By Allison Collinger, President, Stryker-Munley Group – St. Louis

I have a love/hate relationship with technology… it is overwhelming but yet transformative; time-sucking and time saving; freeing and imprisoning. There seems to be a perfect app for everybody…which is amazing, but it is also like drinking from a fire hose. In a year of Zen moments… a Zen moment came to me: technology properly chosen is life-changing…

Who thinks of apps as life changing in a positive way after all? I do now, and let me explain.

Recently I was asked to think about apps I like – my digital ‘go-tos’.  A straightforward enough question… or so I thought. Coming up with my choices was easy, but in this thinking process I realized that I was describing transformative, life-changing, tectonic shifts in me personally — enabled by technology. The simple, surface question sparked the thought and the dots came together in a whole new way. The apps I have chosen to share helped me increase my sense of freedom, inspiration, well-being and knowledge. Period.

So these are the apps that I not only like but have also transformed my life…

CamScanner = Freedom

As a small business owner and single parent, time is at a premium. Going paperless is a smart decision for any business. However, it can add a second physical step when completing contracts and other important documents to find a scanner and get a clean copy.  This app has helped break this restriction and allows me to work much more freely and efficiently. With this handy PDF and JPG creator, a scanner is always available via my phone and with a simple press of a button. This has created the opportunity to make any place I do business an instant mobile office.  I can then instantly send documents to any contact and keeps my business organized and moving forward. It also helps me organize the multiple documents I need to keep up with as a parent. I can do it myself, simply and that has been empowering…truly freeing.

Spotify = Inspiration

Music is universal and can reach beyond language, location, and time. It relaxes me and speaks to my soul in ways that mere words can’t. For years, I limited my listening to when I was in the car or on trips – without a lot of variety. Music didn’t really have a place in my home. Spotify has reconnected me with music that I enjoyed as a teen, early in my career, and during various life transitions. Spotify is a digital music service that gives me access to millions of songs and a perfect guide for my musical journey.  My kids exposed me to some of their music with the accidental mixups of iTunes libraries – which I really enjoy. But now I love discovering new musical genres and artists through Spotify Family Premium. – literally an “all you can eat” buffet of music. For $14.99/month all family members have unlimited access to music and can build lists, discover new music, and, in my case, I can be transported to various parts of my life to reconnect with songs that bring me clarity and solace. Despite being able to sing each word, its amazing what you hear when you listen with the benefit of time and life experience. Each time I use Spotify – now at home, in my car and at my office – I collect musical gifts in the form of new sounds, lyrics, and creativity – it inspires me in different ways every day. This app has gotten to know my tastes and has expanded my boundaries by suggesting different songs and artists to explore. Each time I step out of the box, I receive new inspirations that integrate into my own creative process – helping me be my best self.

Insight Timer = Well Being

I had heard it for years… taking time to meditate is a great way to rejuvenate your mind, body and spirit. I had tried to set aside time, but it just didn’t make my radar. Then I was hiking with friends over Labor Day weekend and someone turned on the Insight Timer app as we all looked out over Napa Valley. I was sold. Now I use the app for a variety of meditations – sometimes not as regularly as I should but in this world of constant information overload Insight Timer is life-changing. This free app is an advanced meditation timer and tracker and I use it every night to calm my mind.  With more than 4,000 meditations available, it is easy to find one that fits my current mood or situation. It had been a challenge in the past to take time everyday to meditate but I find using this app has kept me engaged.  Namaste!

Duolingo  = Knowledge

I went to college in San Antonio, but decided to continue my French and step way out of my comfort zone to try Russian rather that potentially learn Spanish and practice it in San Antonio or while studying abroad.  I always wished that I would have taken advantage of the richness of San Antonio culture and language to learn another language. Recently, the realization that solo travel to a Spanish speaking country to visit one or more kids was on an 8-12 month time horizon made me decide I needed to get my traveler Spanish going. Enter Duolingo – a simple app (and Desktop program) which makes learning and practicing a language fun! I can practice, set goals, see my progress (“31% fluent” – “do I want to add to my LinkedIn profile – absolutely not”) so far – ha ha). And now between my daughter and I we are working on Spanish, German and Hebrew. This knowledge will empower me to see the world in a whole new way, and is exciting!

Endless apps mean endless possibilities to stress you out or to become a better version of your self. In my case, I feel empowered by my apps.  Apps that ring true to my interests and values have transformed me with more freedom, inspiration, well-being and knowledge. What are yours?


  • I would add Wunderlist to this. A lot of stress seems to come from the unknown or that nagging feeling that we forgot something. Putting it down as soon as you think of it not only relieves the stress but keeps me organized and prioritized!

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