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.

CET signature

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!

CET_Blog_Signature_Small

App Review: Strava

Happy National Running Day 2014! Join me in celebrating with a run today and read more at runningday.org. Today seems like the perfect day to tell you how I am currently tracking my miles…

I run to reach my goals. National Running Day 2014

Strava is my new favorite app (website) for logging my training and running. Before I got my Garmin watch I used Nike+, and I loved that Nike allowed me to track miles on shoes. I thought that I had written a blog post about how much I loved Nike+ but apparently I never did. Nike+ is awesome and what I would use if I didn’t have a Garmin. I miss it sometimes but I also love having a watch! I also tried Dailymile and Garmin Connect for tracking miles but I have complaints about both. Dailymile is not very user friendly and I could not figure out how to automatically load from my Garmin to Dailymile. I had to upload it manually from the website or mobile site. My biggest complaint about Garmin Connect is that there is not a place to track shoe mileage (I don’t think Dailymile has this feature either). Shoe mileage is one of the most important things for runners to know! These are just a few of the reasons that Nike+, Dailymile, and Garmin Connect were not right for me.

Which leads me to Strava…I learned about Strava because someone created a club for Athens Road Runners. Strava was created for athletes, and I definitely think it is more popular in the bike community, but it works great for runners. I am using Strava to do two important things for my training: track shoe mileage and track my miles and compare miles to friends (Evan) and groups (Athens Road Runners). Strava is very easy to use and upload data from my Garmin watch. There is also a Strava app that will let you track running or cycling from your phone.

Another exciting feature of the app is people can add “segments” and Strava knows if I run those segments based on GPS data. I ran at Salem Lake and it automatically added me to a leaderboard for a Strava segment, which I think is really cool! There are other features that are available with a premium account, but currently I am using the free version and it is doing everything I need it to.

So now the only thinking lacking about my new favorite run app is more people to connect with and follow their training. Please, join me on Strava and lets track our training together!

CET_Blog_Signature_Small

 

 

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?