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36 Free Killer Apps You Shouldn’t Live Without

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36 Free Killer Apps You Shouldn’t Live Without

I consider myself an app nomad; I’m constantly exploring apps and installing and uninstalling them as needed until I find ones that will really help me make the most of my phone and days. Here’s a cream of the crop list of apps I’ve scavenged and compiled (by category) to help you seize the day using your device.

Communication & Social

1. Wickr

wickr-Free-messaging-apps-android-ios

    For users who pay extra attention to information security, Wickr allows you to send and receive top-secret messages, pictures, videos, audio clips, and files. With the ability to permanently erase deleted files from your phone and set expiration dates for your messages and media, while still offering a fun and user-friendly texting app, Wickr allows you to take control of your privacy.

    Platform(s): Android, iOS

    2. Rundavoo

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      Rundavoo is an online and mobile group scheduling app for social outings with friends. With Rundavoo you’ll be able to spend less time planning and more time enjoying your friends. Whether you’re a planner or not, Rundavoo helps you get your friends together for that spontaneous dinner or a much needed planned event.

      Platform(s): Android, iOS

      3. Google Hangouts

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        Hangouts is a messaging app that lets you send and receive messages, photos and more, and even start free video and voice calls – one to one or with a group.  Hangouts allows you to keep in touch with friends across Android, iOS, and the web, and it will sync chats across all your devices. The app is easy on the eyes, and one feature I particularly like enjoy is that all calls to other Hangouts users are free!

        Platform(s): Android, iOS

        4. Textra

        androidpit-textra-sms

          Textra is simply an elegant way to text. With a boatload of features, including pop-up notifications, floating notifications, and a ton of customization options, Textra has long since replaced any other text messaging app on my Android. It’ll help save you time when communicating with your friends and family and will allow you to focus your attention on the important messages you receive.

          Platform(s): Android

          5. LinkedIn

          linkedin-android-app-1024x853

            LinkedIn’s professional social networking app makes it easier to build your personal brand, make connections, stay informed with personalized news, and more — right in your feed. With some customization features and the ability to invite connections with a few taps of your screen, you’re right on your way to building a stronger professional network. One thing about this app which can get a little frustrating is the fact that when you use the search bar to find a person, his/her profile often disappears a second or two after being retrieved in the search results.

            Platform(s): Android, iOS

            Productivity

            6. CamScanner

            camscanner-1

              CamScanner will quickly replace your home scanner and will often be a quicker and more accessible alternative to your office scanner. With a no-nonsense interface, sharing and collaboration capabilities and text recognition and search abilities, CamScanner will most definitely become one of your daily go-to apps.

              Platform(s): Android, iOS

              7. Dropbox

              nexusae0_Screenshot_2012-12-05-12-13-25

                Arguably the world’s most popular cloud storage provider, Dropbox is a free online syncing service that lets you bring your photos, docs, and videos anywhere and allows you to share them easily. With easy-to-use apps available for both Android and Apple fans, use Dropbox to save time and avoid ever having to email yourself a file again!

                Platform(s): Android, iOS

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                8. Gmail

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                  Google’s recently updated Gmail app allows for an intuitive, efficient, and useful interface. Get your email instantly via push notifications, read and respond to your conversations online & offline, and search and find any email. Use it to manage multiple accounts (even the non-Gmail ones), view and save attachments, and set up label notifications. The app’s Android widget allows you to see a list of your recent emails and create a new message with a single tap.

                  Platform(s): Android, iOS

                  9. AirDroid

                  airdroid

                    AirDroid allows you to access and manage your Android phone or tablet from Windows, Mac, or the web, wirelessly, for free. Even when your phone isn’t around you, or you’ve got too much going on to handle, you can take control of your texting, file transfers, notifications, and even your phone’s camera! One drawback to AirDroid is that you can’t send messages to your contacts via third party apps such as Whatsapp.

                    Platform(s): Android

                    10. Google Keep

                    yaabot_noteapps_7

                      Google Keep allows you to create lists, text and voice memos in an aesthetic and organized manner. If you want an app to sync with the rest of your Google products while being able to share your documents and collaborate with others with ease, Keep is for you.

