Do you watch a lot of YouTube? If you have a lot of subscriptions or find yourself going down a rabbit hole on a regular basis, you may be spending more time on the service than you really should. YouTube will now make it possible for you to limit yourself and take breaks from streaming videos through their service.
YouTube is now introducing their feature that will encourage watchers to “take a break,” says Android Authority. The newly updated version of YouTube is adding settings that let users customize how long they watch. In the “General” section of the YouTube app’s settings, users who have updated the app will find an option called “Remind me to take a break.” Using this setting will prompt YouTube to send out reminders after a certain length of time. These reminders can be dismissed and won’t actually lock watchers out of the app. But they will let people get an idea of how long they’ve been watching and then choose to pause for a while.
With this setting, users can decide how long they can watch before being prompted to stop streaming. There are six options to choose from, including “Never” as the shortest time and “”Every 180 minutes” as the longer time. There are also more moderate options like “Every 60 minutes.” If you’re really wanting to cut back on your watching, you can even pick “Every 15 minutes,” though I don’t know many people who can really stop themselves after just 15 minutes.
There are plenty of really great videos and channels on YouTube, and of course it’s not necessary to stop watching altogether. But some people can find it hard to stop bingeing videos, which means it can be really helpful to get some reminders to stop wasting so much time. Since they’re just reminders and they don’t actually lock the app, the main concern is that YouTube binge watchers will simply get in the habit of dismissing the notification periodically. But there are other apps that can do this if necessary, and YouTube’s approach will be a much gentler one for those who just need a little bit of a push.
The update is being rolled out now, according to Android Authority. Look for this new feature in your app’s settings after you’ve updated.
For some people, there’s so much to do in a day that it’s hard to keep up with everything. By the end of the day, you might not be sure what you even did over the past 12 hours. Or you might not be incredibly busy, but you just don’t remember to stop and think about specific aspects of your life.
If this is the case for you, you might benefit from an app like the ones in this article. There’s an app for nearly everything, and of course there are apps that can track most areas of your daily life.
Why track your day?
You might have realized you want to keep up with what you’re eating, or maybe it dawned on you that you’re not sure when you last spent time with your friends without looking at your phone. Maybe you’ve been forgetting to budget for travel expenses or grocery costs. Whatever it may be, there’s a way to track it.
Tracking certain parts of your day can make it much easier to evaluate what you’ve been doing. It can make it possible to understand certain issues in your life, and it can show you things you’ve been doing well (and things you didn’t know you needed to improve on). If you don’t know what to fix, then you won’t know how to fix it. By tracking how much you exercise, how much time you spend on your tablet, or how big your environmental footprint is, then you’ll have a starting point for change.
What can you track?
Here are just some ways you can track your personal life. There are apps listed for each area. Of course, these are just some of the apps you might want to try. The app store on your phone will likely have even more to choose from. So if one of these doesn’t appeal to you, take a look around to see if there are other options that fit you better.
Track your food
There are many different apps you can use to track your food throughout the day. Most of them will let you set goals (like how many calories you can have, how much sugar you can consume, etc.) You can often set a weight goal, as well, and get food intake suggestions. Here are a few apps to try:
- Your device’s built-in app: Depending on which phone you have, you might already have a food tracker on your device. For instance, there’s Samsung Health, which offers quite a few health tracking features.
- MyFitnessPal (Android & iOS): MyFitnessPal is an app from Under Armour. It lets you track your food intake, find out nutritional facts, add your own recipes, find food from restaurants, scan barcodes to look up products, and more.
- Lose It! (Android & iOS): Lose It! is specifically designed for weight loss, but you can of course just use it to track what you eat. You can use it to set and meet goals. It lets you input and track your eating every day, take part in challenges, plan meals, and more.
Track your exercise
If you’re not sure you’re exercising enough, you can always try keeping track of your fitness regimen. You can log how long you’re exercising, what kinds of exercises you’re doing, and more. Most apps will give you an idea of how many calories you may have burned during the day, as well. Here are a couple apps to check out:
- Your device’s built-in app: Like above, some phones have a built-in health app that offers useful features. Using Samsung Health as an example again, you can choose from different exercises (like push ups and jumping jacks), then log how long you did them.
- JEFIT (Android & iOS): With JEFIT, you can track your training and your progress, as well as set and meet goals. Along with all the instructional features and its social aspect, you can log your workouts in the app.
- HeavySet (iOS): With this app, you can track your weightlifting and other equally intense workouts. It’s specifically designed for logging exercise. It also tells you when you set personal bests and lets you look back on past time periods to see trends.
Track your gas costs
If you commute to work, like to go on road trips, or are just worried about the current cost of gas, then you can try tracking your transportation costs. Gas prices have been soaring, and it could be a good time to figure out just how much you’re spending. You may make decent money at your job, but if you commute to work, your gas costs might make a huge dent. Or you might have gone on a trip but then forgotten to calculate how much you spent fueling up. Here are a couple apps that can help you keep a log of how much you’re spending at the gas pumps.
- Fuelio (Android): With this app, you can track basically everything related to your auto costs. You can track how much you’ve spent filling up your tank, how many miles you’ve put on your car, how much you’ve spent servicing your car, and more.
- Fuel (iOS): Fuel, like Fuelio, lets you log how much you spend at the gas pumps. It also lets you input other car expenses, include more than one car, and look at clear charts showing your spending.
Track daily costs
If you find yourself running low on money before each paycheck, it might be useful to start figuring out where most of your money is going. Using an app, you can track how much you’re spending on your shopping trips, then look for any trends, places you can cut back, or things you can actually spend more on. These are just a couple of your options:
- Wally Lite (iOS): With this app, you can scan receipts, manually input spending, set a budget, and track where you’ve been spending your money.
