I am a big fan of planning and organization (though my desk doesn’t always show that, as I am also a fan of the organized chaos of piles). I have a lot of different activities, both at work and in my personal life, and keeping track of it all can be extremely difficult, which is why I use lots of different digital ways to remind myself of where I need to be and when.
If you have an Apple device, like an iPhone or an iPad, getting started is easy! Apple products come with some incredibly useful apps built in that can make scheduling a breeze. Calendar is a great way to keep track of events, and you can set alerts so you know when you need to be somewhere. You can even share your calendars with another Apple user so you can coordinate schedules!
If you don’t have an iPad or iPhone or if you don’t want to use the apps that come standard with those devices, don’t worry: there are alternatives! Google offers a great suite of tools that can be used online and are also downloadable to your device (either Android or Apple). Google Calendar is useful in many of the same ways that Apple’s Calendar app is, letting you keep track of events, set alerts, and set reminders for different tasks. You can also share your calendars with other people, and you can subscribe to outside calendars. I personally have a subscription to US Holidays and the Bears’ and Lions’ football schedules so I always know when game day is happening!
Apple’s Reminders app also gives you an easy way to keep track of your everyday activities. You can set alerts to be reminded of something at a specific time, and you can even create an alert that goes off when you get to a specific location. As with Calendar, you can share this information with another Apple user.
Apple also comes with a Notes app that lets you jot down quick notes. Google’s version, Google Keep, lets you jot down information and also allows you to categorize notes using different colors and labels. I’ve found notes apps are most useful for lists of things that aren’t immediately necessary but could come up later. I’ve used Notes for things like book lists, grocery lists, and directions.
For a much more thorough overview of some of the ways you can use Apple apps to organize your day, take a look at our Organize Your Day in iOS handout. And for more ideas on how you can utilize Google Apps, check out our handout on those, too.
Even then, you’re not limited to what Google and Apple are doing. There are plenty of third party apps and other ways to organize your days. I personally use Evernote for my note taking. I like it because I can create lists with check boxes, allowing me to simply tap on a particular item to mark it as done, organize my notes into different ‘notebooks’ with different purposes, and I can easily incorporate photos and other media into my notes.
I also use the Momentum Chrome Extension while I’m at work to help increase my productivity. Momentum changes the ‘New Tab’ feature of your Chrome web browser from a list of recently visited sites to a calming photo of nature (or you can put in your own photo!). It greets you by name and lets you choose a main focus for the day in addition to adding in a to-do list. It’s a great way to stay on track of tasks, especially since I spend all day at my computer!
There are a lot more applications and ways to use the Internet to help schedule yourself and organize your thoughts and ideas, so do some exploring! The ones I talked about are only the tip of the iceberg.
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