5 Essential Software Tools for Your Personal Life

I love using software to boost my productivity and effectiveness. Innovative developers have created software solutions for almost any problem you can think of. Any time I have to do a repetitive task, I search for software to make it easier. coding-699318

In my last post I wrote about software for your business life. In this post I’ll describe 5 essential tools for your personal life.

1. News and educational content (read) 

All of us face information overload. How do we consume as much content as possible without getting overwhelming and spending too much time?

I use Flipboard to stay on top of the latest news and blog articles. It allows you to combine your Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+ and other social media accounts into one feed. The interface looks like a magazine and allows you to quickly flip through a lot of updates and read more in depth anything that catches your eye.

I also use the Kindle app for reading books.

2. News and educational content (listen)

I enjoy sitting down to read, but I consume more content by listening while I do other things. I can educate myself while driving, running, or cleaning out the garage.

I use the Downcast app to listen to podcasts and the Audible app to listen to books.

3. Social media

It’s good to consume content, but it’s also good to be a content creator. As you create and curate content, you serve those around you and build your reputation for expertise.

I use the Buffer app to post to social media. You can set a schedule for posting to each account and then send content to Buffer. Buffer will take care of the posting so you can create the content in batches but spread out the posts for your followers.

For example, when I find interest articles while flipping through Flipboard, I forward them to Buffer for posting on my social media accounts. This allows me to be a content curator without spending any extra time.

4. Personal finance

Budgeting and tracking your spending is important, but it’s not fun (unless you’re a nerd like me). Even though I enjoy it, I don’t want to spend a lot of time on it. Software allows you to automate managing your personal finances.

I use Mint.com to track all of my financial accounts, transactions, and budgets. It connects to all my accounts and automatically download transactions. I spend some time at the beginning of the year setting up my budgets, and then it only takes a few minutes every few days to categorize the latest transactions.

I monitor my actual spending vs budget every week or so, and I take a little longer at the end of each month to review how I did that month.

5. Fitness

Software can be used to improve your fitness in a variety of ways, such as tracking steps, recording runs or bike rides, watching what you eat, and watching your weight.

I recently started using my phone to keep track of my steps every day, and it has motivated me be more active. If I don’t have my 10,000 steps near the end of a day, I’ll go for a walk. I consciously do things throughout the day to make myself walk more, such as parking further away from the store or taking the stairs instead of the elevator.

On an iPhone, the Health app tracks steps, but I don’t like the interface. Several apps use the Health data to display steps in a more useful format. I use the Withing app to both track steps and record my weight (using the Withings wireless scale).

I use the Nike Running app to record runs, and myfitnesspal for tracking calories.

Question: What software do you find essential for your personal life?