Be the Best That You Can Be! Learn to Set Goals in LifeTopix

Goals are the best way to set yourself up for success. To achieve goals, you must establish a plan and create steps to help you get there. It’s necessary to build specific and measurable goals, make yourself accountable and visualize your progress to motivate yourself to keep going. Thankfully, the LifeTopix app provides an effortless way to set goals and build a plan to turn your dreams into reality.

LifeTopix is an extraordinary all-in-one app for organizing work and life. It is smart, simple and powerful. Parents, real estate agents, freelancers, contractors, business owners, students, teachers and others use the LifeTopix app every day to manage their busy lives. 100,000 users and growing!

Watch the Video to Learn How to Set Goals

Watch this video to learn how to create goals with the LifeTopix app and how to follow a plan to achieve those goals.

LifeTopix 8.2, My.Agenda 3.2, Pro.Inbox 1.2 and Pro.Calendar 1.1 Guided Tour

Team LightArrow is excited about the new updates of LifeTopix 8.2, My.Agenda 3.2, Pro.Inbox 1.2, and Pro.Calendar 1.1. Our new updates include several new features to maximize your productivity at home, work and while you’re on the go. Keep reading to learn how you can take advantage of the latest features.

Note: The Pro.Inbox update will be available soon.

iOS 8 Readiness

LightArrow apps are updated to work with iOS 8 and the new larger iPhone screen sizes.

Calendar View Improvements

The calendar views are now more readable with clearer views and better text sizing.

New Settings Options

The following options are now available in My Settings  to provide you with more flexibility and default behaviors.

New Setting – Selectable Font Size

You’re now able to change the text size to Small, Regular, Large, and Extra Large. You can accomplish this by going to the Font Size selection in My Settings as shown below.

Text Size Setting

Text Size Setting

Examples of the new choices are shown below (Small, Regular, Large, and Extra Large).

LifeTopix Small Text Example

Small Text Example

LifeTopix Medium Text Example

Medium Text Example

Large Text Example

Large Text Example

Extra Large Text Example

Extra Large Text Example

New Setting – Automatically Remove Complete Items from Hot List

Your Hot List contains your “Favorites.” It displays your most commonly used categories and items allowing you to quickly access them. Using the Hot List saves you time in navigating to frequently used items or categories. For example, if you created a Log Form for logging activities related to Triathlon training, you could add this form directly to the Hot List so you can quickly access it every time you complete a new training item, such as a run, biking session, or swimming session. You can access the Hot List from the left navigational pane of the main view by tapping Hot List.

There is now an option in My Settings that allows you to choose whether or not completed items are automatically hidden from showing in the Hot List as shown in the example below.

New Hotlist Setting

New Hotlist Setting

New Setting – Account Transactions Display Order

In My Settings, you can now determine the order (Ascending or Descending) of transactions. These transactions are found in the Finances topic when you access an account and view the transactions associated with the account. This option is shown below:

Transactions Setting

Transactions Setting

An example of Descending Transactions is shown below.

Descending Transactions

Descending Transactions

An example of Ascending Transactions is shown below.

Ascending Transactions

Ascending Transactions

New Setting – Themes for Graph View

In My Settings, you can now choose a dark or light background for graphs that are available in the Health + Goals topic. This option is shown below.

Dark and Light Graph Theme

Dark and Light Graph Theme

Examples of the dark and light themes for graphs are shown below.

Dark Theme Graphs

Dark Theme Graphs

Light Theme Graph

Light Theme Graph

New Setting – Default Task Creation Type for New Repeat Schedules

For tasks, there are different methods for creation of repeat schedules. You can create all the tasks at once or you can ask the app to only create the following task in a series when the previous task is completed or cancelled. Now, you can set the default behavior in My Settings by using the choices shown in the example below.

Task Settings

Task Settings

Maximum Text Items in a Locker

In the Bookmarks + Lockers topic, you are now allowed to add up to 12 text-based items to a locker. Previously, the maximum number was seven.

Add Photos to Payments

In the Finances topic, you are now allowed to add photo(s) to a payment. This allows you to take photos of receipts, invoices or other supporting information associated with a payment.

You can accomplish this by accessing the payment and tapping Add Photos at the bottom of the Payment view and adding a photo, as shown below.

Payment Photo

Payment Photo

New Graph Ranges

In the Health + Goals topic, date ranges are now available when viewing graph data from activities, etc. You can view data from the last week, last 30 days, last 60 days, last 90 days, or last year. An example is shown below.