                      Platform(s): Android

                      11. SolCalendar

                      Snip20141221_3

                        This visually-engaging, powerful piece of app will help you live a passionate life, by providing effective time and task management tools. SolCalendar really is the full package, with a range of customizable widgets, an intuitive interface, and an awesome to-do function which will help you stay on top of life.

                        Platform(s): Android

                        News & Reading

                        12. Pocket

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                          Pocket is an app I use on a daily basis. Use it to easily save articles, videos, and other web content for later viewing. With Pocket, all your items go to one place, so you can view, organize and share them anytime, on any device, even offline. It’s super easy to use and provides a number of reading options when it comes down to accessing your content.

                          Platform(s): Android, iOS

                          13. LinkedIn Pulse

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                            As a LinkedIn fanatic, Pulse has quickly become my number one news reading app. You’ll get the knowledge most relevant to you in a bite-sized and beautiful interface. Get news from the world’s most trusted sources and leaders and follow new sources that are meaningful to you – all with a few taps of your screen.

                            Platform(s): Android, iOS

                            14. Salon.com

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                              Salon.com’s app offers fresh insight into the most important and interesting news of the day, with topics ranging from politics and entertainment to business and technology. The app allows you to share content-rich articles with images and video on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, or by email.

                              Platform(s): Android, iOS

                              15. RT News English

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                                RT is a 24/7 English-language news channel. The channel and app’s coverage focuses on international headlines, giving an innovative angle set to challenge viewers worldwide. What I particularly like about this app is the level of insight and analysis they provide, which is typically left out by more mainstream media channels. With easy article sharing abilities and live streaming, the RT app will help keep you updated on what’s really going on around the world.

                                Platform(s): Android, iOS

                                16. Nuzzel

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                                  Nuzzel is a super-easy way to see news from your friends. Discover the top news stories shared by your friends on Facebook and Twitter, without being overwhelmed or missing anything. This app is very user-friendly and even shows your top stories in your iPhone’s Notification Center.

                                  Platform(s): iOS

                                  Health & Fitness

                                  17. Strava

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                                    Strava is my go-to running and cycling app. It allows you to track your runs and rides with GPS, join Challenges and see how your running and riding compares with friends. If you’re serious about fitness and tracking your results and progress, or you’d like to get serious, this is the app to help you get there. It’s extremely accurate in terms of mapping routes and capturing results and allows you to explore new paths and routes around you.

                                    Platform(s): Android, iOS

                                    18. MyFitnessPal

                                    MyFitnessPal

                                      If you’re looking to improve your diet and get serious about your lifestyle, you’re looking at the right app. With a seemingly endless database of items (4,000,000+), MyFitnessPal’s awesome calorie counting app allows for maximum accuracy when you’re trying to achieve your lifestyle changes. Phone not in range? No problem. You can also enter your meals online, with automatic syncing between your pc/laptop and your mobile device. With amazingly fast food and exercise entry, you’ve got a new weapon in the war against your love handles! The only thing I’d wish they include is alternative/healthier food suggestions to help you reach your goals faster.

                                      Platform(s): Android, iOS

                                      19. Cookpad Recipes

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                                        Cookpad is an unique cooking community app where people post recipes and pictures. It’s your personal recipe composer. After cooking your recipe, other people can post the photo of their own attempt of making the recipe and others can comment. This app has tons of cool features, from a shopping list, to a meal planner and even a forum. Cookpad will help you spend less time thinking about what to cook and will give you the motivation to get straight to cooking.

                                        Platform(s): Android, iOS

                                        20. Fooducate

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                                          Fooducate is a great alternative to MyFitnessPal. It helps you achieve healthy weight loss, while being able to track your progress and discuss with the community. What really differentiates this app from MyFitnessPal and other healthy-eating apps is that Fooducate goes beyond simply counting the calories in your food items and suggests healthier alternatives to help you reach your weight goals. However, unlike MyFitnessPal, Fooducate only allows you to track food activity; there is currently no way to track your exercise/fitness routines.

