Entrepreneurs — the bonafide ones — are wired differently from the average folk. They are characterised by their doggedness in the face of insurmountable odds; they are willing to, against conventional wisdom, take the path least travelled, to experiment and venture into uncharted waters.
But it is certainly not an easy job. Having to battle self-doubt and 24/7 criticisms can put a heavy toll on even the most resolute and thick-skinned business person.
Thankfully, there are apps available that can help entrepreneurs to stay sane amidst all this madness. Here are five essential iOS apps that can serve as life improvement/management tools.
Many people may have heard of meditation app Headspace. Its well-structured and intuitive UX has made it a hit with users globally.
But not everyone can afford the S$17.98 (US$13.20) monthly subscription price tag — or S$588.98 (US$432) forever subscription — to unlock different meditation series, especially for new entrepreneurs who have to penny pinch to make ends meet.
Thankfully, there are a plethora of cheaper, alternative apps available.
One that I find really useful is Stop, Breathe & Think (or Breathe, for short). It offers 16 preloaded meditation styles, including meditations for falling asleep, taking walks, mindful breathing, going through changes, expressing gratitude, and developing compassion, etcetera.
For some meditation styles, you can even select the duration of the meditation. The only gripe I have is that each preloaded meditation style offers only one recording — so it might get stale after repeated listening.
Breathe also offers free, optional meditation styles including one to learn how to forgive yourself — which comes in three meditation recordings.
Beyond that, it offers in-app purchases such as a meditation pack by renowned singer k.d. lang. It includes five meditation recordings for S$2.98 (US$2.20). According to the description, these five meditations, with a total runtime of 32 minutes, have helped her to handle anxiety, fame, and opinion of others.
Being a new entrepreneur often requires one to juggle many hats, and a tonne of problems and tasks; and that inevitably leads to many distractions.
Tide helps to tackle this problem by helping users to focus on one task at a time. It has a simple, no-frills interface that allows users to set the focus duration time and a break time after each focus cycle.
For added effect, users can put on a pair of earphones and let the app play calm, soothing nature sounds such as running water, during the duration of the focus cycle. It also has an immersive mode, which cancels the focus cycle if the app is exited, therefore forcing the user to stick to the cycle
In addition to the sounds of nature, users can select white noise to be emitted. This wide frequency sound has many benefits: it can reduce background and environmental noise, masks tinnitus, and can also help users to sleep.
When work piles up, it is easy to neglect one’s health. WaterMinder ensures the industrious entrepreneur does not forsake an essential nourishment — water.
First, users have to enter their vital statistics, the climate type and activity level. The app then analyses how much water they need to drink to remain sufficiently hydrated for the day.
Then, once users have consumed a glass of water, they can select the glass size, and the app logs it in the daily hydration goal.
Additionally, users can set reminders to alert them to drink water at different intervals in the day. The app also tracks users’ drinking habits using graphs.
WaterMinder is currently priced at US$2.98 (US$2.19) on the app store.
Quest is a part of the growing trend of ‘gamified productivity apps’. Essentially, it turns mundane task management into a fun role-playing game (RPG). It also boasts an intuitive swipe-based interface, which makes adds to its game-like feel.
Users swipe down to create a new task, which will display an animated monster — including a ghost, the Frankenstein monster, a vampire, a demon, etcetera. Each task can be set with customised reminders.
To mark any task as completed, users swipe right, triggering an animation of the user’s avatar defeating the monster. The monsters will leave behind a crystal that users can use to upgrade their avatars’ items.
Quest is priced at S$2.98 (US$2.19) on the app store.
Entrepreneurs are usually sleep-deprived people, so it is crucial for them to squeeze as much quality snooze time as possible. The Sleep Cycle app helps in this regard by tracking and analysing sleep patterns.
There are no wearables involved; instead, its patented algorithm relies on the phone’s built-in microphone, which detects sounds associated with sleep such as snoring and fan sounds; the app claims that it is able to eliminate irrelevant environmental sounds.
Users can also select the accelerometer which detects users’ movement while they sleep.
Other freemium functions include setting sleep cycles and alarms. Additionally, the app has an intelligent function that automatically adjusts the snooze cycle so users can wake up gently.
The premium version, which costs S$14.98 (US$10.10) unlocks a plethora of functionalities. It is able to factor in lifestyle habits, measure heart rates and track weather patterns to chart users’ sleeping patterns.
It also offers sleeping aids, and can sync to the Philips Hue smart bulb to allow users to wake up more naturally.
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