Sorting out your life? There’s an app for that

Stay updated with some of the latest apps designed to help you with everyday tasks

Apps can help with making appointments, paying bills, doing your banking and other life-administration chores.

Apps can help with making appointments, paying bills, doing your banking and other life-administration chores.

 

Your college days are behind you. The big bad world is calling – and what a world that the class of 2020 is graduating into.

Getting a job, getting a place to live – or staying at home because of the difficulty securing decent and affordable accommodation – and simply learning how to properly be an adult alone can be tricky enough at the best of times, but throw in a global pandemic and it becomes even more challenging.

Graduates are already tech-savvy and will be familiar with study apps such as Quizlet and Coursera. But what about life apps? Can technology really help you with your finances, mental health, further study, work and life management?

We put together a list of some of the most useful apps and tech tools for graduates.

Life administration

In all those career talks and childhood dreams of being a doctor/vet/teacher/chef, nobody tells you a bleak truth: life is full of very boring and relentless administration. We’re sorry to pile on the misery, but making appointments, paying bills, being on hold to an underpaid and badly treated customer service agent for hours, doing your banking, getting things for the house and filing your taxes can drain your life force.

Thankfully, there’s an app for that.

This journalist likes lists, and since pen and paper went extinct I like to keep them on my phone.

The app 24me is a personal assistant that brings together your calendar, notes and to-do list with a smart and sleek design. It’s even useful for paying bills. Free and premium versions are available on Apple and Android.

For the disorganised among us, Evernote is a free app that you can use for writing and easily categorising your notes, organising your receipts, bookmarking articles that you want to read later, making to-do lists, saving voice memos and more. It’s easily searchable and there’s a desktop app so that you can use it on your computer as well as your phone.

With GoodNotes, you can use the Apple pencil to handwrite notes which convert to text and, the more you use it, the smarter it becomes at recognising your handwriting.

IFTTT – short for “if this, then that” – connects more than 600 different apps including Google Drive, Instagram and Gmail – and can automate web-application tasks, among other functions.

Or of course, run from life admin and consequences by wasting time on Twitter, TikTok and Instagram.

Work

You can’t have missed the talk about “the end of the office” and whether or not we’ll all work from home forever. If you’re a recent graduate who has never adjusted to spending your days in an office environment, this conversation might feel a bit bemusing: it’s all relatively new to you anyway.

If the pandemic had happened even a decade ago, our choices would have been bleak: go to the office and risk catching the virus or stay home and watch greater pandemonium unfold. Technology, however, has not only enabled us to work together or made the workplace a bit different – it has changed it, fundamentally, forever.

So what tech tools do graduates need to know about before you start a job?

Many offices are now using Microsoft Teams for remote meetings, calls, chats and conferences. The software connects small teams or up to 10,000 staff across the world, and allows workers to access, share and edit word documents, Excel files and PowerPoint presentations.

Within a few weeks of lockdown, we started hearing a lot about Zoom, the video-conferencing software that we used to keep in touch with family and friends, work colleagues and bosses and attend online conferences and seminars. Calls are free up to 40 minutes. Many of the earlier security and encryption concerns, which saw hackers hijack meetings, have been addressed. Google Hangouts also allows for video and voice calls and helps team members stay in touch, and it’s free to use. Google Drive and Google documents, meanwhile, are great for sharing and editing documents.

Trello is phenomenally useful and easy for managing projects and tasks, and for keeping track of where you’re at. It uses boards, lists and cards to help you and your team organise and prioritise your projects, and it’s great for collaboration.

You may already be familiar with Slack, which a growing number of workplaces use for colleagues for chat rooms to work on projects, direct message each other, cut down on email and, often, just to share memes.

Health and lifestyle

The first few months after college are stressful enough but... well, you know this bit about a global pandemic, etc, etc. Minding your mental health is really important, and while a meditation app won’t fix your anxiety or depression, it can be a useful aid through some challenging times. Headspace, available on iOs and Android, is the most familiar, but it only offers 10 minutes of meditation over 10 days before monthly or annual charges kick in. Buddhify is a cheaper option, costing just €5.49 to download. Insight Timer is loaded with content and guided meditations, with additional premium options.

Meanwhile, with a lot of people still avoiding gyms, apps can be a useful way of getting exercise. For our money, we like Zombies, Run!, which combines a cardio routine with a zombie storyline: it’s certainly different from the usual couch-to-5K apps (free to download, in-app purchases). On YouTube, Yoga with Adriene has kept a lot of people who are confined to small spaces fit and healthy over the past six months.

Beans on toast or pasta and sauce might have been fine in your student days, but if you haven’t learned to cook adult human food, Allrecipes. com">Allrecipes.com aggregates different recipes from across the web and contains meals to suit all budgets. Miss-south.com writes about the joys of slow cooking. Finally, culinary star Jack Monroe’s recipes at CookingOnABootstrap.com show how to put together a top-quality meal using simple ingredients for next to nothing. Monroe has lived in poverty and knows what it’s like to be broke, so there’s nothing inaccessible about her food. You can also sign up to receive email notifications of her blog.