8 Apps That Save Time and Make Life a Little Easier
Most of our generation lives with their phones permanently attached to their hands. Unfortunately, not all of them know just how useful those little devices can be. In fact, it’s only lately that I myself am really realizing that my phone, admittedly my favorite possession, can make my life so much easier with the right tools. As leaders (and moms, and students, and all the other hats we wear…) the more we have on our plates, the more we have in our minds. In order to keep everything from spiraling into chaos, it’s important to find ways to automate as much as we can. We need to set things up so that we are not always having to remember everything- because if we try, we will not only end up forgetting, stressing about forgetting, and spend valuable energy and effort trying to keep up with all the details. It’s also important to keep organized (I have so much to write on that topic and I’ll do so soon). The more organized we are, the more efficient we are with our time, and the more we are able to do with it. It’s amazing what we can accomplish when we aren’t wasting time looking for things, trying to find information, or cleaning up messes we made like double booking appointments or forgetting meetings. These are all things I struggle with like anyone else, but I make an effort to automate and organize everything that I can, through reminders and great apps that hold information for me so I don’t have to. If you’re looking to make a shift in this direction, take a look at some of my favorite apps that I’ve found help me make my load a little lighter each day. Feel free to leave some of your own recommendations in the comment section as well!
I use google Docs and google Sheets instead of Microsoft Word and Excel when I work. I do this because I’ve gotten used to editing on the go with the Google drive app. With this app, I’m able to store all my documents so they are always accessible, rather than on different computers or USB drives. It enables me to see all my work, edit it or send it the second I need to, rather than having to wait until I go home or get to the office. Google Docs and Sheets also save automatically, so I never have to wonder if I closed something properly.
Over the years I have tried more than a few calendar/planner apps, and calenmob is by far my favorite. It links to my Google Calendar (yes, I’m a sold-out google girl and proud) so it connects to my phone, desktop, and ipad, and any change I make on one shows up on the other seamlessly. Sticking to using one calendar (whether it’s digital or on paper) is extremely important if you want to stay organized. Switching back and forth usually causes confusion and inconsistency- you do things like forget events because they were written somewhere else. Apps like this one make it so you can use one calendar, even if it’s on all your different devices.
Evernote is a note-taking app that allows you to take notes, and organize them into different digital notebooks as necessary. I keep all of my meeting notes, grocery lists, blog ideas, in the evernote app. If there is an important email with information I don’t want to forget, or I create a new username that I want to make sure I remember, I copy and paste them into evernote. The app also allows you to take pictures and add them into a note, so I’m always taking pictures: a whiteboard after a meeting, or a little piece of paper so I can get rid of clutter. As I mentioned with the calendar, one of the biggest barriers to organization is having valuable information in too many different places. You want all of your notes and thoughts on hand for when you need them most. To me, there is nothing more annoying than thinking of a list you made earlier, or an idea you wrote down, but realizing it’s in a notebook at the office or at home. Like most of my favorite apps, Evernote syncs on all my devices.
Asana is a task organizing website and app that my whole team uses. With Asana, you create projects that you need to complete, and prioritize the tasks necessary to complete it. Your whole team (whoever you add to your group) is able to see your updates, and you, as a leader are able to see when they have finished each task. Asana also enables team members to add notes when they have experienced a setback, or have questions. The leader can then respond or react accordingly. I love that when you are using apps like these you no longer need to ask your team for constant updates, or try to remember everything they (or even you) have to do. Asana allows you to list everything out, monitor progress, or add things to their task list from your phone at any time.
I use MintBills as a way to automate my finances. It’s not the only tool I use but it’s great when I need to see all my accounts and upcoming payments in one place, and can receive updates and reminders when bills are due. You can also make payments through the app, even from person to person as long as you have their bank information. Mint Bills also allows you to enter your budget, and will notify you when your going a bit overboard on the spending (less starbucks, more saving!)
Fiverr is a great way to save time, by outsourcing tasks you don’t have time to do yourself, or don’t know how to do yourself. Fiverr offers an entire community of people offering services like creating a logo, posting flyers in the park, recording instruments, proofreading papers etc., and each service is usually only $5. Because I always try to reserve my time and energy for things that are most important, I use Fiverr to sometimes do the things I can delegate.
Future Text allows you to schedule texts so that you are reminded to send them. The app links with your calendar so that you can create text reminders for your friends, family members or teammates for an upcoming event or due date. At the scheduled time, FutureText will notify you and all you have to do is press send. I love this app because it allows me to free up my mind and not worry about forgetting to text someone later. I schedule birthday texts, meeting reminders, and even personal texts that I remember late at night so I can remember to send them in the morning.
Stylebook is a way to digitally organize your closet and plan outfits through pictures. With Stylebook you can catalogue your closet (which is a little annoying at first when you have to take a pic of everything, but later on so worth it!) You then use the pictures to form outfits, or keep track of outfits you’ve already worn. It even lists your most worn, and least worn outfits (which I use to figure out what clothes definitely need to be given away). If I have a trip planned, I can add outfits to a packing list a week or two before I even physically start putting things into the bag, so by the time I have to do pre-packing laundry I know exactly what I need. I’ve also used Stylebook when I need to pick out an outfit on the go. I’ve picked out an outfit at the office, or in the car on my way home, so by the time I got there I was ready in a flash!
Sometimes getting more organized is as simple as making the effort to put information into an app, or disciplining yourself to refer back to that app later. Finding ways to get everything done can be daunting, but definitely a worthwhile task!