It seems like hundreds of new smartphone apps pop up every day, but which ones should you bother trying? Here, TIME offers a look at five apps for iPhone, iPad and Android that stand out and are worth a shot.
iCukoo Charity Alarm Clock
For the last few years, developers have been trying to come up with foolproof alarm clocks. Users have already found ways to beat the apps that only deactivate after a phone is carried for ten steps. Instead, iCuckoo takes a moral and financial approach to the black hole of snooze button-pressing: with every snooze, the app sends a set amount of money to a charity of your choice. In short, you can sleep in and tell your boss that you were actually "volunteering," and you’ll also feel just awful about yourself if you manage to get around the app’s parameters.
iCuckoo is available free in the App Store.
Part of the reason Apple’s Notes app has been so underused is that it makes note-taking a tedious task — better to forget the idea than to fumble through your phone and wait for a yellow pad app to open. Neato takes this into consideration by inserting itself into iPhone’s notification center, allowing users to access it with one quick swipe. Even better, Neato can save notes to a Dropbox or Evernote account, and can be used to quickly send notes as an email or tweet.
Neato is temporarily available free in the App Store.
Many of us find it difficult to fully commit to culinary endeavors because good recipes are hard to find, and even harder to keep track of. Yummly—once only for iPhone users—allows you to browse a series of beautifully photographed and easy-to-follow recipes on your phone or tablet, and save them to your own digital cookbook. But like any great online service, Yummly can also recommend recipes based on the ones you’ve used. The app also takes into consideration personal preferences and needs, like allergies and special diets.
By placing your phone on your pillow and activating Sleep Better, the app will be able to track how long you sleep, the time you spent awake in bed and track your sleep cycles. Users can enter variables like alcohol intake, exercise, or caffeine intake to see how they affect sleep patterns. Also equipped with an alarm clock, the app will track your sleep over time, showing you how miserably and self-destructively sleep-deprived you’ve been after picking up those bad habits in college.
Today is a calendar app that takes a variety of commitments into consideration. Not only does it allow you to track work schedules, but it has spaces for habits, hobbies, and down time. Today will remind you that 2 p.m. is Twix time at the office, for example, or that you’re supposed to go for a run at 7 a.m. Today will also help you set goals and keep track of them through the day, such as remembering to drink enough water to avoid 4 p.m. dehydration headaches. The app shows up in iPhone’s notification center as a clock with bars for different activities.
Today is available for $2.99 in the App Store.