Blogs like mine are supposed to decry technology and yearn for the good old days of romping in the hills. I like a romp in the hills as much as the next man, but there’s no denying that smartphones and apps play a fantastically useful role in modern life.
Here are my ten favourite apps. Please let me know in the comments of any others that you would recommend.
- Freedom – blocks social media apps and distracting websites. Invaluable for a weak-willed person like me.
- Headspace – meditation made simple. I’d urge you to give their introductory Take Ten course a try (ten minutes of meditation, for ten days).
- Instapaper – saves those long interesting blog posts you stumble across when you’re meant to be working so that you can read them later, offline. My go-to app when I’m on the underground.
- Kindle – because I hate not always having a book with me.
- Later – schedule your Instagram posts (and hence your Facebook and Twitter ones too) in advance. Means less time on your phone, more time playing outside. (By the way, if you use Instagram as a way of posting to Twitter, you really should set this up so that the pictures show up natively.)
- Met Office – six apps down and at last one that helps me outdoors! I find this weather app to be very accurate.
- Star Walk – point it up at the night sky and it names the constellations you are looking at. It’s nice, sometimes, to remember to be blown away by the insanely clever sci-fi magic devices we all carry in our pockets.
- StrongLifts – about once a year I get really bored of exercise and lapse into a vegetative state. Each time I snap myself out of it I find that StrongLifts help. Like all the best projects in life it is simple, holds you to account, and quantifiable. I make massive gains, quickly, which then reboosts my enthusiasm and I can get back into more varied, less simplistic exercise routines.
- ViewRanger – a free app that gives you free maps for almost everywhere in the world. I used it on my Spain walk and became, for the first time, a convert to digital maps over paper maps. You can also buy very detailed maps for specific areas, and follow routes that other users have created. (NB: I am an ambassador for ViewRanger, so might sound biased. But it’s telling that I chose to use ViewRanger before they signed me up.)
- Yoga Studio – I am hopelessly inflexible and need to do more yoga. This app helps me squeeze some stretches into the small pockets of time that are dotted around the day. Every time I fly, for example, I hide away in the corner of the waiting area and get on with a bit of downing the dog!