Life tracking: using your phone as your life coach

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Doug Belshaw/Creative Commons/File

Time and life management are skills we are supposed to develop while we are in college. Managing our lives, however, can be challenging, and we often crave a life coach who will tell us what to do all the time and when to stop doing it. Sadly, as college students, we cannot afford life coaches. So instead of hiring a life coach, we at the Clog decided to download a lot of life-tracking apps so that our phones can tell us how much we eat, sleep, walk, spend, laugh, cry, dream, etc. — albeit without the encouraging smile and cool catchphrases that we imagine our real human life coach would have.

  1. For general health

We have been using MyFitnessPal, an app that records your height and weight and predicts the number of calories you should be netting (consumed calories – burned calories). After you record everything you do — the app even tracks your step count — it tells you whether you ate too much that day. This app has been most effective in reducing our consumption of Crossroads pizza by forcing us to think about everything we eat. Like with most social media apps, however, all of your food-consumption data will be sent to the company’s database, which is attempting to record everything everyone eats, ever. So if you’re intensely private about your calorie consumption, stick to a notebook.

2.  For tracking our spending

Inspired by our success with MyFitnessPal, we then began using Pocket Expense. Because of this app, we now know how much money is in our bank account at all times, which is a novel and exciting idea. It has also forced us to consider whether our impulse buys are actually worth it. (Most of the time, the answer is still yes — but hey, we’re thinking about it now, and that’s still progress.)  It also lets you set up budgets and tells you when to pay your bills, making it feel even more like a real human life coach.

3.  For trying to get some sleep

As everyone knows, college students don’t get enough sleep. The app Sleep Cycle helps out this struggle by revealing to you how pathetic your sleep schedule really is and (at least sometimes) helps you make the decision to go to bed instead of watching the rest of a season of “Friends.” The app also monitors your sleep cycle and wakes you up at an appropriate point, within a given 30-minute range, so that you won’t feel as tired when your alarm goes off. If the rest of the apps were life coaches, this app is more like our grandmother who is convinced that the reason we are always sick is because we never get enough sleep (which is most likely true, but that doesn’t mean Netflix isn’t important, grandma).

Although these apps may be less glamorous than whoever bosses Kim Kardashian around, they have done a pretty decent job of getting the job done. So if you’re feeling really out of sorts and without guidance, we recommend checking out these apps.

Image Source: Doug Belshaw

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