                                          Platform(s): iOS

                                          21. My Diet Coach

                                          MyDietCoach

                                            My Diet Coach will motivate you, help keep you on track, resist food cravings, emotional eating, exercise laziness and other obstacles. How so? It provides motivational arguments, guidelines, tracking challenges, getting virtual rewards for your achievements, helpful reminders and notifications with your goal and your motivational photos. One con about this app — it’s currently only available for women. There’s also no word on if there will be an app released for guys anytime in the near future.

                                            Platform(s): Android, iOS

                                            Money & Budgeting

                                            22. Wally

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                                              Wally is a personal finance app that helps you take control of your money. With an intuitive user-friendly design, Wally helps you understand where you money is going, set and stick to budgets, balance your income and expenses, and achieve your financial goals. You can also save receipts with each transaction, export data to Excel, and backup your data with iCloud.

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                                              Platform(s): iOS

                                              23. Mint.com

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                                                Mint pulls in all your personal finance accounts and investments into one place, so you can track your spending, create a budget, receive bill reminders, and save money. What’s really great about Mint is that you can set up all your bank accounts in just a minutes. One drawback to this app is that it can sometimes be tedious to add a personal bank account or credit card to your profile; the account verification can be a huge turn off.

                                                Platform(s): Android, iOS

                                                24. Financius

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                                                  Financius is a simple application that helps you log and track your expenses and keep an eye on your balance. What I particular like about Financius over other finance apps, such as Mint, is its simplicity and the fact that it’s very easy on the eyes. This app is sure to help you better manage your finances! The one slight drawback about Financius is that all of your accounts and balances must be manually input; there is currently no feature which allows you to link your personal bank and credit card accounts to the app.

                                                  Platform(s): Android

                                                  25. Goodbudget

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                                                    Goodbudget is a money manager for budget planning and personal finance management. It has a unique “envelopes” feature, which allows you to allocate money for different people and purposes in your household. Use this app if you’re looking to keep an eye on your kids and other family members.

                                                    Platform(s): Android, iOS

                                                    Shopping & Saving

                                                    26. The Hunt

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                                                      The Hunt app will keep you from ever wondering where someone got that amazing outfit from again! Post a pic of what you’re looking for, and the community of over three million savvy shoppers will help you find it, style it, or buy it for less. As a member of community, you can return the favour and help others with your own style expertise. Trade fashion tips, get advice, and discover new places to shop.

                                                      Platform(s): Android, iOS

                                                      27. Flipp

                                                      WISHABI - Flipp app now gives Android users all their favorite

                                                        Say goodbye to flyers! Flipp delivers your favorite circulars and Weekly Ads to your fingertips. With Flipp, you can easily search for the items you need, quickly create a handy shopping list and price match in a flash at the checkout. This has become a staple app which I use for every grocery trip.

                                                        Platform(s): Android, iOS

                                                        28. Etsy

                                                        etsy

                                                          The Etsy app is the official mobile app for Etsy.com — home to the world’s small businesses and a great alternative to Amazon. Etsy will help you discover over 17 million unique items from 800,000 sellers around the world, while allowing you to shop and manage your orders with ease.

                                                          Platform(s): Android

                                                          29. LivingSocial

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                                                            LivingSocial will help you save up to 80% on great local restaurants, relaxing spas, unique products, and exotic vacations. Use the LivingSocial app for Android and iPhone to help you discover and share the best things to see and do in your city. Although this app is quite good, there are also many alternative apps which can be used, such as Groupon, Dealfind, etc.; it’s all a matter of tastes and preferences.

                                                            Platform(s): Android, iOS

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                                                            Other Goodies

                                                            30. How to Tie a Tie

                                                            How-to-tie-a-tie-App

                                                              Never ask your coworker, friend, or dad to help you tie your tie ever again. With a seemingly endless list of knots (20, to be exact) and accompanying instructions, pictures, and videos, become a tie-tying pro for any occasion you’re challenged with.

