Editor’s Note: Today’s post is written by Arar Han, co-CEO (along with Shayne Fitz-Coy) at Alert-1.
Whether you’ve owned your own business or have been a loyal employee for years, it’s natural for women to want to step back and enjoy their golden years, even if they’re not quite ready to entirely put their career out to pasture. For many, that means putting in limited hours from home.
Being an independent manager of your home and life can be quite a chore, especially if you are accustomed to working on a team. Fortunately, our smartphones have evolved into capable assistants—if you know which apps are worth your time.
Here are my must-have Apple and Android apps for keeping my personal and professional lives in working order:
Managing your finances: Mint (iOS & Android)
Maintaining a budget is time-consuming and tedious without the right infrastructure. If you’re no longer working with a bookkeeper, Mint is an app that makes taking over your own financial record keeping easy. It automatically tracks your spending and organizes it into categories. The colorful charts help you understand where your money is going. Mint helps you keep your budget on track with email and mobile alerts, free advice and bill reminders. With a reduced income as you begin to live off of retirement savings, tracking your expenditures is more important than ever before.
Exercising: The Official Johnson & Johnson 7 Minute Workout (iOS & Android)
The older we get, the harder it is to motivate ourselves to exercise, it seems. Do you have trouble making time for physical activity? That won’t be a problem with this streamlined app from Johnson & Johnson, giving you custom workouts that, despite its name, can be anywhere from seven to 21 minutes. Music pumps to motivate you, and your personal trainer shows you how to do the movements correctly. The app gauges your fitness and motivation levels for a personalized experience, and it makes it easy to see your progress. Best of all, you don’t even have to leave the house.
Decorating: Snapshop (iOS)
Have you been putting off the revamp of your home’s décor that you’ve wanted?
Now that you’re spending a lot of time at home, you want your space to inspire you. This app lets you visualize how that couch you’re eyeing will actually look in your home before you buy it! Once you’ve found a piece you love, just hold up your phone and drop it into your room. You can rotate them, position them and even change their color. Warning: This app can be hugely addictive.
Cooking: Yummly (iOS)
Ensure that your grandkids can’t wait to visit by always having delicious treats on hand when they arrive. Yummly is the best way to find the perfect recipe. You can search Yummly by ingredient and taste preferences and it will give you personalized recommendations. It can even recommend recipes based on their preparation time, difficulty, nutritional value and suitability for diets and allergies.
Don’t want to find a recipe only to not have all of the ingredients? Just tell Yummly what you have in your pantry and fridge, and it will give you recipes that use the ingredients you already have. It’s perfect for the days when you want a healthy home-cooked meal but can’t get out the door to go shopping. Plus, when you are able to make a shopping trip, Yummly will keep track of what you need.
Chores: Home Routines (iOS)
Even if you’ve already led a second career as a mother and homemaker, that doesn’t make keeping up with cleaning any easier. Home Routines is the best way to keep track of chores and tasks that need regular attending to. The app organizes your tasks into day of the week, time and area of your house, and can remind you when it’s time to get down to business. When you finish a task you get a star, and the app keeps track of your accomplishments so you can look back and celebrate how much you got done that day. A built-in timer helps you manage your time, and “Focus Zones” break your home into manageable chunks so you can focus on a specific area.
Games & brain training: Luminosity (iOS & Android)
Exercising an aging mind can be just as essential as physical workouts. Want to read better, react quicker, and remember people’s names—all while having fun? Luminosity combines brain training with fun games that are anything but mindless. If you love quick, yet challenging puzzles, Luminosity is for you. Keep your mind sharp and fresh for the long haul!
To-do lists and note-taking: Awesome Note (iOS & Android)
Are you always losing your handwritten to-do lists, or creating multiple lists that never get completed? Awesome Note is the perfect way to keep track of your tasks and your thoughts. Write tasks on your to-do list and either give them due dates or set them to repeat automatically. You can organize your tasks any way you could want, including by date modified, date created, due date and priority. You can view them as a list for the day or on a calendar to plan ahead.
Now that you’re spending more time than ever at home, these apps can help you simplify and streamline your life. They are both a pleasure to use and leave you more time to enjoy the things you love. Why not have a personal assistant, trainer, designer, accountant and chef all in the palm of your hand?
Arar Han is co-CEO of Alert-1, a personal safety technology and consulting firm headquartered in Williamsport, Penn., with offices nationwide. A Certified Aging in Place Specialist, Arar holds a dual degree in Philosophy and Human Development from Boston College, summa cum laude, and an MBA from the Stanford Graduate School of Business. Originally from Seoul, she currently lives in Palo Alto, Calif., with her family.