UNDATED (USAToday.com) - I'm guilty of wasting time on apps - a lot of time. I've spent far too many sunny afternoons holed up in my bedroom scrolling through Reddit or playing Candy Crush until my eyes glaze over.
Fortunately, app addiction doesn't have to be a bad thing. This summer, I'm challenging myself to trade Bejeweled and Facebook for apps that are both addictive and productive.
The following apps are some of my favorites so far, and they're all available on Android and iOS. All but one are free.
At my newspaper internship I take as many notes as I can on my phone or laptop, but sometimes the old paper-and-pen route is most convenient. CamScanner lets you take photos of paper documents, then crops and adjusts them to look like they're scanned. You can sync your notes, save them as PDFs and organize them by date. I truly can't tell the difference between this app and a real scanner.
TALKING TECH: What app are you addicted to?
It can be hard to get back into the habit of reading for pleasure after a strenuous school year. With Goodreads you can see what your friends are reading, read reviews or check out pleasingly specific categories, like "Books With Heroes/Heroines Who Are Assassins." I've discovered more wonderful books on this app than by wandering the aisles of Barnes & Noble.
Nexercise is a great app if you need extra motivation to lace up your sneakers. It rewards you for physical activity with points that are redeemable for gift cards, with little freebies that pop up along the way. You also can compete against friends. This app actually has me excited to exercise, which is nothing short of a miracle.
Meetup is a social app that will get you out of the house and face-to-face with people in your area who share your interests. Though I live in a small town, there are Meetup groups near me for bikers, digital photographers, authors, young professionals and Pug lovers. If there isn't a group that interests you, you can create your own.
Astrid Tasks & To-do List
Odd chores and errands stack up surprisingly fast. I've tried many to-do apps, and this one comes out on top as my favorite. It's simple, cleanly designed and an adorable octopus cheers you on to finish your next task. You can also share your lists with friends and family.
TED talks have become wildly popular in the past few years. The brief inspirational talks are given by some of the brightest and most innovative thinkers in the world. Topics cover a wide spectrum, from the science of happiness to the latest technological breakthroughs. Listen to one (or five) on the way to work or while mowing the lawn and you'll feel smarter by the minute.
If you're stuck at home this summer, going Geocaching will make you see your town in a new light. Geocaching involves seeking out GPS coordinates to discover the "cache," usually a container filled with trinkets left behind by fellow Geocachers. I've found them under lamp posts, in trees and tucked beneath park benches. This official app is $9.99, but it's well worth the hours of treasure hunting you'll get out of it.
Sarah Duis is a summer 2013 Collegiate Correspondent.