We’re all trying to level up our lives right? I firmly believe that if you build the following 5 apps (4 of which are FREE) into your daily or weekly routine, you will start to see dramatic improvements in all aspects of your life.
Increase your productivity and ability to take action on what needs to get done. Become more mindful about your desires and needs, your work and your goals, your relationships, your body, and much more. Improve your endurance, strength, and flexibility. Develop confidence, creativity, and expressiveness.
All with 5 apps, I personally use almost every day.
1. Headspace for Meditation
I, like most everybody who doesn’t (or didn’t) meditate, used to think it was hard. I loved the idea of meditation, and would attempt it over and over through the years, but never really felt like I could find my flow with it. I just couldn’t shut my brain off! But then I learned you don’t have to. And I found Headspace.
Meditation isn’t about clearing your mind, it’s simply about taking a mental time out. Giving yourself a chance to reflect and reset. It’s a practice of breathing and relaxation, and learning to be conscious about when the mind is focused vs wandering and when it does wander, understanding how to reel it back in. I also learned that meditation is not just about you, or reflecting inward. It’s a way to become more present and mindful with the people you love. Headspace is the best app I’ve used for learning to train the mind.
The first time I used the app, I only did a 3 minute basic session. I couldn’t believe how crystal clear I felt after opening my eyes and returning to my normal waking/working hours. In just 3 minutes! These days I try to do 10-15 minutes of Headspace every morning before my cup (or pot) of coffee. I can’t say it enough, just try it.
2. Strava for Movement
I used to hate to run. (I used to hate to write too… things change!) It wasn’t until I started doing Spartan Races that I started taking running more seriously.
With my background as a climber, I was able to crush pretty much every Spartan obstacle without much difficulty. But I wasn’t getting on those podiums because between the obstacles, I wasn’t fast enough. So I forced myself into a running routine and along with that, I started using Strava.
Strava is a free app for tracking your workouts, whether that be running, hiking, swimming, or biking. But more than just tracking, it also gamifies your efforts with trophies for personal records (PR’s) and shows you how you rank not only against your own efforts, but against other people who have run or biked the same segments or routes. And that last bit – other people – is huge!
Within Strava, you create a community. Cheer on and get cheered on. Connect with aspiring or elite athletes around you. There can definitely be a level of competition between you and your friends, but mostly, it’s just about being stoked on each others’ efforts. And that makes all the difference in keeping the motivation to move high.
3. Down Dog for Mobility
Have you ever tried yoga? With how popular the practice has become, it surprises me how many people still haven’t given it a shot.
If you need a reason to get started, here are 7:
- Improve cardio and circulatory health
- Improve endurance, strength, and flexibility
- Increase energy and vitality
- Improve bone health and prevent cartilage and joint breakdown
- Improve posture and balance
- Increase focus while promoting relaxation
- Boost your immune system
And beyond the physical, there are so many mental benefits to yoga as well. But the most common reason people don’t go to yoga is that they’re self-conscious.
Maybe you’re not flexible, you get embarrased in group classes because you find the instructions hard to follow, or maybe you hate how you look in those tight “yoga pants.” Whatever your objection for going to the class, doesn’t have to stop you from doing yoga.
Down Dog is a free app that lets you do yoga on your terms, on your time. You can set the type of practice, the difficulty level, the length, and even the background music, and do yoga where and when you’re comfortable.
Whether you have 10 minutes after waking up while the coffee is brewing, or an hour after work when you want to do something active but just can’t motivate to go anywhere, Down Dog is great.
4. Medium for Journaling
You don’t have to be starting a blog to get started on Medium. It’s definitely a great place to build a publication, but you don’t have to think of it like that. Just use Medium as a fun new place to journal.
If you don’t journal daily or weekly, this is something you should start doing. Why? Journaling helps you organize your thoughts and de-stress as a result. Again, it’s not about clearing your mind…it’s about decluttering your mind. Life is better without clutter. Also, the simple act of writing helps improve your memory and analytical skills.
You don’t necessarily have to write about your feelings and how something was unfair at the office. Don’t think of Medium as the place for your 6th grade diary. This is more a practice in flexing your observational muscles. I consider Explore Inspired my journal. I share experiences, observations, tips, really whatever I’m interested in writing about that I feel may help other people.
Medium is a great place to get started writing if you don’t have another outlet because the platform is insanely simple to use, beautiful, and also, it’s public. Odds are your stories won’t reach huge audiences right off the bat so don’t write for them, write for you. Be honest and raw with your opinions and interesting takes on your experience with the world around you. When you do that, there will be a chance that somebody discovers and connects with your words. And that how you’ll start to build your community just by being you!
5. Trello for Planning
I use Trello to map out my life goals and bucket list, business to-do’s and ideas, upcoming blog posts, my travel hitlist, relationship goals and plans, home improvement projects, really almost everything.
The easiest way to get things done is to start writing them down. When you take the time to organize the ideas and plans, wishes and wants, decisions and deadlines, that are all swirling around in your brain, and actually write them down in lists, you’re WAY more likely to take action and make them happen.
It doesn’t have to be January 1st to start thinking about what changes you want to see in your life in the future, and Trello is the perfect place to start creating boards and lists around the projects and plans that will fulfill future you, today.
You might use a different task-tracker, like Evernote, or To-Doist, but I recommend trying Trello if you haven’t. P.s. It’s free.