New Apps, New Me

I am a bit of a latecomer to the smartphone game. Even as everyone around me actively tried to convince me to get one, I stuck by my slider phone to the bitter end. All I needed was phone calls and text messages, with the occasional blurry photo. I really did not want to be connected to the world 24/7, and plus, those smartphones were not going to fit in the sad excuses for pockets that clothing companies sew into women’s pants.

But alas, even my trusty slider phone couldn’t hold out forever. Around the time that I had my wisdom teeth removed, my phone stopped working and our provider offered to give me a new smartphone for free because I had not upgraded my phone in so long. When I tried to replace my phone with another not-smart phone, I was asked to fork over money. 😦

Photo by Gilles Lambert

So, fast forward 2 years to the present day. I am still using the same phone but my phone habits have changed a lot. I use Twitter enough to have downloaded the app. I have several photo-taking and -editing apps. Some apps have been with me since the beginning, but yesterday, I decided I needed a change.

Previously, I was using WeatherBug for my weather, Any.DO for to do lists, and Cal (by the makers of Any.DO) for my calendar needs. I still like them, but I found myself wanting something different (and – dare I say – just a bit better?) by means of UI (user interface). WeatherBug had a great widget and notifications bar status, but the app was starting to feel cluttered to me even though it had a lot of information. I had recently switched to Any.DO and Cal about a year ago because I liked the design, but I was tired of it and getting frustrated with some of the features or lack thereof.

So, a few months ago, I decided it was time for a change. Here are the apps I’m using and loving right now that replaced the above 3 (which I would still recommend, by the way):


I have been hearing about Sunrise for a bit but was pretty hesitant to use it, especially when Google Calendar did their big UI overhaul. I started looking into using Sunrise after seeing a feature on Lifehacker (I love reading Lifehacker) and comparing it to Cal and Google Calendar. I really love the UI for this app. It’s kind of beautiful? It has features that I like and use. I will say that it doesn’t seem to have the option to make an event private (I always have and continue to go to Google Calendar to do that), so if your company is like mine and uses Google Calendar, you’ll want to still use that to avoid having your events show up on your coworkers’ calendars. But after seeing several folks on Lifehacker’s “How I Work” series talk about Sunrise, I just had to try it myself.

Ooh, I love it. The interface is great. The widget is my favorite calendar widget I’ve used on my Android device yet. (Maybe even my favorite widget of all time!)


You know, I hadn’t really thought about getting a new to-do list when I switched to Sunrise, but I was very seriously considering it. I previously had used Remember the Milk for years and years, more out of loyalty and a fear of changing to something new, even though the interface no longer suited my to-do list needs. But then a little notification popped up on Sunrise that said they were now integrating with Wunderlist, another Lifehacker favorite.
In addition to using Wunderlist, I also have started using:


I was introduced to Trello over a year ago but didn’t really start using it until a about 2 weeks ago when I decided I needed to really change how I was keeping track of my job applications. Trello uses cards and lists for organizing ideas and tasks. I had previously used Evernote (and I still love Evernote), but I liked the layers of detail and description and how those were nested on Trello for how my tasks were laid out. It’s still not perfect, but Trello does have Sunrise integration and the visual format can be really helpful. If you like Pinterest, you’ll probably pick up Trello really fast. Plus, it’s great for team projects.


I really didn’t want to do away with WeatherBug. I loved how robust the app was, I liked their widget and that it was small. I started having issues with its location services and was wondering if I could have a nicer-looking UI, to be really honest. Weather apps are important to me because I am constantly checking 2 things in my life: the time and the weather. I just like knowing, sometimes, even if I am going to be indoors all day with no where to go and no schedule to keep. 1Weather has a pretty simple but beautiful interface and tells me all the information that I need when it comes to the weather and not much more, which was one of the issues I had with WeatherBug.

And this is not an app, but deserves a mention because I’m sure a lot of you could use this:

News Feed Eradicator

My friend Andy introduced me to this Google Chrome extension that will replace your distracting news feed with an inspiring quote, usually pertaining to productivity. It’s nice if you find yourself habitually checking Facebook when you get a notification or message and then accidentally spending an hour clicking through links and photos and videos that your friends and pages have posted. With News Feed Eradicator, you can still see your messages, your notifications, your pages… all the sidebar information on both sides is still there. You can even continue updating your status and sharing photos/videos. It’s all the other riff-raff below that disappears.

I would definitely recommend this folks who want to “stop using Facebook” but “need” to use Facebook for things like messaging classmates, events, etc.

Example image of the extension
Example of what News Feed Eradicator looks like when you open Facebook.

Those are a few examples of apps that I have been using and that make me more productive. Well, at the very least, they make me feel like I’m being more productive, and that’s step 1 in actually being productive! I would definitely recommend all of them.

What apps keep you productive?
Are there any apps that I missed that you think I could benefit from?

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