Remember when all your phone could do was make and receive calls? There was even a separate machine to answer when you weren’t available. Now that advanced refurbished smartphones are available at a reduced cost through companies like Hulii,  we ask our phones to be extensions of ourselves. Our phones are what keep us engaged in the modern world. 

Through our phones, we get our news, connect to friends, engage in politics, and even manage our physical and mental health.  So, what can we do to make sure our phones keep serving us and not the other way around? What apps are out there that will lead to personal and community lifestyle improvements? 

Keep reading as I go through the best-rated and life-changing apps that are sure to make your phone use more rewarding and worthwhile. 

Increase Mindfulness with Headspace

Headspace is an app to help you increase mindfulness and meditate.  Meditation, though the butt-end of a lot of hippy-dippy ridicule, is actually a highly successful research-backed method to reduce anxiety and improve focus and well-being. 

While there are many different meditation apps out there, Headspace stands out with its clean design, easy-to-use platform and relatively low cost.

The app features different courses that are structured to help you constantly improve. The ‘Basics’ is the first course offered and is totally free.  After that, there is a yearly subscription of about 95 USD. It is a bit less than a small donation at your local meditation group every week. 

The Hulii faithful are mindful in their tech consumption and want the best for a reasonable price, which is why I highly recommend the latest version of Headspace.\

Encourage Productivity with Focus Booster

With the modern-day work-life getting ever more tech-heavy, everyone is complaining about how hard it is to stay on task and away from distractions like scrolling through Instagram or Candy Crush. 

Focus Booster is a browser, PC, and phone application that helps you control how you spend your time.

It uses the Pomodoro method which encourages you to stay on task for 25-45 minutes at a time before taking a 5-minute break. These controlled breaks are clinically proven to improve focus and productivity.

Focus booster offers a free version and a high-end professional plan. A great free option is something I love in a lifestyle app and the paid plans are reasonably priced at $3-5/month. If you upgrade you can track work for different clients and create exportable revenue and data information.

Reduce Smartphone Usage with Screen Time

While we love smartphones at Hulii, we also understand their addictive quality. 

There are a lot of apps that track how long you spend on a given app and prompt you to stop usage, but Screen Time is the only app I’ve found that will completely shut off your apps after you reach your limit. 

Short of uninstalling the app, there’s nothing you can do. This is a feature some screen addicts have complained about that they should probably be grateful for.

This app is like a locked rehab facility for smartphone-users. It gives you a usage report and it is easy to look at that report and edit your allowed app time per day. You may be surprised at how long you spend scrolling through Facebook or browsing today’s headlines. 

Check out this app. Most of its features are completely free so it isn’t going to do anything but potentially save you time and money.

Manage Stress with Happify

Happify is very ‘app-tly’ named as it is an absolute joy to use.  As the name suggests, this is an app focused on managing stress and improving your general quality of life.  It uses Cognitive Behavioral Therapy techniques and games to help you lift your mood and deal with stress, depression, and anxiety. 

Engaging with this app can be a game-changer if you are going through a particularly stressful time. Also, the games and journaling aspects of the app are pretty fun to use.

It is a great app for anyone, though if you’re experiencing a clinically significant amount of mood disruption it might be useful to supplement your use of the app with a visit to a licensed counselor or a subscription to BetterHelp, which is an app that digitally connects you with a real therapist

Avoid Waste with Olio

Feeling down about throwing usable food or homewares away but want to be more ‘Marie Kondo’ about your stuff? Olio is a left-overs app that lets you share leftovers with your neighbors. 

There are also options to help you give away old clothes to someone who might need an outfit for a new job or their kid’s first day of school. 

In true Hulii spirit, we hope this planet-friendly app takes off. We’re tired of people going hungry when there’s so much excess and are excited to engage in a more circular economy.

Olio is well-established in the UK and Ireland but is growing fast in countries around the world.

Be More Balanced with your Diet and Exercise with Samsung or Apple’s Health apps

The apps above are available on Google Play or the App Store. However, for your health and fitness, the best options might be S-Health or Apple’s default Health app.

These two apps have unparalleled syncing capabilities with smart-watches and the ability to retrieve and track complex health data through your phone. While you may have blown them because they came stock, they are a vast improvement over apps like MyfitnessPall or Noom.

But the iPhone 7 and S8 models that come with these apps are expensive. That’s why you should give a thought to purchasing a refurbished, perfect condition model through Hulii. You’ll get the high-end phone with all of the latest health software and capabilities without a hefty investment.

Make your Smartphone Work for You

These are just a few apps that can help you make good use of your time, energy and resources. However, the main goal Hulii recommends you have is to use your smartphone (refurbished or not) mindfully. 

Pay attention to how you spend your time and what you use your phone for. Bringing awareness into how we use our phones, spend our time, or take care of ourselves can generate a more peaceful, focused and happy lifestyle. 

So, whether or not you take advantage of these apps, take a moment to think about your phone usage, time management, and self-care. You might thank us for it later.