Managing our everyday lives and time can truly be a struggle. Between working, maintaining relationships, paying bills, making meals, and finding time to rest and relax, fitting everything in can seem next to impossible. Luckily, we’re living in a digital age, and our smartphones basically have an app for everything we could ever possibly imagine, including organizing our lives.
When it comes down to using our cell phones for schedule making and time management, we need to think about what we need and for what. For example, if you’re looking for an application that takes on the “To-Do” list format, you need to find something that can group up your needs categorically, and remind you at a fixed rate when certain events are coming up. One of the most popular versions of this is “Microsoft To Do.”
The application itself is available for iOS and Android devices and is also desktop compatible as well. This means that you can sync up your daily To Do reminders to all of your devices. For example, say you have a categorical list on your page entitled “Things To Do For Work,” and one morning your boss texts you about a phone call that you need to make for them at some point during the day. From your phone, you can set the reminder within that category to remain organized, and it will remind you on your work computer later in the day to make the call, depending on when you set it.
Going along the same guidelines as “Microsoft’s To Do, “”Any.Do” is an application also available for any and all smart devices (iOS, Android, Windows, Mac, etc.). “Any.Do” offers a subscription service that equates to about $60 a year, however, what makes this application so unique is that it integrates itself with any and all of your pre-existing reminders and calendar events on your device. It then uses smart technology to give you location-based reminders, meaning if you have “get more cereal” on your list of things to do, your phone can set that alarm off when you drive past a grocery store. Additionally, the app offers productivity reports on how often you’re sticking to self-care habits such as exercise, taking medication, walking your dog, etc. If you’re an avid smart-home fan, “Any.Do” also easily connects to AI assistant devices such as Amazon’s Echo devices, and Google Home Pods.
Productivity apps go beyond just reminding you what you have to do throughout a given day. Maintaining focus on your daily goals and work is important, but in an age where the media is constantly circulating and we’re given unlimited access to it, focusing can be tough. “Forest” is an app that’s main function is to keep your attention where it’s meant to be maintained every day. When you open it, it will prompt you to begin a timer for the amount of time you’d like to spend off of your phone. Once the timer begins, a virtual tree will begin to grow on your screen but will only survive if you stay off of your device for the amount of time set. If not, the tree will die, reminding you of all the real trees around the world that are actually dying.
“Edison Mail” is a free app that’s main function revolves around the chaos that is our email inbox. The app itself will organize your inbox into categories (such as bills, entertainment, order information, etc.) based on the subject and sender. The app also easily displays “unsubscribe” buttons on all email chains you’re unknowingly still subscribed to, making your junk mailbox much smaller. It also displays the most relevant information in every messages preview, such as reservations, overdue notices, shipment notifications, etc.
“Pocket” and “Google Alerts” are the final two applications that have more to do with the media that’s constantly being updated on all of our feeds. “Google Alerts” has been around for ages, and allows Google account holders amazing synopses on the types of news that they find the most relevant. All you have to do is go to Google’s Alert page, enter in the key terms/words that pertain to the topics you want to receive updates about, and Google will automatically compile research and send you an email with a newsletter format on that subject.
“Pocket” also has to do with finding the information on the web that you specifically are interested in. Pocket is only available for Chrome or Firefox, and is a browsing extension that allows users to bookmark certain stories, websites, pages, etc. and keep them saved in one spot. Once installed, every web page will have a little “save” icon in which you can click to save the page in your pocket account. You can also create certain categories/tags on your account so you can easily compile all websites that pertain to that particular tag.
Time management is one of the most common struggles all of us can relate to, however, with a little help from the devices that were literally created to make our lives easier, it no longer has to be.
Eric Mastrota is a Contributing Editor at The National Digest based in New York. A graduate of SUNY New Paltz, he reports on world news, culture, and lifestyle. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.