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Apps The Modern Parent Can’t Survive Without

Apps The Modern Parent Can’t Survive Without

Your mobile phone is probably the most customizable thing you possess. You can turn it into a media storage and broadcasting tool, a digital playground, a mobile office, a planner and task manager — into anything you want, just by selecting the right apps. Digital stores have apps galore and there’s no way you can navigate this sea of software without a clear understanding of what you are looking for.

Whether you’re a working parent trying “to have it all” or a stay-at-home mom or dad who tries to provide their child with all possible care and comfort, the guidelines below will be most helpful in shaping your own digital toolbox for better parenting.

Organizers

Multitasking is parental skill #1, and if you are an absent-minded person, you will have noticed how awkward it can be to forget about something important, like meeting with a friend or your parents’ wedding anniversary. Sleep deprivation, which is each parent’s permanent companion, makes it even worse.

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Luckily, you can always have a memory aid in your pocket, and unlike old-fashioned notebooks, it won’t sit there quietly when you are forgetting something. Organizer apps abound in both the Play Market and App Store, and you may choose the one whose features will fit your particular needs like a glove —  the shared lists of the Cozi Family Organizer, the location-based reminders of Google Keep, or other handy options based on your preference.

News + Social Media

Another skill parents should master is making the best of their time. To get all up to date during your 5-minute downtime while your little one is meticulously studying a shape sorter and learning the hard way that it’s not always possible to round the square, you will need apps that gather all your news and social media in one place.

You may also find news app to be a great time savior. In essence, what they do is crawl the internet sniffing out the content matching your interests or relevant to your area, providing you with a juicy digest of only the best. Some of them, such as Pocket, for instance, allow you to save articles for later if you have no time to read them right away — no more coffee boiling over because of some absorbing reading.

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Games

To win you some time, having games on your phone or tablet is absolutely indispensable. Not only do children love them, but they can learn from them. Learning from play is a natural thing for little kids and animal cubs alike. Of course, you shouldn’t leave your child to play on your phone for hours or you may find eventually they no longer know what to do without it. However, to deal with a wiggly toddler on a bus or to quell tantrums in public places, having a couple of educational games on your phone equals in power to a magic wand.

Monitoring

It goes without saying that prior to giving your phone to your kid, you should first secure the device with parental controls to prevent awkward situations. If your child is old enough to have their own gadget, you’d better check out some parental monitoring software reviews and choose among them to your liking.

The web is just as multifaceted as life itself, and you do not want your child to be acquainted with the ugly sides of those two before they can tell good from bad. Unfortunately, we cannot eliminate inappropriate content, cyberbullying, and predators completely, but at least we can make sure that neither of those will harm our children.

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Meals

A varied and well-balanced diet is paramount for both raising healthy children and staying fueled and energetic ourselves to provide proper care for them. On the other hand, such a diet takes a lot of planning and creativity.

If you don’t have the time to go through cooking blogs in search of inspiration, then meal-planning apps are all you need. Not only will they propose a diverse menu and recipes, they will also form your grocery lists and even provide some useful tips on the best bargains and stores that have all ingredients in one place. If you are short on time or energy, you can always opt for food delivery services, such as Seamless or Munchery.

Relax

Let’s be honest. With all the responsibility, decision making, extreme multitasking, and 24/7 duty, parenting is one of the highest stress level jobs in the world. To keep sanity and balance intact, you’d better have one or two apps to help you relax and de-stress always at hand. Again, this is a matter of taste — what you find the most soothing and helpful, whether that’s sounds of a natural environment, mind mapping, yoga, or white noise. The point is you definitely need something to restore inner peace and tranquility, and there is no reason why this “something” cannot sit in your pocket.

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Now that you are equipped with this checklist, a better quality of life is just a download away.

Featured photo credit: Esther Vargas/Flickr via flickr.com

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Last Updated on February 15, 2019

7 Tools to Help Keep Track of Goals and Habits Effectively

7 Tools to Help Keep Track of Goals and Habits Effectively

Now that 2011 is well underway and most people have fallen off the bandwagon when it comes to their New Year’s resolutions (myself included), it’s a good time to step back and take an honest look at our habits and the goals that we want to achieve.

