New Year's resolutions: the best apps to help you keep your promises in 2014
Thursday 19 December 2013
Every year, millions of Britons resolve to be better people and pledge various New Year’s resolutions - to be healthier or friendlier; to s spend time with family, for example - but invariably we end up falling back into old habits the moment we go back to work.
Yet in recent years technology has offered us more tools to keep those resolutions; everything from smartphones and tablets to apps and gadgets. So, in order to help you keep your promises in 2014, have a lookt at our guide below, and if you're looking to keep fit - we've got a separate guide just for that.
If there’s one time of year where you’re going to test the limits of your overdraft, it’s Christmas - so it’s only natural that 2014 will begin with thinking about how you're going to pay for it all next year. There are a number of ways you can reclaim your bank balance.
First off, you owe it to yourself to install a price comparison app on your phone. If you’re the kind of person who feels compelled to look up products online even when you’re buying in a store, there are apps like Idealo that let you streamline the whole process. It even has a barcode scanner, giving you the ability to compare prices of an exact make or model.
For better money management in the long term, consider signing up to and using a virtual wallet system like EE’s Cash on Tap or Google Wallet. Though the service is in its infancy, Google Wallet allows you to consolidate debit and credit cards into one service, and promises to include discount cards in future so you’ll always your have your rewards handy.
If your phone's compatible, Google Wallet can also function as a contactless card.
If you have an NFC enabled Android phone it’ll also allow you to make payments as you would using a contactless credit card. Google Wallet can also function like a pre-paid credit card, so if you’re worried about fraud (or have been defrauded in the past), it’s a good alternative to purchasing things on your debit card.
From there, you’ll want to start budgeting. Keeping track of your finances can be timely, but it’s worth it in the long run, and some apps make it exceptionally simple. Spendee is a great looking app that’s exceptionally simple to use. It’s available in multiple currencies, too, so you can even take it travelling.
Remember the Milk: a to-do list that syncs across multiple platforms.
There are only so many hours in each day, and if you found you’ve spent most of 2013 wasting them, then you’ve got plenty of options to help you fix that.
A great place to start is a time management app such as aTimeLogger; like money, time is one of those things that really benefit from good budgeting, not least because you can find out where you’re wasting it. If you find it hard to prise yourself away from Facebook, Twitter, and other addictive websites, then you might think twice before refreshing your news feed if you know how much time you spend on them.
Speaking of distancing yourself from social media, we all know somebody who resolves year on year to quit Facebook. A less drastic solution is to install Cold Turkey, an application that blocks your computer from accessing social networks. If you’ve got an assignment that’ll take a couple of hours, then make sure it gets done - boot up the software and crack on without distractions.
In terms of meeting goals, a good to-do list is a must. Diaries are great if you remember to keep them with you, but there are apps that can sit just as neatly on the devices you’ll be taking everywhere. Remember The Milk is a great option for keeping track of tasks, and lets you access to-do lists on your phone, tablet and from your web browser.
Learning a new skill...
Duolingo: a great way to learn a new language in the new year.
If you’ve vowed to pick up a new skill, then there are some fantastic educational apps out there. Duolingo makes learning a language a game, and its mobile offering allows you tackle challenges on the move. Right now, the service offers French, Spanish, German amongst others.
For those looking to transition between careers, Codeacademy’s Hour of Code app is a great introduction to programming. If you’ve always been interested in technology but never sat down and got to grips with how software works, then this is a great first-foray- as of right now, however, it’s only available on iOS.
For those of you who’re just looking to become better educated, Wolfram is one of the best reference apps available for any platform, and looks great on both phones and on tablets. It’s capable of answering abstract questions about the culture, economics and the natural world - so if, for example, you were wondering if cheetahs moved quicker than falcons (Because who hasn’t needed to know the answer to that question at least once?), that’s one of the many questions Wolfram can help you with. (PS: It’s the Falcon).
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