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APPS ARE LIFE | TECH RECS FOR MORE PRODUCTIVITY


I do a lot of things on apps. Sans iPhone I barely answered calls let alone texts. Now, you can catch me staring at my screen like any other basic child of the new millennium. It is what it is. 

This is a different post from me as I do a pretty good job of keeping my tech geek side on low key, but I figured maybe you could use a little black girl tech inspired read with your morning joe. 

[Financial] 
Mint
I'm obsessed with financial planning despite my slow and steady tread to better management of it. Financial budgeting & saving or investing is quite high on the priorities list these days. I've got a major goal to clear some debt out of the way this year and get that much closer to financial freedom. It is incredibly important for me to not owe anyone or anybody anything so my money can truly be used for what I deem necessary and not already have a designated seat in someone else's wallet before it even arrives in my own. 

Mint is an amazing app that affords me to track my account and break down exactly how much I am spending in various categories. It's also a really dope digital budget platform, and with their new introduction of a bills function, it's my go-to, even more so than my primary bank's app. I've been using it for about four years now consistently. I might not always follow my budgets or hit my goals but it sure does feel good to know those things are in place so you can see where you're hitting the mark and where you're not. Plus it has consolidation of how much you've spent yearly, monthly, or over certain designated time periods. It can be a real shocker sometimes to access how much you really spent eating out. It helped me notice bad habits in my spending and gave me tips whenever I was doing something that could use improvement like how to avoid withdrawal fees overseas. By the way, it gives you free credit score updates throughout the year. I mean, there's really no need to not have this app. Out of any app mentioned here, this is the one I use most diligently. I start my month planning spending via the app (and good ol paper & pen). 

Acorns 
Acorns is a tool I've recently began to flirt with and I'm enjoying it thus far. Even though my main goal is paying debt this year, Acorns is an investing app that rounds your purchases up to the nearest dollar and save the coins towards potential profit over time. And when I say over time I mean really, over time. Right now I don't start really yielding prospected profit until I'm like 32 (ten years out). However it's a fun beginners platform to understand investing a bit more without having to feel intimidated. Without doing anything, I'm saving. I like apps that are low maintenance so this works for me. For more experienced investors out there, I've heard much rave about Betterment, but I'd keep this one in pocket. 

[Productivity] 


Minimalist
Minimalist is probably one of my new favorites. It's clean design makes it easy to love and super intuitive as a user. It sets you up to list your tasks for the day, and once you've created a task, you can enter a portal to set the allotted time you estimate needed to complete it. If you pick up our phone during this period, the app prompts you to put down your phone, and stay focused. There are a lot of simple design elements of this app that I discovered over time, and it really proved to be a very considered digitized project. I love digital lists and organizational apps done well because typically they rarely hit all my needs. I appreciate this app for being useful while truly remaining minimal as its name claims. 

LifeCycle
This app works in the background keeping track of how you're spending your day. It's nice to have a glance at your week and see how much time you spent at work vs home. Or how much time you slept for the week vs working out. How much time you spent chilling with friends or at dance rehearsal. I pretty much do nothing besides turn on my wifi and check my weekly "donut". If it doesn't recognize where you are or what you might be doing the edit tool allows you to sort of bookmark it from then on for better future accuracy. It might not be for those who squeal about being tracked but merely having a phone makes you traceable so I just capitalize on it & make their invasion useful for me too. 

+ BONUS
I really must also give a special shout-out here to the Notes App. It is where I get out a lot of thoughts or ideas before I even have a chance to grab my new jet white mini moleskin #flossin. In fact, this entire post was written and edited on a Notes App. 

