The only 3 mobile apps you need to achieve your goals

«Be less stressed» is one of the top 10 commonly broken New Year Resolutions, because the concept of being obligated with these resolutions adds a handful of stress to our lives. Now, «there is an App for…» almost every possible resolution one can come up with. But to really reduce that stress and still keep yourself motivated for the next year, you need only a very few of them.

I must confess: I have never ever had a New Year resolution list. Main reason is because I never needed a Monday or a New Year to make a change — I am lucky to have an in-built kick-off mechanism that keeps me self-disciplined. Since many of my peers and entrepreneurs wonder how I manage to have that much fun along with all the projects I am engaged in, I decided to have an experiment and to make that list of New Year Resolutions along with finding the best mobile apps I’d use to achieve them.

I hold a few workshops on personal productivity based on a system that may be tailored for anyone. If you care about your efficiency at work as well as in your private life, reach me out to join the workshop!

Most of New Year resolutions are about start doing, keep doing or stop doing something. Choosing from endless mobile applications and web-services that pretend to be the best for keeping one on track, I prefered to mostly incorporate my non-business to-do’s and goals into those very few apps I use for monitoring my work progress. Why? Because I do not believe in work-life balance, and prefer to blend and integrate work and life seamlessly into everyday life.

Form a habit

I don’t have problems with working out at least 5 days a week, but it turned out, I need an extra push to spend just 15 mins a day on a TED talk, as well as on reading or listening to a book, which I promised myself to finish within one month.

Choosing a generic habit forming app was not difficult: there are not so many of them, so I ended up with Rewire, since it is very neat and simple. You can set up regular goals of doing something, like playing a guitar, or not doing something, like smoking. You can break goals in categories, monitor progress, add screen widgets and even choose rewards.

Manage to-do’s

To-do and project management apps are a constant struggle for many people: it is really hard to find the one which would be as convenient for your private to-do’s, as for collaboration with others on group tasks. This is probably that type of an app which you use as often as Facebook or messengers, thus, a user experience is a deal breaker.

I could not have found an ideal productivity app for myself yet: there is always at least one needed feature which any of them lack. However, so far, I am satisfied with Todoist that lets me work on my personal tasks as well as collaborate on projects, syncs with Gmail, and it is available for all the devices and web-browsers I use.

Limit yourself

Some people needs to be stopped doing something — whether it is facebooking or staying working late. For them, 45/15 concept (45 minutes of work and 15 minutes of rest/fun) is a great way to realize when it’s time to stop. Others are easily distracted and they need to track their time spent on tasks to make sure they devote enough attention and efforts to complete them on schedule.

Tracking your time can be really helpful to avoid that stress which comes as a result of both, procrastination and over working. The 30/30 app helps you to allocate a specific time for each task and move on to the next task once the time of the first one finishes or just have that break (the app also works in 45/15 mode).

If you need the opposite — to keep yourself focused on a task before you switch to something else, track your time with Toggl and even set billable rates.

In most cases, choosing a mobile app is a matter of personal taste, so you can find other apps which will be as useful and convenient for you as those described above which I chose for myself. But whatever app you choose, here are three general recommendations from me you might find helpful:

  1. Limit the number of apps you use: the more apps you have for goal tracking, the more you get distracted from actually achieving them. Apps to quit smoking, to workout daily or to boost your day with motivational quotes can be fun, but each of them will let you procrastinate more.
  2. Most of the apps have similar features you need: do not duplicate your to-do’s/tasks/goals in several apps — optimize instead. For example, Rewire can remind you about your goals with screen or sound notifications, so you do not need to schedule them in your other to-do apps.
  3. Commit and set up not only rewards for your progress, but also penalties in cash stakes if you fail: monetary punishment is very powerful — cut off your cash and donate it or simply send to your saving account, you will notice a shortage of dollars available from both.

Remember, achieving goals is a matter of choice: if you chose justifying yourself by all means for not changing your life for the better, none of these mobile apps and other tricks will work.

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