Something that I have learned over the past few years is that if you track something, be it your eating habits, exercise, writing time, work time, etc. you become aware of the reality of the situation. This is why most diet gurus tell you to track what you eat for a week so you have an awareness of the of how you really eat before you start your diet and exercise regimen.

Tracking daily habits and progress towards goals is another way to see reality and create a way for you clearly review what you have accomplished over a set period of time. Tracking helps motivate you too; if I can make a change in my life and do it once a day for a period of time it makes me more apt to keep doing it.

So, if you have some goals and habits in mind that need tracked, all you need is a tracking tool. Today we’ll look at 7 different tools to help you keep track of your habits and goals.

Joe’s Goals

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    Joe’s Goals is a web-based tool that allows users to track their habits and goals in an easy to use interface. Users can add as many goals/habits as they want and also check multiple times per day for those “extra productive days”. Something that is unique about Joe’s Goals is the way that you can keep track of negative habits such as eating out, smoking, etc. This can help you visualize the good things that you are doing as well as the negative things that you are doing in your life.

    Joe’s Goals is free with a subscription version giving you no ads and the “latest version” for $12 a year.

    Daytum

      Daytum

      is an in depth way of counting things that you do during the day and then presenting them to you in many different reports and groups. With Daytum you can add several different items to different custom categories such as work, school, home, etc. to keep track of your habits in each focus area of your life.

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      Daytum is extremely in depth and there are a ton of settings for users to tweak. There is a free version that is pretty standard, but if you want more features and unlimited items and categories you’ll need Daytum Plus which is $4 a month.

      Excel or Numbers

        If you are the spreadsheet number cruncher type and the thought of using someone else’s idea of how you should track your habits turns you off, then creating your own Excel/Numbers/Google spreadsheet is the way to go. Not only do you have pretty much limitless ways to view, enter, and manipulate your goal and habit data, but you have complete control over your stuff and can make it private.

        What’s nice about spreadsheets is you can create reports and can customize your views in any way you see fit. Also, by using Dropbox, you can keep your tracker sheets anywhere you have a connection.

        Evernote

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          I must admit, I am an Evernote junky, mostly because this tool is so ubiquitous. There are several ways you can implement habit/goal tracking with Evernote. You won’t be able to get nifty reports and graphs and such, but you will be able to access your goal tracking anywhere your are, be it iPhone, Android, Mac, PC, or web. With Evernote you pretty much have no excuse for not entering your daily habit and goal information as it is available anywhere.

          Evernote is free with a premium version available.

          Access or Bento

            If you like the idea of creating your own tracker via Excel or Numbers, you may be compelled to get even more creative with database tools like Access for Windows or Bento for Mac. These tools allow you to set up relational databases and even give you the option of setting up custom interfaces to interact with your data. Access is pretty powerful for personal database applications, and using it with other MS products, you can come up with some pretty awesome, in depth analysis and tracking of your habits and goals.

            Bento is extremely powerful and user friendly. Also with Bento you can get the iPhone and iPad app to keep your data anywhere you go.

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            You can check out Access and the Office Suite here and Bento here.

            Analog Bonus: Pen and Paper

            All these digital tools are pretty nifty and have all sorts of bells and whistles, but there are some people out there that still swear by a notebook and pen. Just like using spreadsheets or personal databases, pen and paper gives you ultimate freedom and control when it comes to your set up. It also doesn’t lock you into anyone else’s idea of just how you should track your habits.

            Conclusion

            I can’t necessarily recommend which tool is the best for tracking your personal habits and goals, as all of them have their quirks. What I can do however (yes, it’s a bit of a cop-out) is tell you that the tool to use is whatever works best for you. I personally keep track of my daily habits and personal goals with a combo Evernote for input and then a Google spreadsheet for long-term tracking.

            What this all comes down to is not how or what tool you use, but finding what you are comfortable with and then getting busy with creating lasting habits and accomplishing short- and long-term goals.

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