The must have apps to improve your life.

I routinely meet people who've just bought their first smartphone. Great first step! But they often forget that they can download apps. Why own a smartphone if you don't download some great applications? 

Here are 5 great apps to help you start improving your life. 

1. Google Now

Think of Google Now as your personal assistant in your pocket. It doesn't have all the press that Apple's Siri has but deserves every bit of it. Google Now is built into Android and you can grab it on the iPhone by downloading the Google Search application. 

Once you turn it on it gets smarter. It learns your likes and dislikes and you can train it to keep track of things like your favorite sports teams, movies you'd like to see, upcoming concerts in your area, etc. 

There are literally dozens of voice commands like: "Google now remind me to buy light bulbs the next time I'm at Home Depot" to "How much should I tip on a $45 bill divided among three people." 

It's really smart!

2. ShoeBoxed

Want to live a completely paperless lifestyle? ShoeBoxed helps you keep track of all your receipts and bills organized in one simple place. Simple launch the app and take a photo of your receipt. The app is so smart that it recognizes text so you can search for it later. ShoeBoxed lets you organize your receipts by folders or events so it's perfect for that business trip to Austin. When you get back simply print out that PDF file of all your Austin receipts for your expense reports.

It works on both Android and iOS. 

3. Waze

Waze is a crowd sourced navigation app and it's better than anything currently on the market from the big map makers. It's constantly updated by other Waze users in your area to get the most accurate traffic, accident, speed trap, weather conditions nearby. Imagine knowing that you need to reroute your trip because four waze users are 5 miles up the road stuck in stand-still traffic. It works like magic, and that's why Google just bought them!

4. Water My Body

Do you drink enough water? Let me answer that for you. No you don't. None of us do and that's why we need a little help from Water My Body. It's an app that keeps track of your daily glasses of water and help keeps you on track. You can set reminders to let you know when it’s time to grab a drink. Users report seeing a dramatic shift in their memory, skin tone, and over all energy levels.


ReadQuick is the world’s best speed reading app for the iPhone and iPad, and the first to burst onto the scene. The app presents your favorite news sources one word at a time on the screen. You increase your words per minute easily in the left hand side of the screen.

ReadQuick trains you to triple and even quadruple your reading rate almost overnight. Most people naturally read at 250 words per minute, but by the end of the week you'll be blazing through 15 page New Yorker articles in no time at all. The app is $4.99 but well worth every penny. Afterall, it took the developers over a year to build it.