I have been asked several times lately how the heck I’m so organized. Secret? I am organized yes, but not without help. LOTS of help.
I have this theory. I don’t know if it’s right or not, but I’m going with it. The more I can get help with the little things that I need to remember, the more brain power I have left to think about the bigger things. So I have several tools that I use daily to keep track of the little things! It was really difficult to create this list, because there are just so many. And I’m a geek, so new apps and advances in technology are ALWAYS exciting to me. However, I’m very skeptical. There are so many viruses and just crappy applications, that I’m very picky about what I actually install on my computer, iPad and phone. I read reviews for quite awhile, and look for additional information, before I even consider downloading it!
All of these apps I use regularly, most of them, daily. Some of them I’m REALLY good at, others I’m familiar with but not an expert. I hope this list helps any of you looking to simplify your life a bit!
This is practically my right hand. Okay, I need that for other things, it’s my left hand. Seriously, I use this all day, every day. I have used lots of calendar applications, dating back to my original Palm Pilot. That’s right folks, before the days of smartphones. I had a Palm Vx, back in about 2000, and my calendar is SO important to me! I have used several calendar applications – Outlook, Lotus, and various others, but none of them even comes CLOSE to comparing with Google Calendar. Not only does it keep my days organized, but it’s a neat tool to be able to go back and search for things. For instance, I don’t shoot in FL all the time, so I’m not as familiar with the area as I am in Colorado. So next time I’m in FL, I can look at my shoots that I had last time, and see WHERE they were, to reference them in the future. I can also look and see hmm… how long has it been since I _____ <— insert activity here. In our home, the calendar is KING. If something isn’t on the calendar, it doesn’t exist. Tom and Kaden both know this, and will ask me to add things to the calendar so that we don’t forget them. I have a pretty darn good memory, but it’s limited, and rather than trying to remember things, I put them all into my calendar! Our family menu is in the calendar, so Tom knows what is for dinner without asking. My blog posts are planned and in the calendar – this is brand new – and I’m testing it out to see if that works. Flight plans, football games, I even have our NFL teams’ calendars loaded.
Speaking of the NFL calendars, not only can you load your own calendars, but there are thousands of public calendars that you can load. Sunrise/sunset, moon phases, US Holidays, other countries’ holidays, sports teams… you name it, you can find it.
If you aren’t using it, check out Google Calendar at: http://calendar.google.com
You have to have a Google account, but once you’re set up, that account carries over to Gmail, Google +, and all of the other Google applications. I sync my Google calendar with my phone (Android) and my iPad (Apple) and Tom has access to the calendar to see everything as well. I had to blur/cross out names to protect the not-so-innocent, but this is what an average month looks like for us. This is a HUGE tool for me, and I highly recommend it to anyone who is looking to organize their life a bit.
Another left hand. Okay, I guess I can’t have two left hands. An index finger? Another REALLY important app to me.
I like to have lists. I keep LOTS and lots of lists. I have the regular lists that everyone has – packing lists, grocery lists… but I have more. I have lists of what we did on which day while we were at Disneyland. WHY? For scrapbooking later. People ask me how I remember this stuff, and sometimes I do truly remember. But a lot of times I WRITE IT DOWN. Or I keep track in Evernote.
I use Evernote for to-do lists (which is why there are no tasks on the calendar above), meeting notes, website references, references on how to do things that I want to learn, links to keep for future reference, recipes, goals, workshop notes, teaching curricula, travel information, holiday lists (baking, gifts, etc.), blog ideas, bills, books I want to read, music I want to buy, and a TON more. I keep track of the little things that Tom does for me, and made lists for my wedding vows. I write letters to Kaden, that I later use in scrapbooking or in blog posts. Evernote’s possibilities are INSANELY awesome, and I know that I’m only scratching the surface with what I use it for. You can take photos and keep documents in Evernote. You can share notes, and collaborate with others. You can “clip” stuff from the web to save for later. Again, I really don’t use Evernote to its fullest potential, but it is a truly amazing app.
And get this. If you update a note on your computer, it syncs to your phone and mobile devices. So I have all of my notes on my phone and my iPad. I make my grocery list on my computer, and it automatically loads on my phone so I have it with me when I go. I have used the voice notes to record Kaden doing something funny, and let me tell you – now that he is eight years old – those four-year-old voice mails are priceless.
To sign up and check out Evernote, click here: http://evernote.com/
Check it out. Love it. Use it. It is seriously awesome.
