Archive for the ‘Organization’ Category

My Top Tools for Organization

February 12, 2013 2 comments

In the past few years, I have a variety of tools that I’ve used to help me stay organized and on track. It’s been hard to make the switch from paper to digital. But I’ve done it.


First and foremost these days is Google Calendar. Without Google Calendar, I would probably still be using a paper calendar as my primary form of staying organized. Google Calendar is easy to use and easy to sync to nearly any mobile device. I have Google Calendar synced to my iPhone and iPad. I don’t bother using any other calendar app including Apple’s iCal. If anything were to happen to Google Calendar, I’d probably go back to using a paper calendar. (Although I’d hate it because it wouldn’t be nearly as convenient.)

Todo by Appigo

I also use Appigo’s ToDo on my iPhone as my primary to-do list. It is $4.99 through the App Store, but in my opinion, well worth the price. It is simple, easy to use, and does a variety of things that I need it to do such as repeating tasks on a daily, weekly, biweekly, or monthly basis. I have the option of creating a regular task, a project (for multilevel items), or a checklist (best for grocery lists).

Time Master Billing

Time Master + Billing on the iPhone keeps me on my toes as far as my freelance work goes. I am able to enter different clients, track my time, see how much I’ve made, and back up my progress to Dropbox. I’m sure there’s much more I could do with the app. It’s a hefty $9.99, but with the freelance work I’ve gotten, I’ve made my money back on the app.


Quickbooks Pro on my desktop computer has been invaluable in helping me to invoice clients. (So has PayPal, but I still go back to using Quickbooks.) With Quickbooks, I am able to customize my invoices, balance my checkbooks, generate tax forms, and much more. I primarily use Quickbooks to generate invoices, process payments received, and generally keep track of my finances regarding freelancing. Quickbooks is a huge help come tax time because it can generate various reports for me, such as mileage traveled for work, how much I’ve earned during a tax year, and my expenses during a tax year.


Finally, IKEA’s Erik filing cabinet has been helpful in organizing all my loose papers. (I’m not a paperless office!) It is sturdy and the drawers roll out smoothly. I have one Erik filing cabinet and am planning to buy another because of how well built it is. It’s $99.00 but a good investment over the cheap-o filing cabinets from Staples (of which I have one).


Digital Productivity

January 22, 2013 2 comments

Google Calendar (2)So I’ve done it: I’ve gone digital. I’ve made an overall transition from paper to cloud-based storage. Problem is: if I ever lost my phone, I’d be completely screwed.

I use Google calendar to keep track of all my events. There’s a calendar for my schedule, a separate calendar for my husband’s schedule, and another calendar for the both of us (that includes things we do together). These three calendars merge into one master calendar where I can keep track of everything that’s going on in our household. I have Google calendar synced to the calendar on my iPhone so all the events will show up.

iPhone Calendar

Then I use Todo by Appigo to keep track of everything I need to do. (But I still find that I like crossing things off on a paper to-do list.)

Todo by Appigo

My Favorite iPhone Apps

January 8, 2013 3 comments


I have some go-to apps on my iPhone. Here’s a list of them (in no particular order):