[Spiritual] 


ReadScripture
The Bible Project was created by a dope duo based in Portland that makes amazing videos to illustrate all the books of the Bible. They truly believe that the Bible is a continuous narrative which leads to a common message or theme, Jesus. That intrigued me quite a lot because I've also seen the Bible in parts, not necessarily as a whole seamless narrative. I also recently stopped shunning the Bible as a one off way to manipulate folk and realized it's da truth. This app is an extension of their video projects as it incorporates a reading plan (that can be set at a daily pace or no pace at all), an illustrative timeline, guides, and some integrated videos. They also have a podcast (podcast list coming soon). I would really recommend it anyone interested in picking up their Bible but not sure where to start. Plus I just love creative Christians who challenge the mold and do something new visually making the Word more accessible. God knows sometimes I read King James like new phone who dis? 

iBooks
All through university I read paper books about 80% of the time. I felt its burden whenever I was moving ship but I always thought it helped me stay more focused than when reading than an e-book so it was worth it. I was probably right, but now that I read for leisure (and inherited my sisters iPad), I find myself enjoying reading digitally. iBooks is pretty clutch as it syncs your reading progress across all devices so if I don't have my iPad believe it or not I read quite comfortably on my phone (SE). I'll do a post on what I'm reading soon but I'm three books in and I have no complaints. Reading is spiritual to me because words are often soul's food & #Paulknowsbest. 


[Sound & Play] 


Keezy
A girl in my video art class a few years back shared this app with the class during a presentation and I STILL USE IT (so does my seven year old nephew). For those of us who feel like we are just one hot track away from being the next Solange on the record spin-table, this app is for you. I get so immersed when I'm mixing. It feels real even though it's super elementary mixing. It's also for those who hate to have games on their phones, but their nephew wants to steal it anyway (I wouldn't give him my passcode so I just turned it into a game and had him guess all 6 numbers in his own, he got it. And every time I see him if he forgets, he has to guess all over again, ha. But he's still really winning tho).  But the app, its dope. Check it out and play with some solid sound-scape, you can even record your own sounds to create a montage or template of your own. 

Two Dots
Two Dots. I'm on level 125 now after finally biting the bubble and sacrificing all my saved cheats, le sigh. When I took a six month hiatus from social, this was how I distracted myself. And quite frankly, I didn't miss a thing. It's a simple and charming game but also quite addicting. At one point I was having nightly dreams about life through the lens of a Two Dots game level. 

[Style] 


Bloglovin'
Now, I tried to rack my brain for an app that I use as it relates exclusively or dominantly to fashion and I really couldn't gauge one. I thought back to the days when I had my Bloglovin account on my phone, and instead 1000 unread posts in my inbox, I started to have like, 200. So I downloaded it again. What I like about the Bloglovin app is that it makes reading posts a lot more intuitive, and a lot more like a snapshot. Of course, I can't skim a Style Bubble post or just look overlook Mattie James' power packed posts filled with straight gems, but for the most part, I get to overlook bad writing and focus on the main point of each post, the pretty pictures. I'd recommend it to those of us who have Bloglovin' account and go on the desktop site like every two months with a flood of content to work through. The app makes it much more doable and fleeting because it's right at your fingertip and on a less intimidating screen. I don't use it everyday because honestly inspiration comes at me from so many angles it can kinda be overkill. However, when I'm in need of a good fashion binge, this is my first stop. 

News 
News App. Now this app should provide me with all sorts of news but to be honest, I'm unsure the news apps shares news I actually want to read. Maybe they should track the articles you actually open vs what you ignore because I ignore 90% of them because they're either all about political indecency (thx CNN) or a Kardashian alert (thx Complex). However, I'm supposed to be championing this app, right? I've noticed it is good for a lot more of the creative and tech scene over anything else. Thanks to reads from folks over at CNET or npr music, I get insider knowledge I wouldn't necessarily know to seek out. Maybe Al Jazeera and Atlantic aren't yet equipped staff wise to produce content that floods my news feed in the way BBC or CNN does, but may that day soon come because they're about to be muted. Wishfully, I'd like to see more fashion and style mags take advantage of this platform. 


I like to celebrate good tech.  Although tech isn't always a requirement for my creative process, I appreciate the ease good design allows for a better work flow & subject clarity. It's all connected, whether by hardwire or Bluetooth. 

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