I have an iPhone, but I have never downloaded any apps for it. Perhaps this sounds strange, as I like to save time and the universe is full of time-saving apps. But I haven’t come up with many activities that I do frequently enough, and when I only have access to my phone, that it would be worth the mindshare for downloading them and keeping track of them.
For instance, I hear there are great apps for creating and sharing lists, such as grocery lists. That’s fine, but I’ve found it also works to write my list on the back of a piece of junk mail while I’m standing in my kitchen. Then I either take this with me to the store, or I hand it off to whoever is heading there. If someone stops by the store unexpectedly, this person can generally call me from there, or exercise his/her judgment. After all, anyone doing the grocery shopping for our household likely has access to the fridge and pantry and has seen their contents.
I also hear there are good apps for figuring out nearby restaurants if you’re standing on a street corner in an unfamiliar city, and finding out what other diners have enjoyed at these restaurants. But when I’m in unfamiliar cities, I’m often visiting people who have this information. It also works to ask another human being “hey, is there a pizza place around here?” and if you’re in a restaurant, asking the waiter “what do you think is good here?”
I will admit that knowing traffic data ahead of a trip is helpful, and can save time, though before smart phones, we figured this out too. My husband and I would listen to the three radio stations that give traffic on the 1s, 5s, and 8s (if I remember correctly) around NYC, and choose our approach into the city based on that.
I’d be happy to learn that I’m wrong, and some app saves people so much time it’s life-changing. I’m working on a story on precisely this topic, but I’m trying to figure out what need that app would solve. Saving a few minutes a week is nice, but even if it adds up in theory, most of us struggle with re-purposing it.
(Of course, if you’re looking for a list of 17 productive ways to spend 5 minutes instead of checking email, again, click on that link!)
What apps do you use regularly? Do any save you time? How much time, and what do you then do with this time?