                                                              Platform(s): Android, iOS

                                                              31. Waze

                                                              Les-multiples-services-de-Waze

                                                                Waze is the world’s largest community-based traffic and navigation app. Join drivers in your area who share real-time traffic and road info to save time, gas money, and improve daily commuting for all. You can also actively report accidents, police traps, and other hazards you see on the road. Get road alerts along your route and find the cheapest gas prices around you shared by the community. Plus, you can add friends, send locations, or keep others posted on your arrival time. One thing which really frustrated me about the app when I tried using it was that it was impossible for me to add my home and work addresses to the app though I’m not sure if this is a general issue other uses are experiencing, or if it was just my device.

                                                                Platform(s): Android, iOS

                                                                32. Easy Taxi

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                                                                  Never will you have to wave down a taxi again! Easy Taxi allows you to easily book a taxi and track it in real time, with just a tap of a button. All you have to do is wait for the app to automatically locate your address using GPS, confirm your location, and tap “Request taxi.” Then, stand aside and watch how Easy Taxi assigns a nearby driver.

                                                                  Platform(s): Android, iOS

                                                                  33. Duolingo

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                                                                    Duolingo will help you learn some of the world’s most popular languages, including: Spanish, French, German, Portuguese, Italian, Dutch, Irish, Danish, Swedish, and English in a fun and free way. Speaking from experience, the Duolingo app can be used as a standalone method of learning a language, or alongside the excellent website for extra notes and immersion features. I really wish there were more languages offered, such as Arabic, Hindi or Mandarin, and there is definitely room here for development.

                                                                    Platform(s): Android, iOS

                                                                    34. TED

                                                                    ted-android-app

                                                                      TED’s official app presents talks from some of the world’s most fascinating people: education radicals, tech geniuses, medical mavericks, business gurus, and music legends. Find more than 1,700 TEDTalk videos and audios (with more added weekly) on the official TED app. What’s awesome about the TED app is not only is it incredibly easy to use, it’ll help you learn a ton of stuff in over 22 languages!

                                                                      Platform(s): Android, iOS

                                                                      35. BestParking – Find Parking

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                                                                        BestParking steers drivers toward the cheapest and most convenient parking garages and lots in 105 cities and 115 airports throughout North America. Use this app to help save yourself money, as well as the frustration which comes from crazily looking around for a parking spot during your commute.

                                                                        Platform(s): Android, iOS

                                                                        36. Carrr Matey

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                                                                          Never lose your car in a parking lot or a busy street again! Carrr Matey guides you back using a compass or walking directions. Its’s perfect for airports, stadiums, shopping malls, etc. Plus, use the timer to park at meters worry-free. My favourite feature about this app is that it does all of this in a pirate theme!

                                                                          Platform(s): Android

                                                                          Featured photo credit: young girl working with tablet in the street via shutterstock.com

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                                                                          Last Updated on October 21, 2021

                                                                          How to Create Your Own Ritual to Conquer Time Wasters and Laziness

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                                                                          How to Create Your Own Ritual to Conquer Time Wasters and Laziness

                                                                          Life is wasted in the in-between times. The time between when your alarm first rings and when you finally decide to get out of bed. The time between when you sit at your desk and when productive work begins. The time between making a decision and doing something about it.

                                                                          Slowly, your day is whittled away from all the unused in-between moments. Eventually, time wasters, laziness, and procrastination get the better of you.

                                                                          The solution to reclaim these lost middle moments is by creating rituals. Every culture on earth uses rituals to transfer information and encode behaviors that are deemed important. Personal rituals can help you build a better pattern for handling everything from how you wake up to how you work.

                                                                          Unfortunately, when most people see rituals, they see pointless superstitions. Indeed, many rituals are based on a primitive understanding of the world. But by building personal rituals, you get to encode the behaviors you feel are important and cut out the wasted middle moments.

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                                                                          Program Your Own Algorithms

                                                                          Another way of viewing rituals is by seeing them as computer algorithms. An algorithm is a set of instructions that is repeated to get a result.