Graph Ranges

Graph Ranges

In addition, labels for multi-metric graphs now show labels on the Y-axis for forms that contain items with the same types of units. The new labels are shown in the example below.

Multi-metric Graph

Multi-metric Graph

Text Message Sharing of Checklist Items

You can now share checklists via text message with items included in the text message up to 140 characters. Simply choose the checklist you wish to share, then tap Share and select Text Message as shown below.

Checklist Text Message

Checklist Text Message

The text message appears as shown below.

Text Message Checklist

Text Message Checklist

Reminder Sets – Custom Templates for Local Notification Sets

You can now create custom local notification sets for items such as social events, meetings, and other items you wish to remember. This way, you can set several notifications for items at specified intervals to help you remember. Custom Notification sets are available for Projects, Tasks, Appointments, Trips, Visits, Events, and Reminders. To create a reminder set, access the item for which you wish to create a reminder set; tap the iOS Calendar tile, and then select Custom Notification Sets as shown below.

Custom Notification Sets

Custom Notification Sets

The Custom iOS Notification Sets screen appears (as shown below), which allows you to create custom notification sets. Simply tap the plus sign to get started.

Custom iOS Notifications Set

Custom Reminder Set

In the New Notification Set view, tap the plus sign to create a notification set. From the New Notification Criteria list, you can select three criteria for the alerts, which include a number; minutes, hours or days; and before or after (the item). An example is shown below.

New Notification Criteria

New Notification Criteria

After you save the reminder sets and the item for which you wish to add the items, you must add the reminder set to the item. Add the set by tapping the iOS Calendar tile for an appointment or other item, and then tap Manage iOS Notifications as shown below.

Manage iOS Notifications

Manage iOS Notifications

When the iOS Notifications view appears, tap the plus sign and choose the reminder set that you created from the list of selections as shown below. Keep in mind that you cannot add reminder sets to items in the past. In addition, you must add reminder sets individually to items (they do not apply to each item in a recurring series.)

Reminder Sets

Reminder Sets

Pro Contacts Pack Enhancements

If you’ve purchased the Pro Contacts Pack, you can enjoy the following enhancements.

Contact Logs

In the People + Services topic, you can now create contact logs for your contacts to keep track of when and how you contacted them. Simply open a contact record in your LightArrow app, and you’ll see a new section called, “Contact Log” as shown in the following example.

Contact Log

Contact Log

To add items to the Contact Log, Simply tap the new section shown in the image above to access the Contact Log for the contact. There are several options available in this section. The Quick Log, shown below, allows you to quickly add a date and time (as the current time). This includes choices for email, text, Facebook, Twitter, and phone calls. The call log also includes the ability to add free-form text, audio, video, photos, and drawings. You can also reorder the items by tapping the Reorder icon in the top-right section. In addition, you modify the text and journal time of any Quick Log that you create by tapping it.

Quick Log

Quick Log

Call Lists

In the People + Services topic, you can now add a list of people to contact directly from your list of contacts (similar to a checklist). To begin, simply tap the Call Lists tile in the People + Services topic, as shown below.

Call Lists Tile

Call Lists Tile

When the Call Lists view appears, tap the plus sign. The following view appears allowing you to select contacts you wish to call, email or text. In addition, you can contact them directly from your Call List.

Calls List

Calls List

Additional Information and Computed Metrics for Contacts

The Grid view (Spreadsheet-Like view) for contacts now provides additional information for contacts including Last Contact (date and time of last contacted); Task Owner (number of open tasks); Tasks For (number of open tasks); and Since Last Contact (computed number of days since last contacted). To see this new information, tap the Filter icon at the top left of the grid view and then switch the slider to ON for the options shown below (with the blue slider set to Show).

Filters for Computed Metrics

Filters for Computed Metrics

An example of the new options with computed metrics is shown below:

iPad Contacts

iPad Contacts

New Filter Settings to Utilize Last Contacted Date

The options in the following section are very useful when you’re managing sales leads, clients and other types of contacts with your LightArrow app. You can now filter on the number of days since you last contacted someone in your list by setting a filter. To create the new filter, access the Contacts view, choose the Filter drop down, and tap New Filter as shown below.

New Contact Filter

New Contact Filter

Next, add a title and comment for the filter, and then tap the New Criteria button in the New Filter view. Choose an Attribute from the list such as “Last Contact”; choose an operator such as Equals, Not Equals, Less Than, Greater Than or Contains; and then choose a value (such as the number of days).

