Forget 'New Year, new you' - try new tech instead
Every January I make big, sweeping claims about how I’m going to become healthier, more pleasant and more organised.
By January 3rd, like clockwork, I’m grumpy and eating takeaway under a pile of paperwork.
Part of the problem is the pressure to do the whole ‘new year, new you’ thing, which often means trying to change your entire personality overnight.
Lots of people this January will be ditching the tech as part of their resolutions.
As this is unlikely to last either I’ve made a list of a few bits of tech that might not make you a different person overnight but could actually help you make smaller, longer-term changes that might stick around past January 31st.
I will spend less
Top priority for most of us in January is putting our limping finances in order and saving some cash.
The hugely popular pre-paid credit card Monzo comes with an app that helps you categorise your spending so you know when you’ve spent your monthly avocado budget.
The You Need a Budget app works in a similar way just without the credit card, and can help you figure out where all your money’s going.
If you want to actually make some money, Moola helps break down the murky world of investing so that anyone can have a go.
Now is also the year to look after ‘future you’ and sort out your pension with PensionBee’s easy-to-use online pension planner.
I will be kinder to myself/others/the environment
The first three companies here actually fit into the above category as well. Food waste app OLIO links you up with local businesses that are throwing food away so there’s less waste and you get free food.
In a similar vein, IoT company Smarter has a nifty cam for your fridge, showing you what you have in already so you don’t end up buying three pints of milk in one week by accident.
For businesses that produce a lot of organic waste, SEaB Energy turns that waste into energy onsite so you can actually make money from what you’re throwing away.
If you want to build up some good karma for the year ahead, donate to a good cause through UpEffect – a crowdfunding platform dedicated to projects that do good.
If you’re keen to donate to existing charities but don’t know how to choose, you can split your monthly charity budget across the causes that matter to you with Omnate.
Wonderful is also a charity fundraising platform that doesn’t take a cut of the donations, which most platforms do.
If you want to look a little closer to home and bring yourself a bit of zen, the Headspace app encourages you to practise a little bit of mindfulness every day which helps it become a habit.
I’ve used this one myself and it’s a great way of helping you focus if you wouldn’t consider yourself a natural meditator.
If you need to point someone you love in the direction of mental health services The Hub of Hope platform lets you find services that can help by postcode.
I will learn something new
Every year I say I’m going to learn a language but never end up being able to justify the course prices.
Tech is the perfect way to learn something new without spending loads – whether that’s by practising daily with a free app or by joining a community like #techmums, which helps mums skill up to return to work.
If you want to learn a language, The Language Pod connects you to online language tutors and apps like Duolingo are a free way to learn and practise a language in short bursts every day.
There are tech courses out there that will skill you up for a digital age whether you’re 16 or 60, through programmes like Codecademy, Decoded or Codess.
You can also give your kids a headstart in life with Code First: Girls, Fire Tech Camp, Teen Tech or Stemettes.
I will work smarter
There are about a million ways tech can help make things run smoother at work or in personal projects, but here are a couple of suggestions.
Rungway is an app that lets you ask a community for work advice, basically connecting you with mentors.
Digital productivity coach Prolifiko can help you if you want to start a writing project, and there are plenty of apps out there if you need to block the internet while you’re working.
If you’re a freelancer then TAXO’D can help you with your tax.
I will find someone to organise my life
If all else fails and you really need someone to whip you into shape in 2018 then AI-powered lifecoach BOLDR is much cheaper than employing a PA!
The companies above aren’t even close to exhaustive and obviously it’s important to find the ones that suit you.
I’m going to be trying the budgeting app to get my finances in order and want to give OLIO a go too so I can be smarter about meals while doing something good.
Maybe 2018 will be the year you use tech to make a change and maybe it won’t – either way, have a great year!