Lately, I’ve noticed that technology is being blamed for many of society’s ailments. We’re disenfranchised from one another, and it’s those darn smartphones! While it’s true that, at times, we all find ourselves out of balance, you can no sooner blame your smartphone for your hours lost to Pinterest any more than we can blame a cupcake for finding its way home from the bakery and into your stomach. Tempting as they both are, we have to regain some control over this relationship, spending more conscious time with (and without) tech, and choosing the apps we use purposefully.
Moreover, we simply can’t overlook what a positive impact many tech tools have made on our lives. For example, I have a core list of apps and services that help me manage my life. The kind of technology that can help you do more in less time, do more from home (or wherever you may be), and gather the power, knowledge and strength of a worldwide web of information to make informed decisions for myself and my family. Plus, they help me do all that quickly, so I can spend more of life making eye contact with the people I love, and less staring at a screen. That’s my idea of great technology— the stuff I use every day that put my daily life right at the intersection of Physical and Digital, or… Phygital.
Capital One knows a thing or two about living a Phygital life. They create financial products that meet their customers where they are: Busy, mobile, and time-starved (sound familiar?). When they asked me to partner on this post, I jumped at the chance to express my gratitude to those tools that allow me to live a Phygital Life, because they make so much possible in the way I parent, and run my life.
So the next time you see someone’s face buried in a screen, instead of telling them to #unplug or #lookup, you might instead ask them what they’re doing— you could learn a time-saving tip or two to help you get tasks done faster or smarter. Here are some of my time-tested favorite apps that make my life unapologetically phygital.
It’s been life-changing to order my groceries online— especially bulk items I used to buy at a membership store. I used to hate spending time navigating those large stores, and lugging home the same toilet paper, laundry detergent, and batteries every time. Getting in and out of grocery stores is a chore too, and doing the errand multiple times a week is a time suck. Many of the groceries I buy can be found at online grocery delivery sites, and I’m happy to report that they are increasingly carrying more holistic/natural/organic items. Many will save your formerly ordered items, so it’s easy to stock up on staples, and I can do it all while I’m home, which negates the need for a shopping list at all (I was always forgetting it at home anyway!). Perk: With all of this convenience, I’ve got the time to roam the Farmer’s Market on weekends, sampling produce or proteins and talking to farmers. That’s the stuff I really want to shop for myself, and if the rest can show up at my front door? Sign me up.
Buying a car can be a confusing ordeal, and it’s often hard to know if you got the best possible deal for you when making a decision at the dealership. Enter Auto Navigator, an auto financing tool from Capital One, that lets you see if you pre-qualify for auto financing even before you go to the dealership. (Without putting a ding in your credit score, I might add). I thought this tool was pretty superb when I spoke about it months ago, but it’s just been updated to include an important element: car listings from eligible dealers. Now, not only can you see if you pre-qualify for financing, you can view the advertised car listings at eligible dealerships throughout the country without having to drive from lot to lot. You’ll see which dealer has what car, and see personalized estimated terms based on your pre-qualification for each one. Additionally, you can play with the tool to see the impact of different down payment amounts, and the influence of different loan lengths on APR and payment. You can also see specific car details such as VINs and mileage, as well as Google customer dealer reviews, editorial content from Edmunds, and Carfax reports, all while still in your pajamas— all in all, you’re more empowered, and your car buying experience can go from mystery to mastery.
Backpacks, briefcases, and the mailbox— paper floods my home these and many other sources. Filing it has proven to be futile; it takes so much time to do (so I avoid it) and I can never find what I need in those file anyway (which is so frustrating). Digitizing the incoming paper helps me manage it all in a more effective way. Firstly, when I am going through any pile of paper, I can use a portable scanner, or even an app on my smartphone to scan it, and then file it away. Secondly, putting it in cloud storage makes it accessible anywhere— ask me to look up the terms of a recently signed contract, the manual for our washing machine, or my son’s first grade report card… it’s all in there. And lastly, the paper ceases to take up space in my life. Once it’s scanned I shred it and it’s off to the recycling bin, and my home doesn’t feel like a storage facility.
I rarely use my checkbook anymore, which used to always be at arm’s reach when a babysitter was collecting her night’s fee. Now most of my sitters request a digital payment, and I’m hooked on how simple it is. Apps connect to your checking account so you can pay anyone directly from there. Some apps send you a text when someone like your sitter requests funds: Just reply with a special code and she’s paid. Some apps store your payee’s personal information, so paying your personal trainer is as easy as a few taps, even if the amount is different each month. Your balance is always easy to monitor, too, so you always know where you stand. Plus, you’ll be saving trees with all those checks you’re not writing. Also, some banks offer these free apps and person-to-person payments, so check with yours.
What are the digital services and apps that you can’t live without? Speak here: let’s make a list in the comments!
Thanks to Capital One for partnering on this post.