These 12 Apps Will Make Your Life Way Easier

You’re probably already using your phone to get pizza delivered, and as a worldly citizen of 2016 you know the difference between swiping left and swiping right. But unlike Tinder, the apps on this list won’t destroy your faith in humanity. Check out these must-have apps for making life that little bit sweeter.

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Plant Nanny (Free for iOSAndroid)

Drinking enough water is essential for keeping your brain and body healthy. Unfortunately, flavourless, colourless water can be kind of boring. This app somehow makes getting hydrated a fun activity.

When you download Plant Nanny you pick out a cute plant. You get to water that plant whenever you finish a glass of H2O, and as your water intake increases your plant grows. If you’re not drinking enough water you’ll see your dehydrated plant wither away. If you’re the kind of person who forgets to drink water you can also set up push notifications for whenever you (and your plant) are thirsty.

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Rain Parrot (Free for iOS)

If you’re always forgetting your umbrella, you need this weather app. Use Rain Parrot for accurate weather alerts based on your location, wherever you are in Australia. Rain Parrot pulls in data from your closest weather station, predicting when it’s going to rain up to the minute.

Rain Parrot can also send you tomorrow’s forecast if rain is expected, so you can tuck your umbrella in your bag as necessary.

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HiFutureSelf (Free for iOS)

Use this app’s straightforward interface to send reminders or messages to your future self. HiFutureSelf is particularly useful for time-sensitive reminders, like “leave the house now or you’ll miss your yoga class”.

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Gratitude Journal ($4.49 for iOS)

There’s a reason that practising gratitude is so popular – regularly listing what you’re grateful for can boost serotonin and dopamine, the neurotransmitters that make you feel happier. This app makes it easy to write a list of the things you’re grateful for every day, without needing to keep track of pens and a journal.

You can even add photos from your camera roll to document the brunch/view/friend that you’re feeling the love for. For an extra mood boost, watch the slideshow of images from your previous gratitude lists.

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InstaSnoop (Free for iOS)

This app is for everybody who understands the level of precision it requires to scroll and avoid the ‘like’ button when you’re 78 weeks deep on your crush’s Instagram. And OK, so you probably shouldn’t be snooping on somebody’s Instagram in the first place. We know that spying on your ex’s new girlfriend’s Instagram account isn’t going to do you a lot of good – but we’re all only human.

So the next time you go lurking you might want to download InstaSnoop first. As the developers put it, “finally, you can look at an Instagram profile without accidentally liking an image and having to delete your account, move to China, and never resurface on social media again.” On InstaSnoop it’s physically impossible to like a photo and you can create a ‘Snooplist’ – that’s everyone you ever wanted to follow, but didn’t want them to know you’re following them. Revolutionary.

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Forest ($2.99 for iOS; Free on Android)

You might find this app useful if you can’t go 20 minutes without checking your phone or if you crush candy instead of working on your assignments. Forest helps you stay away from your smartphone and concentrate on whatever it is that you need to focus on.

When you’re ready to knuckle down, you plant a seed in your Forest and over the next thirty minutes that seed will grow into a tree. If you cave and check Facebook before the half hour is over that tree will shrivel and die. At the end of every day you can review your forest full of trees and give yourself a pat on the back for all the work you’ve done. For maximum productivity, combine with an app like SelfControl for your laptop.

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Expensify (Individual use free for iOSAndroid)

The developers behind this app describe what they do by saying “Expensify does expense reports that don’t suck.” You should download this one if you need to claim expenses for work, especially if you work in a role that requires international travel.

You can use Expensify to take a picture of your receipts and automatically file to an expense report, rather than keeping an envelope of crumpled bits of paper to go through when you’re back at your desk. Expensify is particularly useful if you need to maintain multiple expense reports at once for different campaigns, or if you need currency conversion tools.

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Sleep Cycle (basic version free for iOS$1.49 for Android)

Getting enough sleep is a vital part of your wellbeing. If you groggily hit the snooze button every morning, try Sleep Cycle. With your phone placed under your pillow or on your bedside table, Sleep Cycle analyses your sleep and gently wakes you up in the lightest phase of your sleep cycle within the timeframe you’ve selected. Waking up in this light sleep phase can make getting out of bed in the morning much less miserable

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Coach.me (Free for iOSAndroid)

Coach.me helps you select a new habit you would like to form, like bringing lunch to work or reading an actual physical book for half an hour every day. You can choose from loads of habits in the app or add your own goals, then decide how often you’d like to achieve that task each week. Ticking off the things you’ve done each day and reviewing your progress is incredibly satisfying.

The app works because you start eating breakfast each day so you can check it off in the app, but you end up eating breakfast every day because you’ve formed the habit. There’s also a range of Coach.Me Challenges to choose from, with options to increase your fitness, productivity and happiness. I’ve just signed up for the 30 Day Butt Challenge – results are still pending.

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Pacifica (Free for iOSAndroid)

Pacifica gives you tools for managing stress and anxiety inside your smartphone. This app is based on meditation and Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, so it’s an ideal companion for people who are using CBT as a tool to manage their mental health.

Use Pacifica to keep track of your mood, health habits and use the Thought Diary tool to record and analyse your thought patterns. Long-term usage of the app arms you with enough data to analyse your mental health patterns, and how things like exercise or medication might be affecting your anxiety levels.

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Couch to 5k ($2.99 for iOS$2.81 for Android)

You might already be familiar with the Couch to 5k concept but it’s popular for a reason. There are a few different apps out there, including some free options on the App Store, but the premise is the same – these apps give those new to running a training program to follow, building your fitness over nine weeks until you can smash out a five kilometre run.

The app will tell you when to run and how long for with a perky voice in your ear telling you how long you’ve got to go. If you get bored easily try Zombies, Run!; an app that encourages you to speed up with the threat of approaching zombies.

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Clue (Free for iOSAndroid)

This one is a bonus app for all the menstruating ladies out there. Heyo! Clue is a menstrual cycle tracker app that encourages you to get to know your body by recording information about your period, pain, mood and sexual activity – and it isn’t pink, or covered in flowers or love hearts.

The more data you add, the more accurate Clue becomes at predicting your next period. Which brings us to the best part: you can turn on notifications to receive alerts the day before your period is due, so you can get your supplies ready – no more late night trips to Woollies for tampons and ice-cream.

It also gives you scientifically-based information about your period; click on terms like PMS, menstrual cycle etc to learn more. It’s useful to have all of that data at the ready, especially when your doctor asks you questions about your period, as your menstrual cycle is an important part of your overall health.

Ally Garrett is a Sydney-based writer and performer. Her writing has been published on Jezebel, The Wireless and The Guardian. Ally’s work often touches on body positivity, like her recent performance in Force Majeure’s dance-theatre show, Nothing to Lose. You can find her on Twitter and Instagram.