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screen time

4 applications & a website I use regularly

Since we’re all quarantined and probably looking at screens a lot, I thought I would share four applications that I use everyday and one website I use way more than my bank account would like. Here you go!

way of  life screen shot from apple
This is clearly not a screenshot from my phone.
I have no desire ever to give up soda.

Way of Life: This is one from the class of applications called “habit makers.” I got the pro version after using the free app and finding it an effective way to keep myself accountable. It’s not complicated to use, just enter the habit you want to track, then mark your progress every day. Your choices are “yes,” “no,” “skip,” or “erase” (the last for when you input wrong data). That’s it. The pro app has no limits on the number of habits you can track: I currently have 18. My list includes things that don’t come naturally for me (like uncluttering); things that should not be hard for me, but are (like putting my glasses in the case at the end of the day); chronic struggles I will always need extra motivation to achieve (flossing, amirite?!); and lots of wellness related goals (like exercising, tracking food choices, and more). If nothing else, the app helps me remember to do things I think are important but frequently forget (like daily sunscreen). I rarely do everything on the list, but I frequently get 80%. Plus, I’ve made my optician, my dental hygienist, and my dermatologist very happy. #worthit

Verses: This is actually one of the daily goals on my Way of Life App—using my Verses App. This is admittedly a niche app and certainly not for everyone as it is a scripture memory app. It’s certainly useful for me, though. I input my weekly sermon text and work on it a little each day (thanks to the Way of Life app). There are several activities (loosely defined as games) that lend themselves to scripture memorization and I find them motivating. In addition, there are a number of biblical literacy tools including an activity to help you memorize the order of the books of the Bible: simply sort the scrambled list of books in the Old Testament or the New Testament. I bought the pro version of this app because I wanted to add other versions of scripture. You might be fine with the free ones, but I wanted to branch out a bit.

JustDanceNow: I loved Just Dance back in our Wii days. Now there is an app! You connect to a screen (I use my laptop) and use your smartphone as the controller. The free app gives you like three songs or something like that. I am trying out a short-term membership to see if I use it enough to merit a longer subscription. So far, I’m finding it fun and a great distraction. It’s not the hardest workout I’ve ever done, but it gets my heartrate into the fat-burning zone, so it’s not nothing either. Give it a try!

BookOrganizer: The free version of this app was just enough to tease me. I bought the complete app almost immediately, but y’all! This is fantastic! See, I have been known—on occasion—to purchase second copies of certain books. It happens like this: I hear about a book that sounds great, I buy it online, put it on the to-be-read shelf (“shelves” if I’m honest), and forget I’ve purchased it.

POINT OF CLARIFICATION: Yes, Sassafras, I HAVE heard of libraries. It turns out, when you are me, it is cheaper (and a whole lot less stressful) to purchase books (see below) than to pay overdue fines. So, settle yourself right on down there Sass. I've got this.

But back to the app. You can usually add books by scanning the bar code, though occasionally you may have to search or enter manually. Then, you can organize books into stacks. For example, I have a “theology” stack and a “children’s book” stack. And others. I have other stacks too . . . ! It’s just that “theology” and “children’s” are the biggest ones—as is true for everyone I’m sure.

betterworld books dot com

Now the website. As you might can guess from my excitement over the BookOrganizer app, I buy a lot of books. Luckily, I found betterworldbooks.com. This virtual used-books store offers free standard shipping and affordable expedited shipping. Plus, for every book purchased, they donate a book to a person in need. (Which is to say, a lot of folks in this world have books thanks to me.) And Better World Books does lots of other great stuff—like offering employees paid time off for volunteering—in an effort to increase equity, to decrease illiteracy, and just . . . well . . .to create a better world.

What about you? Fave apps or websites? Let us know in the comments. Oh, and take a minute to disinfect your keyboard and phone, then wash your hands. I will too.