I have been a pen and paper girl for my entire life. In high-school, I realized my joy for note taking, list making, calendar planning, journaling and letter writing. That continued on through my corporate career and into my days at home as a mom and shop owner/blogger. And although I don’t see that changing until the day my old frail hands can no longer hold a pen… I do know that I should be doing a better job taking advantage of the technology we have available to us, and find ways to simplify some of our day-to-day tasks/routines with the help of my phone.
I found it very interesting that when I reached out to my amazing team of contributing writers, so many of them stated the same thing. These gals are pen and paper enthusiasts as well, but they still had a few great apps to share with all of us today.
I am thrilled to start some discussion here about how using smartphone apps can help us stay organized in a variety of ways; whether it be by saving time, money or even sanity.
“Wunderlist is an app that my husband introduced to me. I am famous for texting him to not so subtly beg him to swing by the grocery store on his way home from work. He grew tired of the texts and me adding one more item along the way. He found this and it’s pretty genius. We are able to sync our phones and have a running grocery list. All I do is add what we need to this list. We are both alerted when someone adds something. No longer need to wonder text each other or remind one another what we are missing. We also use it for annual travels. Each year we go to Big Bear and always need certain items, so we have a list created for that. You can check things off the list but then the following year you can pull up the unedited full list. This saves us so much time and headache. It’s really the only organizing app we use.”
– Courtney, A Thoughtful Place Blog
“I’m not huge on organizing apps, as I tend to be more of a paper-planner gal. However, one app that I use regularly and find indispensable is Pocket. It’s basically a way to save information found on the web, in one convenient location that you can access on any device.
Before using Pocket, I had web pages bookmarked on my desktop computer as well as my phone, or I’d email things to myself, and it became confusing trying to remember where I’d stored something. With Pocket, I can bookmark an item from either my phone or desktop, and it saves to the one centralized location. Pocket is very easy to use – you can install it as a button on your browser and an app on your phone. It also allows you to tag items as you save them, so they’re sorted into categories.
I use Pocket to keep track of products I’ve sourced online for decorating clients, articles I want to share on my Facebook page, recipes, and anything else personal that I come across online and want to file away for future reference. And, it’s free! So… wanna keep it? Put it in your Pocket!”
– Karen, A House Full of Sunshine Blog
“My favourite app right now is MINDBODY. I’ve tried so many different apps over the years, but often I go back to good old fashioned lists and diaries on pen and paper. I don’t know what it is but I’m definitely not one who embraces all the technology that’s out there. But MINDBODY has been so helpful, it’s scored a permanent position on my phone.
In a nutshell, MINDBODY allows you to search and book all your fitness, wellness and beauty appointments in one little app. You can search for pilates classes in your area, and a place to get your brows waxed after. You book right through the app and it adds it all into your schedule (no double booking – yay!) Basically it’s online booking for all your beauty and health needs but you only have to visit one app – not a bunch of google searches and individual websites.
As a new mum with a baby, I just didn’t have time anymore to call around trying to book in hair appointments, wax bookings and all those things that make you feel good. This app literally allows me to scan in just a few seconds available appointments in my area and book straight away. It’s a lifesaver if you have a last minute booking you want to make. Need a blow dry or wax before an event? Go to MINDBODY. Have a spare couple of hours and want to relax at a yoga class? I find and book it at MINDBODY. But more than that, it keeps all of those wellness and grooming appointments organized when they’re otherwise overlooked when life gets busy.
It also has a handy ‘Deals’ section where you can explore special offers for fitness studios, salons and spas in your area if you want to try somewhere new (and yep, it includes reviews from other customers so you know which places are the best!)
MINDBODY has saved me so much time already and introduced me to some great new businesses as well – plus it’s free. Love it!”
– Serena, Pretty Fluffy Blog
“Before I dish about how much I LOVE the Google Calendar app, I first want to say that I have always been someone who loved having a paper planner and preferred writing down my meetings, appointments, and general to-do lists on something tangible. I still love writing to-do lists and reminders on paper, but I do find that my google calendar has CHANGED my life because it allows me to juggle multiple calendars at once while also allowing me to share my calendars with the important people in my life. Plus I always have my phone on me, which means I always have instant access to my work, blogging, family, and personal calendars without the overflow of paperwork. Inside this mini calendar app, I have a color coded system which helps me organize my work/blog/family calendars easily. My husband can add an event into our family calendar, and that event will instantly show up on my calendar too. Casey, my blogging partner, has access to our blogging calendar, so when she adds a conference call or meeting date, I can instantly see it and plan accordingly! Plus, I even sneak in notes under some of the events, which helps eliminate me having to look back at old emails or invitations to get the details on the upcoming event (i.e.a restaurant’s address, directions, general reminders, etc.). Seriously… LIFE CHANGING.”