- Mint: Mint is a popular multi-purpose finance service. It can help you track your bills, set a budget, and get a visual of your spending, along with many other features.
Track environmental impact
There are many things we do every day that can be wasteful or otherwise bad for the environment. With an app, we can remind ourselves to make environmentally-conscious decisions. We can also see a visual representation of the environmentally sound things we did that day, as well as learn about other little things we could be doing better. Here are a couple apps that can help:
- JouleBug (Android & iOS): With JouleBug, you’re inspired to take note of what you do every day to try to be a little more green. The app offers suggestions on how to be more environmentally friendly, then gives you points and achievements when you actually do Earth-friendly things. Your points are a great indication of how environmentally sound you’re being each week.
- Oroeco (Android & iOS): Oroeco is an app that encourages you to be environmentally friendly and then rewards you when you make an effort to do so. You can earn rewards when you do green things, and you’re given suggestions for ways to be kinder to the environment.
Track your mood
Keeping up with how you feel throughout a day can be difficult. You might not even know when you’re in a bad mood or if you’re experiencing mood swings. Keeping an eye on your mood can give you an indication of what the underlying causes might be (whether it’s something as basic as stress or something more serious). The following apps can help you track your mood throughout each day:
- Realife Change (iOS): This app is a motivational app that offers a “virtual coach.” You can track your moods and various different emotions and thoughts throughout your day, then receive advice based on what you logged. You can also track your moods using hashtags.
- iMoodJournal (Android & iOS): iMoodJournal lets you log your moods throughout the day (including hashtags), then look back at charts showing your trends. You can even include extras (like photos), and you can track other things, like energy level and stress.
Track screen time
If you’re like most people with access to tech, you probably spend a lot of your day looking at a screen. Phones, computers, tablets, TVs—there are screens everywhere. Some screen time is unavoidable, and realistically, it would be difficult to cut it out completely. But it is possible to learn how much time you’re really spending on it and then set goals to cut back. These are just two of the apps that you can try:
- Moment (iOS): Moment is an app for iOS users who want to know how much time they’re spending on their iOS devices. It tracks screen time automatically. You can then see how much you’ve used all your devices (and you can include your family’s devices, too) and set daily limits.
- AntiSocial (Android): This app runs in the background of your device and then provides reports on how much screen time you’ve used. You can use it to set limits and block access to certain apps, as well.
I know, I love tech and the internet, but let’s be honest—sometimes it’s smart to take a break every now and again. Smartphones are fun and useful, but it can be a good idea to set them down and take care of other things. Many people can find themselves using their phones much more than they actually want to, feeling obligated to check apps that people expect them to be on all day, every day, which can be very stressful. Also, too much screen usage might just be damaging your eyes, according to BBC Newsbeat. Of course, I’m in no way suggesting you stop altogether or cut back more than necessary, but why not take some small breaks? It can make being connected even more fun when you’re not bogged down by how much you need to use your phone every day. I don’t know about you, but I can sometimes feel like I’m tied to my phone, and I just don’t enjoy it as much then. What’s really great is that you can even take advantage of fun or pretty tech while you’re doing it. Some apps make turning off your phone much less painful than you’d expect. Here are just a few ways to encourage yourself to turn off the screen for a little bit!
Forest is an app that’s available on iOS and through Google Play. Forest makes turning your phone off enjoyable by letting you grow trees and feel like you’re being rewarded for lessening your screen time. With Forest, you plant trees in the app, and when your phone is off, your trees begin to grow. If you close the app to do other things, your tree dies. Each tree you plant has a countdown timer, and you have to leave the app open until the countdown ends to let your tree finish growing. Eventually you’ll have a whole forest of trees, which gives you a lovely visual representation of how much time you’ve been able to take away from phone usage. Also, you can earn coins while using Forest, and you can then spend those coins so that Forest makes a donation to Trees for the Future, an organization that plants trees. Forest is a great way to make turning off your phone feel really productive. Check out their website for more information!
FocusNow is similar to Forest in many ways. Specifically, you grow trees while you’re not using your phone, which is the core of Forest. FocusNow is available on iOS and lets you connect with other FocusNow players by sharing your habits and encouraging each other. Growing your trees (by using a countdown timer and keeping the app open) leads to what FocusNow calls a “farm castle,” a lovely area full of plant life and pretty castles. You can add your “good habits” to a list in the app and receive reminders to keep up with these habits. If Forest isn’t for you, or if you like the idea of maintaining good habits through the app, check out FocusNow for iOS!
Unplug is an iOS app that adds a little bit of personal goal-setting to shutting off your screen. You can set limits for how much time you spend on your phone, and the app helps you keep track of just how much you’ve used your phone. It also shows how many times you’ve unlocked your phone each day. It can display your stats in different ways that might suit you. What makes it rewarding is that you can build up a collection of trophies, collect points, and go on “streaks” of good phone use behavior. There may not be any growing plants, but gathering trophies can feel fun and helpful for people who have trouble limiting their phone time. If you like the idea of point-building and trophy-collecting, check out Unplug for iOS!
Pocket Points is an interesting app that rewards users in a different kind of way. Pocket Points is intended to encourage students to turn off their phones during class. While students are on campus, they can open the app, turn their phone off, and build up points while their screens are off. These points can then be exchanged for stuff at places near you. The Pocket Points website lists some of their available businesses, like Insomnia Cookies, Wendy’s, Pita Pit, and Papa John’s, among other places. You can get discounts and other cool promos, as well as just totally free stuff. If you’re a student who wants discounts and free things and is willing to shut off their phone while they’re on campus, you can get Pocket Points for iOS and in the Google Play store. Check out the Pocket Points website for more information!