"I'll Tech It To Go, please!" - My Go-To Apps
By Marcie Lowery
As a Full-Time Realtor®, balancing life is a balancing act in itself when your personal life is equally busy. As much as I want to reduce technology in my life, these days it would be impossible. Out of habit, I use these apps because they make life less chaotic and not platform specific!
I've compiled a list of "FREE" - who doesn't like FREE - apps that I have on my devices (tablet, phone, and laptop) and sync them for continuity.
- WhatsApp - yep, I use it! I have clients that are based in Italy, Germany, Korea, Japan, and other parts of the continental US, where this works for us to communicate and share videos. This works best between Android and IPhone user platforms when a live connection isn't possible. I keep privacy settings on, because I only use this with vetted clients. In my business its imperative (and required) to maintain correspondence for a specific time period, so knowing I have my bases covered is assurance for myself and my clients.
- Spotify (or Pandora, I Heart Radio, etc ) are great apps for well, everything.... music, podcasts, your preferred playlists. If you can withstand the ads, this is comparable to paying for satellite radio service like the old days. I paid for S/XM until this past year when I realized I could just Bluetooth my phone to my car and play my favorite pods and stations FOR FREE! I'll save my "Favorite Podcasts" for next week's blog. Granted, I got my S/XM down to like $5.00/mo but I already have what I need in the palm of my hand.
- Google Maps (or Waze, Avenza, etc) - every phone is equipped with a Maps app, and if not, ADD one. I use this one so much it really is just a habit to open it up. Since moving to a new area, I really rely on Google Maps to time distance between home to destination, but I can save specific travel logs for each client job as well. Lets face it, these maps have improved tremendously since the days of people driving into lakes because they followed GPS directions, but they aren't perfect. KNOW your destination, know your cell service capabilities and it never hurts to have an atlas/local map, or downloaded version of your driving route.
- SmartThings - this is a Samsung specific app - if you know, you know - but I share it because if you are a Samsung household - then you know all the awesome thing this app can do for you to keep daily life simplified - SmartThings is for your home's connected devices - oven, refrigerator, microwave, earbuds, tablets, etc. I said I was never going to be THAT connected, but having my oven pre-heat before I get home and its ready to pop in dinner, saves me about 10-20minutes. I can also set my oven timer to turn off, so if I am outside somewhere out on our property, I dont need to rush back to turn it off. I thought this was an app for pretentious needs, but its not... lol
- Libby - if you have a library card, Libby is part of about 99% of libraries in the country that allows you to check out e-books or borrow books from other libraries. I got rid of paying for ebook reader because this does the same thing, except you are borrowing, not purchasing. Im a book lover - so when I want a specific book, I will buy it but I want the real book, not an e-book. Libby lets me preview tons of books without the commitment to buy it or even check it out. I've always maintained a library card everywhere I have lived and I love sitting in library's.
- Evernote, Samsung Notes, Notepad,etc - really any NOTES app that lets you voice record your notes while on the go is ideal. Im in my car roughly 5-6 hours every day and my brain never stops thinking. I record things that pop into my head of things I need to do ASAP, thoughts that cross my mind, brainstorming , etc... I still carry a physical notebook with me because when I am not driving, I like to put my lists and thoughts down on paper. When my tasks or done, I just mark a line through it and move on to the next item. having a hardcopy also lets me see, historically, what my brain was thinking 6 months or 6 years ago. I love it when I pull out a notebook from 2015 (as a new Realtor®) and see how far I've come in experience and knowledge.
- LandID or OnX - these are Free, but are my favorite go-to apps when researching for my business. The way my brain works, its starts the breadcrumbs for me. When you love land as much as I do, you want to dig deeper - haha - get it. dig deeper.... ok, so the pun might get lost on some of my readers.
- Upside - yep - the app that pays you back - I always take these types of things with a grain of salt, but this one does what it says it will do. If you are constantly on the go, saving dollars is important. Before I head out each day, I search to see what "discounts" are available that day - specifically gas, but there are restaurant and grocery discounts too! You do have to pay attention because you dont want to drive 10 miles out of your way to save a few cents. I have a particular gas station I know I will be driving by, I know if I will need to fill up for the day(or not), so I will choose that station and see what is being offered (if anything). Today its giving me 18¢ per gallon back (gas is priced at $3.59 per gal. HOWEVER, across the street - its priced at $3.37 (without the app discount) so you have to decide which is the better spend for you. I like to save up dollars, so I would probably go ahead and use the app to get the extra savings added to my balance. Kind of like "saving for a rainy day" fund and i can cash it in for direct deposit or gift cards.
- Geocaching - I love,love,love this app! As a kid I wanted to be an archeologist and dig and find old stuff. As I got older, I realized I dont really like to get that dirty. Then a group of strangers came up with Geocaching - its like "going on a bearhunt" and finding cool things BUT - you leave something cool in the same spot as well. Geocaching is EVERYWHERE on the planet - which makes it an even cooler concept. For serious, hardcore- geocacher's, you can purchase trackable cache. Think of it almost like Pokemon Go! but less geeky. Maybe. LOL. I recommend purchasing at least 1 trackable so you can see how far your cache travels.
These are just some of my favorite apps. I'd love to know what your favorites are. Drop them in comments or a DM.