Accessing the internet these days comes predominantly through our smart phones. We can find anything we need now with just a few swipes or taps, and living without this accessibility is unimaginable. However, there is no doubt a few negatives to this unlimited freedom; the one this post will address is mindless scrolling.
Like most of us, I have been guilty for years of scrolling through social media apps out of boredom and habit. Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat will remain on my phone for years to come as they are a nice way to unwind and keep in touch with friends and family (and now to blog) in moderation, but I have, in recent months, decided that if I have all of this time to scroll aimlessly on my phone, I could gain benefits if I changed the quality of my scrolling.
The following few apps are ones I have been using each morning for almost two months now. The first reason I introduced these into my daily schedule was, as mentioned, to start getting more out of the time I spend online and secondly, to better my organisation and improve my knowledge and cognitive skills. So far, I feel as though my days have had more of an anchor, and the more time passes, the prouder I am of my progress.
6. TM Anatomy
Whether you work in the medical sector or not, knowing what your body is made up of is very useful information to have. This body Encyclopedia, as I like to call it, was written voluntarily by doctors and medical students and it is what got me through my anatomy degree with its impressive collection of images to go with its text (which helps a visual learner like me, massively).
I re-downloaded this app to both reinforce and improve my knowledge of anatomy and to challenge myself more on a daily basis. It’s sister website, Teach Me Physiology is one to watch also for improving your knowledge of how our organs & organ systems work as opposed to just learning about their structure.
5. News applications
Downloading a news application is a very general thing for me to suggest, as there are an indefinite amount of news topics and news sites. I recommend, however, you make sure you have at least one on your phone and try to read a news article daily, for a few weeks to start, then see how you feel afterwards.As somebody who never really kept up with current affairs (besides watching Nuacht TG4 to improve my Irish in school), this was a tricky change for me to make. I now read an article a day from the top of The Economist site to bring myself out of my comfort zone, reading about topics such as general elections, natural disasters and various medical opinion pieces that I wouldn’t have otherwise come by. Over time, this will undoubtedly improve my capacity to engage in more stimulating conversation in the future.
This is an app I discovered recently which has strong connotations of the Brain Training game I used to play on the Nintendo DS. It contains many stimulating educational games which improve your skills at things like percentage estimations, eloquence in speaking and writing expression and overall communication and analytical skills, while keeping track of your progress and shortcomings at the same time. There’s a good reason why Apple have chosen it as App of the year before, and why it has been downloaded by 15 million people!
The Notes app, yes, we should all make more use of it! This is an indispensible tool for writing things down as they pop into your head, whether it’s that person you’ve been meaning to call for a coffee date, something you need to bring into work tomorrow, or that idea you’re afraid might be lost again in a few minutes.
Some of the main uses of mine for the notes app are to throw down a few new words under my Word of the Day (WOTD) note, to refer back to daily until I remember them well. I also use it to write blog post drafts when I’m on the go, the names of books or events I should look into, or to keep important things like passwords temporarily until I get the chance to move them to a safer place.
My best Christmas present last year was a Fitbit watch, and what makes it more special is the information it transfers to this app on your phone. I can keep up with my fitness progress by viewing my daily amount of steps, estimated calories burned, distance walked or ran, how much time I have exercised during the week, and even the quality of my sleep each night, all detected by the sensors in my watch. The app also allows you to send applications to the watch itself, such as personal fitness coaches, mindfulness tips and news highlights. Getting daily notifications about my progress from this app inspires me to keep going and lead healthier, fitter days.
Languages have always been my best subjects at school, and the thought of letting them fade away unused, makes me anxious. Especially since my environment limits me in my ability to use my French and Irish on a daily basis, I am so happy to have this app so that I can reinforce and improve my knowledge on a daily basis.
Not only is this app good for reinforcing what you already know, it’s a brilliant way to learn a new language altogether! I have taken up Portuguese and I’m enjoying tipping away slowly at it. The app uses a mixture of images, audio and text to teach new concepts and categorises them well into different levels and sections. What’s even more encouraging about the app is that it marks your progress beside your friends and you can join discussion groups around the world to test your knowledge. I must say the streak is pretty addictive to keep up (I’m on 52 days)!