What did we do before smartphones? Like really? I remember when I first got an iPhone, and I didn’t even think I would need or use all the features. Well, slowly but surely, I starting using them all.
These days, we’re all pretty much attached to our phones. And there are so many benefits to technology, but it’s also unhealthy at times. Last week, I mentioned on my Instagram stories that I was trying to use my phone less around Brady, outside of sending texts and taking pictures, of course. Why? Because he was starting to show a lot of interest in my phone, and I realized that a lot of that probably comes from him seeing me showing interest in my phone. Of course, I still need my phone around, but I don’t want to be glued to it. I never post on social media or browse when Brady is with me, and I plan to continue that. But overall, keeping it away as much as I can when he’s around is how I’m consciously trying to be right now. I’m not perfect though, that’s for sure.
Anywho, because I’m not only a mom, but also someone who uses their phone for business, I thought it would be fun to take a look at my most-used apps, or applications — both for work and for play.
By the way, if you have an iPhone and want to see where you spend your time on your phone, open your phone, then go to Settings >> Screen Time >> Your Phone. It’s eye-opening!
My top 15 apps on my phone I use daily for work and play
This most-used list is based on time spent on each app. I’ll explain why I spend the time that I do for each separate app. Let’s go …
I’ve got to be honest, I did NOT expect to see this at the top of the list, because I feel like I use Instagram a lot less than most influencers. I post on IG stories or my feed once a day, then I spend a little bit of time engaging and that’s it. Well, not so much, according to my iPhone, I’m clearly opening and scrolling a lot more than I think. I do think that Instagram is important, because it’s something that is part of the whole blogging world, but I don’t think that spending all day on there is something I ever want to do. If you haven’t noticed, the algorithm (the way posts show up), changed again in early July, and now about 10 percent of my audience sees what I post. So that sucks. I do get some value from connections and other accounts on IG, but I have to be careful not to let the comparison game bother me, so time spent here should definitely drop a bit. This app doesn’t cost anything, but boy, you do spend your time there — and time is money!
This one makes sense. I have two email accounts, my personal one and my business one, and I refresh both inboxes like once an hour at a minimum, if I’m away from my computer (which is much of the day). I send quick responses on my phone, but try to save my detailed emailing for Brady’s nap time, during official work sessions. I’m always excited to get emails when people order Beautycounter through my personal link, or when I get questions or comments from readers, and especially when I get paid on blog projects or get a request for a good collaboration — woohoo! I also get a TON of spam, like press releases from PR agencies that do not interest me, overseas web developers telling me what I should do with my website and much more. Those emails get a quick “no thanks” or just a delete. This is a free app, and I use gmail for all my mailing purposes.
3. Power Music Now.
This is the program I use to create music mixes for the Bootybarre classes I teach. I make the mix on my laptop, then use the Power Music Now app to play the music in class — so it makes sense that this is one of my top three used apps. I pay $14.99 a month for access to this app and am able to seamlessly flow all the songs I use together with transitions and at whatever BPM (beats per minute) I want to use. Definitely a useful app!
I don’t get as many text messages as I used to. Am I unpopular? hahaha But really, I feel like I don’t communicate with people as much right now as I always have, and perhaps that’s because I prefer to catch up with people in person or on the phone. I do, however, always send Brady pictures and videos to my parents and to Dave during the day. So there you go. This app is free.
I have 5,000 images on my phone, and I’m always taking new pictures, so I try to go through my camera roll daily and delete what I don’t need. I also scroll through my photos in order to see what I have to post on Instagram or what I can use as an image in a blog post. And every evening after Brady goes to bed, Dave and I do a review of my “footage” of the day, just to see pics of Brady’s face in action after we start missing him. This app is free. By the way, Dave uses Google Photos, and I’m considering it too.
Calm is the app I use for my daily meditations in the morning. I just wrote a full blog post on this topic here too, in case you missed it: “What I’ve learned from the first 90 days of starting a meditation practice.” I use this app every morning for about 10 to 12 minutes. Love it! This app costs $59.99 per year, which isn’t too bad if you think about how much you will use it, there are also all sorts of guided meditations to help you sleep, which I haven’t tried yet.
