Do you have a smartphone? I’d totally applaud you if you’re using a flip phone, that is what I’m striving for but it’s difficult to transition back to that with technology evolving every day. Mobile apps are a part of our lives now, whether it’s for productivity, entertainment, stalk friends whom we haven’t talked to in years, we rely on them so much. I’m sharing 8 useful mobile apps that I use during the pandemic in today’s post. There is definitely more that I can share but let’s stick to 8 for now.
Back in 1983, Steve Jobs predicted the evolution of a new digital distribution system where he saw apps and app stores coming. Do you remember playing Snake on a Nokia phone? That’s an app. Today, apps are different, they are a part of our lives. Anyone with a smartphone would have probably 100 apps, even if you don’t use them. I try to not download apps that I don’t use, the only successful one is Facebook. I don’t have the Facebook app, yes, but that’s a story for another post.
I have been using Spotify since 2012 and as a student at that time, I used the free version. Yes, I had to endure all the ads and can’t skip songs more than five times (is it?). My life changed in 2015 when I used the premium version, never looked back since. Being a loyal user of Spotify for almost a decade, it’s great to see how much it has improved and how much its content has expanded. Podcasts, let’s not forget about that. The best thing that happened. I got to learn new things and about founders from How I Built This With Guy Raz. I recently pivoted my career to marketing and have been listening to as many marketing podcasts as I can. Joe Rogan and Spotify closed a $100M deal, of course I’m listening to his podcasts as much as I can. And Uncle Roger, I’m sure you know him – the guy whose video criticizing BBC’s egg fried rice video went viral – has a podcast too, it’s “Rice To Meet You“. Pretty hilarious. I hope we all now know how to make rice the right way now *giggles.
I totally love Spotify, especially its year-end campaign, Spotify Wrapped. Check out what I thought about their marketing campaign here!
Category: Social Media
I have been very very tempted to just toss away my smartphone in exchange for a flip phone. Nope, not joking. Warren Buffet uses a flip phone and you need to agree with me, flip phones are totally the OG phones. Smartphones actually are a distraction and do hurt productivity instead but it plays such a big role in our lives now. However, I found an excuse not to get a flip phone. My parents fly back and forth from the US to Malaysia and I definitely need Whatsapp to keep in touch with them. Thinking about it, there are other options, like using Facebook to message my mom instead but I haven’t been using Facebook for a while now. I just can’t keep up with so many social media platforms, it’s exhausting and draining all the energy in me. So Whatsapp needed to stay to keep in touch with my parents, family, and friends. However, Whatsapp is just a texting app so I don’t get addicted to it. The only downside to it is that I can’t toss away my smartphone for a flip phone. Instead, I got myself a new smartphone this year. Hah.
That flip phone dream isn’t coming true any time soon
Another useful mobile app that I use frequently, even more than usual during the pandemic is Gmail. I definitely rely on Gmail a lot, not because I’m running a multi-million dollar business, unfortunately. As I’m job searching now and signed up for newsletters that I read every day such as the Morning Brew, Emerging Tech Brew, Marketing Brew, Adweek, there’s always a new email every time I open the app. I just can’t imagine life without Gmail, to be honest. It’s already a habit to check Gmail in the morning after I’m done with my morning routine which then, my day actually starts. I’ve read countless articles, blog posts, watched Youtube videos that checking emails should be left until the more important tasks are completed but I think it just depends on the individual. As I mentioned, I’m subscribed to a few newsletters that are actually news and I like reading them in the morning.
Whether I’m job searching or not, Gmail is important to me. That’s how I find out about the latest discounts from Sephora or elf and get updates from pop-ups like Sip Shop Eat!
