By Drew Hendricks
I like being as busy as possible. However, I don’t like being busy trying to figure out everything that I have to do. That’s why I continually aim to improve my organization skills each year. This year, I have no excuse but to achieve that resolution because of the numerous new apps that are available to organize my work and life.
I am not affiliated with any of the companies in the article. They have been selected because I am currently using them and wanted to share them with other entrepreneurs who may be resolving to make improvements in how they structure their days, weeks, and months.
Every smartphone or mobile device comes with a calendar. In fact, I’ve always sworn by my Google calendar. However, Calendar.com has an app that brings the many calendars I have together in one spot and even allows me to easily share this information with whomever I choose. It even has a natural language feature so I can just input a couple words and the app then recognizes what I’m trying to do or find. It’s ideal for meetings and working with teams. Another cool feature is that it calculates the best route, mode of transportation, and optimum time it will take to get to an event, appointment, or meeting. Basically, it does a lot of the thinking for me, which is helpful when you are on the go and have many things on your mind.
I like this Chrome extension because it gives me a personal dashboard that is designed to help me stay focused on my priorities, deliver positive inspiration to ramp up motivation, and offer customized information that helps me achieve those priorities. Every day, the extension asks me what my main task is that day, which helps me to really think about what I’m doing rather than making a mental list and hoping I get through some of it.
Don’t let the title fool you—this is not a general organization site for “stuff” and “things” that go on a to-do list. Instead, this app is the real deal when it comes to helping me organize tasks in a thoughtful way. While it does a lot of the heavy lifting in terms of putting it down and offering me reminders and visual plans to complete my day, it also makes me think more deeply and reflect on how I approach each day. This reduces a lot of the stress for me. It helps that the app divides up the day so I don’t have to look at the things I have to do that can only be finished at home. Not having to look at them creates a better focus on only the tasks that really need my attention and that I can control. This includes larger tasks where the app breaks it down into manageable items that relate to the bigger one. Plus, there is the option to look at upcoming tasks so I maintain a longer-range sense of planning and organization.
The latest version of this relatively new app for iOS helps me stay updated and organized when it comes to all the content that I want to consume. This allows me to be more efficient with how I use my time to catch up on trends, issues, and insights. It supports multiple media sites I like to get my information from and organizes it for me so I don’t have to go to each site and find articles of interest. These media sites include Feedly, Fever, NewsBlur, and more. Plus, it supports local and standalone RSS. Additionally, it includes sharing services so I can send anything of interest to my team who may be on Buffer, Evernote, Facebook, Twitter, email, or other sites and platforms.
Sometimes the hardest things to organize and save are my own thoughts. That’s what Google must have realized when they created the Keep app. I can record audio, save notes and thoughts, and add photos—all in one place. This saves me from losing ideas and other valuable content that could have been useful later on during a project. Notebooks and scraps of paper can get lost, but the Keep app is always with me. The location- and time-based reminders are other features that keep me on time and on task.
While Keep is great for passing thoughts and brainstorming, DayOne is a way for me to keep a daily journal of reflections that help me work on my personal development. It’s an easy way to keep a journal, which allows me to think more consciously about the goals I set for myself in life and business. If I didn’t have a digital way to do this with cloud management, I probably wouldn’t keep a journal. It has password capability to keep my thoughts secure and private, which is especially helpful if I’m putting down new business ideas or thoughts related to proprietary business information.
Although it benefits me and my organization skills immensely to have these new apps, their power is not active until I completely commit to working on becoming more organized. There is a mental process where you must decide that you want to be more organized and efficient with your time. Otherwise, these tools will rust in their toolbox, unused and unappreciated. When you truly want to be organized, you will put your mental energy to work to do so.
Drew Hendricks is a marketing professional and social media strategist. He has written for many major publications such as Forbes and Entrepreneur.
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