I’ve already discussed some apps that I love in the past and decided to do another installment. In this edition I’m going to share my new favorite running app and another app that I mentioned in my New Year’s post that has really put me on notice about using my phone. Once again this is going to sound like an advertisement, but I promise it’s just me living my life (sometimes I wish I was compensated for these posts!)
My new favorite running app is Zombies, Run! In fact, I love it so much that I’ve signed up for their April virtual race. It’s like playing a video game by walking and/or running. I am not the biggest zombie fan, the Mr. is a much bigger zombie fan but it makes the 30 minutes (most of the story missions seem to be close to 30 minutes) go by so quickly because I’m not focused on the boring-ness of running. Don’t get me wrong – I love to run, but it is incredibly boring for someone who’s brain runs at miles per minutes. Running can be meditative because of the repetitive nature of it or it can be incredibly boring. I go through phases of where I find it meditative and then find it boring. When I find it meditative I just like to listen to music because it helps tune out the ambient noise but when I find it boring the music doesn’t keep my mind from wandering. I used to listen to audiobooks when this happened but I haven’t done that in a while.
I’ve heard of the Zombies, Run! app for a while. When it first came out but my cheapskate self wasn’t going to pay that much for an app but now I see it was totally worth that original purchase price. Now it’s free unless you want to get special missions or training programs (I may upgrade in 2018, we’ll see). You are basically a “runner” who is trying to help a base in the middle of the zombie apocalypse survive. Through the course of the runs there are scripted storyline parts that come through your headphones and there are supply pick-ups to help you upgrade your base once you get home. I have not done too much with my base yet but it seems kind of like a SimCity activity that you can participate in but doesn’t seem to be related to the running part.
The storyline is just often enough to break up the run but not often enough to be distracting or annoying. While the story is not playing you can listen to your own music or nothing, the app turns down your music for the story but then turns your music back up when it’s finished. I’ve taken to running during the non story part and taking a walk break during storyline and that has worked well, even for this very haphazard, lack of consistency, runner. My best guess is that it’s about 5 minutes in between storyline.
The second app I have been loving (let’s be real, it’s a love-hate relationship) is Moment. Unfortunately it is currently only available for Apple but there may be a different app that does similar things. The Moment app is a real time log of your phone. Which may sound creepy but it gives me 15 minute notifications about how long I’ve been on my phone. Real life IS better than anything that’s on my phone but sometimes when all I have is a toddler to talk to I can struggle for some human contact!
In my effort to try and be more present with the Munchkin and the Mr. this has been a great nudge to put my phone down. It also allows you to set “Screen Free” Time (mine’s 5p-7p) and makes itself VERY ANNOYING so using your phone is possible but kind of obnoxious. I chose this time frame because it’s when we we’re home on weeknights when our time is limited so instead of checking social media for the umpteenth time to see absolutely nothing new. This makes me put my phone away (usually on top of the fridge or mantel piece) where I don’t interact with it and the Munchkin doesn’t see it either. It’s definitely improved the time I have with her on weeknights and made those couple of hours more quality than they were prior to implementing this app.
I discussed the Forest app in my other post and to me this does not replace Forest (however you can use Forest to create screen free time if you’d like). Forest is very useful when I am doing something specific and want to “lock” my phone, usually when I want to read or do work, at a random time during the day. Moment is more about being conscious about phone usage all day. It will run reports, tell you how much time you’re spending on apps (Facebook is my biggest time hog….), and like I said earlier send you notifications about how long you’ve been on your phone.
My daily goal is 2.5 hours but sometimes I go way over and sometimes I am under. Happily my average is around there. If you are one of the millions of people who struggle with your phone or social media this app can really help you break free. Of course I recognize that it is completely ironic that I’m using an app to not use my phone as much but it really does help.