In 2016 I used a few apps to keep me on track. Below are the 5 that I used the most and gave me a great return on investment, which was zero dollars. I do live in the Google universe, so it’s not surprising that the majority of my most-used apps are part of that world.
Google Keep turns my phone into my my life organizer. I can’t recommend it enough. I’ve read that Keep is kind of the poor man’s version of Evernote, and perhaps one day I will upgrade to that app, but right now Keep has everything I need to stay organized and focused, it’s free, and it has a bunch of nifty features.
There’s a few different types of notes to use: lists, sketches, recordings, and photos. You can add other Keep users as collaborators who can then edit any of these notes. This makes it perfect for to-do lists and grocery lists. You can add color coding to any of these notes, and you can add time or place reminders to any note. So for instance you can add a place reminder to a grocery list that will then remind you what to pick up when you are near your grocery store.
Lists are definitely my way of keeping focused day to day. Creating a list on this app is easy as pie, and you can check off things on your to-do list as you accomplish them and it will retain a crossed-out item below the active list so you know you accomplished something! I love that – If the items just disappeared there wouldn’t be the same sense of satisfaction.
The drawing note function has plenty of variety in terms of brush and pen points, colors, and thickness. You can draw on photos, and even add lists to drawings or images.
The audio recording tool is awesome to record ideas and thoughts – it creates a text and audio file so you then have a text version of your thought. You can take pics or add pics into your notes for visual inspiration, or you can have Keep use Google’s transcribing tools to grab text from a photo, a great application for grabbing business card info and the like.
Keep syncs up with your email contacts, Google Drive, Calender, and so on, so for me as a Google user it’s a fantastic tool . Can you tell I like it?
As a farmer I need to know what the weather will be like in a few hours, and I need to know what it will be like for the rest of the week. I like Weather Underground best for my weather prediction needs. They have developed a Wundermap which is an interactive weather map in which you can select different layers of information and where I can track weather patterns in real time for personal micro-weather predicting. I also love the Forecast Day/Hour/Summary Chart – its the most accurate and detailed weather info I’ve been able to find. This app, like Keep, is a must-have for me.
I like to know how active I’ve been all day. It is also helpful and humorous to check out your the mapping of your daily routine – you can see how efficient or inefficient your working patterns are. Since I’m an avid walker, I also like to note my times/distances/steps/calories burned on my walks each day.
I barely open this app, but now I use it in conjunction with Keep to keep my appointments and remember birthday and events, as well as marking down deadlines for various tasks and jobs.
I spend tons of time by myself working outside. When I’m not in the mood to ponder life’s existential questions, I plug in my earphones and listen to podcasts. This player is free and it works well. I like to listen to farming and business related podcasts sometimes, but most of the time I’m looking for humor – I enjoy Judge John Hodgman a lot because I am a geek, and I also check out Put Your Hands Together which has tons of talented comics doing brief sets. Humor is the best medicine and in my mind keeps all my tasks easy and fun.
Let me know if you have a favorite farming app in the comments!