An example of a filter for number of days exceeding 5 for last contact date/time is shown below.

Contact Filter Criteria

Contact Filter Criteria

Once you select this filter in the Contacts view, you can easily locate clients, potential clients, or other contacts that you have not contacted in a specified period of time. An example is shown below.

Filtered Contacts by Number of Days

Filtered Contacts by Number of Days

Free “Pro Work Pack” Features

A new free pack is now available for improved project and task management. The following sections describe the new features.

Task Hierarchy for Projects and Other Topics

You can now create a task hierarchy for project tasks or other items in your LightArrow app. You can only work with task hierarchies within a project or other item that supports tasks. To create a task hierarchy, access or create tasks for a project or other items that support tasks.

To get started, choose Group by Hierarchy as shown in the following example (at the left side of the view). After the Tasks view is displayed and the view is grouped by “hierarchy,” tap Arrange Hierarchy at the right side of the view.

Task Hierarchy

Task Hierarchy

Next, tap a task and choose Add New Item as a Peer or Add New Item as Child to create a new peer or child item. These options are shown below.

Task Hierarchy, Child and Peer

Task Hierarchy, Child and Peer

After you create your tasks, you may wish to re-arrange them. To do so, access to the group of tasks via the project or other item. Tap and hold a task. You can move the task by dropping it, or you can choose Make Peer or Make Child as shown in the following example.

Rearrange Task Hierarchy

Rearrange Task Hierarchy

Convert Tasks to Projects, Events, Trips, and Visitors (can add more data)

It is now possible to convert Tasks to Projects, Trips, Visitors and Events. Simply access the task through the Projects + Tasks topic, then tap Convert. Select one of the choices (as shown below) and complete the conversion. This deletes the task and creates a new project, trip, visitor or event – depending upon the selection. This conversion is only available for non-recurring, single tasks.

Task Conversion

Task Conversion

Convert Appointments to Projects, Events, Trips, and Visitors (can add more data)

It is now possible to convert Appointments to Projects, Trips, Visitors and Events. Simply access the appointment through the Events + Appointments topic, then tap Convert. Select one of the choices (as shown below) and complete the conversion. This deletes the appointment and creates a new project, trip, visitor or event – depending upon the selection. This conversion is only available for non-recurring, single appointments.

Appointment Conversion

Appointment Conversion

Free “Pro Checklists” with Notes + Files Topic

In the Notes + Files topic or from the Agenda view, you can create checklists/to-do lists with mixed types of items, which are referred to as “Pro Checklists.” Previously, these lists only included text-based, plain lists items. Now, you can add appointments, reminders, activities, nutrition items, health stats, medication, and wellness entries to Pro Checklists. The Pro Checklist items are automatically added to your agenda.

To get started, open a checklist or create a new checklist. Next, tap Convert to Pro Checklist, as shown below.

Pro Checklist Conversion

Pro Checklist Conversion

Once you tap Convert to Pro Checklist, the following selections become available.

New Pro Checklist Options

New Pro Checklist Options

A Pro Checklist can contain plain items, tasks, appointments, activities, medication, nutrition items, reminders and shopping items as shown in the example below.

Pro Checklist

Pro Checklist

Event View Allows Direct Contact to Invitees and Co-hosts

The Event View now allows you to contact invitees and co-hosts via call, text or email directly from the Event view. To take advantage of this new feature, go to an Event in the Events + Appointments topic. You will notice a section in this view with buttons for calls, text messages, and email (as shown below). Tapping these buttons allows you to automatically contact the invitees and co-hosts of the event that you planned. For email, an email is created that includes all of the invitees and co-hosts as recipients. For text and phone calls, a list of invitees and co-hosts is displayed, which allows you to contact each person individually.

Event Communications

Event Communications

Your Turn

We hope you enjoy the new features! Please comment and let us know if you have any questions or comments about your LightArrow app.

Introducing Best Calendar App, Pro.Calendar

Pro.Calendar Best Calendar App

Recently we released Pro.Calendar and made it available at the Apple App Store. Pro.Calendar is the “calendar edition” of our LifeTopix app. It includes all popular calendar relevant topics such as project management, events, travel, health, notes and media and allows additional topics to be purchased through in-app purchases for managing shopping lists, contacts, finances, assets, education, passwords, email feeds, Evernote® feeds and Twitter and Facebook feeds. It’s a great selection for those who want the power of LifeTopix, but don’t want or need the entire 12 topics.

