By Anna Rowland
Welcome to the Age of Integration. Most people between the ages of 18-45 begin and end the day with their smartphones. Their function may be as simplistic as an alarm clock, or as complicated as a home security system. The two main purposes of the smartphone are to make your life easier and better. Long gone are the days of writing sticky notes to yourself or waiting until you’ve returned home to make a call. People are used to instant gratification. We have also become easily bored. The average human attention span has fallen from 12 seconds to 8 seconds since the start of the mobile revolution. The smartphone takes care of everything immediately from satisfying your curiosity regarding the winner of the Nobel Peace Prize in 2002 (it was Jimmy Carter), to reminding you of your unfortunate dentist appointment at 12:30.
There have been numerous clinical studies, such as one written about in the New Yorker magazine, about the validity of certain motivational and self-improvement applications, and they seem to concur that your smartphone can indeed guide you on a journey of self-improvement. New Yorker discusses a study being conducted by Jane McGonigal that shows how phone-based games can be applied to real life. In fact, there are many applications that aim to do just that. According to Mobi Health News, as of January 2014, 46 million people used fitness apps, which is a quick 18% increase from 2013. Applications may be the key to successfully making changes in your life, because they possess the ability to make mundane tasks entertaining and they’re a cheap alternative that provides personalised plans. Five applications are listed below that assist you with the common resolutions of weight loss, fitness, time management and increased productivity.
This workout app (while capitalizing on the current pop culture zombie craze) acts as an audio storybook that tracks your running pace and trains you in interval running. You arrive in a post-apocalyptic town with a mission to gather supplies and information. Zombies appear on the map at intervals, and you must run a certain speed to escape them.
Released February 2012
Level Up Life
This app turns your life into an RPG game while tracking your day-to-day achievements. You gain XP (experience points) by completing certain tasks and eventually this causes you to level up. The tasks come from twelve different categories, and can vary in difficulty. For example, Day One might give you “Drink 8 glasses of water in one day” from the Fitness and Health category. After gaining some XP you may be challenged to “host a barbeque” from the Social category.
Beta Testing as of October, 2015
Advertised as the best weight loss system available, this app works by seamlessly integrating a calorie counter, fitness tracker and social support system. It also connects with a variety of the most popular fitness devices on the market. It has many different features, but you can tailor them to fit your specific needs. Feeling competitive? Set it to challenge mode. Feeling social? Share your favorite recipes with friends. Feeling like a failure? Compare your progress to others or your old self.
Released July, 2010
Designed to improve your productivity, Orderly displays tasks in a way that is intuitive and boasts a user-friendly, simplistic interface. It sends you reminders of certain tasks depending on your location and syncs flawlessly with the Cloud.
Released June, 2015
This app aims to make you a better version of yourself by acting as a life coach. It encourages optimism in the face of a challenge and self-improvement by giving you a simple list of daily to-dos. It boasts proven results with just ten minutes of use per day. For this reason, SuperBetter has been featured on TED talks and is used by many therapists.
Released March, 2012