Our smartphones don't just increase our productivity when we’re away from a computer. They also fill our time when waiting at a crosswalk, riding the elevator with strangers, or taking the bus home from work. But instead of filling these voids with time-wasting games and social media, what if you could find a way to be inspired during your downtime? What if you could look up from your screen and feel a little smarter and more motivated to try harder and live better? Here are six apps I have found help keep me inspired throughout my day.
Deseret Bookshelf is an app that keeps getting better! Just by signing up I got eight free eBooks. And they’ve recently changed the free selections, so even if you already have the app there are new eBooks to read for free, which includes Increase in Learning by Elder Bednar. The latest app update is great for me because it supports audiobooks, letting me get more out of the messages of people like Sheri Dew and John Bytheway by listening to them read their own books when I am on my way to work or while running. Through my Bookshelf account, I have access to weekly email eBook deals, weekly lesson helps for Church, and daily inspirational quotes. I can also search for quotes by topic, which enhances my Sunday School lessons immensely. I read a page or two in Bookshelf as I go through my day and it really helps me stay focused on the gospel and teachings from prophets and apostles.
We have been told by prophets for many years to keep a journal, and now, study after study shows that journal keeping increases emotional intelligence, memory, and communication skills, as well as lowers stress and anxiety. The hang up I usually have is setting aside time to write about everything in my life. But Grid Diary makes journal writing simple. They offer writing prompts if you need a push to start writing and then make it easy to share the entries with yourself through email, so you can print a hard copy later.
Download iOS | Not available on Android
I love coming across inspiring videos or podcasts when I’m perusing the interne—it’s always a good pick-me-up. When I discovered Mormon Channel has an app chock-full of videos, conference talks, podcasts, and music videos, I got excited. I love that I can hook up my phone to my car and get a little inspirational message on my way to work. Some of the stories featured in Mormon Channel programs are nothing short of miraculous. Listening to them really helps me start the day right.
LDS Scripture Mastery
When I’m singing along to songs in the radio, I can’t help but think, “if only I used this brain to memorize something useful.” Scripture mastery is often associated with teens and Seminary, but these verses are also used frequently in church meetings for adults, and really summarize what Latter-day Saints believe. The LDS Scripture Mastery app not only brings the selected verses into one place, but it has flash cards and mini quizzes to test your knowledge. The tests also really ingrain the words in your memory so you can recall them quickly.
I love learning new languages! Two strangers from different countries instantly feel more united when they realize that they can converse in a common language. Duolingo makes language lessons fun and interesting. If you’re preparing to serve a mission in a foreign language or just want to brush up since leaving the field, this app is perfect. Even though I never served a mission, my knowledge in Spanish and German comes in handy often at work and in everyday life. I love that I can learn new languages in little chunks each day. The app also lets me connect with friends to instill some friendly competition in our mutual language lessons.
Family history has never really been something I found interesting, even though I know we have been told to do it. However, the FamilySearch app makes family history easy and interesting. While exploring the app, I started finding pictures of my great-grandmother, who I was too young to remember. Then I found stories about her and my grandmother and quickly became immersed in their legacies. The app also makes it easy to add your own archive of stories and photos. Your family tree can help you find missing relatives or ancestors whose ordinance work to be done. Studying your heritage in this way gives a sense of pride and inspires you to work hard to make your ancestors proud.