Pro.Calendar’s Time Ribbons

Pro.Calendar includes versatile calendar options including patent-pending “Time Ribbon™” views for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch. If you’re a current LifeTopix, My.Agenda, My.Self or Pro.Inbox customer, you’ll notice that along with this launch of Pro.Calendar, we’ve updated the calendar views of those apps. Consequently, all LightArrow app users who use the calendar can enjoy the new, enhanced calendar views and “Time Ribbons.”

To learn more about Pro.Calendar and the enhanced Time Ribbon views, watch the following video below.

Pro.Calendar is available from the Apple App Store for US 3.99. As a universal app, a single purchase entitles you to use the app on your iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch. The app requires iOS 6.0 or later and is optimized for the iPad and iPhone 5 with iOS 7.

Your Turn

Please let us know if you like Pro.Calendar and if you have any “wish list” items for Pro.Calendar or any of our apps. Thanks!

What’s Happened to Customer Support in the Age of Apps?

In the age of mobile apps, many of us are accustomed to the indisputable reality that customer service is more or less non-existent. For those who have “grown up” with desktop and web-based software, this new paradigm is unfamiliar and frustrating. When we purchase any product, we expect a certain level of support from the seller when there’s a problem or a question comes up.

CBP1023444

In the world of mobile apps, customer service seems to have vanished. Many developers create apps as a hobby or they simply don’t see customer support as a necessity because the paradigm has shifted — users no longer expect good customer support. The problem doesn’t solely exist with the indie developers. I purchased a very popular app from the Apple App Store with several users and a 3 star rating. I experienced a problem that rendered the app unusable. I searched the app, the website, and the web for a customer support email or phone number and I was unable to find a way to contact the company. It appears the app only provides customer support via self service, which didn’t solve my problem. This left me with the only choice of providing a low rating at the Apple App store. In this case, I suspect, the app growth exploded and the small team just couldn’t keep up with the support demand so they chose to discontinue it. My experience is not unusual in the app world.

At LightArrow, we’re different. Our goal is simple. We build valuable apps for personal and business productivity and provide exceptional customer support. We understand that customer support takes time, and exemplary service is the heart of the software business.

How does LightArrow approach customer service?

The LightArrow team is based in Austin, Texas — the home of a booming tech industry. The company was founded in 2010 by a team of successful visionaries and repeat entrepreneurs who are solving problems that matter to people. Have you heard the expression, everything is bigger in Texas? When it comes to our apps and our commitment, this phrase certainly rings true. We strive for our apps to be intuitive and of the highest quality, but we understand that with big, comprehensive software solutions, you might have feedback, issues or questions. At LightArrow, we’re very receptive to your feedback and we quickly prioritize and incorporate your requests for new features and defect fixes. We update our apps often — ensuring that we continuously provide you with new value.

We utilize a combination of comprehensive online help; video tutorials; email, phone, and video support; and social media support. Our multi-channel support allows us to be there for our customers — no matter which channel is comfortable for them.

Our Help Center

LightArrow Help Center

For self-service support, we provide a Help Center, which is accessible through our apps or our website. LightArrow apps are built on the LightArrow App Engine 7, which provides a common set of functionality. All help is based on our flagship app, LifeTopix. We also provide context-sensitive help, through the lightbulb, which is relevant to whatever the user is doing at the time. The question mark in the upper-right corner provides instant access to our support email or Twitter handle. We also provide video tutorials and demos, which our users can find from our YouTube channel or website.

Our Help Center provides comprehensive help, all user comments and replies, common questions, a productivity portal, and searching capabilities. Our users can find answers through online help or see answers to all questions that other users have posted.

Our Engage View

Our Engage View communicates the latest developments at LightArrow and supplies several ways to contact us. Through this view, we furnish walk-throughs of new features for major releases, any known issues, and upcoming features and apps through our roadmap. Video tutorials and demos are available through this view — including a Getting Started video.

LightArrow Engage View

We embrace personal and business productivity and we aim to keep our customers educated on the latest tips and advice. The blog is updated regularly with useful tips and stories to keep our customers motivated and educated, and to turbocharge their productivity.

We encourage our customers to contact us publicly via Twitter and Facebook or privately through email. When a question or issue is complex, we ask customers to contact us via telephone. On occasion, we have user sessions with users to discuss ideas for enhancement of our apps through video or conference calls.

