How Phone Apps Improved My Life

I feel like we, as a species, are losing our sense of gratitude over time. Or maybe we never had it in the first place. Anyway, we are always looking for the next hot new thing. Be it a new gadget, a new romance, a new job.

I don’t like that. I thought it’d be really nice to stop for a change and take a look at the types of apps that have become part of my life in the last few years, and how they have improved things for me.

This will work as a meditative exercise for me. Hopefully, it’ll also help you pick up a few new apps to make your life better.

Music apps

I use YouTube for music a lot. But I go a bit hardcore while doing it — I have a separate Google account which I use specifically to listen to music on YouTube.

Yes, the app lets you switch between Google accounts on the go. And because of the way YouTube recommendations work, that second account gets recommended nothing but music, with a healthy mix of familiar songs, familiar genres, and stuff I’d never seen or heard of before.

It’s like having a personal butler whose sole job is finding good stuff for me. I spend a couple of hours listening to new songs every week. Honestly, I can’t even remember how I used to find new artists before I started doing that.

And yes, I know Spotify has a similar feature, but I prefer YouTube. Their algorithm understands me better.

Task management apps

The good old to-do lists. If you told me five years ago that I would be using a to-do list app to help manage my anxiety I would have laughed at you.

But yeah, it helps. Whenever work feels overwhelming, I pull out my phone and break down whatever problem is worrying me into a set of smaller, manageable tasks.

That helps. It helps a lot. In part because it forces me to concentrate on the list, which can work as a form of meditation. It calms down the noise inside my skull. Then, when I’m better, I can carry on with my work and mark my progress by crossing the items off the list.

I keep switching to-do list apps, though. If you want to try some yourself, check out this list over on I’ve used almost all the apps in that list — some of them are even good, I think.

Topic-centric social apps

I don’t know how else to call them. I’m referring to the social media platforms where people focus on topics, rather than on followers or their friend lists. Places like Reddit and Tumblr, where communities gather and strangers can build connections thanks to their shared interests.

Places like that existed in the web way before mobile phones were a thing, but I could never find time to use them if they weren’t in my pocket.

Thanks to those apps, I’ve talked to people from all over the world about many different topics, which allowed me to exchange information and even gain business leads. All that during my bathroom breaks, on the bus, and during other bits of otherwise useless time.

All of these apps have really changed my life in a fundamental way. I’m grateful for them.