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My 12 Favorite Smartphone Apps

These apps improve ideas, nutrition, fitness, productivity, organization, mindset, and more.

My 12 Favorite Smartphone Apps


  • Full access to this post—like all Wednesday and Friday 2% posts—is for Members of 2%. Become a Member below:
  • Join the 2% Screen Time Challenge so you can get back your time and attention—and live better. See below. It starts tonight at Midnight.
  • After Monday’s post, Clearspace immediately received a couple of inquiries from teachers about starting similar challenges at schools. Let’s make that a thing.
  • The audio reading of this post is at the bottom of the post. I’ve also added a note about the private podcast.

On Monday, we announced the 2% Screen Time Challenge.

We partnered on the challenge with Clearspace, an app that is like Ozempic for Screen Time. Read how and why Clearspace will dramatically reduce your screen time here.

The challenge kicks off tonight at midnight. The winner gets a ruck and 2% dad hat. If you haven’t joined Clearspace, first download the app from your phone here:

  • Note: A few people had issues accessing The 2% Screen Time Challenge from the link in Monday’s newsletter. The Clearspace team discovered that Substack (the host of 2%) was making some strange changes to links without our knowledge. Sorry for any confusion.

The good news: We’re now good to go. If you tried to sign up for The 2% Challenge in the last 48 hours, you’ve been added to the challenge. Just check the “Challenges” tab within your Clearspace app.

If you want to join, here’s a link to join:

If for some reason that link doesn’t work, go into the Challenges tab of Clearspace, click the “join with code” button, and use code TWOPCT. (If you don't see “join with code,” update to the latest version of Clearspace.)

Clearspace helped me regain my time and attention, which is why it’s one of my favorite apps.

But I’ve got other apps I love, too.

Today, we’re breaking down my 12 favorite apps.

They’ve improved my mindset and nutrition. They’ve saved me money and boosted my fitness. They’ve helped me have better experiences outdoors and flesh out ideas for my books. And much more.

I also want to hear from you. Please share your favorite apps in the comments.

Let’s roll …

P.S. These aren’t listed in any particular order and all apps are linked to in their title.

1. Carbon

What it does: helps you achieve nutrition-based goals.

Carbon is the most effective nutrition apps I’ve found. Layne Norton, Ph.D., created it to help people dial in their nutrition for their unique preferences, biology, and goals.

The beauty of Carbon is that it helps you figure out how many calories you need for your goals. It uses your real-time feedback to make individualized adjustments rather than giving you some blanket diet. I.e., How much food you eat week to week changes based on your progress.

How I use it: I break out Carbon whenever I want to ensure I’m eating enough food to fuel my fitness goals, or gain or lose weight.

Worth noting: You have to be willing to do some degree of food measuring to get the most out of the app. But that process will teach you what a serving size is and help you find the right amount of food for you.

TL;DR: If you follow the app’s instructions, you will win.

2. Notion

What it does: acts like steroids for productivity and organizing information.

How I use it: To log ideas, plan 2% editorial calendars, jot ideas for book three, track training, etc.

Worth noting: The beauty is that Notion has all sorts of helpful built-in templates like workout tracking, trip planning, budgeting, eating plans, work project tracking, and more. Mega bonus: It’s free and super easy to use.

3. iNaturalist

What it does: identifies the animals, bugs, birds, and plants you see outside.

iNaturalist asks you to photograph any species you see and upload it. It then spits back what the species likely is and some facts about it.

How I use it: When I run and ruck in the Mojave desert, I see a mix of cute birds and mammals, far-out cacti, and heinous spiders and snakes.

If you’re like me, you probably want to know something about these remarkable creatures. So I use iNaturalist.

For example, on a recent run I identified a Sonoran Lyre Snake, which, iNaturalist told me, is only “mildly venomous.”

Worth noting: By using iNaturalist, you’re contributing to science. Your findings are shared with scientific data repositories like the Global Biodiversity Information Facility to advance environmental science.