Best apps for 2020

You’ve probably been there before – you read about an app, download it to your phone, play around with it for 3 minutes and then forget about it. Getting back to it for the second time in a couple of months, only to delete it after you hit your storage limit.

I’ve been through this scenario numerous times. On the other hand, there are a couple of apps, that survived and help me be productive, organized and informed on a daily basis.

In this post, I’ll be going through a selection of apps I believe can help set you up for success in 2020! Most of them successfully stood the test of time – which particularly sounds grotesque in the context of technological evolution. Similarily, I get pretty upset if the product pivots just in time I got used to it!

Going forward, these are the best apps for 2020 I kept and continue using on a heavy basis:

VSCO for photo editing

Because I don’t do heavy editing on my photos, VSCO comes in handy. I’ve been using it for the last ca 5 years and it took me some time to grasp the navigation and functionalities. I find it pretty straightforward now and often utilise ‘recipes’ feature when I want to edit a couple of photos from the same day (in the same lighting). You can save your edits and automatically apply them to other photos. I only use free version but I find myself repeatedly eyeing premium filters 😁. I don’t really like filtered photos as I enjoy looking at authentic visuals but maybe I should experiment more??

Spendee for tracking my expenses

I started to track my personal expenses in a mobile app back in 2014. At the time, I was using Wally but unfortunately, they changed the product and strayed away from personal finances. After trying out at least 3 other products I stuck with Spendee. I very much enjoy simplicity and nice graphs. It’s 2020, we’re using Revolut, Monzo and a bunch of other banks and you’re probably asking why would I track my spendings in yet another app. Monzo (which I use quite often) provides its own monthly analytics and budget features. However, it’s the act of typing the sums and items manually, which has this psychological effect on me.

My transactions are 95% contactless so having that extra manual habit helps to put financials into perspective. Little things do add up! I think thrice before I buy something – may that be a new clothing item or a little ‘afternoon pick-me-up’. Next time you want to buy something, have look at your monthly spending and ask yourself if you wouldn’t rather invest the resources into your next trip. Even small stuff like takeaway lunch – I’d rather have that acai bowl on the beach next time I’m in Portugal. 😎

tracking monthly spendings personal finances mobile app spendee
Monthly spending overview

V2V translate for learning languages

I started to learn European Portuguese in 2018. While I don’t speak any Romance language and found Spanish quite easy in a couple of classes I attended at uni I was quite keen to give it a go. I signed up for a 3-month beginner course in Prague. Indeed, the grammar is not that complicated to grasp. however, the European Portuguese is an EXTREMELY PHONETIC language. I said to myself that if I want to be successful, the first thing would be to grasp the rhythm, pronunciation principles = being able to read Portuguese correctly. If I’ll be able to read, I can somehow recognize the words and probably better understand others. (So far I have an impression that a sentence in Portuguese is just one unidentifiable word).

Also, there are very few apps that recognize European Portuguese properly. It’s a completely different universe compared to a widely spoken, Brazilian one. E.g. Duolingo doesn’t have European Portuguese. I’m still looking for a solution/app that I’ll be able to build up my vocabulary – please let me know if you have tips!

This is how I hacked learning pronunciation in European Portuguese. V2Vtranslate app let’s you to have a conversation and translate it to any language. What’s even better, it automatically transcribes what you’re saying. This way, I was able to check if the sentence I read in Portuguese was correct – I could compare the transcription with my textbook. The text was translated to English at the same time, so I was able to learn new words. Such a handy way if you don’t have a teacher that will coach you! I believe this could be done with any language. 🙂

UVLens for checking that UV

Sun is dangerous and essentially the single most reason behind skin damage. Because we don’t really have a problem with UV over here in London 😀, I always check this practical forecast. I’m used to wearing SPF50 every day but I though the amount of SPF in foundation would be enough during winter and only will be putting a proper layer when the sun is out. I highly recommend this if you live in a sunny place. Now I’m off to have my vit D tablet.

Notion for work and life admin

I downloaded Notion a couple of years ago and didn’t really know what to do with it. The app was installed on my desktop but I never used it. It was only last autumn I grasped the whole concept. Around the same time, Notion team launched ‘templates’:

Notion – templates showcase

I’m working with a client who runs (almost) entirely on Notion – imagine having an internal knowledge base, planning, content, content calendar, meeting agendas etc. in one place, linkable and taggable. There’s a minimal reason to use google suite and it also decreases the time spent on Slack. I’m a convert. I’ve been also using it for my personal projects (kanban, content plans, travel planning…) . There’s also a ton of Reddit threads and users showcasing their setups.

I’d say is like a digital bullet journal. Fully customisable and sleek. I’m still exploring the functionalities but can definitely say I won’t be going away anytime soon.

Gosquared for website analytics and Live Chat

Analytics dashboard

This tool can completely replace Google Analytics. If you have a website, a blog or e-commerce business, this tool can serve as a real-time dashboard, has Live Chat add-on and automation features that will enable you to communicate with your users or customers on scale. I downloaded a mobile app for live chat and already had a couple of conversations with visitors!

SHAPR for networking

Imagine Tinder but for building a professional network. I’ve been using this since 2016 (literally) around the world and met a couple of relevant and interesting people. Most recently Nicolas after a year and a half back-to-back scheduling and aligning agendas. Try it out!

Clue for tracking cycle and recognising patterns

I wish I could say my energy levels, motivation and mood were constantly balanced. It’s not plain sailing. We’re planning a voyage to Mars, but we haven’t figured out how to manage women’s periods. (Not counting hormonal solutions – these have even worse drawbacks.) There’s very little research and we don’t even know if it’s necessary to go through this phase every month. I have days where I manage to do a lot and days when I’m exhausted. And then there are 2-3 days when I can’t function.

This means I’m avoiding trips, travel, commute, I don’t plan important meetings and essentially prepare for the worst. (Staying in with a combo of the water bottle, Ibuprofen fighting fatigue.) Clue helps me manage all of this. I can better distribute my work, plan ahead and – what’s more interesting, track so many things such as cravings, exercise, energy levels, productivity, sleep or medications. This helps me to figure out when something’s odd or if I’m not feeling myself. It’s easy to look back and recognise patterns.

As far as I know, the most important thing is that the team behind this app is doing a fair amount of research and I’ll happily support their efforts!

I hope you’d find my roundup of best apps for 2020 useful, please share your stack in comments! 🙂