– Bridget, DIY Playbook Blog
“I started using Google Calendar not too long ago on my desktop as well as on my phone. I wish someone told me about this fantastic app before. I am the kind of person who always shows up 5 minutes late. I know, it’s horrible, but I can’t help my short brain. I can’t tell you what a life changer Google Calendar app has been for me. I love the versatility of the app; I love that I can set my personal, kids, business, blog events and to-dos with different colors. Every time I open my app on my phone, I am delighted to see a colorful screen with all my events, reminders and to-dos shown. I can set reminders with e-mail or pop-up notifications, or I can even schedule video calls right in my calendar. As a business owner, a blogger, a mother of two and a crazy creative work/life, it is always a balancing act. Thanks to Google Calendar I can organize all my craziness in one single app. I highly recommend this fabulous app to everyone.”
– Aniko, Place Of My Taste Blog
“One of my favorite apps is called Our Groceries. I love it because it acts as a virtual shopping list for everything I need to buy when I’m out and about. The best part about the app is that you can sync it with other people in your family. So my husband and I both have the same lists on our phone, and we can each add items we need right on there for the other to see. It keeps us on the same page and prevents us from buying the same thing twice! We’re also able to create multiple categories in the app. So we have a list for the grocery store, hardware store, craft store, and even a running to-do list of things we need to get done. It’s simple, but keeps our household running smoothly.”
– Casey, DIY Playbook Blog
“Dropbox is a must – I keep the lion share of my files there so it’s nice to have them accessible on mobile or desktop no matter where I am working.”
– Jen, The House of Wood Blog
“As a blogger, the single app I rely on the most is Dropbox. I am constantly shuffling documents, contracts, pictures and more across devices. So I can always have access to whatever I need on whatever device I’m using, I have Dropbox installed on my desktop computer, laptop, tablet and phone… and I am constantly passing documents back and forth to exactly where I need them. The reason I love Dropbox more than any other cloud service is that first, people can access Dropbox files without having an account. I can upload articles/files/pictures and send the link to a recipient and they are able to download the files without any issue, creating a password, logging in, etc. The other thing I love? I’m restricted by space, so I am constantly having to visit it, delete items out, and file things away in the correct (more permanent place). My Dropbox has essentially become my Desktop that is available to me everywhere!”
– Megan, The Homes I Have Made Blog
“Well, if we’re talking favorites, the one I spend way too much time on and get totally lost in is the bHome app where I can easily follow tons of my favorite decorating & DIY bloggers plus their social channels all from one convenient location…granted, I may be biased since you can also follow me there. Haha!
However, the app that takes the win for getting me organizationally is called Productive. It helps me build the habits I want by tracking my progress. I create my desired routine, and each day I get a prompt to accomplish those tasks. As a checklist girl, this is right up my ally. The best part? It shows when I’m on a streak! I tend to compete with myself to see how long a streak I can get while keeping up with those important tasks. For me personally, this means I actually kept the house clean, spent quality time with the kids, cooked healthfully, organized one thing per day, and had quiet time for myself! Crazy amazing right?”
– Ursula, Home Made By Carmona Blog
“I am probably the opposite consumer Steve Jobs had in mind when inventing a smart phone, because I just don’t use it to it’s full capacity! But that doesn’t mean I’m not completely reliant on my phone! I don’t rely solely on a single app, but rather, it’s an accumulation of all of them that makes my life so much easier. I pay bills directly through my bank, PayPal, and company apps, use the calendar to juggle our family schedule, access all my email accounts in one place, write myself lists and reminders in the Notes, stay connected with friends via Social Media, document our family life with photos and have books printed, check on travel status, buy movie tickets… All directly from my phone. Heck, I even track my monthly cycle on it! #tmi?”
– Cassie, Hi Sugarplum Blog
“I don’t use a lot of apps to organize yet, but I have shared my love for Artkive and Stylebook here on the blog a time or two. I can also testify that Dropbox is amazing; I use it for blogging and family sharing every single day. I also love it for traveling (as I shared here).
Another app that really helps me stay organized as a business is Expensify. I love that I can use it to track all of my mileage as well as business expenses. As I create a new expense entry, I can label it with specific categories to make report running easy. I can also attach a correlating receipt or document (by taking a photo with my phone). Although I use the app almost daily, I find it most beneficial while traveling for business. I am able to key in all of my expenses as they happen; so if I have to grab a cab or eat a meal, I can input the details on the spot vs. when I return home from the trip. Each quarter I can run reports by category to easily hand over the information to my accountant for tax purposes, which has made both of our lives much simpler. The best part is that it syncs between my PC and my phone, so I always have my business details at my fingertips.”
– Jen, IHeart Organizing Blog
So there you have it! One app that I have always been told I would love is Evernote. I just recently downloaded it to my phone and computer, so I will try to do a follow up review on that app specifically. I have a feeling it’s going to be a good one.
Now, I am excited to hear about what apps YOU are currently crushing on. These days phone capabilities seem quite endless and I know I should be taking more advantage of the little technology tool that I use to make calls and take pictures. Being that there are hundreds of apps out there to choose from, I would love for you to chime in and share your favorite time, money and sanity saving apps. Are there certain apps that have changed the way you live and simplified your life for the better?