The integration of technology into our world is remarkable. I watched the painful death of landlines and the subsequent arrival of cell phones. I watched cell phones evolve and mature from ugly box phones to stylish mini-computers. I also watched as mini-computers gave birth to apps, lots of them.
Truth be told, most apps are useless. By useless, I mean they don’t make a complex problem simpler. They don’t make a hard problem easier. They just exist. How sad.
There are certain apps, however, that can improve your life. They save you money. They save you time. They make a hard issue easier. I want to introduce you to a few of these apps. I’ve spent more than a few hours searching for and trying out apps, and I’ve settled on some good and a lot of really bad ones. Don’t get it twisted; I’m no tech nerd. The apps I’m sharing with you aren’t just trendy or cool. They work.
Here we go, 10 apps that will change your life (and why).
Evernote is my digital filing cabinet. I put everything there. Account information. Sermon outlines. Blog posts. Important adoption documents. My wife.
HOW IT CHANGES YOUR LIFE. It makes your life simpler. You can take pics and tag them. You can scan PDFs. The handy-dandy search tool helps you locate any receipt, paper or picture. No more losing or misplacing important documents. It’s a true game-changer.
PRICE: Free to join. $5/month for pro subscription.
2. MILE IQ
I stumbled across this app several months ago, and I swear by it. No need to pull it up every time you hit the road. The app tracks every mile for you.
HOW IT CHANGES YOUR LIFE. If you’re a pastor (or self-employed), recording mileage sucks. But doing so saves hundreds of dollars. This app will make sure you don’t miss a mile, print a spreadsheet of all pertinent information (for tax purposes) and save you money.
PRICE: Free for 30 drives. $5.99/month (or $60/year) after 30 drives.
If you’re like me, you have multiple passwords in a zillion different places. Many sites require upper and lower case, as well as numbers. It’s impossible to remember all of them.
HOW IT CHANGES YOUR LIFE. This app will save you time and unnecessary stress. It stores every password. No more forgetting them, throwing stuff and causing a scene.
PRICE: Free to join. $9.99 for Pro version.
Focus is key. I love listening to music when I’m writing and thinking. This app is scientifically proven to increase your focus and minimize problems like anxiety and ADHD.
HOW IT CHANGES YOUR LIFE: This app has been a game-changer. I have ADHD. When I listen to the music, I notice a significant increase in focus and concentration.
PRICE: Free for 15 days. $9.95/month after 15 days.
5. SLEEP CYCLE
Do you ever wake up mad at the world for no apparent reason? It’s probably because you don’t have this app. The beauty is its ability to track your sleeping patterns and trigger your alarm in a moment of light sleep (within a 30-minute window of the time you set). This helps you wake up naturally and less “groggy.”
HOW IT CHANGES YOUR LIFE: Sleep is vital to success. I used to wake up in a fog quite regularly. The first few hours were spent waking up and getting my bearings together. This app has changed my mornings. I’m less tired and more productive, especially in my first few hours (the time when your willpower and creativity are highest).
PRICE: $0.99 to purchase app.
While technology is helpful, boundaries are important. I never realized how much time I spent on my phone until I found this app. It tracks time spent, and for $4.99 you can add your family and track their time, an important feature for those whose kids have phones. One more thing I love. You can lock yourself out of your phone. Say you’re hanging out with friends or family and don’t need to be on your phone. In moments of silence, it’s tempting to pull it out. This app forces you to communicate the old-fashioned way and not use your phone as a crutch.
HOW IT CHANGES YOUR LIFE: Track your phone usage. Keep your family from becoming addicted to their phones and increase your family’s QT.
PRICE: Free for app. Pro version (includes family) $4.99 (one-time).
If you live in the states of Kansas, Wyoming, North Dakota or Montana, move on to the next app. For the rest of us, traffic is an issue.
Whether driving across town or across the country, this app keeps you from running into unexpected log jams. Think social media for travellers. People post to the app when a road is congested. It’s real-time and remarkably accurate.
HOW IT CHANGES YOUR LIFE: It saves you time, and time is money, right? Few things are more stressful than unexpected traffic delays. This app minimizes your chances of experiencing one.
If you post stuff on social media (and you should, especially if you’re a pastor), this app allows you post messages or photos across several platforms.**
HOW IT CHANGES YOUR LIFE: Streamlines your social media platforms saving you time and expanding your reach. When more people see Truth, that’s a win.
(**CoSchedule claims they’re working on an app. If this comes to fruition, it might replace Buffer. Until then, Buffer is my choice.)
PRICE: Free. $9.99/month or $99/year for Pro version.
9. FIRST 5
You wake up after a good night’s rest and what’s the first thing you do? Grab your phone and check Twitter or Facebook? Maybe check email or Slack (another app I highly recommend). You know you shouldn’t, but grabbing the phone is too tempting. What if there was a better way? I believe there is.
HOW IT CHANGES YOUR LIFE: Rather than your first thoughts being on the latest post or tweet that does nothing to transform your life, you can spend the first five minutes of your day filling your mind with truth. This could change the rhythm of your day, which changes your life.
BONUS APP (because I love you)
10. VID ANGEL
This app isn’t just for pastors or even Christians. It’s for anyone who wants to save money. VidAngel will inevitably make RedBox a thing of the past. Here’s how it works. You buy a movie for $20. You have 24 hours to watch the movie. After watching it, sell the movie back for $19. Renting a movie costs a total of…$1. Here’s the beauty of VidAngel. You can filter anything out of a movie. Graphic language or scenes. Opening credits. The questionable content of any kind can be filtered. It’s remarkable.
HOW IT WILL CHANGE YOUR LIFE: VidAngel saves you money and time. You can stream movies across all your devices (iPhone, iPad, AppleTV, Chromecast, etc.). No leaving the house for movies or waiting, waiting years for movies to be available on Netflix, or months to be available for rent on iTunes. Keep yourself and your family was watching questionable content by filtering it.
PRICE: Free. $1 to rent SD movies. $2 to rent HD movies.
I would love to hear from you. What apps make your life easier, save you money, etc.? Leave a comment below. I love you all. To God be the glory forever. Amen!
About the Author: Frank Powell is a devoted follower of Christ, husband to
@tiffanipowell, dad to Noah and Micah, avid blogger/writer, sports fan. You can follow him on twitter here and read more blogs here!