Keeping Yourself On Track

Or at least being honest with yourself!

Sadly, the app that I was going to write about this time is not currently available in the app store and I couldn’t be that mean.

So instead, I’m going to write about two apps that I use to make sure that I’m doing what I want to do to move forward. These are especially important for me. I’m not saying that I’m always right on top of things but these let me know if I am or not.

First up is Streaks

A rough month so far!

Did I really practice as much as I thought I did last week…or this month? You’ll know for sure with this app. It’s also a great incentive because you don’t want to break your streak. (See a good Lifehacker post on this here.) There are quite a few themes to choose from.

Just a few of the themes available.

I use this for more than practicing but I use the same themes for the same types of things. Ear Training and Bassoon both have the same theme for example. You can set days that it is ok to skip while continuing your streak. You always see your current streak to give you that incentive to continue. You can write a note if you wanted to remind yourself of something. You can also dig deeper into a calendar in the settings to look at past streaks. Or see all of the notes that you’ve written in one place. The one tiny complaint that I have is that it seems to take a little while to calculate things if you have a lot of calendars. Definitely not a deal breaker but be prepared for that if you are trying to get in and out of the app quickly.

Streaks is native for the iPhone/iPod Touch and requires iOS 4.2 or later. It is from Fanzter and is available in the App Store for $1.99.

The next app is Alarmed from Yoctoville.

Some Timers from Alarmed.
(Yeah, I love Emoji!)

It’s great to be able to set it and forget it. I don’t have to spend my practice session looking at the clock if I have some place to be right after I’m done. I turn the app on and practice until it tells me it’s time to quit. One feature I really love is that you can pause the alarm and then continue it at a later time. Very helpful for those days where you are practicing so intensely that you need to take a few more breaks. I have a timer for breaks so that I don’t get too distracted by something else.

I know, I know.
Squirrel!

You can even set a nag so that if you don’t go into the app and turn it off, it keeps reminding you. You can also set multiple alarms for various things that can repeat during the day or on a daily basis. I mostly use the timers but if you needed a good regular alarm clock, this app can definitely do that too.
With all of this functionality, this app is completely free. Go ahead and spring for the extra sounds though. It’s only $1.99 and a responsive developer like this truly deserves the money. It’s also a plus app and the iPad version is great as well. You’ll need to have at least iOS 4 to run it. Get it here.

iPad version of Alarmed showing only an active timer.

So this post is not quite as fun or sexy as the app I originally wanted to share but these two are workhorses in my studio and life and I use them on a daily basis.

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