Technology continues to dominate our time & attention for the good & bad. Here’s the good list for me in 2015, that will be making the jump with me to 2016 & that I’d recommend to my friends.
1. Turn off all Social Media Notifications. One of the best decisions I made in 2015 was to turn off notifications on my iPhone so that social media comes to me on my time & not in real time. Likes & shares, tweets & retweets are just not that important in the grand scheme of things. Social media can be a good servant or a terrible master. Start getting on top of things by turning off notifications.
2. Got an external hard drive & ran Omni Disk Sweeper on my Macbook Air. On my 3rd Macbook Air. Love it. But they do clog up. This year, I broke down & bought an expensive external hard drive & started saving everything there. Also started regularly running Omni Disk Sweeper, which kills off unneeded clutter. My Macbook now has another year or two in it & it even feels lighter. Ha!
3. Audible.com. I drive about 2k miles & walk/run about 25 miles each month. Audible.com has allowed me to redeem this time through listening to great books. Tripled my usual reading load for the year. Also allowed me to get in more biography & history, which is easier to listen to, & stick non-fiction leadership type books in my hands, which are better to read with a highlighter, which I love.
4. Youversion.com One Year Bible Plan. “Every Christian worth his salt reads the Bible cover-to-cover every year” – J.I. Packer. My first time all the way through the One Year Bible Plan & I loved it. Youversion.com is such a great tool, allowing ease of sharing on social media. And for days I’m off too early to read, I can listen to my Bible reading for that day in the app.
5. NFL.com Fantasy Football App. I managed to avoid Fantasy Football for 40 years of my life, but got drawn in this year by friends from my church. And I LOVED IT! Didn’t win much, but there’s always next year. Ha!
6. Fitbit.com & the Fitbit App. I took 3.5 million steps, covering 1,634 miles this year. How do I know? Fitbit! Loved having this quirky tool to track exercise & daily steps this year. And you don’t have to have a Fitbit. You can track your steps with your phone or other wearable.
7. 7-Minute Workout App. Cut the gym out of the budget to make room for some other things this year. Along with the Fitbit, the 7-Minute Workout has been a good tool to try to keep the Dad bod from completely taking over. Try it out! You’ll be surprised.
8. Feedly.com & Feedly App. My Feedly Newsfeed has replaced the morning paper for me. Keeps me up to date on news & my favorite writers around the globe. Also, allows me to save & tag articles for later reading & for preparing teaching & sermons.
9. PluggedIn.com & PluggedIn App. “Hey dad, can I go watch ____ movie with my friends?” “Can I download this game?” Plugged In App allows me to check out movies & games from a Christian perspective very quickly.
10. Waze App. Saw this on a billboard in Texas. Driving 2k miles per month this has been a great companion & community to be a apart of. Allows other drivers to alert me to faster routes, police nearby, debris in road, etc. Check it out on your next road trip.
11. Biblehub.com. When I got my last computer I opted to try to do without a Bible Software. I found that a lot of the tools that I’d used were available for free online. Biblehub.com has been the most frequent site I’ve used for sermon prep with language tools I was familiar with & a lot of other helps. Without the drain on hard drive space & costly prices.
12. BizExpense Tracker App. There are a lot of Expense tracker apps. I’ve found the BizExpense works best for me, because it allows me to track multiple accounts – My work with the LBC, my church miles & expenses, our medical travel (for those who itemize expenses), volunteer hours & miles.
13. Covenant Eyes & Covenant Eyes App. Wouldn’t go without the Covenant Eyes Filter & Accountability software. Also use the Search Engine on all our kids devices. Block Safari or Internet Explorer, so that they can only search through the Covenant Eyes. CE does a great job helping our family keep covenant with our eyes (Job 31:1). Also, love following the Covenant Eyes blog for great stories of redemption, parenting tips, & current issues in the pursuit of purity.
14. YNAB (You Need A Budget). This was our third year using YNAB for personal finances. Love it! Its a cloud based solution. My wife can enter her grocery store receipts on her iPhone on the way to the car & it’s in the program on the computer when we get home. Reports are great. Budgeting tool is clear. Did Microsoft Money, Quicken, & Mint. YNAB beats all of those for us.
15. Allowance Manager. Like most couples today, we seldom deal with cash, so allowances meant extra trips to the bank. Allowance Manager allows our kids to get money basically credited to an account that they can check & manage from their iPad Mini’s. Next step for our 13 year old this year is his own bank account. Yikes!
What app or site would you recommend for your friends?