4 Apps You NEED To Master After Graduation: Part 1


Sunrise or Default (Calendar Apps)


Everyone needs a little structure in their life. Whether that means having a calendar for simple reminders or detailing every single hour of your day. Structure simply reduces stress and increases productivity; these apps will help create that structure!

I have a friend who during his third year of college was going to discontinue playing college athletics because he needed to add 16+ hours a week of shadowing to keep on track with his education requirements. This was on top of his already-packed schedule of being a student-athlete. After he told me this, as his teammate and friend I wanted to make sure it was a calculated decision and not one made simply because it may seem daunting. Of course whatever decision he made I would support, but I just wanted him to see what his schedule would look like visually before making it. So, we sat down and laid out what his weekly schedule would look like since we already knew our class and athletic schedules. The finish product had everything from his 5 classes, team practices, team lifting, transportation to the specific campuses and the gym, and even made sure to include 8 hours of sleep per night. From there, we were able to schedule the 16+ hours per week of shadowing he needed including the time it took to travel to the location. After he saw everything laid out he not only changed his mind from thinking it was not possible, but he decided to continue playing the next year! This is just one example, but knowing and organizing your weekly schedule outputs positive results.

I want to start by saying if you prefer to keep your calendar in written form or another non-electronic way, still read this section just to know what the other options are. On the app stores whether it be iTunes, Google Play, Windows, etc., there are a million and one options of calendar apps you can use. I have tested out a ton of different calendar apps and have determined that the only reason to switch from whatever your default calendar app would be to get a different user experience or more integration. This is why the current calendar app I use is Sunrise, because of the interface. Maybe a couple years ago when the default calendar apps did not have as much customization or integration it would have been better to find a third-party app. Now, they have just about all of the bells and whistles as apps that are paid! For example Apple just added a “travel time” option for any events you create. Simple calendar sharing, integrating with your email, autonomous event creation, and more detailed event customization are now normal when it comes to your default calendar apps.

My goal for this calendar app section is to save you time and give you direction. The only time that organizing your life with a calendar can be detrimental or not have positive results is if you waste time downloading and testing out tons of apps (like I did initially). A quote I shared from Michael Hyatt states it best: “Perfectionism is the mother of procrastination”. If you choose to download a third-party app, download one or two, see which interface works best for you, and move on to the next thing. Otherwise, start inputting any and all events in your life. Start even by including the time 7-8 hours of sleep per night. This will be a good starting point and may even help you sleep for this long as I assume you are a grinder and sometimes burn the candle too much at both ends.

Some tips for starting to populate your calendar:

  • Use reoccurring events as much as possible to prevent repeated event creations
  • Invite others to the events that they are included in. This will add a level of accountability and may save you a reminder here and there
  • Add important event notes when necessary to remind you of who, what, when where, and why
  • Share your calendar with your partner because it can save a lot of time and they can always check your schedule in case a friend or family member invites you both to an event
  • Add your calendar app to your home screen or quick launch panel so you can access and add events on a whim
  • If your schedule is a hectic one, don’t forget to add a “me time” event to relax!

LearnVest or Mint (Personal Finance Apps)


After you have organized your life a bit and have your lines of communication through email setup, the next step is taking hold of your finances. Whether you graduate with student loans or not, you need to know what your financial situation looks like. I have also played around with a ton of financial apps and have found that the LearnVest (free) or the Mint (free) are the top two when it comes to budgeting and bringing together your different accounts whether that be credit cards, debit cards, loans (personal, private, and student), investment portfolios and just about everything in between. These apps are good to get an overview of all of your accounts, in one place, but I would still also make sure to download your bank-specific app. For me, I have the Chase app (credit cards: Chase Sapphire and Amazon) and the PNC app (debit accounts) along with these financial management apps LearnVest and Mint. Your bank-specific apps allow you to do more things with your actual money like money transfer, notification setting, setting up auto-pay, etc., but the bulk of your personal finance organization will be done in the other apps.

After you have downloaded your bank specific apps and have chosen which of the two financial management apps (LearnVest or Mint) you prefer (currently I am using LearnVest), go ahead and start setting up your account. Both financial management apps will allow you to link all of your accounts so begin with this. Yes, both of these sites are very secure and your data will be protected. Don’t forget to link any investment accounts and loan accounts in addition to your bank(s). Now, you can see where all of your money is, be informed when making financial decisions, and take some actions steps like setting up a detailed monthly budget and setting any savings goals.

I cannot explain how important having a clear picture of your finances is. The first step to having control over your finances (after actually wanting the control) is understanding and seeing them. Downloading these applications and using them is the how you take a step towards achieving this. Not to mention the convenience of being able to control it all with a smartphone.

Your Homework: 

Download both LearnVest and Mint and see which one you like, download the app(s) of whatever personal bank you have, and begin to take hold of your finances!

Share your personal finance stories!

Leave a comment with any interesting experiences you have had with your accounts or contact me directly with any questions, comments, or concerns:

betweencollegeandcareer@gmail.com

Next up: 

4 Apps you NEED To Master After Graduation: Part 2


 

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