We carry our phone literally everywhere and use it dozens of times throughout the day, so why not put it to some good use in the process? I’ve collated a set of apps that help you get one small thing done every day, adding a tiny little bit towards making your day better, more productive, or more fun.
We’ve all done it – snoozed the alarm to catch just a few more minutes of sleep and woken up to realize it’s too late for work. There are a ton of alarm apps available on the Android Market, each boasting a unique and fool-proof way to get you to wake up on time. Gentle Alarm takes the approach of waking you up from light sleep with a mild pre-alarm 30 minutes before your intended wake-up time. Once you do notice it, it throws a puzzle or a math test at you, which needs to be solved to stop the alarm, in the process making sure you’re wide awake. Answer a few arithmetic questions each morning, and your mental math skills will surely improve!
What better way to start your day than some exercise for the body and mind? If you’re in a job that has you sitting in front of a computer all day, lower back pain is probably second nature by now. The Daily Yoga for Back Buildup app lets you get this often-ignored part of your body in fine shape with just 10 minutes of exercise every day. It includes 10 yoga asanas specially selected to help you exercise your back muscles and improve your posture.
Okay now that you’re awake, lets get into some hardcore puzzle solving, shall we? Over the last few years, a curious looking Japanese puzzle has replaced the daily morning crossword for millions of people all over the world. There is something to be said about the addictive complexity of the 9×9 grid of numbers that Sudoku is. If you are one of those who needs their daily dose of Sudoku every morning, this is just the app for you. You get one new puzzle every day in each of the six difficulty levels from Beginner to Diabolical. The app is free (strictly for the “one puzzle a day” folks though). For offline access to more puzzles in a day, there is an option to purchase them from within the app.
I know a lot of people who, for years now, have been subscribed to newsletters and forums that share one new word everyday, along with its definition, pronounciation and more. The Word of the Day app brings that same daily linguistic snippet to your phone. The app is as simple as it gets, really. You get a new word and its meaning every day. There’s a widget that you can put on your home screen which shows the word for the day, which the app itself is an archive of all the words till date in reverse chronological order.
In case you are still one of those who rely on the morning newspaper for your daily dose of news and entertainment, maybe this app will push you over to the other side. DailyRead lets you start your day with a word, a quote, a joke, a horoscope, and the latest news and weather. It tries to cover a broad spectrum of things you would like to read up in the morning in an attempt to pretty much replace the dead-tree newspapers altogether.
Drinking adequate water is a prescription I have seen doctors give out frequently. Ample water is essential to keep your body hydrated through the day and can help you avoid a whole bunch of health issues in the long term. The problem is often that we lose track of the amount of water we drink in a day. That’s where Drinking Water comes in. It reminds you to drink water throughout the day (based on the number of glasses you need to drink in a day) and helps you keep track of how many glasses of water you have had in a day. Turn the phone to landscape mode and you get a nice graph showing how much water you have been having every day.
“An idiom a day keeps the doctor away…!” That’s how the description of the Idioms of the Day app starts on the Android Market. The app brings you ten popular English phrases every day along with an explanation of each. You can mark idioms as favorites and view all your favorites in one place when you need to refer back to them. This one is not for everybody, but those with an interest in literature and language will surely find this to be 10 minutes well spent every day.
For those who are religiously inclined, Daily Bible is a mobile app that brings a daily Bible verse and reading plan, and easy access to the entire bible right on your mobile phone. Apart from reading the bible, the app also lets you listen to daily Biblical Christian devotions and devotional podcasts on a variety of related subjects. You can also share verses or select paragraphs from the Bible over Twitter, Facebook and more.
Someone once said – to understand today, you have to search yesterday. This Day in History takes that quote very seriously, letting you browse through nuggets of history related to each day of the year. Through a very interesting interface, the app presents historical facts and anecdotes for the day. You can also choose any day from a calendar. The interface goes as far as swanky accelerometer based animations for each category of events, though this serves only as a novelty that wears off quickly.
From its humble beginnings over a decade ago, the howstuffworks.com website has grown into a priceless archive of information on just about anything, complemented well by a successful series of podcasts and mobile apps. The HowStuffWorks Android app is no exception to the legacy and comes through as a beautiful app, packed with enough topics to keep you busy for months. If reading through the articles does get boring, you can easily stream any of their podcasts for more on how stuff works.
There’s of course much more you can do with your phone and the right apps – get a daily dose of laughter with jokes and cartoons, solve a crossword if sudoku is not your thing, plan a meal for the day, learn via flash cards, … I could go on and on. Have something else that fits the bill? Let’s hear it in the comments.