Ever feel like you’re drowning in a stack of half-finished to do lists, crumpled post-its, brain storming notes, calendar reminders and even the occasional let-me-email-it-to-myself-so-I-don’t-forget messages?
Did you answer yes? Congratulations, you’re in the right place. If you have a tendency to be overwhelmed, get distracted or lose things (where was that article I saw about that thing again?), I have a few suggestions to help streamline your life through the magical world of apps.
There are about a billion productivity and organisation apps lurking in the various app stores, but these are my go-to ones that I’ve found work well. Some tasks work better in other platforms (I prefer handwriting more abstract ideas in paper notebooks, for example) but these can help compartmentalize and simplify your chaos.
The grandaddy of to do list apps, Evernote is my hub for everything. Whatever your style or needs, it has a solution. Love the thrill of ticking things off to do lists? It has a check-able function. Need to store the name of that band your friend said you may like? Text notes are great. You can take photos of business cards, save screen shots, create plans in tables, and divide your life up into notebooks for different areas or projects (work, home, school, etc). Best of all, it all syncs between your devices – so if you change something on your work PC, it will appear on your phone too.
Most of the functionality is available in the free version of the app, although the premium version does give you the option to share notebooks with another user, which is great if you want to work collaboratively with another Evernote addict.
Do you tend to come across articles online that you would like to investigate, but just not now? Pocket is the app for you. A read-it-later app, it allows you to quickly save articles using a one-click browser extension so you can return at a later stage or keep them on file. You can sort articles using a simple tag system, and read them in a beautiful mobile app when you have time. No more emailing things to yourself or forgetting where you saved that pesky link.
This little app with a strange name is my favourite shopping list app. Yes, you could make a paper note or an Evernote list, but the nice thing about having a dedicated app is that it remembers the items you buy regularly, so creating a grocery list on your way to the store takes a few seconds of quick tapping as you browse your history.
When you’re in the store, you only have to tap an item once to check it off your list. You can also sort the items depending on the layout of your local store, so you know what you need in each aisle. You can even create separate shopping lists for different stores or malls, if you want to fine-tune your shopping. Out of Milk is a similar offering for Android, iOS and PC.
Do you have difficulty keeping track of who paid for what on a night out? Maybe your friend owed you money but then paid more than what they owed on your next excursion, so now you owe them? Splitwise can take the headache (and awkwardness) out of keeping track of who owes who, by allowing you to log expenses and explain who paid and how the bill was split.
It does all the maths for you, lets you enter notes about the event and the date (ah, remember you paid for movies last week?) and sends you a gentle reminder of your balance every month, so you know where you stand. If you hate pointing out to people that they owe you money, it’s also a good way to let an app do the asking for you.
Tired of having to check three different calendars to figure out what your plans are looking like? Sunrise is an app that pulls in your appointments and events from Facebook, multiple email addresses and other apps (from Basecamp to Linkedin, Meetup and Twitter) into one central, beautiful calendar. It syncs automatically, so if you like plotting and colour-coding events on Google calendar (no? Just me then), it will pull through your colour labels and add cute little icons depending on your plans (Off for a run? Your calendar will feature a sprinting stick figure).
This is one of the few default apps I actually use on my phone, mainly because of the geo-location aspect. The best time to be reminded to bring / fetch / do something is when you arrive at that place, and this app lets you do that. Google’s main app also lets you set these kind of reminders.
What apps do you use to help organise your life?