                                                                          Some algorithms are highly efficient, sorting or searching millions of pieces of data in a few seconds. Other algorithms are bulky and awkward, taking hours to do the same task.

                                                                          By forming rituals, you are building algorithms for your behavior. Take the delayed and painful pattern of waking up, debating whether to sleep in for another two minutes, hitting the snooze button, repeat until almost late for work. This could be reprogrammed to get out of bed immediately, without debating your decision.

                                                                          How to Form a Ritual

                                                                          I’ve set up personal rituals for myself for handling e-mail, waking up each morning, writing articles, and reading books. Far from making me inflexible, these rituals give me a useful default pattern that works best 99% of the time. Whenever my current ritual won’t work, I’m always free to stop using it.

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                                                                          Forming a ritual isn’t too difficult, and the same principles for changing habits apply:

                                                                          1. Write out your sequence of behavior. I suggest starting with a simple ritual of only 3-4 steps maximum. Wait until you’ve established a ritual before you try to add new steps.
                                                                          2. Commit to following your ritual for thirty days. This step will take the idea and condition it into your nervous system as a habit.
                                                                          3. Define a clear trigger. When does your ritual start? A ritual to wake up is easy—the sound of your alarm clock will work. As for what triggers you to go to the gym, read a book or answer e-mail—you’ll have to decide.
                                                                          4. Tweak the Pattern. Your algorithm probably won’t be perfectly efficient the first time. Making a few tweaks after the first 30-day trial can make your ritual more useful.

                                                                          Ways to Use a Ritual

                                                                          Based on the above ideas, here are some ways you could implement your own rituals:

                                                                          1. Waking Up

                                                                          Set up a morning ritual for when you wake up and the next few things you do immediately afterward. To combat the grogginess after immediately waking up, my solution is to do a few pushups right after getting out of bed. After that, I sneak in ninety minutes of reading before getting ready for morning classes.

                                                                          2. Web Usage

                                                                          How often do you answer e-mail, look at Google Reader, or check Facebook each day? I found by taking all my daily internet needs and compressing them into one, highly-efficient ritual, I was able to cut off 75% of my web time without losing any communication.

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                                                                          3. Reading

                                                                          How much time do you get to read books? If your library isn’t as large as you’d like, you might want to consider the rituals you use for reading. Programming a few steps to trigger yourself to read instead of watching television or during a break in your day can chew through dozens of books each year.

                                                                          4. Friendliness

                                                                          Rituals can also help with communication. Set up a ritual of starting a conversation when you have opportunities to meet people.

                                                                          5. Working

                                                                          One of the hardest barriers when overcoming procrastination is building up a concentrated flow. Building those steps into a ritual can allow you to quickly start working or continue working after an interruption.

                                                                          6. Going to the gym

                                                                          If exercising is a struggle, encoding a ritual can remove a lot of the difficulty. Set up a quick ritual for going to exercise right after work or when you wake up.

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                                                                          7. Exercise

                                                                          Even within your workouts, you can have rituals. Spacing the time between runs or reps with a certain number of breaths can remove the guesswork. Forming a ritual of doing certain exercises in a particular order can save time.

                                                                          8. Sleeping

                                                                          Form a calming ritual in the last 30-60 minutes of your day before you go to bed. This will help slow yourself down and make falling asleep much easier. Especially if you plan to get up full of energy in the morning, it will help if you remove insomnia.

                                                                          8. Weekly Reviews

                                                                          The weekly review is a big part of the GTD system. By making a simple ritual checklist for my weekly review, I can get the most out of this exercise in less time. Originally, I did holistic reviews where I wrote my thoughts on the week and progress as a whole. Now, I narrow my focus toward specific plans, ideas, and measurements.

                                                                          Final Thoughts

                                                                          We all want to be productive. But time wasters, procrastination, and laziness sometimes get the better of us. If you’re facing such difficulties, don’t be afraid to make use of these rituals to help you conquer them.

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                                                                          Featured photo credit: RODOLFO BARRETO via unsplash.com

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