The demands of both excelling at the job and wanting to savor your spare time can often clash, but the right set of mobile apps can be the best fix for your work-life balance. It is safe to say your smartphone is your de facto personal assistant, so why not use it to make the most of your day?
There are apps to help you find services and goods, to navigate where you want to be, and even to plan some fun and relaxation. If you feel overwhelmed by your schedule, give the apps below a try to make your personal nirvana easier to achieve.
Get Around Town
As popular as Lyft and Uber have become, plenty of people still drive themselves to work and for recreation. Several options exist to alleviate the stress and hassle of being on the road. Navigation apps obviously will point you to your destination, but that is only part of the solution. Traffic app Waze, for example, alerts you to accidents and offers alternate routes around problem spots. The community of Waze users updates the traffic notices, and that means you are informed by people who see firsthand what is jamming up the road.
Unless you drive an all-electric car, eventually you will have to fuel up and GasBuddy can come to the rescue. The app can guide you, after you enter the zip code for your location, to the nearest gas stations. It also lists their prices. This is useful whether you are on the verge of running out of gas, or you are simply unfamiliar with the area.
Once you arrive at your destination though, you will need to park, which can be tricky in cities and towns with limited or restricted options. Parking apps such as BestParking or SpotHero can point you to spots to park your car, including the rates. SpotHero, for instance, is used to reserve spots at listed lots and garages ensuring you will not waste time driving around to find an opening.
Organize Your Day
Even outside of work, you have appointments and personal matters you want to stay on top of. Life beyond the office can be as complex as work projects, so every shortcut helps.
For families with a nanny caring for the children, the NannyNotes app lets you stay informed about the kids’ activities. The app lets nannies share notes with parents on feedings, diaper changes, and the children’s sleep schedule. Photos can be included with the notes so parents can see how their children are doing.
Do not forget about taking care of your own needs while minding the family. The StyleSeat app lets you book times with barbers, hairstylists, and manicurists to give yourself a new look.
After you have a fresh style to share with the world, you may want to step out for a meal. OpenTable is a popular app for making reservations at restaurants. It lets you enter the size of your party, pick from available times. It also shows alternatives in the area if your first choice is all booked up.
If you do grab a bite with friends, sometimes it is easier to settle splitting check discreetly rather than at a restaurant. The Venmo app is one option to tactfully handle the exchange of cash among friends. In addition to resolving the dinner tab, the app can be used for other money needs, such as dividing the cost of concert tickets amongst a group.
Wellness and good health are essential to enjoying yourself. Staying on track with a fitness plan or finding resources to create a routine gets easier with apps. MyFitnessPal is an easy to use calorie counter that boasts a huge database of information on more than 5 million foods. The app can scan barcodes by using your smartphone’s camera to quickly find and record nutrition details about your meals. The app lets you set goals, records exercise, and displays your overall progress.
Getting out and exercising is a promise many of us make, but can be hard to keep. Sometimes it just takes a push of a button to sign up for a fitness class to get started. The Mindbody app lets you book time with fitness instructors and groups, for yoga, massages, and barre workouts.
Part of an exercise routine might also include going on runs, and that is where MapMyRun can come into play. The app not only maps out a planned path, you can search for new routes based on distances and themes in the city you want to run. For instance, when visiting Washington DC you could pick a “National Monuments Tour” that offers a route that takes you to see historic sites around the city.
Take a Trip
There comes a time when you just need to get away from it all. Thankfully there are apps waiting to do just that. Hopper is a travel booking app focused on finding flights at low prices, sending you alerts when airfare drops on trips you want.
Of course there is also Kayak, a well-known app for quickly planning and booking travel arrangements. The app searches hundreds of other travel sites all at once, so you can choose the ideal plan, from flight to hotel, and potentially save money thanks to special rates and deals. Kayak brings together a variety of travel information to help you stay organized by keeping your itinerary in one place. This including updates on flights and wait times at airport security check-ins.
It is essential to remember that the best apps strive to make life convenient for you, so mix and match your own “playlist” of which blend suits you. Chances are that an app exists to meet even the most specific needs for you at home and at work.
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