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App of the Week: Nike + iPod

25 Jan 12

I recently read an article in which someone suggested that if you or your employees have anything but business apps on your smartphones or tablets, then business is not the most important thing on your mind. In fact, the writer continued, any of those apps are a waste of time and should be banned.

Now, while there is some validity in limiting the time you and your staff spend playing during working hours, the old cliché about all work and no play making Jack and Jill dull playmates is very true.  While it may also be true that there is no line any more between work and home life, the ability to stop working and relax for a few moments is vital to our health. Who knew?

Personally I have a myriad of non-business apps on my iPhone, including games, the bus schedule, all the social networking apps, and – to my offspring’s embarrassment – IMDB, which I use more than all the others combined because I am a movie junkie.

This very convoluted introduction is in way of explanation for my choice of a less business-focussed app this week. I was tempted to look at Jaws The Revenge, which I am somewhat perversely enjoying during my ferry trips home each night, but instead went with something a little healthier – and one that you could, in theory, encourage staff to use: Nike+iPod.

As you might expect from the name, it’s a workout app – but one with a difference. Rather than planning your exercise routine, it allows you to plan what music you will listen to during different routines. I don’t know about you but if I couldn’t listen to music during my run, I wouldn’t be out there in the first place, but I digress.

This nifty little app ticks two big boxes for me – it’s free and it’s simple to use.  You don’t have to sign up for an account or log in or have a password. It simply offers you a choice of workouts, times, distances, or calorie goals, and then allows you to match the playlists on your device to that exercise. It can be calibrated to either running or walking and records your workouts each time – which are then kept in the history so you can check your progress (if, unlike me, you are that way inclined.)

If you don’t store your music in playlists – yes, I was shocked to find there are people who don’t too – you will have to spend a few moments sorting them out, but really that is the only fiddling you should need to do.

Because you are simply matching an exercise title to a playlist I also use mine for when I need to do bursts of work. Using the time option in the app, I can choose to work for a set period of time, knowing at the end of the playlist, it’s time to move on to something else.

So you see – those non-business apps on your phone or tablet can actually help you work better or more efficiently if you use them wisely. And as soon as I figure out how to apply to Jaws The Revenge, I’ll let you know.