Notion blew up this year and I decided to jump onto the bandwagon, using the great tool to put all my tasks and plans together. Yes, it’s absolutely amazing. I’ve watched numerous Youtube videos to get inspiration on how to set up mine. I’m embarrassed to share my template/set up, but it’s been going well so far. I’ve got a list of books I’m reading in it and most importantly, a to-do list. Oh, how can I forget, I definitely use Notion to plan out what my next blog post is going to be. Still working on being more organized with content planning 🙂
Notion also combines Kanban board, lists, tables, calendars and so much more all in one, which makes it easier for me to view my list and tasks however I want to. I’ve been using Trello prior to Notion but it’s greater to be able to certain tasks and lists in a calendar view. Another great use is that I also created pages for the online courses I signed up for. All my notes are in it which makes it so easy for me to refer back to what I’ve been learning. Basically, the main things I have in Notion are:
- My to-do list
- My blog content and ideas
- The notes for the online courses I signed up for
If you use Notion, do share your template. Or if you know someone who has a really good template, share it with me too!
Category: Social Media
Earlier this year, I was so sick of being addicted to social media apps, especially Instagram. I read Cal Newport’s Digital Minimalism book. His advice to completely stop using something for 30 days straight was a little too much for me so I “improvised”. Instead of just cutting myself off from Instagram for 30 days, I placed the app on the last page of my phone. You’ve heard of “out of sight, out of mind” yea? And let me tell you, it actually worked! Although I am not completely off Instagram, I do spend less time on the app as compared to before. Truly an achievement.
Wait, we’re supposed to be talking about Twitter, yea? I thought of getting off Twitter but I use it to share my blog posts, engage with other bloggers and it’s a great platform to keep up with the #currentnews. After giving it some thought, no, I just can’t completely cut myself off from Twitter. However, a lot of my friends have stopped using Twitter so I find that I can just tweet about anything on my mind and fewer people would judge me. Plus, I am counting on Twitter to share my blog posts and try to make friends. The 280 characters on this platform is how I keep myself sane. I don’t know how I can give it up.
Follow me on Twitter if you haven’t, by the way!
🗓️ Google Calendar
Unless you’re a die-hard Apple user who’s using iCal, I’m sure you’re using Google Calendar too. And I don’t know what to do without it. At one time, I was really discipline using the time blocking system to plan my day. Got lazy now with time blocking but I have events and reminders and a lot of future events on Google Calendar. It’s now a full-page, and my home page widget on my phone which makes it so easy when I need to schedule an appointment.
Events such as:
- Michael Bublé 2019 Don’t Believe The Rumors
- I Signed Up For My First Half Marathon Even Though I Hate Running
- A Relaxing Weekend Getaway To Poconos
I’m definitely working on getting back to time blocking to have a more productive day. On top of that, I also get to see how long it takes me to complete a task, which I’m sure can help me plan my days better in the future. Just sharing a little more on what I have on my Google Calendar:
- Events/Appointments For Myself
- Tasks (Completed)
- What I Did Today
- Recurring Events
I did have Travel on it but with the pandemic, that part of my calendar is not really necessary right now. Do share how you organize your calendar with me!
I’ve recently started writing on Medium to expand my creativity and improve on writing. This is one of the useful mobile apps I use during the pandemic as I try to be a better writer and learn from other better writers. Medium also has a wide range of categories, from technology to product management to writing and many more. I discovered it when I was looking for a different career path and stumbled upon a few articles on product management and I realized I love reading other writers write about so many other things. And that is why I am willing to pay $5 to read the articles on it. I love my blog and I don’t intend to give it up soon but I must say, Medium has pushed me to be more creative and to do more research on topics I want to write about which means that I learn new things, yay!
If you’re on Medium, do share your handle, I’d love to check out your articles!
And my final everyday app, Flipboard! I’ve been using Flipboard since my first smartphone, which was the iPhone 4. Man, that feels like decades ago. Wait, it actually has been a decade since the iPhone 4 was released.
Flipboard is really a part of me now, it’s a great way to catch up on the latest news, aside from Twitter. It is definitely one of the useful mobile apps I have on my phone for a whole decade. Mine, however, keeps having news about The Bachelor/Bachelorette popping up which I honestly do not care about. Harsh, I know, but I really don’t care whether the couple stays together or not.
From the name of the app, you can tell that you literally flip (swipe up or down) to read the next article. The user experience is pretty nice and smooth, I have no complaints! It’s definitely an app that will stick around with me as long as possible. Unless way too much celebrity news pops up…
So here are 8 useful mobile apps that I use on a daily basis. Leave a comment if you use any of these 8 apps and any other apps that are useful for you!