We’re proud of our approach, and once again we encourage you to reach out — however small your question or comment might seem to be. Keep in mind, we’re a different kind of app company. We listen, care, and respond. We truly care about you and your projects, we read every request, and we answer quickly as possible. If there’s something you don’t like about our apps, tell us about it instead of giving up on us. We’re likely to change it.

Your Turn

Have you worked with our customer service? Tell us about your experience. Thanks!

Guide to Using LifeTopix as a Quantified Self Tool

The Quantified Self is a movement that advocates measuring aspects of your daily life such as calories, blood pressure, exercise, diet, heart rate, and other metrics. The purpose of measuring these aspects of your life is to gain knowledge about yourself, which can lead to insights for improving your health and happiness and for reaching personal goals. Quantified Self is also referred to as self tracking or self quantifying.

Are you skeptical? Is the Quantified Self movement just a fad? Consider this. Would you make a serious business decision without data to back it up? So why not make decisions for your personal life based on analytical data? Data is POWER — however you apply it. Collecting data about yourself can empower you to make the right decisions in life.

Still doubtful? Watch this inspiring talk by Ari Meisel about how he was able to relieve his Crohn’s disease symptoms through analyzing his data: http://quantifiedself.com/2011/10/ari-meisel-on-curing-the-incurable-through-self-experimentation/ .

How is data collected?

There are several apps and tools for gathering data manually and automatically. You can achieve automatic collection by using Wearables, which are devices that you wear that record various health-related analytics automatically such as calories burned, exercise, sleep, steps, or blood pressure, and sometimes they provide accompanying software. You’ll find several apps that allow you to to record these items both manually and automatically, but many are not flexible enough to record the items that YOU wish to record.

We take a different approach with LifeTopix (or the starter app My.Agenda) by allowing you to define the items YOU wish to record and log these items when and where you wish. This is accomplished through LifeTopix’s Log Forms and Multi-Topic Log Forms found in the Health + Activity topic.

The Power and Flexibility of LifeTopix

With LifeTopix, the power and flexibility is accomplished by allowing you to define what to measure with varying self-defined units. You’ll find out-of-the-box log forms including items such as Aerobics, Chores, Cooking, Family Time, Gym, Meditation, Reading, Body Fat, Blood Sugar, Breakfast, Dinner, and much more. However, if you want to track more complex or obscure items, such as happiness, thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH), C-reactive protein (CRP), sleep quality, hot flashes, supplements, etc. with LifeTopix, you can.

You can easily add, modify, or remove log forms to track any metric that’s appropriate for you. You’ll be surprised at the variety of units that we provide out of the box including: percent, calories, cups, days, grams, hours, inches, mg/dL, miles, minutes, mm Hg, on scale 1-10, on scale 1-5, pills, pounds, servings, sets, and times. Furthermore, we give you the ability to define your own units; therefore, you can essentially measure any metric you wish to measure.

One of our users provided us with the following screenshot of his log form, which measures his regular workout, including a full body stretch and cardio.

CardioStretch

He’s recorded these items over a long period of time, which helps him to analyze at what times he’s more motivated to complete his workout and what’s going on in his life that affects his workout.

Another user chose to measure calories and aerobic activity for weight loss. The following image shows an example of the log form entries that this user built.

FormEntries

As this user logs their entries over time, she can view the following types of graphs (line, bar, and plot) to measure progress and trends and she can also view a list of entries.

logforms

This user can also view the statistics individually in a Log Form (as opposed to the multi-topic log form) if she wishes to analyze the data for one activity, health item, nutrition item, or other type of item as the following bar chart shows:

aerobicsAre you ready to try measuring life statistics for yourself? Watch the following video to learn how.

Tutorial – How Do I Create a Multi-Topic Log Form?

LightArrow Partners With Box to Turbocharge Your Personal Organization and Business Productivity

box_partnership_seal_blue(1)Organizing your life and business can be difficult, especially when there’s so many appointments, events, meetings, and projects that you’re juggling. And as a matter of course, you have supporting documents for many of your projects and meetings, and it’s always difficult to find those documents when you need them. You can print them and store them in file folders that clutter your office space or you can save them to your hard drive and risk the chance of hardware failure and losing them for good. So what’s the solution for keeping these documents stored safely, easily finding and retrieving them when you need them, and making them accessible wherever you go? LightArrow and Box have teamed up to solve these problems. Imagine you’ve started a new project and you have a weekly meeting to discuss all the logistics. Your boss calls you while you’re at the airport and needs to know the specific details about deadlines and the roadmap. You can pull up the project in LifeTopix then and there, and access all the supporting files containing the weekly meeting notes from the LifeTopix project. Or, perhaps you’ve moved to a new city and you need to start preventive care for your pets. Instantly access a Health project in LifeTopix and locate photos or scanned documents of your pets’ vaccination records. With LightArrow’s new integration with Box, you are now able to easily associate your files that are stored in the cloud with Box to LifeTopix projects, products, events, trips, visits, notes, services, service providers, metrics, subjects, and assets.

