Life is hard.
Good, a lot of the time, sure. But really hard, too.
Despite a world of information at our fingertips, most of us simply don’t have time to scour the Internet for simple ways to solve our most mundane problems. Clever people have come up with a lot of apps and tools to make everyday life easier, but of course you have to know about those apps in order to benefit from them.
These types of apps are appropriately called “life hack” apps. They are shortcuts to finishing the practical steps of life, allowing you to focus on the things that really drive and motivate you. They’re incredible, but again you can’t solve a problem if you don’t know you have it, or at least if you don’t know the solution.
That’s exactly what this list is for. We’ve collected a few apps here, some for areas of life as important as money and some for solving more administrative, hobby-based problems like organizing your reading list. All of them should save you some serious time.
If you’re a list person, you’ll love Clear. If you’re not, it might even make you think about becoming one.
Clear is an extremely simple list organizer that you can use as either a to-do list, ranking system, or archive of sorts. The great appeal is that it shows items in each list in beautiful colors that become more and more faded with each item down the list. In other words, the most important items on the list are shown at the top in bold colors, and each subsequent item is a slightly less bold shade of that color, so you can see your most important tasks or items at a glance.
I’ve used Clear to keep track of grocery lists, books I’ve read, meeting topics, my favorite movies, my personal to-do list, date ideas, as well as to prioritize my various extra debt payments. You can also set a time on each card that will show up as a reminder on your phone, if you think you’ll forget to do a certain task.
You know how much fun you have every time you sit down to create a handwritten budget? No, you don’t—because it’s not.
Even well-organized spreadsheets aren’t quite enough to make the regular experience of mapping out your income and spending a less-than-hair-pulling experience. Budgets (for most people) just aren’t exciting. But you might get the closest you’ve ever been to budget excitement with Mint.
If you’ve never seen or heard of Mint, do yourself a favor and just look at the website. The app is visually stunning, with meters for each area of spending (e.g., groceries, utilities, car payments) that show how much you’ve budgeted, and however much you’ve spent in that area will reflect in how full the meter is. If you’ve still got room, the meter will be green; if not, red.
The best hack of all is that when you set up Mint, you connect your bank account, and the app will search your entire spending history, come up with an average budget including all subcategories, and give you a potential budget to work off of based on how you’ve divided your spending in the past. It may not be perfect, but it will do almost all the heavy lifting of creating your budget, leaving you to edit a few numbers here and there to make it exactly right.
You can even connect sources of debt, such as student loans and car payments, directly to Mint, and set goals for certain time periods, which will tell you how much you need to be spending on each type of debt to hit your goal.
3) Life Hacks
Is this cheating? Can I put an app full of life hacks on a post about apps that help with life hacks?
The answer is I don’t know, but I did anyway. Maybe it’s like asking a genie for more wishes, but that sounds pretty smart to me.
This app has hundreds of tips for hacking life across all areas, from finances to relationships to health to cooking. Did you know you can lie on your back and lift your left knee to your chest to let out painful gas in your stomach?
You know you want to try it the next time you have a stomach ache.
What’s the most frustrating thing in the entire digital world? That’s a pretty big question, but I guarantee if you’re being honest, forgetting your login information will be in the top ten.
You’ve probably heard of password repositories, but maybe you haven’t tried using one yet. You definitely should, and 1Password is probably the best of the bunch.
The idea is that you have one master password to get into the app, but once you’re inside you can input all kinds of sensitive and hard-to-keep-track-of information. That includes credit and debit card numbers as well as usernames and passwords for any websites or apps you don’t want to forget.
Just don’t forget that master password…
As a book nerd, I’m kind of partial to this one. But if you read books in any capacity, or even if you have a few books on your wishlist, this website and app has everything you need.
LibraryThing is a virtual bookshelf, and a whole lot more. You can search a number of databases for any book in the world, then add it to your library or wish list. You can customize those lists however you’d like. Mine include “my library,” “wishlist,” “non-fiction wishlist,” “favorites,” and “currently reading.”
You can also rate books on a five-star system, put tags on them, and leave reviews. LibraryThing is a community as much as it is a life hack for book lovers who want to keep track of their To Be Read lists as well as all the books they currently own.
6) Dark Sky
Dark Sky is the mother of all weather apps. It does all the usual things: forecasts hours, days, and weeks, anywhere around the globe. But here’s the kicker: Dark Sky tells you when it’s going to rain, down to the exact minute.
As their website says, “With down-to-the-minute forecasts, you’ll know exactly when the rain will start or stop, right where you’re standing. (It’s like magic.)”
Yes it is, Dark Sky. And I like it.
The beautiful thing about today’s world is that there are so many technologies that can solve problems, both basic and advanced. However, the problem can be summed up in two of those words: so many.
This isn’t a problem if you know where you’re looking. Check out these six apps, and get ready to hack your life—in one mundane area at a time.
By: Ryan Drawdy
May 10, 2017