Between work, activities, appointments, and ever-growing to-do lists, many of us constantly feel rushed and anxious. And all too often, the distractions of our smartphones only make this busy pace more hectic. But phones can also simplify your life — it all depends on how you use them.
Take these seven apps and tools, which help you track your time, build better habits, receive reminders, and more. According to www.popsci.com, the tools can turn your phone into a serious timesaver.
To begin, you’ll need a note-taking app where you can consolidate your scribbles, lists, and fragmented notes. Google Keep is better for this task due to its straightforward interface and compatibility across multiple platforms.
In addition to storing your notes, Google Keep gives you a few ways to organise them. For example, you can label related entries with the same colour or tag them with specific words, making it easy to group together everything relating to home, work, the kids, and more. You can also store a variety of note formats, such as text, lists with or without individual checkboxes, finger or stylus-drawn scribbles, voice memos, and images.
You can also share Google Keep notes with other users. Or put them in a more professional format by converting text notes to a Google Docs file.
These days, every phone comes with its own digital helper. But even if you have access to Google Assistant or Siri, you should consider using Cortana as well, particularly if you work with multiple devices or own a Windows 10 computer. Just download the app, sign in with your Microsoft account, and let it organise your life.
Cortana can take notes, write lists, and set task reminders. The latter can ping you at particular times of day or when you reach certain locations — for example, you may get an alert to buy flowers as soon as you pass your favourite flower shop. Reminders can also repeat on a scheduled basis, so you can create a weekly reminder to, say, pick up milk or empty the garbage.
The AI assistant also works with just about any calendar app — including those from Google, Apple, and Microsoft — to let you add new events and check for upcoming appointments. In addition, Cortana keeps you in touch with breaking news and weather forecasts.
Trello has earned a strong reputation as a tool teams can use to manage shared projects. In fact, it works just as well for individuals and families, because part of Trello’s appeal is its flexibility — you can adapt it for a variety of purposes, including keeping track of activities.
This service offers both mobile and web apps, and both work the same way: You create a variety of digital “cards” and arrange them in columns. Each card might represent a household chore, an item on your to-do list, or a looming calendar event. The columns can represent categories of tasks, priority levels, specific dates, or any other factor you may use to arrange your cards.
Once you’ve decided on your organisation scheme, you can add details to individual cards to make them easier to manage. Write a description, apply a couple colour-coded labels, tag the people who may need updates or reminders, and even give the card a deadline. Then your collaborators can add comments to the cards, attach files, and drag-and-drop cards from one column to another. Your Trello setup can really be as simple or as complex as you want.
In order to organise your life more efficiently, you need to know how you’re spending your time — and that’s what Smarter Time aims to do. It can even track your activity automatically: While you’re supposed to log your time, the app will also attempt to fill in any blanks in your day, basing its work on your previous habits and on data from your phone’s sensors (speedy movement, for example, might mean you took a morning run).
Once you start feeding data to this app, it will be able to spit out reports on everything from how you spend your day to which apps are wasting most of your time. Then, if you’d like to change your daily activity balance, you can set customised goals that Smarter Time will help you reach.
At the moment, only Android users can download Smarter Time, but the company is currently developing a beta version for iOS. For extra features, like more detailed reports and additional data-export options, you can sign up for Plus accounts, which cost $3 to $10 each month.
Todoist is one of the most popular to-do list apps, and with good reason. This comprehensive tool works on just about every platform, provides a bright and intuitive interface, and includes advanced features for those who need them.
For example, this app lets you assign each item a priority. You can also arrange tasks by nesting them within one another, which lets you keep work and personal items separate. For recurring tasks like taking out the garbage or paying your phone bill, you can set to-dos that will repeat on a regular schedule — if you need to do something every week, Todoist won’t forget about it.
While the base level of Todoist is free, you can upgrade to Premium plans for $29 a year. At this tier, you can request reminders based on either time or location, enjoy automatic backups, and receive charts showing just how much you’ve achieved.
Source: The Punch