BoxImage.001

Imagine having the ability to link tasks, checklists, appointments, reminders, bookmarks, files, audio, photos, videos, notes, expenses, services, and shopping items to your projects. And picture how impressed your boss will be when you answer his or her questions on the spot, while on the go. And if you’re using more than one iOS device, you can also use Box for device-to-device sync — keep data on all your devices the same.

So how do you get started?

  1. Go to www.Box.com and set up an account if you don’t already have one.
  2. Create and store your important documents and files in Box.
  3. Go to the App Store and purchase LifeTopix.
  4. In LifeTopix, tap Settings and then Logins for Integrations.
  5. Under the Box section, add your Box account.
  6. In the LifeTopix Notes + Files topic, add your Folders and Files from Box by tapping the Folders and Files tiles.
  7. Associate your files with LifeTopix projects, products, events, trips, visits, notes, services, service providers, metrics, subjects, and assets.

Want to learn more?

Find detailed tutorials about our integration at the LightArrowInc YouTube page by following the links below. Associating Files and Folders | Device-to-Device Sync Find information about LightArrow Apps at the Box website by following the links below. LifeTopix | My.Agenda | Pro.Notes | My.Notes | My.Shopping

5 Popular Ways Mobile Devices Can Improve Your Life

With this week’s announcement of the iPhone 5c, purchasing an Apple smartphone is now more affordable than ever with prices ranging from $99 to $199 for first time smartphone buyers or for those who are eligible for an upgrade (plus the monthly fees).

According to a study by eMarketer, in 2012 there were 44.3 million Apple smartphone users in the US. This is nearly 14 percent of the US population. And overall, approximately 38 percent of the US population is using a smartphone. Are you one of the 62 percent who’s still on the fence about purchasing a smartphone?

Smartphone Use

What’s your reason for not jumping on the bandwagon? If you don’t believe a smartphone will enrich your life, keep reading to learn some popular ways that a smartphone can make you a more productive, healthier, and happier person.

1. Live a Healthier LifeStyle

According to the Food Information Council Foundation, “Nearly six in ten Americans believe that online and mobile tools can help them live healthier lifestyles.” This is a significant portion of Americans. So how do apps help? Consider the “Quantified Self” movement.

The Quantified Self is essentially tracking data about your life — daily. Keeping track of statistics about yourself, such as weight, heart rate, blood sugar, blood pressure, fitness levels, measurements, etc. makes you aware of your progress or lack of progress.

There are several apps that help you keep track of statistics about your health and life, and as apps evolve, you’ll hear more and more about “wearables,” which will automatically track statistics simply by wearing the device. All of this data can be particularly eye opening, and the data will help you achieve health and fitness goals that you never thought were possible.

For example, take a look at the following log form that keeps track of weight and running. You’ll see for this app user, as the running log progresses over time (green line), the weight drops (orange line). When you see the progress in this visual format, you’re more likely to stick with a plan.

Smartphone Use

2. Don’t Get Lost, and Find Important Things On the Fly

mapupdate

When you ask most smartphone owners about the apps that have enriched their lives, many start discussing the map apps — especially if they travel a lot. Let’s face it – getting lost is no fun.

For those who own a smartphone, perhaps this is not too surprising, but your smartphone can replace your car’s navigation system. And if you’re anything like me, you never update your navigation system maps, and you see a sad message on your dash when you fire up your car’s navigation.

For me, up-to-date maps is enough to justify my smartphone purchase. No more expensive map updates, outdated data, and driving around aimlessly wasting gas and risking a car jacking.

The default maps app that’s loaded on your iPhone 5 and the Google maps app give you turn-by-turn directions with voice commands and up-to-date maps.

iosmaps

And other apps go even further with location services to make your life more convenient. You can find doctors, hotels, deals, taxis, restaurants, shopping list items, and more by using apps that take advantage of location services — such as the apps shown below.

locationservices

With livingsocial, you can find local deals and coupons; with My.Shopping you can create shopping lists, record coupons, and locate the items that you need to purchase on a map; and with Yelp you can find just about any place near you — and read the reviews.

