Tech

7 ways to upgrade your life this year

Check out these apps to help you hack your life

WRITE JOURNAL

Keeping a journal can reduce stress and increase productivity.

Writing about your troubles can help you sort out your feelings while writing about your goals can help you focus on a positive future.

A digital journal on your smartphone lets you write anywhere you go, plus it can be password secured.

We recommend:

  • Day One (macOS and iOS)
  • Journey (Android)

USE PASSWORD MANAGER

If you reuse your password, all you need is one account hacked and the attacker can use it to get into your other accounts.

Use a password manager, which helps you to generate and save random passwords for each account.

You just need to remember one master password to unlock them.

We recommend:

  • 1Password (macOS, Windows, iOS and Android)
  • LastPass (macOS, Windows, iOS and Android)

USE TO-DO APP

Productivity guru David Allen advocates planning your tasks in a trusted system.

A to-do app can make you more productive and also help you relax when you know that you haven't missed anything urgent.

We recommend:

  • Google Keep (iOS and Android)
  • Wunderlist (macOS, Windows, iOS and Android)
  • Todoist (macOS, Windows, iOS and Android)

LISTEN TO PODCASTS

Podcasts are a great way to learn, and some of them can even be as entertaining as they are educational.

You can use the Podcasts app which ships with iOS, or try third-party apps such as Overcast (iOS) and Pocket Casts (above, iOS and Android).

There is a universe of free podcasts out there. Warning: Not all are worth listening to.

We recommend:

  • Radiolab
  • Planet Money
  • The Tim Ferriss Show

USE SMART DIGITAL SCALE

A smart digital scale can help you measure your weight and sync a record of it to apps and services.

Fancier ones can even measure BMI, heart rate and fat percentage.

The important thing is to track trends over time.

We recommend:

  • Withings Body

BACK UP EVERYTHING

It is horrifying how few people back up their work, then lose everything when something goes south.

External hard disks are relatively cheap, so get one, plug it in and use these backup apps today.

We recommend:

  • Time Machine (macOS)
  • Acronis True Image (Windows)

UNPLUG FOR ONE DAY

Constantly being on social media decreases our ability to focus and can make us feel more stressed.

Unplug from social media or go totally offline, one day a week.

We recommend:

  • Going for a hike
  • Cycling by the beach
  • Having dinner without any smartphones at the table

This article first appeared in the January 2017 issue of HWM. HWM, Singapore's No. 1 tech magazine is available in both print and digital. Subscribe at www.hardwaremag.com.

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