Let me preface this next one by saying that I am NOT an Apple junkie. There are several reasons, which I won’t go into here, because this is not an Apple PC debate. I’m not interested in the debate, quite frankly I have too much to do and don’t have time for something like that. ;) I will say that I love love LOVE my iPad.
I have an Android phone and have no desire for an iPhone, but I love my iPad and have no desire for an Android tablet. I love having both – I get to use any of the apps out there, and have the flexibility to use either for various functions. My iPad is never far from me, and I use it for SO many different things. People have asked several times how I use it for business. Well, here goes.
I have it handy at shoots with ideas that clients have sent to me that they want to try, so we can look at it together. I have it with me while I’m out and about and show off my portfolio regularly. I use it for Square, to take credit cards to make things a little easier for my clients. I have slideshows available and ready whenever someone asks me to see my work – networking events, consultations, and more. I read blogs on it with my feed reader (Feeddler – LOVE it!). I read books on it, with all three apps – Kindle, Nook, and iBooks. I listen to music on it. When I have long drives somewhere (downtown can be almost an hour in traffic) I plug my iPad into the car stereo and turn on a business video to listen while I drive. I can’t do this with videos that actually require watching, but can listen to business information while I drive. (Before I get hate mail – I’m not watching the video in traffic, the iPad is on the seat next to me and I’m listening!) I look for ideas and inspiration on Pinterest and other websites. I pull my recipes to make dinner so that I don’t have to print them out. I print important blog posts to PDF so that I can read them later when I might not have connectivity. I watch training videos on the plane.
Are you tired of hearing the uses yet? Because there are lots more. Bottom line, my iPad is invaluable to me for business use! I have the iPad2, and because I don’t take photos with it, haven’t seen a reason to upgrade just yet. I’m sure next year they will come out with another version that will have something else awesome in it, but I’m happy with mine for now. I fully intended to buy the new one this year, but the difference didn’t justify a new one for me just yet. If you’re looking for one at a lower price, I would highly recommend looking for the iPad2 – last year’s model. They are fairly inexpensive compared to the new ones.
To read more about the iPad, click here: http://www.apple.com/ipad/
Another right hand? Left hand? Okay, I’m officially out of hands. But another amazing application. With DropBox, I keep important documents there, and even have my software set up to sync my business documents back and forth. WHY, you ask? Because DropBox has applications for both Apple and Android, so I always have those documents with me. When I need to see a client’s wedding contract, I have it. If I need a model release form, I have it. If I want to read one of the documents that I’ve saved to read later and haven’t put it onto my iPad yet, it’s in my DropBox and I can view it there.
I can also share things with others. This is typically how I deliver digital files to my clients when specific sizes and quantities are required. I can zip them all up with the print release, and send them via DropBox. I upload them on my computer, and I can then share them out to others, so that they can download them. I don’t have to email huge files or figure out where to put them online, they are housed safely in my DropBox. If you aren’t using DropBox you are seriously missing out, it is an amazing tool to share with others, and keep things with you!
I had originally used ZumoDrive before DropBox was big, and I think that it just grew so much that the supply couldn’t keep up with the demand. So I have since moved everything to DropBox and am immensely happy with it!
To check it out and sign up for DropBox, click here: http://db.tt/rc809e3
Other Apps that I Love!
PinFlip – This is a relatively new application for my iPad, and is an awesome way to browse Pinterest!
Kindle App – This application is available for both Android and Apple, and allows you to read books purchased from Amazon. There are a ton of free books, and some that are available for around $1.
Shazam – This application will listen to a song, and tell you what song it is so you can tag it to buy later. Or you can purchase directly from the app! This is REALLY nice for when you’re in the car and hear a song you like, but don’t know who sings it! Not really business related, but definitely awesome. :)
Square – If you are in business and don’t offer the option to pay with a credit card, you are potentially missing out. Make things easy for your customers and clients, allow them to pay in ways that are easy for them! Square has REALLY simple interfaces and has applications for Android and Apple. I have it both on my phone and iPad, and use it consistently! Rates are low and deposits are SUPER easy!
Feeddler – This is my RSS reader on my iPad, I use Google Reader on my phone. It’s super easy to use, and I love that it doesn’t automatically mark something as read just because it’s over 30 days old!
I really hope that at least one of these helps you. There is so much to remember – and for all of you moms out there, you not only have to remember the things in YOUR life, but your kiddos too! Use some tools that are available to you and give yourself a little bit of a break. :)
Happy Wednesday, love to all!