THE porch project


January 23, 2018

 Sigh. Do you ever look at someone who is always cool, calm & collected and think, "How do these people always seem to have their lives together?" 


Because I do. And one of those people have to be my boyfriend and Mizzou j-school student, Davis McCondichie. 


It's the New Year and you know what that means for The Porch—that means we have new segments for our loyal Porch peeps!


In this segment titled, "People who have their lives together," we will interview people who seem to be killing the game, and ask them about how they are doing this whole "life" thing. 


In this particular segment, I asked Davis to give us a review of some of the apps he uses on a daily basis that help manage his thoughts, habits, schedule and more! 


Since he's told me about the apps, I downloaded a few myself. And let me tell you, I already feel 10x more productive. 


So without further ado, I'll let Davis take it from here!  


Let me be clear; I do not having everything together.


That is the first step to getting your life together. You have to admit that. Once you do, you can work on supergluing (hot glue is for adults) your life piece-by-piece till it begins to resemble what you want.


Still, you did not click on this article to read my shambly life story. You clicked because you wanted some tips on the first piece of life I superglued together. That section is the development of sound habits through useful phone apps. So, without further delay, let's get started.


1. Mint: Budgeting App


You should already have the app for whatever bank accounts you have currently. They should be set up to alert you of any spending you do on your card. If you have not done this, do that then come back to this article.


Now that you have that done, fiscal responsibility comes in the form of budgeting. Every adult needs to know how much they can spend a month and what they need to spend that money on. However, budgeting is hard.


Mint makes it easy though. Mint syncs up with your bank account and helps make recommended budgeting categories. It then alerts you if you overspend any category. You still have to manage the payments and designate the category, but that is minimal effort compared to the traditional form of budgeting.


Mint has kept me fiscally responsible in college and prevented me from making purchases that push my budget to the edge. I highly recommend this app if you want to begin to develop good financial habits.


2. Sleep Cycle: Alarm Clock app


You should never stay up past 11 at night to study. You're not going to process what you are trying to memorize. You have sent your brain on a fool's errand. Instead, you should get eight hours of sleep and wake up in the morning and finish that last bit of studying. The tough part of that is waking up early, but Sleep Cycle helps with that.


Sleep Cycle is an alarm clock that you use by placing your phone in your bed and allowing it to sense your sleep movements. The app will calculate your sleep cycle and determine when you are coming out of deep sleep. You are never in a deep sleep for more than 30 minutes at a time. So you pick a 30-minute time range for the app to wake you up. Sleep Cycle then knows when you are coming out of deep sleep and wakes you up accordingly.


This method means you never have your deep-REM abruptly stopped. That means you should not have mornings where you feel super groggy and unable to leave your bed. Trust me, I began using Sleep Cycle my senior year of high school, and it changed my sleeping patterns for the best.


The app also calculates your resting heart rate in the morning so you can identify if you are getting sick. The app also allows you to journal in the morning and can sync up with your health app. I highly recommend it to build a healthy sleeping habit.


3. MyFitnessPal: Dieting App


Okay, so this app is a tough one for me to recommend because it takes a little more dedication. My Fitness Pal is an app that helps you reach calorie goals every day so that you can either gain or lose weight. The only catch is you need to be on top of inputting every single thing you eat.


Not every restaurant is in the app and not every meal will be easy to find. You have to commit to asking waiters and cashiers how many calories are on specific items. Plus, you will have to measure how much of the food you eat too.


However, if you do all the things the app recommends to you, then you will be on your way to a better diet. It all starts with paying attention to what you eat, and My Fitness Pal is a good buddy to help you with that.


4. Breath: Meditation App


Stress is a bitch. I cannot paint it in any other light. You need to recognize when you are stressed and be willing to find ways to cope with it that works for you. Everyone handles stress differently.


The app I have recommended to assist you in dealing with stress is Breath. Breath is an excellent meditation app because it works with an awards system that gives you accolades in the form of stickers. When they reward you stickers, it releases dopamine in your system because humans like knowing they accomplished things. Breath makes sure you feel accomplished.


I love to use this app right before I go to bed. It helps ground me after a long day of running from class to class and finishing assignments. It is the one thing I know I can count on. Plus, the app includes breathing exercises that I will do before any exam I am stressing big time over. This exercise brings my heart rate down and helps me to focus in before I start my exam.


Try it out for one week. It may not help you feel less stressed, but it is worth the shot. Everybody is different in what works for them, so the important thing is that you try.


5. Habit-Bull: Habit Tracking App


Finally, for the different habits you want to grow over the new year I recommend this app. Habit-Bull merely tracks streaks in an activity you are doing. It is that simple.


This interface enforces the habit though which is super helpful. Let's say you want to read every day. All you do is put in "read" as a habit and which days you want to do it. All you do is click the button next to "read" when you have done it for the day. Habit-Bull shows the calendar for the month and how many consecutive days you have made that habit. It only takes thirty successive days to make it a habit.


If you keep the streak alive, then you are on the right path to developing whatever habit you would like. Habit-Bull helps you hold yourself accountable.


You can download all of these apps this year, and it may not work for you. The only way these apps work is if you dedicate yourself to making it work and do not lie to yourself. You have to be honest if you want these apps actually to work. They only represent you they cannot make you a complete person. Only you can put your life together; these are just useful tools to reinforce healthy habits.


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Be kind. 



Be tolerant. 





Put your feet up!


Leave happier than you came.

© 2017 by Megan Hill & Caroline Watkins

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