3. Take Fabulous Photos and Store Them in the Cloud

Cameras can be expensive and difficult to carry around. And if you’re using an older camera phone, you probably don’t know what you’re missing when it comes to photo quality from the latest smartphones.

The iPhone 5 takes quality photos, but this week’s announcement from Apple details that the newer iPhone 5S has a five-element lens with f/2.2 aperture. Apple also explained that the sensor has a 15 percent larger area resulting in a better picture. The new camera also has a burst mode — allowing you to take 10 shots per second. While this new phone won’t replace your SLR camera, it might be comparable to your higher-end compact camera — eliminating the need to take the compact camera to your kids’ next soccer game.

Another problem that’s solved is getting photos off of your camera, which is usually a huge pain. What I love about taking photos with my smartphone is the ability to quickly upload them to the cloud. For example, with a Box or Dropbox account and the accompanying apps, you can easily upload your photos from your smartphone in a few simple taps, as shown below.

camerauplads

After setting up your Dropbox or Box account and installing the apps, you essentially tap the photos you wish to upload, choose a folder, and tap Upload. Very simple. Now the photos are accessible from your laptop, mobile device, or PC — and you can remove them from your device if you wish to free up space.

4. Don’t Let Tasks Fall Through the Cracks

Nobody can remember everything all the time. That’s why a to-do list is one of the most effective methods for preventing items from falling through the cracks, which can result in negative consequences. Forming a habit of keeping track of to-dos and other events can help you improve your work habits, form better relationships, and free up your time because you’re better organized. There are a variety of apps and ways to track to-dos and plan your days, such as the My.Agenda app, shown below.

myagenda

Some apps are as simple as the default Notes app on your device, and others are more sophisticated — allowing you to track everything from calendar events to shopping lists. Whatever apps you choose, make sure they’re flexible enough to grow with your organizational needs.

5. Keep in Touch with Friends and Family — Almost Face-to-Face

As of January 2012, Skype has over 31 million users, and 35 percent of small businesses use Skype as a primary communication service. While it’s difficult to take the place of true face-to-face communication, modern video conferencing options, such as Skype, can get you pretty close.

If you’re a frequent business traveler, you can easily use Skype or other conferencing options to read a bedtime story to your kids. Or perhaps you own a small business and you need to communicate with clients or agencies. You can easily save the travel costs and pop on a video call to better communicate with your clients, colleagues, and prospects. Choices for affordable video conferencing via your mobile device include Skype, Apple Facetime, or Google+ Hangouts.

 

Clearly, with nearly 2 million apps available at the Apple App Store and Google Play combined, there are several options for improving your life through technology. What apps have improved your life or helped you form good habits? Please share your favorites.

Sources

eMarketer. (Sept. 9, 2013). Android, Apple Continue to Consolidate US Smartphone Market. eMarketer.com. Retrieved from http://www.emarketer.com/Article/Android-Apple-Continue-Consolidate-US-Smartphone-Market/1010196

Food Information Council Foundation. (May, 2012). 2012 Food and Health Survey. Food Information Council Foundation. Retrieved from http://www.foodinsight.org/Content/3840/2012%20IFIC%20Food%20and%20Health%20Survey%20Report%20of%20Findings%20%28for%20website%29.pdf, page 39

Statistic Brain. (2012). Skype Statistics. Retrieved from http://www.statisticbrain.com/skype-statistics/

Get Smart About Preventive Healthcare

Routine preventive care services to maintain your health and prevent disease for you, your family, and your pets is one of the most important things you can do to stay healthy. And as you may know, mobile apps for health are hot these days. There’s an abundance of apps that provide an awareness of the health of our families and pets. Tech savvy people are now using apps to track medications, prenatal care, alcohol intake, pain, fitness, nutrition, and more. However, you’re stuck installing several apps to track everything. This is why LifeTopix is different. You’re able to track ALL of these items (and more) — in one place, which helps you to understand the relationships between them. For example, you’re able to see the cause and effect relationships, such as nutrition and feelings of well being.

