I thought it was going to be tough going back to work this morning, but actually it has been a very productive morning. I got started early and have already accomplished much. This is a much better start to the New Year than yesterday was, that is for sure. Maybe January 1st shouldn’t count as the first day of the year. 🙂
I’m taking a midmorning break, so I thought I’d share with you my favorite apps and programs that I plan on using for 2013. Maybe you’ll find something new to explore or use in the upcoming months. And if you have any great apps that you’d like to share, I’d love to hear about them. Leave a comment, or write your own list of favorite productivity/Study/Life apps on your blog!
I’ve tried all sorts of calendar options….and have finally settled on Cozi. I resisted Cozi for a long time because it seems so “soccer mom-ish”, but then I realized I am a soccer mom. 🙂 Cozi has all the features I need. I now have the ability to create calendars for each of my children and integrate them into one master schedule. Cozi supports text messaging, so I can send the entire family, or just one child, a text reminding them of upcoming appointments or games. I can seamlessly move between my computer and phone application, so I always have my calendar with me.
Calendar: Microsoft Outlook
Unfortunately, for work I have to use Outlook. I’m still working on trying to learn this program. It’s not that it is difficult to learn, it’s just that I’m stubborn and have resisted learning Outlook for a very long time. I’m going to have to decide whether I’m going to run two calendars (work and family) on two different programs (Cozi and Outlook), or just move to one calendar.
Bible Study: Logos 5
By far the best money investment I have made in computer software or applications and my most important computer software. Logos has become an integral part of my daily life, particularly, a part of my spiritual disciplines routine. I use it for prayer, for journaling, and for thorough Bible Study. Even the most basic package in Logos is worth the money spent. Easy to use, but with enough features for in-depth study, Logos far outpaces other Bible Study software programs. It also comes with Apps for both the iPhone and iPad so that I can take my Bible study and notes with me everywhere I go.
**I recently upgraded to Logos 5. If you already have Logos, the company will try to get you to upgrade your package, but you do NOT have to do this in order to get Logos 5. You can purchase just the new features and data sets for Logos 5 by themselves. This is what I did, and I’m loving the new improvements and additions to the program
Daily Bible Reading: YouVersion
I had just been using my Logos software for daily Bible reading, but had been thinking I needed something a bit simpler to use in order to try to read the Bible through in a year. I have heard about YouVersion for over a year now, but thought I wanted something more sophisticated until I read a recent article about it and about one of their new Bible Reading Plans titled “Eat This Book”. So I gave in and downloaded it and tried it out last night. Very impressed. YouVersion has several different plans to choose from, tailored to meet your goals. I used it on my phone and the font was big enough that it wasn’t a strain on my eyes, which are getting old. It even has a feature where you can listen to someone read the selection for the day, and the recording is done very well. The reader can share to Facebook or Twitter where they are at in their progress. YouVersion also awards “badges” as you reach accomplishments, however I find that feature to be a bit cheesy–it makes me feel like I’m a Girl Scout.
File and Notekeeping: Evernote
While I’d like to think my brain is still young and sharp, I’m finding it harder and harder to remember things. Evernote helps to solve that problem. Their Logo is aptly stated: Remember Everything. I am just now starting to grasp the value of Evernote as I begin to do some more serious writing and research, so I am still learning the program. But essentially, I can drop anything I want to “keep” in Evernote, and organize it in such a way that I can easily get my hands on it when I need it and can use it. I bought a book titled My Evernote by Katherine Murray that is helping me to really learn how to make the most of Evernote. Another good investment that I’ve been pleased by.
Fitness-My Fitness Pal
When I am disciplined enough to use it, My Fitness Pal has been the best program I have found for calorie counting and exercise monitoring. Very simple and easy to use, this application is an encouragement to anyone wanting to “get back in shape”, or, in other words, lose weight. Hmmm. The only problem I have with this application is not the application itself, but my own willpower that falls short. Ugh.
Reader- Google Reader
There are several blogs and websites that I like to “keep up” with, and the best method I have found is still “old-fashioned” Google Reader. I’ve tried other programs, the most recent one being Zite, but I always come back to Google Reader. I think that is because of it’s simplicity. I can quickly scan and pull up the websites and blogs that most capture my attention and read them in detail, or I can skim the basics in Reader. Often I use Google Reader and Evernote in tandem, depositing in Evernote the articles, information and research that I may need for a project later on.
I still don’t know where I fall on the printed book vs. ebook argument. I like them both, so I guess I fall right in the middle. I do find myself using Kindle more often than printed books because ebooks have simply been cheaper. Kindle is the best ebook reading program that I have used. You don’t have to own a Kindle to use Kindle. Kindle can be downloaded for free for both PC and Macs, and there is a free iPhone and iPad Kindle reader as well. The iPhone Kindle app has been a great tool as I sit and wait to pick up my kids from different places, or sit and wait at a doctor’s office. Kindle affords me the ability to highlight (which I do frequently) as well as share what I am reading via Facebook and Twitter.
Budgeting and Finances: Mint.com
I’ve had a Mint account for awhile, but am just now recognizing the value of it as I force myself to use it more and more. It pulls all of my financial information together into one place that I can have access to on my computer or my phone. Mint not only helps with budgeting, it teaches the user how to budget and set goals. They have a multitude of reports you can run, so that you can see visually where your money is going, or even if you have any money at all. 🙂 It’s safe, secure, and if there can be any “fun” to be found in tracking finances and paying bills (and I’m inclined to say that there isn’t any), Mint.com certainly tries to find it and capitalize on it.
At first I was very intimidated by the idea of moving from Blogger to WordPress. I tentatively went through the directions for moving my blog and honestly did not expect it to work, but was pleasantly surprised. WordPress offers so many features, many of which I do not take advantage of because I just really don’t have the time to learn about them. However I like their interface and the results I’ve had by making the switch. Michael Hyatt shows you how to make the switch easily at his blog, located HERE.
Domain Hosting: BlueHost.com
I did a lot of research before finally settling on BlueHost to host my domain name, and I’ve been extremely pleased. The prices are reasonable, the customer service is quick and courteous, and they do not bombard me trying to sell me other products. In fact, I only hear from them once a year when it is time to renew my domain. It’s been a fantastic partnership that has allowed me to move to WordPress.com and bump up my blogging.
Other apps that I use: