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We’ve all been there on the tube, in the car or maybe walking to work thinking I could do more with this time. Why not make the most of your commute, so you can feel you’ve accomplished a lot before you even get to work. Here’s a handy list of apps to get you on your way to more productive commute – you’re welcome.

1. Listen to a podcast – Stitcher

Although reading a book is great and we don’t want this pastime to die. It’s not always easy to get a book out or indeed fit one in your bag alongside your laptop, gym kit and your snacks for later. Also, Podcasts are great if your driving and don’t have four hands. You’re likely staring at a screen all day so why not give your eyes a break and just plug-in and listen. Some great podcasts: Tim Ferris Show, Stuff You Should Know, Ted Radio Hour to name a few. So what’s the app? Well, Stitcher is free and allows you to create a playlist of your favorite podcasts.

Image of Stitcher app on phone

2.Get some Buddha into your day  – Calm

We all need some head space and some time to just focus on our breath. Meditation is massively on trend and for good reason. There is a lot of research to say that taking time to just focus in the moment has wondrous effects on your health and mentality. So give this one a go. It’s free and has a range of things you can do from guided meditation to just focusing on your breath.

image of calm app on phone

3.Organise your food goals- Jawbone UP

Trying to lose weight or maintain a healthy diet, but always forget about that cheeky brownie at lunch or the extra glass of wine at the pub? Well, this app is great for helping you maintain a healthy diet or track your food to try to lose weight. They have a great feature to be able to watch your goals with friends and challenge them to a duel. Which is a race against your friend to do more steps in a set period such as 3 days. If you’re competitive this could be a great motivator for a lunchtime walk.

image of Jawbone UP app on phone

4.Catch up with what you couldn’t do earlier – Pocket

Ever too busy to read something but bookmark it for later and never actually get round to reading it. Well, all that could change with this handy app from Pocket. You can save articles from google (other search engines are available), twitter, Facebook, email, or almost anywhere else. Then, when you’re stuck on a train for 30 minutes because there is yet another strike; you’ll feel a lot more informed and motivated knowing you have had a productive commute.

Image of Pocket app on phone and tablet

5.Get your to-do list in shape –Wunderlist

Everyone loves a list, don’t they? I don’t know if it’s the numbered/listed thing of knowing you have objectives or maybe the satisfaction in crossing or ticking something off the list. Whatever your reason for making lists; there is a fantastic app called Wunderlist which allows you to make lists, add reminders, share with others ( i.e remind Tash to do her slides for that presentation). It also syncs with your computer – making life just that bit easier. So if you’re a list maker, write this on your to-do list to install.

Image of Wunderlist app on phone

6. Get everything connected – IFTTT

Ever get so confused by all the apps you have and wish everything could just be more synced and together? Well, this nifty bit of tech does this for you. IFTTT ‘gets all your apps and devices talking to each other’. The platform has a range of what they call ‘Applets’ which can bring services together to give you new options for making life easier.Image of IFTTT app on phone.

7. Zone out and concentrate more – Noisli

This app is fantastic at helping you zone out and focus which will inevitably increase productivity. You can create a custom sound scape to suit you by choosing a range of natural sound as well as brown, white and pink noise generators. Phone are used for lots of things and some apps stop running as soon you close them, however, this one keeps going meaning you can use other apps at the same time. Give it a try.

Image of Noisli app on phone

8. Personalise your typing – Swiftkey

We all do things a little differently. We have different preferences when using devices. This app allows you to custom your keyboard to suit the way in which you use your phone. It has the predictive abilities of Darren Brown. If this doesn’t make for a productive commute when you are getting through emails, I don’t know what will.

Image of someone using Swiftkey on their phone

 

 

 

 

You may not have noticed, because it’s hardly been mentioned at all, but it is now a new year. As such, everybody’s making resolutions and planning on becoming better people. We’re not that into making tough resolutions that make January a more unpleasant month than it already is. However, we definitely agree with making little changes that make life way more awesome. So, whatever positive change you’re making this month, we’ve probably got a class that can help you.

Change No. 1: Have a go at Veganuary

Veganuary is a thing now. It’s pretty self-explanatory, and involves eating vegan in January. It’s healthy, and it’s also good for the environment. If you can stand to be away from the bacon for a full weeks, you might find you can do it forever. There are HowNow teachers who can guide you through the process of cooking a whole host of delicious, vegan recipes, so you’ll never run out of inspiration.

Change No. 2: Get Fit

It’s not the most original, but after several weeks eating nothing but sausages in bacon and quality street, and washing it all down with wine (just me?) lots of people use the momentum of a new year to improve their fitness. It can be really hard to drag yourself to the gym, so imagine if you could exercise with a trainer in the comfort of your own home. As it so happens, we can totally help you to do that.

Change No. 3: More ‘me’ time

Modern life, guys, am I right? We’re forever running around, commuting for hours, getting work emails at all times of the day and night… It’s a juggling act, and it shouldn’t be. One of the easiest ways to start the new year feeling less stressed is to set aside some time every day that’s just for you. For example, you could try meditation. Close the door for a while, switch off your phone, and focus on yourself. Bliss.

Change No. 4: Learn a new language

Maybe you can’t wait to do some travelling in 2017. You might want to try living in a new country. Maybe you just want a new challenge, or to earn some bragging rights. These are all perfectly valid reasons to start learning a new language. The easiest way to start is to talk to people in the language you’re learning, and we know a whole load of awesome folks who can help with that.

Change No. 5: Be my own boss

Picture the scene: You have to go to work. You get out of bed, get dressed, and walk ten paces to your sofa. Because that is your office. Because you work for yourself. It’s the dream but, when you’re running around at the beck and call of your boss, it can feel totally unattainable. Maybe 2017 will be the year that changes. Start learning how to put your plans into action today, and thank us later. Maybe you want to turn your passion into profit and teach your own classes – we could even help you with that.

Change No. 6: Take more pictures

Maybe you’re about to start a new phase in your life and you want to remember everything. Maybe you got a flashy new camera for Christmas and you need to know how to use it. The best way to make sure you’re creating memories in 2017 is to start now. And a great place to start is by making sure you know what you’re doing.

Change No. 7: Learn to cook

Are you sick of microwave meals and cereal dinners? Do you feel like you might be getting judged by the people who run your local takeaway? It’s time to learn how to cook. Whether you’ve got delicate baking or hearty meals in mind, there are professionals out there who can talk you through the whole process in your own kitchen. Just remember to send us some when you’re done.

Change No. 8: Manage my money better

Oh, money. Some people think it makes the world go round and, whether or not you agree with that sentiment, most people would probably agree that there’s never enough of it. If you’re feeling overwhelmed by bills, it might be time to get somebody else to help you. You could chat about budgets and how to manage your cash better. Just remember to send us some when you’re done. (LOL, JK. Unless you’re feeling generous.)

So, what changes, if any, are you planning on making in 2017? Whatever they are, remember to keep it positive rather than punishing. The new year is a great opportunity to do new things, but no man (or anyone else, for that matter) is an island – if you need help, let someone else step in and lend a hand. It just so happens we know a few.

There’s a whole host of social media accounts and blogs dedicated to healthy lifestyles, whether that be fitness, nutrition, or a combination of the two. With so many out there, who should you be following? We recommend some of these people:

Jessamyn Stanley

Jessamyn Stanley is awesome. She started documenting her yoga journey on Instagram in order to check her alignment, and has quickly become an inspiration to women everywhere. She now teaches all over the world, and is also a body positivity advocate. Jessamyn encourages people to think ‘how does this feel?’ instead of ‘how does this look?’ while practising yoga.

Chocolate Covered Katie

You know how desserts are the best? Well, Chocolate Covered Katie does. She has loads of recipes for all kinds of sweet treats. The best, though, is that they’ve all been given a healthy twist. Sugar and syrup are replaced by healthy alternatives, and everything is still bloody delicious.

Minimalist Baker

Dana Shultz shares recipes for healthy food which is usually plant-based of gluten-free. So far, so standard. However, the best part about The Minimalist Baker is that she really does mean ‘minimalist’. Every recipe uses 10 ingredients or less, 1 bowl, or less than 30 minutes of your time, so you can make nutritious food without a lot of faff.

Fit Bottomed Girls

Erin Whitehead and Jenipher Walters have a website with everything from recipes to awesome playlists to get you fired up. Their Instagram is funny and full of motivation. They also have a podcast. There’s even an Anti-diet book. Basically, whatever you’re looking for in terms of motivation, you’ll find it thanks to Fit Bottomed Girls.

Deliciously Ella

You’ve probably seen her own brand of healthy energy balls in the shops. If not, you might have seen one of her three healthy eating cookbooks. Or perhaps you’ve seen the deli she’s been able to open in London because of her huge following. There’s no denying that Deliciously Ella is everywhere, and she’s great at what she does.

Fully Raw Kristina

If you like your healthy food looking bright and cheery, there’s nobody better than Kristina Carillo-Bucaran. Her Instagram feed and Youtube channel are super-bright and some of her recipes are super-tasty. She even has her own organic co-op, if you happen to be based around Texas.

Kayla Itsines

Kayla Itsines has a following of 10,000,000 women, and she has that for a very good reason. Users who are signed up to take part in her various programs are given targeted exercises to incorporate into theirworkouts, as well as a selection of recipes to cook every day. It’s like having someone hold your hand and guide you.

healthy

If any of these guys have inspired you, don’t forget that you can find personalised advice on healthy eating and fitness from our awesome HowNow experts. Happy health-ing!

Why should anybody learn new skills? After all, we’re all adults here, and there’s that whole adage about teaching old dogs new tricks. That didn’t just come from nowhere, so what’s the point? Right? Well, first off, that’s quite a negative outlook. Learning new skills can be hugely beneficial for a whole host of reasons. Here are just some of our favourites.

