Sometimes I feel so lucky to be living in an age where technology is so advanced that you can pretty much download an app for anything. Other times I can't help but feel that this flood of technology is contributing to my own insanity. That is when it becomes necessary for me to use it to my advantage, and find ways to at justify my frequent, mind-numbing iPhone use by at least making it "productive".
This is where the apps come in! There are a few go-to apps that I use to help me keep my own busy life a little more organized. Of course there are so many apps out there that you will have plenty to choose from, and it is only from downloading and trying out about a million things that I landed on my favorites. I encourage you to do the same, but just in case you're not sure where to start, here are my recommendations.
I'm an organizer, and admittedly someone who can, at times, walk too close to the OCD line. I'm a chronic list-maker, and not just because I like to check things off (though it does give me a thrill to cross off something on a list...I wish I were joking) but also because when I don't make lists I feel like my head is a hamster wheel. Life feels a little more in control to me when I turn things into bullet points.
I started out using Awesome Note by BRID because of the sheer number of different tasks, calendars, folders, labels, colors, tabs, options, etc. that you can create to basically form your own little overly organized universe. I'm not kidding - the options in this app are pretty much unlimited for anything you could possibly want while trying to keep a list and "making it you" at the same time. Awesome Note also syncs with Google Docs, so you won't ever lose your info! Super important.
I used Awesome Note for a really long time, until I got so far into it, and I had spent so many hours in the app, that I kept feeling the urge to reorganize everything in there. It actually started to have too many features for me, which was distracting me from just keeping my lists. I spent just as much time trying to make them look good as I did making the lists, which is ridiculous. That's when I decided I might need to move onto something simpler for a while.
That's when I found Do! - The Best Simple To Do List by Su Won Shin. This app is just basic enough to keep me from falling into a black hole of over-organization (believe me, this can occur) but it's also adorable! Score. The whole package. The best part is that there are enough customizable features, like fonts, backgrounds and tabs, but not so many that you forget you were making a list and not building a website.
I liked this app so much that I paid to upgrade from the free to the premium version, and then something even cuter happened. Su Won Shin put out a Spring version which functions in exactly the same way, but just looks even more adorable. I could barely take it, so I had to download that one too. Who said making lists couldn't be easy and attractive? (Sidenote: Make sure you turn the sound on when you make your first list item, so you can hear the little scribbling sound. It's great.)
I'm not always making lists, really...and when I'm not, sometimes I just want to jot something down. Like an idea or a quote. I keep a pretty extensive record of my dreams, a catalogue of beauty products I like and want to repurchase (with photos), and sometimes ideas about Christmas presents come to me early. That's when I use Evernote. You can keep all sorts of notes, and you can even record audio clips. Everything syncs to your own cloud on Evernote.com, so again, you won't have to worry about losing anything. This is a must-have!
If you're a freelancer or anyone who does any kind of contract work, you know the importance of keeping track of your time. If you're only using the clock to log your hours, you're probably missing out on some pay, and having your own time clock will make life much easier! I'm kind of married to mine.
HoursTracker by Carlos Ribas has a clock in/clock out function, with editable times (just in case you forget to clock out for lunch and need to go back and edit), the option to export, and you can even keep track of multiple jobs or clients at the same time. This was one of the main features that simplified my life, because now I can keep track of how much time each client has logged with me, export them separately, and set different rates of pay for each job.
HoursTracker keeps track of all of that for me, so I don't have to spend any more time than I need to going back and checking my calendar. When I'm working, I clock in to whatever job I'm working on, and when I'm done I clock out. I can look at my hours my day, week, month or just the job in general, and I can always add a note at the bottom if I need to remember something specific about a certain time slot.
The best thing that HoursTracker did was show me just how quickly those couple of minutes here and there checking emails could add up! It's only 2 min. out of my time right now, but in a year I've spent several extra hours working for free without even knowing it. So, if you're a freelancer who values your own time this app is definitely worth a try!
Dropbox is not negotiable for some of the contract work that I do with my distance clients, however it's even better that I can access it on my phone. I mostly use the mobile version when I'm traveling, though the desktop version is a staple. Dropbox makes sharing any kind of document between two people completely flawless, and my favorite thing about it is that they allow you to earn more space by referring other people! If you aren't already using Dropbox I suggest you give it a try, because the days of fighting with email attachments, or putting things on a CDRW are over.
For creatives, designers & artists:
Last, but certainly not least, Inkflow was created for all of the creative types and visual thinkers out there! You didn't think I would leave you out did you?
If you have a habit of scribbling, doodling or even drawing out your ideas, then Inkflow is a great alternative to the traditional and stuffy list apps that type A's use all too frequently.
If you're working in any sort of creative field, especially in design or art, Inkflow is the perfect app to draw, paint and plot out your next project or idea. It has much more of a "flow" than a note app, and you can easily share or export any of your pages into high-quality documents.
Just looking at it makes me feel creative!
I'd love to hear from you some of you! What are you favorite iPhone apps for staying sane, organized and more productive?
*All the apps I've mentioned can be purchased through the iTunes app store either on your phone, desktop or by clicking the links I've provided.