Getting through the day can be tough, whether you live alone or with family, work in a busy office or out of a coffee shop down the road.
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If you’re an iPhone user, you might want to think about using an app or two to give you that little helping hand as you take on the world… from dawn until dusk.
Let The Next Web give you a few pointers with 10 essential apps and even more ideas…
Sleep Cycle (59p/99c)
Want a spring in your step when you hop out of bed in the morning? Sleep Cycle is so much more than an alarm clock.
The app actually analyses your sleep patterns throughout the night and wakes you just at the optimum moment when it’s sure that you are in a relatively light sleep.
Sleep Cycle produces a graphical analysis of your previous night’s sleep, which you can even share on Facebook.
For the app to work effectively, flip your iPhone into airplane mode and and switch the lock off. Slide your iPhone face down under the bedsheet next to your pillow and drift off to sleep. That’s it! The next thing you should be aware of is a gentle alarm rousing you in the perfect state to take on the day ahead within a 30 minute window around your ideal wake-up time.
Live Traffic Info (Free – UK Only)
However sprightly you feel, you still might not feel like setting off on your daily commute. Sorry! Gotta go! However, there’s a way of making your journey as painless as possible by trying to avoid traffic jams along the way.
In the UK, the Highways Agency has launched an app which displays live traffic updates with updates from the Highways Agency’s own digital radio station. The free download takes data from the Agency’s National Traffic Control Centre to provide live updates of traffic flow on England’s motorways and major A roads – helping road users plan their journeys and avoid congestion hotspots.
Nosey Parker (£1.79 UK only)
If you do travel to work by car, particularly if you regularly visit different towns and cities, a headache you’ll wish to avoid is where to park. For those living in the UK, this is resolved by installing Nosey Parker, launched in February and reviewed by The Next Web here.
The app uses the GPS in your handset to direct you to local car parks. It even provides details of parking charges where available.
When you arrive at work it’s all about productivity and there are hundreds of planning and time management tools which promise to make you more efficient and effective but that actually bog you down in more and more admin as you slavishly update your progress with even the smallest of tasks.
Done, strips prioritisation right down to the basics. The app is as simple as they get and all the better for it. It lets you quickly add tasks, prioritise as 1, 2 or 3 and link it to a category such as Work, Home etc (you can set these). It lists them in priority order and you tick them when your done. Shake the phone and all completed tasks disappear. That’s it! Beautifully limited.
Time for lunch? Yelp directs you to local pubs, restaurants and cafes and tap into reviews and recommendations from regular visitors. If you need to reserve a table, the app includes full contact details for each establishment. You can even add your own review after your visit.
After a couple of post-lunch hours back at the grindstone perhaps you’re looking for somewhere for a mid-afternoon Tweetup or simply craving a quick espresso to put some zip into your afternoon?
The Starbucks app can direct you to your closest store, let you browse the coffee and food menus. It even includes a ‘drink-builder’ gizmo to let you create your perfect coffee.
After work, maybe it’s time to stop by the gym. Whether you’re letting off some steam or sticking to a well established health routine, iFitness could be the app to keep you feeling positive and looking slim and trim.
The app currently sits atop the iTunes Paid Health and Fitness App chart and provides images and instructions for over 300 exercises, there’s even video for the more complicated ones. What’s more, you can add your own exercises to make a custom workout list and track your progress over time. The results can be emailed straight from the app.
Back at home, maybe it’s time to kick back with a good book.
Whilst we all await the iPad, Stanza offers one of the best eBook reader experiences for iPhone users. Yes, Amazon Kindle users can access their libraries on the iPhone via their own Kindle app, but outside the USA, experiences can vary.
Stanza hooks up directly to a wide range of online bookstores enabling you to download for free the usual raft of out-of-copyright tomes (you know, Jules Verne, Charles Dickens, Jack London’s White Fang) as well as pay for newer book releases and is actually a real pleasure to use.
The page-turn mechanism is a breeze, you can even fold over the top corner of pages you’d like to refer back to. There is a wide choice of font and backgrounds, along with night time settings and a dimmable screen which is operated by a simple downward swipe on the screen.
Don’t fancy staying in again? Check out live gig listings in your area using Gigometer. This app mashes up data from last.fm and Google maps to create an instant customised listing of what’s going on near you along with snapshots of the venue and the artists playing near you.
The app works around the globe and now includes French translations.
Back in from a noisy gig, or perhaps you just fancy some soothing sounds whilst you chill out before bedtime? Give Ambiance a try.
It’s a sort of iTunes store for everyday, ambient background sounds. So everything from whalesong, rainfall, busy football stadia, birdlife is in there. Everything is well recorded, the accompanying photos are top quality and the looping required to enable you to listen to an endless stream of soothing noise without pops and clicks is seemless.
Once you’ve acquired the app, individual sounds are free. The library is extensive and regularly updated and the app itself is frequently refreshed with improved look’n’feel updates and additional social hooks.
Sleep Cycle… Again!
Tuckered out? Long day? It’s time to set up your Sleep Cycle app. Don’t forget to have a look at the analysis of your previous night’s sleep. Did something wake you in the middle of the night? It’s surprising how the app picks up your movements and tracks them as you wake up and then fall back to sleep.
Had A Good Day?
So that’s it. The day’s over, all with a little help from your iPhone and The Next Web. Maybe some of these apps are already part of your daily routine. If not give them a try. Even if they’re not your cup of tea (or coffee!!!) there are plenty more to choose from… and even more on the way!
photo credit: mastrobiggo (cc)
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