Updated: May 2, 2020
We never had imagined that we would be witnessing a pandemic. However, here we are, locked down in the confinements of our houses due to the Covid-19 outbreak. This is the need of the current situation and we need to abide. This means we are now spending 24 hours inside the four walls of our houses. Previously most of our time awake was taken up by work or included a good amount of outside activity. Now that's not there. So what do we do with the time we have at hand. Rather than cribbing why this happened or when this will be over, lets just take this as an opportunity to try new things or just better do what we already do, make use of our smart phones more efficiently.
So keeping that in mind here is a list of apps or websites that will help you more enjoyably manage your time.
Let's do some binge watching
So what are you mostly doing during the lockdown? Most of you would say watching TV. Well, what's there to watch on TV. If someone tells me to watch TV for the next couple of weeks then there is only one thing that I want, VARIETY!!! Sadly cable has the same shows running in repeat mode for months if not years. Luckily we are facing lockdowns in the year 2020 when there are dozens of apps to entertain us with fresh content coming almost every day.
Amazon Prime Videos (https://www.primevideo.com): At just Rs. 129/month you can't go wrong with this. There is just tons of content to watch. Lockdowns will be over but the content will not. However, my suggestion would be to go with the yearly plan which is just Rs. 999 per year.
Hotstar (https://www.hotstar.com): If you mostly watch regional content then hotstar will come in pretty cheap at only Rs. 399 per year. That's roughly Rs. 34 a month. With that you also get a lot of Disney content but that will be in regional language. However, if you like their English content or want the Disney content in English, then that would be a bit steep coming at Rs 1499 yearly or Rs 299 monthly.
Netflix (https://www.netflix.com): We have all heard of Netflix. Well online video content is their primary bread and butter so you can be rest assured that the content will be worth it. However, regional content is a bit lacking but new shows are coming up every now and then. The reason Netflix comes in third is due to the price and currently due to the recent lockdowns, we all have a bit of money crunch. Well, Netflix comes for Rs 500 for 1 device, Rs 650 for 2 and Rs 800 for 4 devices. You can watch this on mobile, tablet smart TV and computer. However, if you only plan to watch this on mobile devices then there is a plan of Rs 199 which should be fine and well within budget for most.
Let's get the the feet tapping
There is nothing better than music. It just fit in to everything you are doing. Cook with some groovy tunes, work with some focus music, tap your feet to some Bollywood beats or just relax with some meditation tunes. Music is a perfect fit for all situations. Gone are the days of downloading music and thanks to music streaming platforms we can have almost any music at our finger tips at any moment. So here's the apps you should consider.
Amazon Music (https://music.amazon.in): This comes bundles with the Amazon Prime subscriptions. So if you have Prime Videos, you also get amazon music. So just by paying Rs 129/month or Rs 999/year, you get Amazon Music + Prime Videos. Awesomeness!!!!!
Wynk Music (https://wynk.in): Only consider this if you have Airtel and are not willing to shell out any extra cash for music as this comes free with Airtel postpaid. Else just move on.
Gaana (https://gaana.com): Priced at Rs 399 yearly this is another affordable music platform. The app has some slick features which most premium apps have like video music, lyrics, radios, podcasts. Gaana is the bang for the buck and next best thing is its Indian. What it lacks is the content is strongly regional. Don't even consider this for monthly subscription at Rs 99 per month as there are better options.
JioSaavn (https://www.jiosaavn.com): Priced same as Gaana at Rs 399 / yearly or Rs 99 per month. Only thing I can say about this is that this app has a better foreign music collection compared to Gaana. Also has some podcasts if you are interested. Else nothing special.
Apple Music (https://music.apple.com): If you have an Apple device, then you already have Apple Music installed. Very rarely you would come across a song which is not there on Apple Music catalogue. Plus there is the Beats 1 live radio, music videos, artist curated playlists, exclusive releases. Its all music. What's best is in India its available for only Rs 99. Word of caution is iTunes sucks but now apple has an online streaming platform also. So you can say bye bye to iTunes.
YouTube Music (https://music.youtube.com): In India YouTube music comes for Rs 99/month which is super, considering most Indians generally listen to music on YouTube anyways. On this you would ask me, why pay when we already use it. Well paying means getting the ability to play music with your device screen off. What's even better is if you pay just Rs 30 more you get YouTube premium which means YouTube becomes add free. That's another thing to spend your time with 😉😉.
Spotify (https://www.spotify.com/): Well if you want an app which gives you awesome music for free, then Spotify is the one to go. The app is just great if you use it for free. However, currently I wouldn't consider paying for it considering its the most expensive app in India coming at Rs 119 per month. Also the app lacks features like radios, videos, lyrics. Really wonder what they are thinking keeping the price so high.