Increased self esteem

You’re awesome. We already know that. But sometimes it can be difficult to keep in mind. One way to remind yourself exactly how great you are is to learn new skills. After all, who would have though that you’d be speaking five languages in your thirties when you spoke none as a kid? Amazing. There’s nothing like taking on challenges and smashing them to make you feel like a badass.

The chance to get in the zone

Learning new skills gives you the opportunity to get in the zone. The zone is a great place to be. For the uninitiated, it’s that moment where you’re concentrating so hard on the task at hand that everything around you ceases to exist. That means all of your stress, distractions, other people, everything. It’s almost like magic, but a magic you can recreate any time.

Increased satisfaction

Can’t get no satisfaction? Maybe you need to make a positive change in your life. If you feel stuck in a rut it can be difficult to see a way to improve things, but learning a new skill is a small step in the right direction. Maybe you usually go home and log straight on to Netflix. It’s not so different to go home and then join an online class. The only difference is that you’ve suddenly become super-productive with no extra movement involved, and that’s an achievement.

Increased creativity

You might become an amazing creative genius as you continue to develop in one particular discipline. However, you might also find that adding to your roster of skills can give you a chance to work out problems in another area of your creative life. For example, suffering from writer’s block? Pick up a ukulele or learn to cross stitch, and stop worrying about it for a while. You might be surprised how much it helps.

Improve your memory

Learning something new is a great way to keep your mind active. This is especially important as we get older. Sure, you could just do a bunch of Sudoku puzzles, but wouldn’t it just be that little bit cooler to become a badass guitar-playing rockstar instead? Thought so.

You could literally change your life

Always fantasised about moving to Italy? You could start learning the language. If you do that, you’ve just taken your first step to actually living the actual dream. Similarly, if you’ve always wanted to be a chef, you could start with a few basic cookery classes. The world is so well-connected these days that you can find somebody who can teach you all of the new skills you’ve ever wanted to learn to change your life.

Higher income

Maybe you want to make more money. Firstly, we do not blame you. And secondly, it’s all about adding value, and new skills can do that. Learning a second language, picking up some writing skills, or improving your public speaking could all help you on the road to earning more. And if your current employer isn’t bothered that you’ve gone the extra mile, you might find somewhere else that appreciates your increasingly-abundant talents.

learning

So what new skills are you raring to learn? At HowNow we’re making it possible to learn awesome stuff from experts all over the world. We can’t wait to see what you choose.

Healthy eating can be tricky to figure out. There’s an overwhelming amount of information out there, from the actually-useful, to the not-very-helpful at all. And, of course, healthy eating is very much about the individual. What’s healthy for one person might be terrible for another. But if you want to take a few small steps that are suitable for everyone, where can you start?

Eat colourful food

Put. The blue raspberry. Down. That is categorically not what we mean when we say ‘eat colourful food’. We’re talking about eating a rainbow of fruits and vegetables which pack a vitamin-filled punch. It can be helpful to think in terms of colour as that helps to avoid eating too much beige food. By that, we mean things like chips, pastry, and white bread – things that aren’t very nutritious. It’s not about cutting calories so much as about making sure you’re body gets the hit of vitamins it needs to function properly.

Don’t give in to too many treats

We’re not saying ‘never have another biscuit in your life’, because we’re not horrible people. But healthy eating means focussing more on what will sustainably fuel your body than what will provide a quick hit of energy followed by a crash. We’re partial to an M&S treat tub at HowNow Towers, but we should be aiming to eat more seeds, nuts, fruits, and vegetables. ‘Should’ being the operative word. If you’re looking for help on the healthy eating front, services like Graze can be a great option.

Don’t start fad diets

Healthy eating isn’t a diet, it’s a lifestyle. There’s a difference between choosing to eat more veg and eating nothing but green juice and cabbage soup. For starters, it’s not very good for you in the long run because you’re missing out on getting a full range of nutrients. Secondly, they tend to end in disappointment when the results don’t last. And lastly, well, they’re just a bit boring. Healthy eating shouldn’t be a chore because if you turn it into one you’ll never want to do it.

Stay hydrated

Sometimes when you’re hungry, what you really are is dehydrated. If you’re sitting at a desk all day it can be difficult to summon the will to get up for a glass of water, especially if you don’t feel that thirsty. However,that’s exactly what you need to do. You might also find that you’re able to focus better, so you can tell your boss that regular water breaks are an essential part of your working process.

Eat Breakfast

Breakfast really does help to keep hunger locked up ’til lunch. We actually might have borrowed that from Shreddies. But either way, it really works. If you get the day off to a good start it sets you up to keep eating healthily throughout. You’ll be less hungry and less inclined to absentmindedly snack. All good things, really. Just try to avoid cereals loaded with sugar and daily fry-ups. A nice porridge ought to do the trick. Or avocado on toast if you’re feeling like Instagramming something.

healthy

Like we mentioned at the start of this, healthy eating is very much dependent on the individual. You might want some tailored help, and that’s exactly what you can find on HowNow. We also have awesome cooking classes with healthy recipes from people like Jessie Lane Lee. Get stuck in today!