Did I ever tell you that I was a student at University of Florida when Facebook first opened itself up to a select number of universities and we were some of the first people to use it? We had to use our UF address to get access too. Well, let’s just say that none of us had any idea where Facebook was heading. I scroll Facebook mindlessly here and there throughout the day to check in on my social circle and on people I don’t even know how I’m connected to? hahaha. But seriously, I still get decent blog traffic from my A Lady Goes West Facebook page, and I try to answer comments and messages on there as well, so it continues to get used. By the way, are you part of the A Lady Goes West Friends Facebook group? Join us! This app is free, of course … sort’ve, unless you count the time it takes from your life.
I would really think that this app had more usage than it does, because I review and listen to all my Les Mills music on here to prepare for class and to teach class too — it runs over the sound system from my phone. I don’t download songs or listen to music unless it’s for group fitness though. Usually the only time I listen to other music is in the car on my satellite radio, or Dave likes to have some background music on at home too. Which is strange, because I’m a music lover, but for some reason I also like total silence. This app is free, although I do pay for the music that is licensed by Les Mills.
I take several pictures a day of Brady and usually a selfie or two at the gym. A portion of these pictures end up on my Instagram stories, and a very good portion of these pictures just get deleted. This is a free app, clearly. 🙂
Because it’s been so hot and I haven’t been walking as much, and because I spend a lot of time listening to and reviewing music for my Les Mills classes, my podcast listening has definitely gone down the last few months. I used to get through maybe three to four new episodes a week and now it’s more like one. I actually just posted a list of my current favorite podcasts on Instagram here, in case you need some inspiration. Overall, I love that you can listen to a podcast and fold laundry or walk and learn new things as well as be entertained — I want my podcast usage to go up. This app is free! It’s amazing that podcasts are free (and blogs too, I guess).
Does anyone else send invitations to their spouse or significant other for things they need on their calendar? I always look at my calendar to check out what’s happening that week. I write Brady’s days at camp, my group fitness classes, project deadlines and social stuff on my calendar on my phone. I don’t feel like I’m on there that much, but I guess good enough to make top 15. I don’t have an elaborate calendaring system — Google calendar and a print notebook do the job just fine for me. Obviously, this app is free and comes with the phone.
Lightroom is how I edit all of my photos that go on my blog, and I only use the editing function on my phone. I actually had a full Adobe (the maker of Lightroom) suite of programs gifted to me for a blog event a couple years ago and decided not to renew once my full subscription was up, and so that left me with only having the editing function on my phone. The good news is that it’s all I need. I open my photos in Lightroom, up the brightness, up the noise reduction and increase the vibrance, then I Airdop them to my laptop, name them, size them and add them to the blog. This app costs something, but I have free access somehow still.
This is the app that connects to the sound machine in Brady’s room. Whenever he is napping or sleeping, he has his river sounds running — and we can control the noise level and light from our phones. This is the corresponding sound machine it goes with. This app is free.
I bought this app about a year ago, and it’s so good for my social media feed. VSCO is a photo-editing app that gives you a choice of a ton of filters or presets for your photos. Every single photo I post on my Instagram feed has a filter from VSCO, and I find there’s a lot more variety on VSCO than just the Instagram filters. You can also edit photos on VSCO. Right now, all my photos use the G6 filter, but I’ve been thinking of changing that — and it basically means they all have a similar color tone, which helps them look cohesive — but I don’t post those filtered photos on the blog, just social. I pay $19.99 per year for this app, and it’s worth it for sure.
We have a “smart home” if you will, and our air conditioning/heating/cooling and an indoor camera is all connected to the Nest system, which we access via an app on our phone (so is our security system and front door camera, but those have separate apps). We like to be able to check in on Brady when we are away from home, which isn’t something I need to do often, but while Dave is at work, he always looks at Brady during his daily nap (and yes, that means we have a regular baby monitor and an additional Nest camera Brady’s room). This app is free, but we paid for the camera, and the thermostat came with the house.
And that completes the top 15!
There you have it! A totally random blog post, but hopefully one with some useful (or entertaining) information.
By the way, I had one crazy fun weekend (Dave and I had our besties from Ohio in town), and I’ll share way more about that soon. But you can catch up on Instagram, if you want until we meet back here. Have a great day!
Questions of the day
What’s your most-used app on your iPhone?
What’s one app that you tell your friends to get?
Do you have any limits for yourself on screen time? If not, you should!