App Review: Todoist

picture of a to do list that says wake up, coffee, the rest
These days it seems that everyone is pursuing the elusive work-life balance while juggling many responsibilities. And sometimes (who am I kidding, more like all times) it can be hard to keep track of all these varied responsibilities. Over the years I have tried many methods for to-do lists including paper, sticky notes, bullet journals, and phone apps. A few years ago I discovered a website and an app that provided everything I needed to track all the craziness of my life such as my job at Elon, personal projects, grocery shopping lists, and Junior League of Greensboro responsibilities.

Today I want to introduce you to the app Todoist.

In Todoist you can create a project for every aspect of your life and view the tasks by project, by what is coming up today, or by what is coming up in the next 7 days. Here are examples of the projects I use:

List of projects on Todoist

List of Elon projects on todoist

One of the reasons that Todoist works well for me is that I am able to schedule tasks. Using the app you can add a task with no due date, you can add a task with a due date of any day that you pick, or you can add a task with a reoccurring date weekly or monthly. I use the scheduling tools to keep track of things for my job at Elon or the Junior League that occur weekly/monthly and I use it to keep track of tasks that I want to remember in a couple days (such as sending conference call reminders, writing thank you notes, etc.).

List of JLG tasks on todoist

In the above example you can see that every Thursday I have a reminder to send my notes in for the Junior League Monday Minute (if I have anything). I also have tasks that are scheduled out for later in the week or month.

Todoist can be accessed via phone app, the website, through plugins on Google Chrome, etc. They also include features for gamification represented below. During my time using Todoist I have completed over 6,000 tasks. Wow!

Productivity points on todoist

What are some of your tricks for staying on top of multiple responsibilities? Have you tried using Todoist? Do you have other tips for making the most of this app? I’d love to hear your experience in the comments.

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Source for to do image at top of blog: http://informedmag.com/

App Review: Road ID

Does your significant other worry when you are on a training run? Do your friends check in with you about workouts? Are you a little uneasy about training alone?

The Road ID app provides a simple and easy way to give friends and family peace of mind. My mom usually worries when I go for a run alone, but thanks to Road ID I am able to send her a link to track me during the whole run! All athletes (runners, cyclists, hikers, walkers, etc.) should use the Road ID app when they go out for a workout. Log on to the app, choose how long you expect your workout to last, and personalize your message. I use something pretty simple: “Going for a run”

Road ID screen shot image

Road ID uses eCrumbs (electronic breadcrumbs) to track you on your run. Pick loved ones and they are sent a text with a link to a map for tracking. You can also set up a stationary alert that notifies your contacts if you stop moving for five minutes.

My dad, mom, and step-dad receive a text with a link to track me on my workout. Below shows you the summary screen that you click as you get started. During the run (or bike ride, hike, walk, etc.) you can quickly add 5 minutes if you think it will take longer than you originally predicted.

Road ID screen shot to start eCrumb screen

At the end of the workout, you “stop eCrumb” and you’re done! Unfortunately the app does not notify your contacts that you have finished training, but they can go into the link and see that you are done. My dad uses this when he goes out on long rides and it really is helpful, especially if you are wondering when someone will be returning home. The app has been in Beta testing lately so it is not perfect but it’s definitely a good solution and compliment to the Road ID I wear when I am running. You never know what could happen and  it is always good to be safe.

Do you take any safety precautions when you train? Try out the Road ID app and let me know what you think!

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App Review: MyFitnessPal

Chicken Tenders and  Fries

My favorite meal

I am bad at eating healthy. Really bad. Part of me never grew out of my five-year old eating habits that include chicken tenders, fries, and ketchup. Seriously, I could eat that meal everyday. Liking meals that are very simple plus not really liking any kind of vegetables creates sort of a problem. My plates tend to be made up of chicken, bread, potatoes, and chocolate. It’s not any surprise that I struggle to provide my body with adequate nutrition.

This is where MyFitnessPal (MFP) comes into my life. MFP will help you whether you have a weight-loss goal or not. Even if you are maintaining your current weight or trying to build muscle it is helpful! Are you aware of what you are putting into your body every day?

MFP also makes it easy by saving your regular foods. If you are a creature of habit you can save meals or choose from your recent list to add things you eat regularly. Adding food is quick and easy. If what you are eating has a barcode all you have to do is scan it and it is added to your meal for the day. Also, if the food is not in MFP but you have the nutritional information you can add it in manually and share it with other MFP users for their use! You can also track exercise and water in MFP.

Tracking food personally keeps me more accountable not to overeat or undereat; it really puts into perspective my daily goals and if I am eating a normal amount. I try to space out my meals and supplement small meals with snacks. It makes me more aware of the meals that I struggle to eat an adequate amount but also aware of meals that are excessively large (AKA anytime I eat out). It also reminds me to limit cookies and treats (sometimes). The percentage feature helps me know if I am getting the right amount of nutrients!

Screenshot of My Fitness Pal

Screenshot of My Fitness Pal

My Fitness Pal Nutrients

One thing about my food logging on MFP is that it is not perfect. I am sure I over estimate or underestimate portions sometimes. I never try to exactly measure what I eat but use the app as a guide for healthy eating and for portion control. I learned the hard way to look up food before ordering it at a restaurant (AKA The Buffalo Chicken Sandwich at Chilis). It’s amazing how quickly calories can add up if you are not paying attention to what you are eating. Throughout this whole year I hope to be committed to logging on MFP.

Add me on MFP if you want to be friends and hold each other accountable! Have you had success with MFP or another app? What do you do to stay healthy?

App Review: Habit List

After last year’s success, I am firmly committed to the philosophy of setting goals instead of resolutions. A lot of people believe that goals are more successful than resolutions; a quick Google search reveals that I am not revolutionary at all in writing about this or using this philosophy.

My success towards achieving my yearly goals usually depends on my ability to keep track of my progress. Sometimes I cross things off on a piece of paper, but recently I have found certain apps help me keep track of my progress. I use MyFitnessPal for my eating habits, dailymile for tracking mileage, and Evernote for all sorts of random things.

This post is going to be about one of my favorite apps for tracking my daily and weekly goals: Habit List

I love Habit List because of the simple design and ability to send me reminders for certain things. I currently have 3 goals set up on Habit List:

Habit List image

The green items are daily goals and the grey is weekly. I use it to remind me every night to take my asthma and iron medicine (if you’re wondering what that is). It adds up for consecutive days in a row (so in the post above I have gone 10 consecutive days taking medicine!)

My workout goal is set to 4 times a week, so every day I workout I check the goal and after I check it off 4 days in one week it goes away from my screen until the week starts over. I like this feature because it is holding me accountable to working out my minimum of four days a week. The image below is what my Habit List looks like when I have already worked out four times in one week.

Habit List Image

Also, Habit List provides weekly and monthly stats to check your completion rate:

Habit list percentages

Last year when I stopped using Habit List I stopped taking my daily iron supplements. I learned it is important for me to use this to hold myself accountable. Have you ever used Habit List (or a similar app)? I hope you will give it a try! Do you have other suggestions for apps I should try? Let me know!

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