  • Google Maps: So much better than the disastrous and inaccurate Apple Maps, Google Maps is a lifesaver with its up-to-date traffic information and (mostly) accurate streets. (free)
  • Remote: I have an Apple AirPort in the kitchen with speakers and sometimes I’ll stream from my iTunes (Mac or PC) to the AirPort in the kitchen. Remote is handy to have when a song comes on that I’m not particularly in the mood for and want to change without running to another room to do so. (free)
  • UberSocial: A Twitter client that allows you to “mute” certain people you follow on Twitter. It also allows you the option of “quoting” a tweet when attempting to retweet. (free)
  • SoundHound: Shazaam is the popular sound/song-matching app, but I like SoundHound. It automatically posts songs that it has matched to Twitter and Facebook. (free)
  • PNC Mobile: I love PNC Bank’s Mobile app that allows me to easily deposit checks simply by taking a picture. I would say that I liked the Virtual Wallet app but the regular PNC Mobile app is just as easy to use for my business account. (free)
  • Starbucks: I can load my cards onto my phone, reload balances, and use my phone to pay for drinks and/or food. And each Tuesday, I get a notification to download their free iTunes song of the week. (free)
  • Time Master + Billing: When freelancing for a client of mine, I use the Time Master app to enter job codes, keep track of my time, and see how much the client will owe me. It allows me to easily back up all my data to Dropbox so in case something goes wrong with my phone, I can access past information. This app has more than paid for itself. ($9.99)
  • Google Voice: In an effort to keep my texting costs down (I am on the 200 texts for $5-dollars plan), I use Google Voice that provides me with my own local number (a separate one from my phone) that people can text to. It has confused a number of my family members and friends that I’ve got two cell phone numbers, but it keeps costs down. (free)
  • Todo by Appigo: A handy way to keep track of things to do. Set schedules, create checklists and projects, and specify things to do by location, phone number, or website. ($4.99)
  • Foursquare:  A location-based check-in game, and a race to see who can be the top of the leaderboard! (free)
  • Scrabble: The popular board game comes to life in a digital version. (free ad-supported version and occasionally on sale for $0.99)
  • Draw Something: It’s like Pictionary but on the phone. You don’t need to be an artiste to have fun. (free ad-supported version and $2.99)
  • Gmail: Primary email of choice. This app allows me to access all the things I cannot through the Mail app: searching my archives and accessing my drafts. (free)
  • MyFitnessPal: A tool for tracking calories. I know people who have lost weight using this app, but I can’t seem to get myself together. (free)
  • YouVersion Bible: Access certain translations of the Bible online and offline. Why carry a Bible to church anymore? (free)
  • Facebook: The Facebook app helps me to stay connected to friends and family. And now, it’s easier than ever to share links. (free)
  • WordPress: Whenever inspiration for a blog post may strike me, I have a reliable blogging tool at my fingertips. And if I really wanted to, I could use it for my professional blog. (free)

Google’s Broken Tasks Promise

October 3, 2011 5 comments

I am a dedicated Google user. From Gmail to Google Calendar to Google Search, I like the ease of use of most Google products. (Yes, they have too much information on me.)

Google Calendar is the Google feature I most next to Gmail. After Google Calendar, the feature I use most (or would use more often) is Google Tasks.

Let’s talk about Google Tasks. Read more…

iPhone/iPad/iTouch Productivity: Lists & Tasks App Mania

January 31, 2011 3 comments

I’m an organizational/planning freak. As a result, I’m CRAZY about lists.

  • If there’s something to do, it goes on a list.
  • If there’s something I want to purchase, it goes on a list.
  • If there’s a book I want to read, there’s a list for that too. (Goodreads is fantastic, btw.)

I have grocery lists, travel lists, and wish lists. I am your List Maven Du Jour.

I received an iPhone for Christmas, and as a result, have been exploring the to-do list apps in Apple’s App Store. At one point, I downloaded about six (free) apps all at one time just so I could try out their features. (Note: An app that was free has since begun charging since I downloaded it.) A few of them were free “lite” apps meaning that they had limited features for you to try out before plunking down the cash to use the full version. I really appreciated this since I’m judicious about paying even $.99 for an app unless I know it’ll be good. I don’t download apps that cost money unless I’ve tried them for free first or their ratings are so spectacular that the app is likely to be good. (App Store users: PLEASE pay attention to ratings and reviews. They are your friend. They will spare you from forking over $1.99 for a prank app that looks real.)

So, I’ve made a list of pros and cons for each of my six apps. Some things I’ve listed as cons might be pros for you. This is not a comprehensive list of To-do/Task apps but simply the ones that I tried. I purposely avoided the super-popular ones like Remember the Milk and Toodledo (because they cost money). Hopefully you’ll find one that works for you.

[Update as of 1/30/2011: the basic Remember the Milk app is free for Apple mobile devices.]

Read more…

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