)

                          Boundaries are limits

                          —they are not threats or ultimatums. Boundaries inform or teach. They are not a form of punishment.

                          Boundaries are firm lines—determined by you—which cannot be crossed by those around you. They are guidelines for how you will allow others to treat you and what kind of behaviors you will expect.

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                          Healthy personal boundaries help protect you from physical or emotional pain. You may also need to set firm boundaries at work to ensure you and your time are not disrespected. Don’t allow others to take advantage of your kindness and generosity.

                          Clear boundaries communicate to others that you demand respect and consideration—that you are willing to stand up for yourself and that you will not be a doormat for anyone. They are a “no trespassing” sign that makes it very clear when a line has been crossed and that there will be consequences for doing so.

                          Boundaries are not set with the intention of changing other people. They may change how people interact with you, but they are more about enforcing your needs than attempting to change the general behavior and attitude of others.

                          How to Establish Boundaries and Take Control of Your Life

                          Here are some ways that you can establish boundaries and take control of your life.

                          1. Self-Awareness Comes First

                          Before you can establish boundaries with others, you first need to understand what your needs are.

                          You are entitled to respect. You have the right to protect yourself from inappropriate or offensive behavior. Setting boundaries is a way of honoring your needs.

                          To set appropriate boundaries, you need to be clear about what healthy behaviors look like—what healthy relationships look like.

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                          You first have to become more aware of your feelings and honest with yourself about your expectations and what you feel is appropriate behavior:

                          • Where do you need to establish better boundaries?
                          • When do you feel disrespected?
                          • When do you feel violated, frustrated, or angered by the behavior of others?
                          • In what situations do you feel you are being mistreated or taken advantage of?
                          • When do you want to be alone?
                          • How much space do you need?

                          You need to honor your own needs and boundaries before you can expect others to honor them. This allows you to take control of your life.

                          2. Clear Communication Is Essential

                          Inform others clearly and directly what your expectations are. It is essential to have clear communication if you want others to respect your boundaries. Explain in an honest and respectful tone what you find offensive or unacceptable.

                          Many people simply aren’t aware that they are behaving inappropriately. They may never have been taught proper manners or consideration for others.

                          3. Be Specific but Don’t Blame

                          Taking a blaming or punishing attitude automatically puts people on the defensive. People will not listen when they feel attacked. It’s part of human nature.

                          That said, you do not need to overexplain or defend yourself. Boundaries are not open to compromise.

                          Sample language:

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                          • “You may not…yell or raise your voice to me…”
                          • “I need…to be treated with respect…”
                          • “It’s not okay when…you take things from my desk without asking…”
                          • “I won’t…do your work…cover for you anymore…”
                          • “It’s not acceptable when…you ridicule or insult me…”
                          • “I am uncomfortable when…you use offensive language”
                          • “I will no longer be able to…lend you money…”

                          Being able to communicate these without sounding accusatory is essential if you want others to respect your boundaries so you can take control of your life.

                          4. Consequences Are Often Necessary

                          Determine what the appropriate consequences will be when boundaries are crossed. If it’s appropriate, be clear about those consequences upfront when communicating those boundaries to others.

                          Follow through. People won’t respect your boundaries if you don’t enforce them.

                          Standing our ground and forcing consequences doesn’t come easily to us. We want to be nice. We want people to like us, but we shouldn’t have to trade our self-respect to gain friends or to achieve success.

                          We may be tempted to let minor disrespect slide to avoid conflict, but as the familiar saying goes, “if you give people an inch, they’ll take a mile.”

                          It’s much easier to address offensive or inappropriate behavior now than to wait until that behavior has gotten completely out of hand.

                          It’s also important to remember that positive reinforcement is even more powerful than negative consequences. When people do alter the way they treat you, acknowledge it. Let people know that you notice and appreciate their efforts.

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                          Final Thoughts

                          Respect is always a valid reason for setting a boundary. Don’t defend yourself or your needs. Boundaries are often necessary to protect your time, your space, and your feelings. And these are essential if you want to take control of your life.

                          Start with the easiest boundaries first. Setting boundaries is a skill that needs to be practiced. Enlist support from others if necessary. Inform people immediately when they have crossed the line.

                          Don’t wait. Communicate politely and directly. Be clear about the consequences and follow them through.

                          The better you become at setting your own boundaries, the better you become at recognizing and respecting the boundaries of others.

                          Remember that establishing boundaries is your right. You are entitled to respect. You can’t control how other people behave, but you do have control over the way you allow people to treat you.

                          Learning to set boundaries is not always easy, but with time, it will become more comfortable. You may eventually find that boundaries become automatic and you no longer need to consciously set them.

                          They will simply become a natural extension of your self-respect.

                          Featured photo credit: Thomas Kelley via unsplash.com

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