organizing apps

Using Apps to Organize

I tried re-ordering my regular paper planner from Franklin Covey the other day for the new year. They no longer carry it! I received an ipod touch for Christmas last year and never really used it for anything other than for listening to music or playing a handful of games. Sometimes I would check the weather. That’s about it… I started to think after my years-long search for the perfect planner that I should just scrap that idea and go electronic. I know, I know, there IS something special about a pretty paper planner, but I just don’t have room in my purse anymore! And I am constantly forgetting to bring it with me whenever I need it.

I just started using the calendar function and was kind of hooked. Then I found HomeRoutines while searching for new apps on itunes. It is amazing! It’s a daily checklist for organizing routines. I have lists for Morning, Afternoon, Evening, Weekly, Biweekly, Monthly and general to do lists. It’s super easy to use and I’m having fun checking things off and getting gold stars for them. The app is also organized into “zones” for cleaning. I love how organized all my lists are getting.

I’ve also found some other fun apps. I found one for grocery shopping that tracks your grocery lists. If it was an iphone, I could take pictures of bar codes and use that to make my shopping list. I use GroceryIQ because it’s free and pretty easy to understand. I can just bring my ipod with me to the grocery store and check off things aisle by aisle. I also have it organized by store, because I usually go to at least two different stores for groceries. No, I am not that crazy person who goes from store to store to store to find a ten cent discount on things… Just Target and Whole Foods.

I use the calendar function and have it linked to my Google Calendar. I think… I’m still a little confused on that one but I’m learning.

I like checking the weather every morning to know how I should dress and that’s just another app that came with the ipod.

I also really like Workout Logger for logging workouts, my weight, etc. It’s pretty basic and free. My favorite kind! You can customize your workouts, your goals and all sorts of cool things.

I also have lots of new fun apps, like Good Housekeeping’s free app that gives cleaning, decorating and organizing advice. I have some cool games on there, and of course, my music.

I know I am probably behind on all this technology, but I feel like I have a whole new world of time management and organization at my fingertips. I don’t know why I didn’t think of this sooner! The next goal is to find a way to budget for an iphone so I don’t have to carry my ipod and a phone. Maybe I can get a smaller purse!

If you don’t have an ipod or iphone, many of these apps or similar ones cross over to the Droid and other smart phones. If you don’t have the budget for these, you can always find a lot of programs like Google Calendars for free on the internet. Mint is good tool for financial planning and budgeting.

My husband uses Omni Focus for his lists and things to do. It’s pretty expensive, but he swears by it. There’s also a piece of software called Devon Think that helps you organize all the documents you have and allows you to search for them.

I also really utilize my Safari bookmarks for finding websites. I always seem to forget where I last saw something on the internet. I’ve got about twenty categories and maybe ten entries in each bookmark folder. I have bookmark categories for food, advice, social networking, news, etc. I’m just too lazy to google everything I want to read, so the Safari bookmark function is really helpful.

Adding to all of this condensing technology, I’ve recently gotten a Kindle. Talk about Micro Living! I’ve basically gotten rid of all my books except for my cookbooks (I don’t think they show up very well on Kindles). I’ve narrowed down my bookcases from three large ones to a built-in bookcase in my guest room. I get that a lot of people are attached to their books and their personal libraries. I just like my Kindle for the reading fluff that just gathers dust on the shelf. You know, junk fiction, one-time reads, that sort of thing. I use that extra room on my bookshelves to display artwork, my very favorite books (coffee table books and the like) and other things that I really treasure.

I think these technologies are perfect for Micro Living. I’ve cut down considerably on the paperwork in my house and streamlined almost everything to a little electronic box the size of well… an ipod? I feel more organized having my lists, books, games and music at hand whenever and wherever I need them. I get to use all the space leftover in my purse for things I really love… like lipgloss! And the things I really need, like my Epipen. It’s a great excuse for a new handbag! And while I’m at it, I can donate some of my old huge handbags to charity and clear out some closet room for new things.

What do you think? Any apps you love? Can’t leave your paper planners and books behind? What do you love most about your own organizing tools?

I know some of you are really attached to your paper, but maybe for 2011 you could try something new…

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