My Quick Affairs with Productivity Apps
In the ever-growing technological environment of our world, or rather, my corner of the world, I have been mostly welcoming when it comes to new advances and programs that are designed to make our lives easier. I mean this in terms of organization and planning, and not in terms of being able to keep tabs on someone at all hours of the day or having a refrigerator that opens by itself, among many other uses of course.
When I’m feeling scatterbrained or unorganized (usually both), I venture out to blogs and articles from experts to peruse “must have” apps for getting one’s life together, and most of the time head to my phone or tablet’s app store with high hopes. After weeding out the expensive (not free) apps, I settle on downloading maybe one or two and then think: Wow! This is great – I’ll never be unorganized again!
It’s thrilling to find an app (remember, I’m talking about organizational and related apps, not your typical social media, Snapchat apps) that does exactly what you want it to do, and even more thrilling (for me) when it’s free. This does impose a limit on some programs (is that an outdated word?), and rightly so I suppose as those developer geniuses are definitely worth more than *free*, but for the most part, the primary functions are accessible even if you opt out of paying for upgrades and more involved versions.
From the existence of this post, you may infer that I have done this more than once, and you would most certainly be correct. No matter how rigid I am with myself about getting in a routine and using the new platforms I have set up for myself, I can never seem to really stick with anything new. And if you’re thinking I spend too much time doing this, I’ll let you in on something: this never lasts for more than two days. By the time I remember to plan with the app I downloaded three days ago, two weeks, six blog posts and many Twitter and Instagram posts have been published. So here is a list of those apps I was really invested in for five minutes, and which I still think have excellent potential for keeping one’s life together, just not mine. Maybe they will help you, or maybe you will take comfort in the fact that there are people out there who also just stick to basic strategies.
Oh beautiful Trello, you were just what I needed until I forgot you were there. With your color coding, list making, easy to use organizer, and other functions, you are what planning dreams are made of. I made categories for each social media account and each blog section for post reminders and planning ahead purposes. With handy To Do, Doing, and Done lists, I could attach the photo or photos I used, a due date and a summary of what the post would be, as well as keep track of myself throughout the weeks, but alas, you were forgotten even though I placed you on the first page of apps on my phone. I do wish to pick you back up again, but don’t want to raise your hopes too high.
I’m not sure why an elephant is the chosen image for you, although now I’m thinking about the saying “An elephant never forgets,” so maybe that’s it? Either way, it drew me in among your productivity tools for about one day of classes in college. I just couldn’t understand the difference between you and my love OneNote which came with the Microsoft Word programs on my tablet – unnecessary duplication of programs does not lead me on the path of organization and productivity, it just leaves me more scrambled and in need for more organization, so Evernote, you had to go.
I didn’t have any say in your existence on my devices, and although I gave you a try, you are more of a time waster for me, especially since I am obviously interested in all of the categories of news and articles you offer and can’t just pick two or three; I already look at too many BuzzFeed and news announcements on my social timelines, I can’t go looking for more elsewhere. Although you are an excellent aggregator Flipboard, I must leave you to remain unopened and just simply existing.
Hootsuite for Twitter & Social
Perhaps my blog/online persona isn’t large enough to warrant you, Hootsuite, but more than that, I think our online world is moving too fast for the kind of scheduling you assist with. A handful of my blog and social media posts are written and planned ahead of time, but are usually revised or heavily edited at the time of publishing, and sometimes the information is no longer relevant enough to be put out in the world wide web. I cannot deny your success with others, however, and your social media tips are appreciated by me, but I cannot get on board with using your app and tools, no matter how darling your owl is.
There are others in my failed-use repertoire, like Google Calendar (ugh, your synchronization and switching between calendars takes up way too much of my time), Any.do: TO-Do List & Task List, and Sticky Note (so many beautiful colors, so much visual chaos), although I should mention successful trials of apps, like Snapseed for photos: dreamy, beautiful filters, photo editing tools, and most importantly ease of use; Goodreads, which I gush about every chance I get (I am talking about the app, although the website is brilliant too) because of its bookish organization; and the simple Memo pad on my phone which allows me to simply write down thoughts and forget about them or use them in the future, no bells and whistles about it.
So what do I primarily use to keep organized? My good old planner, people. No, not a digital one. A beautiful, customized version, currently from Plum Paper, for which I purchased colorful pens and markers to color code and organize my life in the one place I actually look. I won’t ever underestimate the value of a paper planner; I don’t know why I have such a hard time using digital organizational tools – it seems harder to me, almost. And it probably has a lot to do with customization. While flexible, apps have their limits, and with my physical planner, limits hardly exist. As for to-do lists, I opted for a planner with space for these, complete with check mark boxes, note pages, and sections for goal making and things to remember. It’s absolute bliss.
I hope that even if you can’t stand to think of using a paper planner (I’ll always recommend this first), I at least gave you a couple of app ideas you may not have heard of, although if you are more about the app organization world you probably know way more than I do. No matter how you do it, stay organized, my friends!
I use my planner and bullet journal daily, but I do also integrate scheduling apps! My blog posts are always written and scheduled at least a week ahead- I can’t guarantee that I’m going to be home the night before to write it. I find Hootsuite useful to for having things ready when the best time to post is inconvenient for me! While I still have to push it over to IG, all of the editing and writing is already done. Everyone has to find their own balance!
Since I wrote this, I started using Buffer to schedule tweets, and I can’t deny its tremendous helpfulness. It helps me with deciding what to post on IG too, so I can keep whatever topic I decide to share one week in sync. But sometimes I use only my planner… – you’re right, it’s all about balance. 🙂
I still love Evernote, but its main benefit for me is the ability to sync all types of notes across all my devices. So the quick note I jot for myself on my phone is waiting on my computer, yeah, but I can also plug photos into it and record audio, or export any part of that for use in another program. If I didn’t need that functionality (yes, need, as in “more than air”) I’d probably just be using sticky notes everywhere.
That’s a great point! I may need to give it another chance.