Technology played a huge role in our lives in 2021. From healthcare to education, everything happened online through those tiny little icons on our screens. Now as 2022 inches closer, it’s time to rethink our relationship with those glowing, sometimes productive, sometimes distracting boxes.
As you make your New Year’s resolutions, think about how you can use technology to enhance rather than empty your life. For some, this might look like deleting unused, draining apps and for others, it might mean joining productive ones that will improve the quality of your life.
Need some ideas? Here are the most common apps people are joining in 2022.
Reading and audiobook apps: Kindle, Kobi, Audible, etc.
As we’re operating in this information economy, the demand for accessible learning has shot up in recent years. Not everyone has access to in-person classes and libraries (especially during the pandemic), so e-books have played a huge role in filling those gaps. That’s why e-reading apps like Kindle, Kobi, and ePub Reader are in-demand. After all, if you’re going to spend a lot of time on your phone, might as well spend it doing something productive!
“I want to double my reading goal this year,” says Jessica Kats, e-commerce and retail expert at Soxy who spent the lockdown reading 20 books.
Free reading apps have also helped reduce economic barriers to knowledge. “I have been a bibliophile since a young age, though a few financial constraints held me back from buying paperbacks for a long time,” says Andre Flynn, founder of gadnets.com. Now free reading apps are helping users like Andre access new information and fuel their passion for writing without spending a lot of money on physical books.
Along with e-books, users are also dipping their toes in the world of audiobooks. People who don’t get a lot of time to sit down and read are consuming information through audiobooks, many of which are now freely available on apps like Audible (free trial), Audiobooks.com, LibriVox, and more.
Language learning apps: Duolingo, Busuu, Memrise, etc.
Learning a new language has dozens of benefits, so this new year, users are setting aside time to invest in language learning by installing apps like Duolingo, Busuu, Memrise, and others.
“Instead of spending half an hour every night scrolling mindlessly through social media, I’m choosing to spend that half-hour learning a new(ish) language and strengthening my brain,” says Brian Donovan, CEO of TimeShatter.
“I’ve always wanted to travel to Eastern Europe and Russia, so downloading an app that helps me learn Russian is a no-brainer,” says James Green, owner of Build A Head.
“This year, I’m resolving to redownload Duolingo, stick with it and truly learn something,” says Andre Kazimierski, CEO of Improovy. “They’ve recently updated the app to make lessons available offline, making it even more convenient to learn.”
Meditation apps: Calm, Headspace, Insight Timer, etc.
From economic instability to rising health concerns, 2021 has been the year of stress. Perhaps that’s why more and more people are turning to mediation in 2022 to introduce a sense of calmness and grounding to their lives.
“This pandemic has taught me the importance of mental health and a need to calm down the mind to face all the challenges in life,” says Harriet Chan, who is downloading Calm.
“Calm fits into busy schedules,” says David Adler, founder and CEO of The Travel Secret. “The app offers exclusive music to keep you focused, and has video lessons that will help you move mindfully while stretching, which is excellent while you’re at work.”
“I need to feel calm and centered after the rollercoaster that 2020 and 2021 have been, so I’m downloading Insight Timer, which is free and has a library of more than 80,000 guided meditations,” says Ryan Nieman, CEO of Solitaire.
Habit tracking apps: Habitica, Loop, Strides, etc.
Setting New Year’s resolutions isn’t enough. You need to have a system to track new habits. That’s where habit tracking apps like Habitica, Loop, Strides, and others help.
“I am finally deciding to listen to my coach and download a habit tracker app that would help me stay up to date with my everyday routine,” says Gary Taylor, CEO of bookyourdata.com.
When choosing a habit tracker, many users are looking for something simple that won’t take a lot of time and effort to set up and use. “Habitify is a good choice since it has a simple interface that is not riddled with too many options,” Nieman says. “It also has a dark mode to ensure I’m not straining when looking at the screen.”
Along with traditional habit trackers, users are also experimenting with new apps aimed at building specific habits. “I’m downloading the SleepTown app which is a nifty app that encourages users to correct their sleeping habits by turning it into a game,” says Stephen Jackson, an information technology support engineer. “During the night, as long as you don’t use your phone, the app will construct a building that’ll be added to a virtual town. Every morning I’ll wake up refreshed and with a bigger town than the night before.”
Finance tracking apps: Mint, Oval, YNAB, etc.
Money has been a major cause of worry for most people in 2021. So in an effort to save more, invest better, and stay on top of payment schedules, users are downloading various free and paid finance tracking apps for 2022.
“One of the biggest lessons I learned in 2020 and 2021 is the importance of staying on top of your finances. This is something every adult should intuitively know but it is easy to just let things flow until you find yourself in an unforeseen financial mess that could have been averted,” says Ben Lamarche, general manager at Lock Search Group. “Going into 2022, I am looking to be more intentional with my money: how I spend it, save it, and plan for it and I think Mint is a good place to start.”
“I want to pay more attention to how I spend my money,” says Karolina Zając, community manager at PhotoAiD. “You probably know how it feels when you discover your money is gone and you don’t know where it went, so I’m installing Oval to plan and analyze my budget by leveraging the power of technology.”
Downloading new apps to improve your life in 2022
The mere act of downloading a new app can’t promise a better year, but it can be a good place to start. Instead of looking at what’s trending online, we recommend looking at your current habits and understanding what needs to change to create a better life for yourself in the coming year. Once you find that, explore apps that’ll help you move closer to those goals, one click at a time.