LifeTopix Preventive Care Tracking

Take Control of Your Own Healthcare

Many doctors track and prompt you to schedule preventive care; however, it’s important to keep a personal record to alert you of preventive services for many reasons. For example, you might change doctors, a doctor might leave the practice, you might see a variety of doctors (both holistic and traditional) to track different disorders, or your doctor may not recommend care and tests that are important for you. Types of services and items to track include prenatal care, children’s and pets’ immunizations, pediatric preventive health, dental care, medications taken, test results for blood pressure, and screening tests such as mammograms.

Watch Your Budget

Keeping track of the cost of preventative care is also important for budgeting — and is especially important if you elect to use an FSA (flexible spending account). An FSA is a tax-advantaged financial account set up from your employer in the United States, which enables you to use those funds for health care without resulting in payroll taxes. If all funds aren’t used by the end of the year, you lose those funds — so keeping track helps to remind you if you’re spending the right amount and the right times.

Tracking – the LifeTopix Way

We’ve included a brief introduction about using LifeTopix to track pet preventive care below. This guide is meant to provide you with an understanding of how you can use LifeTopix to track your own needs — your own way. As a reminder, always consult a doctor about your family’s or pets’ healthcare so he or she can recommend the right care.

In this example, a family adopted a new puppy, Lucky. As you know, puppies require immunizations, well checks, and medications to prevent diseases such as rabies, heartworm, fleas, and ticks. View our slides below to learn how simple it is to track preventive care with LifeTopix.

LifeTopix Preventive Care Tracking

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5 Reasons You Should Track Your Nutrition

There’s many reasons to track your nutrition and maintain a food log. Are you working out, but not seeing changes? Do you suspect food allergies or a gluten intolerance? Do you suspect emotional eating? Do you have health issues, such as high cholesterol or high blood pressure? Whatever your reasons, maintaining a healthy weight and avoiding foods that are detrimental to your health will help you live a happier, healthier life.

Keeping track of food consNutrition Tracking Photo - LifeTopixumption will help you see the number of calories that you’re consuming each day, and it will also tell you if you’re eating enough vegetables, fruits, and whole grains, which are essential to a healthy diet. Keeping track of solid fats, oils, and desserts will help you determine if you’re eating too many of these foods.

There are several websites and apps that can help you keep track. Review our quick tutorial at the end of this post to learn how you can track nutrition based on guidelines from ChooseMyPlate.gov.

Poor Eating Habits Can Lead to Health Risks

According to an NCHS brief from the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention, January 2012, more than one-third of U.S. adults (35.7%) are obese. Also, the number of overweight children in the U.S. is growing, with 1 out of 3 children now considered overweight or obese. If you have a body mass index (BMI) of 25 or more, you may be considered overweight or obese. Visit the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention website [ Assessing BMI ] for more information about BMI. Not maintaining a healthy weight puts you at risk for many conditions — such as heart disease, stroke, and type 2 diabetes.

Understanding Your Relationship With Food

Food is used for several reasons — not just to satisfy hunger. At times, there might be psychological reasons, instead of physical reasons that lead to over-consumption. Food is used during celebrations such as birthday parties or weddings. Relationships, locations, and moods can affect your eating and drinking habits. For example, if you’ve had a stressful day at work, you might indulge in an extra glass of wine, or if you’re at the movies you feel obligated to eat the buttered popcorn. Keeping a diary of your food will help you identify the triggers that lead to poor eating habits.

Finding Your Allergy Triggers

Keeping track of foods that trigger your allergies can be a valuable tool. Some allergies are extreme and are obvious, but others may require some further investigation. When you keep track, you can correlate symptoms such as wheezing, nasal congestion, rashes, and nausea with the foods or drinks that you consume. Of course, if you suffer from allergies, any changes in your diet should be discussed with an allergist.

Improving Body Image

Your body image is how you feel about your physical self. If there are things that you want to change about your body (i.e., you’re not within the accepted BMI recommendations), you can put together a plan in conjunction with a nutritionist or a general practitioner to reach those goals. Make sure those goals are realistic for your body type. Tracking your progress and reaching these goals can boost your self-esteem and your body image.

Combating Unfair Perceptions of Obesity

In a study conducted by the University of Alabama, the perception of people who are obese is very different from those who are thin. For example, in the study those who were overweight and resting were associated with laziness, while their thin counterparts were described as resting. For more information about the study, see Science Daily.

How Technology Can Help

There are several tools that you can use to track exercise, weight, and nutrition. At LightArrow, we’ve created LifeTopix, which enables you to track everything in your life — all in one place. It is very flexible — allowing you to build nutrition tracking that’s tailored to your specific needs. Take a look at the following tutorial to learn more.

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