My Essentials: On Staying Organized

November 17, 2015 Advice Corner 3

In a life as hectic as mine, organization is key. I wouldn’t be able to run my blog, my family, or my life as efficiently if I wasn’t organized. Thankfully, I love all that goes into organizing and planning. I know that I’m the backbone for my family and what needs to be done in that aspect. When it comes to my blog and stuff I need to do in general, it’s always best to have a clear, concise idea of what needs to be done.

My list below highlights tried and true apps that have made my life so much easier. Some I’ve used for years and have become a standard part of my life and others I’ve recently discovered and can’t live without.

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This is my GO-TO list maker and I swear by it. I love the ease of use. As much as I want an app that does it all, I also like it when the app is straight-forward and does exactly what you need it to do without any frills or fuss. Also, the UI is visually-appealing. If you upgrade to the Pro version, you could have your own background, but the free version’s backgrounds work just fine for me. They’re all light and adds character to the lists without distracting you. Also, everything in the free version meets all my needs and demands, so you don’t have to worry that the app is limited. Far from it. I’ve tried so many to-do lists over the years and this is the one I’ve stuck with the longest. Of course, It easily syncs between all your devices, which is a must in my life nowadays, but it also has an online option in case you’re away from all your devices, but somehow near a computer. I love that there’s an iPhone widget that you can add to your Notifications Center and check off as needed. It just helps with efficiency and ease of use, in my opinion.

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A to-do list is pretty self-explanatory, but let me mention some key features Wunderlist offers that I adore.

– It’s so easy to add an item to any of your lists, schedule a due date & reminder, and you can even add subtasks within tasks as well as jot down notes
– I recently learned about the ability to arrange your lists into folders, making them more organized and I love it (I’m a folder freak, lol)
– Your lists can be shared with family members or co-workers and completed tasks are marked off in real-time
– You can assign tasks to certain members with ease
– You can even add hashtags to certain tasks, like for a specific event, so when you need to look up all you have to do for it, everything is readily available

I love being able to see my daily tasks in a weekly form the way that Wunderlist does it. My family knows how crazy I get about making sure things like groceries get added to the list and when tasks are complete, that they’re checked off. Point blank, if it’s not on the list, it doesn’t get done, so it’s a TOP essential tool in my life.

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Google Calendar (Calendars by Reddle)

Apart from Wunderlist, Google Calendar is another app that I check every single day, often multiple times a day. Another thing that holds my life in its hands. The fact that it does everything I need it to do as a Calendar app and that it syncs seamlessly with everything on Earth makes it a MUST HAVE if you want to stay organized. As much as I love the look and feel of paper planners and all that, things change so quickly in my life, I’d get so frustrated having to scratch items out on a paper planner and trying to move things around. I’m also kind of a perfectionist, so even a stray mark will make me want to throw a page out and start all over, and you can’t very well do that with a paper planner. A virtual planner/calendar works so much better for me in all honesty. I use it for all aspects of my life and everything is color-coded.

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My Google Calendars include:

For my iPhone, I used to rely on the Calendar app that came with it, but I was never happy with it. I know that Google Calendar syncs with basically everything in life, so there’s no shortage of Calendar apps out there, but it took me a really long time to find something that was minimalistic, yet also efficient. That is seriously my motto in life. In the end, I’m stuck on Calendars by Reddle. My biggest problem with the iPhone Calendar app was the view. I didn’t like that there were hardly any options. With this app, you get plenty of views and I love that there are color-coded events that match your Calendars on Google.

On my computer, I prefer my Calendar to be in the “Month” view, but on my phone, I prefer it in the “Week” view. The iPhone Calendar app sucked at that, so I was pleasantly surprised that this app made things so much better. The “Month” view on the app isn’t bad either and I like that it looks fine in either the Landscape or Portrait view. With the other app, you’d always have to have it in Landscape for it to even look right.

I’m sure this is a no-brainer because who doesn’t know about Google Calendar, but in case you were wondering how I use it or what my months usually look like, there it is.

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I’ve tried SO many note-taking apps over the years and for awhile I just stuck with the default one on my iPhone and Smultron for my laptop. Smultron is great because it’s straightforward, it highlights coding, and simple. The only downside is there was never any syncing function, so I couldn’t use it across all platforms and it was just stuck there on my laptop. It didn’t bother me too much though, but I never felt the need for it else. Lately though, as my life becomes more hectic and all that, I realized I needed more options, without taking away from the simplicity/minimalism that I love. I used to write a lot of my book reviews on Smultron and I hated that if I was away from my laptop, I couldn’t get to my drafts or if I had an idea, my notes were all over the place.

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SimpleNote is just perfect for that. I love that it syncs across all my devices, it hyperlinks what needs to be linked, you can add tags to notes to keep everything organized, and it saves automatically/instantly. It’s so easy to use and I love the simple/minimal look and feel. They also let you switch from a Light or Dark theme, which is just and added bonus, as I tend to like dark themes for certain apps (like this and TweetDeck) to kind of balance out all the Light/white of other apps.

I have to mention that I haven’t tried Apple’s new Notes app, since I know they revamped it, but I’m content with SimpleNote and all that it has to offer.

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This is a new little app/tool that I discovered recently from Book Bumblings and I love it. It has helped me so much in keeping a running list of all my review books and it also helps keep all the giveaways that I have to schedule for YABC organized. It definitely takes a bit of getting used to and I’m sure I haven’t mastered all of its functionality yet, but for now it does all I need it to do.

For review books, once I get a copy, I make sure to gather all the info I’ll need in the future for a review (i.e. links, photo, ISBN, etc) and I add it to a “card”. I love that you can add hyperlinks and photos to the card, having all of it in one place ready to go when I need it. I can also set a due date. I have the books organized by their release months. I also like that I’m finally able to fully visualize all of my backlist ARCs and also have a list books for giveaways.

I do wish it synced with my other organization apps. I know it does somewhat with Google Calendar, but the way that it does isn’t too appealing for me. I still have to explore how to integrate it to my liking, but like I said, I’m still learning.

For YABC giveaways, it definitely helps me schedule them all efficiently and as quickly as possible. Once I get an email to schedule a giveaway, I put all the necessary info into a card and post it into a list for a specific date. This makes it so much easier than having to go back and forth with each email making sure I have all the details I need to schedule a giveaway. It kind of seems like it’s an added step, but I like to schedule giveaways in bulk, so this style has worked for me the last couple of months, so I’m sticking to it for now.

So those are my essential organization tools. I love having things that help make my life run smoothly w/minimal effort and these tools do just that!

What tools help you to stay organized?

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3 Responses to “My Essentials: On Staying Organized”

  1. Brittany Berger

    So glad to help you discover Trello! I’m also just as much of a perfectionist with my paper planner as well haha. I use erasable pens (but nice, fancy ones that cost too much lol) to get rid of any stray marks, and since it’s undated, if I mess up too badly I tear the week out and rewrite everything on a new page. #TypeAAlltheWay 😛
    Brittany Berger recently posted…Review: Once Upon a Power Play by Jennifer BondsMy Profile

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