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9 More Apps to Help You Get More Out of Your Android Phone

9 More Apps to Help You Get More Out of Your Android Phone

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    With new android phones just out and even more on the way, I thought it would be a good time to release another list of neat-o Android apps. My last Android post (part 1 and part 2) focused on apps specifically for increasing your productivity; this post includes all manner of apps. Some will help you be more productive, some will just help you have more fun.

    (Note: Some of these are paid applications. As with iPhone apps, an initial rush of free applications in the Android store seems to be giving way to higher-quality, low-priced applications that allow developers to devote more time and effort to upkeep and support.)

    1. AK Notepad

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    AKnotebook

      AK Notepad is a basic memo pad for Android, with a few niceties. The interface color and text size are nicely customizable, and it can be set to automatically convert email addresses and URLs into clickable links (useful for remembering websites you see in ads or magazine articles while you’re out and about). Since Android doesn’t sync to a desktop the way Palm and Apple devices do, there’s no direct way to get notes off your phone, but individual notes can be sent by email (or other programs that allow it) and all your notes can be exported to the SD card and opened from the device when you plug into your PC’s USB. (Text files from your PC can also be placed on your SD card and opened in AK Notepad.)

      2. Dial Zero

      dialzero

        Route your calls around pesky (and slow) voicemail systems with Dial Zero, a database of workarounds for hundreds of companies. Each entry includes the company’s main phone number (which it will pass to the dialer if you press the green “phone dial” button), a description of how to reach an operator or agent, and comments from others who have used the app.

        3. Hi-Hiker

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        hiker2

          Meant for wilderness explorers, Hi-Hiker also functions as a great fitness app. Functions include a GPS tracker, pedometer, stopwatch, weather information, maps, an altimeter, a compass, a flashlight, and a quick-dial button to call for emergency help. Most of the functions use the GPS, so make sure you have a full charge before leaving “home base” for too long!

          4. Greed

          greed

            Greed is a Google Reader application for Android phones, which does a much better job on the small screen than Google’s web interface for Reader. One important feature is the ability to cache your feeds on the SD card for later viewing – great for when you’re about to get on a plane or driving cross country (well, riding cross country – don’t drive and read, kids!) and will be without cell-tower service for a while. Although not a specialized podcast app, you can also subscribe to podcast feeds and download the files so they’ll show up in your media player. Greed is good.

            5. Places Directory

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            places

              Places Directory was designed by a Google employee, so you know it’s good. It offers location-based search to help find nearby restaurants, post offices, comic book stores, or whatever. It can get your location either from the GPS or from the nearest cell tower. Give it a long-press to dial a phone number or open a map, or a short-press for info and user reviews (each press opens a different contextual menu). A compass needle will tell you what direction you’re headed and what direction to go, and you can save a list of your favorite places (to quickly find a Starbucks in a strange town, for instance).

              6. Qik

              qik

                Shoot and stream live video from your phone with Qik. You can have Qik send out a tweet whenever you’re recording, and you can embed your video in other sites using the automatically-generated embed code. The only downside is that you will burn through your battery at a pretty fast rate – but it’s useful for catching quick clips on the go if you don’t have a camcorder handy.

                7. Skype Lite

                Skype all you want on your Android phone using Skype Lite. Works fine over 2G, and imports all your Skype contacts and other account information. If you have SkypeIn, you can even get Skype calls on your Android phone!

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                8. Taskiller

                taskiller

                  Android phones multitask, meaning that there are often several applications still running in the background when you open an ew one – or even when you aren’t doing anything at all. Unfortunately, Android makes it difficult to know what’s running in the background (and using up your battery). Taskiller opens a list of all running apps and allows you to close them individually or all at once. You can also switch between apps easily using a long-press.

                  9. Wertago

                  wertago

                    Wertago offers location-sensitive nightlife search coupled with social networking functions (friends, status updates, profiles, messaging, picture sharing) so you can find out what’s going on right now, where your friends are at, and what the best place to hang out might be. Nightclub listings include ratings from other users, distance from you, mapping, and search by tags (like 18+, dancing, dressy, etc.), and how many of your favorite Wertago users are there at the moment. If you’re a clubber, this is an essential app.

                    Got any other cool apps that Lifehack readers just have to install on their shiny new Android phones? Let us know about them in the comments.

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                    Last Updated on March 13, 2019

                    How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

                    How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

                    Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

                    You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. I personally see a rut as a productivity vacuum. It might very well be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. While I’m normally productive, I get into occasional ruts (especially when I’ve been working back-to-back without rest). During those times, I can spend an entire day in front of the computer and get nothing done. It can be quite frustrating.

                    Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, a student or other work, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

                    1. Work on the small tasks.

                    When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

                    Whenever I finish doing that, I generate a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

                    2. Take a break from your work desk.

                    Get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the washroom, walk around the office, go out and get a snack.

                    Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away from my computer.

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                    3. Upgrade yourself

                    Take the down time to upgrade yourself. Go to a seminar. Read up on new materials (#7). Pick up a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

                    The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college. How’s that for inspiration?

                    4. Talk to a friend.

                    Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while.

                    Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

                    5. Forget about trying to be perfect.

                    If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies.

                    Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

                    Soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come. And then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.

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                    6. Paint a vision to work towards.

                    If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

                    Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the end vision in mind?

                    Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.

                    7. Read a book (or blog).

                    The things we read are like food to our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great materials.

                    Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. Stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs, such as Lifehack.org, DumbLittleMan, Seth Godin’s Blog, Tim Ferris’ Blog, Zen Habits or The Personal Excellence Blog.

                    Check out the best selling books; those are generally packed with great wisdom.

                    8. Have a quick nap.

                    If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep.

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                    9. Remember why you are doing this.

                    Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

                    What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your muse.

                    10. Find some competition.

                    Nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

                    Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, networking conventions.. you get the drill.

                    11. Go exercise.

                    Since you are not making headway at work, might as well spend the time shaping yourself up.

                    Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, whichever exercise you prefer.

                    As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.

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                    Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

                    12. Take a good break.

                    Ruts are usually signs that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

                    Beyond the quick tips above, arrange for a 1-day or 2-days of break from your work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax and do your favorite activities. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

                    Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I’m away from my work.

                    Take a look at this to learn the importance of rest: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

                    More Resources About Getting out of a Rut

                    Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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