Let's shed the pounds
Most of us have always been putting our health aside, making excuses that we are too busy and just don’t have time to look into our health. Well... Now you have time. So no excuses. Am assuming most of us don’t have much experience with exercise so I won’t suggest extreme apps with extreme promises. However, do keep in mind that your know your body best. Be your own judge and see what works for you. We highly recommend consulting your doctor before starting any kind of workout. That said, let’s just keep the workout short and simple. Here are a few recommendations.
7 Minute Workout - Fitness App: Apple Store : https://apps.apple.com/in/app/7-minute-workout-fitness-app/id806995720 Google Play Store : https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=net.workoutinc.seven_7_minutes_workouts_challenge&hl=en_US
DownDog : If you plan to invest on your health, then I highly recommend DownDog app. This app specifically designed to help you do yoga. You have the options to customize the workout as per your experience and time availability. You can also customize the background music to your liking. Every workout is different. Due to the lockdown the app is currently free till 2nd June 2020 so you can surely give this a try. Apple Store : https://apps.apple.com/in/app/yoga-down-dog/id983693694 Google Play Store : https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.downdogapp&hl=en_US
YouTube : This should be a no brainier. There is tons of stuff on YouTube and workouts are no exception. If you know what kind of workout you want to do, then go ahead get a quick workout in, else you could just do a simple “Walking Workout” on YouTube. Here’s a link to get you started. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tW9IY48x1bc
Let's get some mindfulness
These are times of uncertainties and this feeling can slowly creep into us in the form of anxiety or depression. The constant talk about pandemic related stuff can cause a constant sense of worry in our minds. Well, here are some apps to keep a check on your mental chatter and find short bursts of peace and mindfulness.
YouTube : Well, you will see YouTube in most categories as there is a high possibility that if it can be video recorded, then its there on YouTube. Just search for something like “Guided Meditation” or ”Meditation”, get your headphones, find a quite place and relax. Let the voice guide you.
Headspace : Well if you don’t mind spending some money on your mental wellness then Headspace is the app for you. The app has group meditation sessions where you know other people are meditating with you. There is also a section dedicated to sleep comprising of soothing sleep music, sleep exercises and one of a kind sleepcast. Sleepcast is a person telling you a kind of story and slowly... soothingly... getting you to sleep. Priced at Rs 159/month or Rs 899/year on iOS. Price on Android should be similar or lower. Don't have an Android handy at the time of writing this 😜. Apple Store : https://apps.apple.com/in/app/headspace-meditation-sleep/id493145008 Google Play Store : https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.getsomeheadspace.android
Let’s get our reading glasses on
Well I am mostly a attempt reader. What's that you ask? Well, I make all the attempts but YouTube and Googling stuffs gets in the way. I almost missed this point if it wasn't for my sister who simply looked at me with eyes screaming STUPID for not including this in the first place. Well if you are not that kind and love reading then here are some obvious choices:
Amazon Kindle App : The app is free but you pay for the books that you want to read. Also there are a lot of books which are available for free. What makes it even better is, if you have Amazon Prime Subscription (https://www.amazon.in/), then they give you some titles to read for free. Just open the app, click on the book you want to read, and find yourself lost in the wonderful word at Hogwarts with Harry or try to beat Hercule Poirot to discovering the killer. Apple App Store : https://apps.apple.com/in/app/kindle/id302584613 Google Play Store : https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.amazon.kindle
Audible : Well if you don't like reading or are too caught up with work and can't seen to find the time to sit reading a book, then Audible is the next best thing. Here you have someone read out a book to you. So you can just put on your headphones and continue cooking or cleaning the dishes and still get lost in some amazing books. Amazon has a good collection of books for free but their subscription makes it really worth it. You pay Rs 199 every month and get 1 credit which is good for any book you want to listen to. In simpler words you get one audiobook free every month. Any audiobook. Yes the audiobook is yours to keep even when if you cancel the subscription. Apple App Store : https://apps.apple.com/in/app/audible-audiobooks-originals/id379693831 Google Play Store : https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.audible.application
Let's get some family time
Well previously if you would have asked I would have suggested something like facebook, whatsapp to keep in touch with you family. However, as a byproduct of this lockdown, we are getting some much needed time to spend with our family, actually being present with them. So I cannot emphasize the important of keeping your phone aside for a couple of minutes and just getting some quality time chatting and PNPCing with your siblings or just plain watching a good family movie with your old parents who usually spend all days just to get a glimpse of you during your busy work life.
Time demands us to stay at home. That doesn't mean we stop living. Let's stay home, stay safe and do all the chilling we need. Cheers!!!!