4 Apps to Organize Your Life

Lately it feels as though I have two jobs.  The first, of course, is Community Manager at Method. The second is Wedding Coordinator Extraordinaire for my big sister, Katie.  We’re really close, so I don’t mind the extra work, and truthfully, it can be a lot of fun.

However, when I was reflecting on the events and tasks I needed to help organize for the wedding, I couldn’t help but think “there’s got to be an app for this!”  And, low and behold, there are tons of wedding apps to help with the planning, coordinating, and even speech writing (phewf!).

In the end though, I opted for more generalized organizational apps so I could use them for other events and tasks outside of the wedding.  

Alas, this blog post is dedicated to the apps that keep me organized when I’m not at work, keeping organized within Method:CRM.

1. Paperless Post

  • Send customized, digital, special occasion cards, invitations, or a quick thank you note
  • Use the app’s free card templates or pay for “Coins” for access to more templates
  • Manage event RSVPs, review messages, and send reminder emails through your ‘Post Box’ dashboard.

 I came across this when I was invited to attend an event and have been hooked ever since. So far, I have used this application to send out event invitations, digital birthday cards to family, and thank you cards to friends.

When someone receives your invitation, they are prompted to RSVP right then and there, so there’s no excuse for slacking! On your Paperless Post ‘Post Box’ you can see who has accepted/declined your invite, and view any private messages invitees have sent you.

In addition to invitations and managing guest lists, this application is also a great way to send a thank you card or beautiful birthday card, which is a little more special than an email or a Facebook wall post.

2. Doodle

  • Easy-to-use group scheduling tool
  • Create event/meeting, select date/ time options, send unique link to invitees to select when they prefer or are available to meet, view table to see best date/time to schedule
  • Sync appointments to your calendars

A few weeks ago, my mother tried to arrange a Sunday family dinner via email. After several back-and-forth emails between my siblings and I, my poor mum got so frustrated trying to coordinate schedules, she wrote “That’s it! I’m done!”.

If you have a big family and tend to be the one organizing get-togethers, this will sound familiar and may even cause a familiar eye twitch.

With Doodle, if I need to find a date and time that works for a few people, I create an event in Doodle, pick a few date/time options and forward the link so that all invitees can check off their available/preferred times.  When all responses have been submitted, voila!  You get a visual display of the date/time that works best for everyone (or at least the majority).

I used this application to find a day where I could guarantee a good turn-out for my sister’s bridal shower and this system worked like a charm. Next step —  providing a Doodle demo for my mom, because I refuse to have scheduling difficulties come between me and a delicious home-cooked meal.

3. Wunderlist

  • Syncs across iPhone, iPad, Mac, Android, Windows, and the Web
  • Share lists and collaborate with friends and family
  • Create sub tasks to break down bigger tasks into smaller, achievable goals
  • Set due dates and reminders

Ah, the infamous to-do list. It’s funny how ingrained the to-do list becomes in how we organize our tasks and keep from forgetting items whipping through our heads.
And even with a beautiful Macbook here at Method, I still write out my to-do lists in a notebook, with a pen! (Confession: Sometimes I even add items that I’ve already completed for the pure satisfaction of checking something off the list. I’m seeking professional help, don’t worry).

With my sister’s wedding events, there seemed to be an endless list of to-do’s, so I decided to move my list making into the digital world through Wunderlist.

I wanted an application I could use for both work and in my personal life.  I also wanted an app I could have open on my Macbook at work that would sync with my smartphone.  I read great reviews of this product and decided to give it a go, and I am happy to report there is now moreorganization to my chaos.

4. Pocket

  • Take anything you find online and store it in an organized way so it’s ready to view when you are
  • Organize everything you put in Pocket through tags such as “read later”
  • Save directly from your browser or from the 500+ apps that Pocket integrates with

If you’re like me and often have the thought “too many online articles to read, too little time!” then Pocket will become your new favourite friend (sorry Errol!).

You see, in my role at Method I’m constantly searching the web for helpful small business content, but I was finding that I was bookmarking way too many pages, and then I couldn’t review these articles unless I had my laptop.

When I heard about Pocket, I felt like my content overload prayers had been answered. I now use Pocket everyday at work to save research articles or cool resources, and I use it for fun stuff too when I’m at home or on the streetcar.

Bonus App! Songza

  • Music streaming site featuring curated playlists made by DJs, musicians, music critics
  • Pick a playlist based on occasion, mood, activity or genre
  • Listen on a browser or through a smartphone app
  • No more creating Playlists for dinner parties – just pick something that fits the mood you’re trying to create.

Okay, so I know I said 4 apps for this blog post, but I couldn’t resist — I had to include Songza.  This suggestion may not seem as productivity-related as the other apps I’ve mentioned, but hear me out.  If you’re like me, and you enjoy listening to music while you work, having awesomely curated playlists saves you time. With an app like Songza, you don’t have to download music and create your own playlists or waste time looking for tunes on YouTube.

This app has many uses in my personal life too.  If I need some energizing music to take on the treadmill – Songza.  If I’m throwing a party or having people over for dinner – Songza.  If I am wrapping Christmas presents under the tree while sipping hot cocoa and would love to listen to Bing Crosby, but don’t have Bing Crosby – you guessed it, Songza.

That about does it for this post, but I foresee a follow up post on this topic because there are other apps that I would love to share with you.  Wow, I’m realizing how incredibly dependent I am on my smartphone.  Scary.

Are you using any of these four apps at the moment? I would love to hear about the tools and techniques that keep you organized outside of your work life, so feel free to leave a comment below or tweet me.

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