The COVID-19 epidemic has changed our everyday lives and the increase in remote work has blurred the traditional boundaries between our work lives and personal lives. However, the amount of work there is to do has not decreased. Accordingly, personal organization has looked a little different this year, and we could all use a little help organizing (and compartmentalizing) parts of our lives that have blended together.
The good news is that technology can help. There are many online apps and tools that can help anyone become more organized, increase focus and help accomplish goals for home or work lives. Here are a few we thought would be helpful, especially in the changing world that we live in today.
1. Personal Organization-Specific Apps
This to-do list app that allows you to break down a master to-do list into manageable chunks and plan them out on a calendar. Now that many people are no longer commuting to work, it can be hard to set boundaries between home and work to-dos. Things3 allows you to do just that by setting specific to-do lists like “evening-only” for the tasks that you’d usually do when you got home from work. You can also rank tasks so that you make sure you don’t miss important tasks or deadlines.
Cozi is a family activity and organization app that allows you to keep track of different family schedules, appointments and tasks, while saving documents, pictures, recipes, etc. The app allows you to create and share a schedule or a task list with your family (which is great for assigning errands and chores). It also allows for the sharing of documents across accounts – so you don’t have to guess when creating a grocery list (or a holiday shopping list).
2. Inbox Saver Apps and Software
With many still doing their schooling and work from home, meetings and quick chats have become emails, filling up inboxes and making it hard to wade through our email for what is important. ActiveInbox is a Chrome browser extension that helps prioritize the most important emails by allowing you to break your inbox into categories and assign yourself tasks with due dates within the Gmail platform. The extension also allows you to schedule emails so that your colleagues receive them when they’re most likely to read and respond.
Unroll.Me can also help you get control of your inbox by compiling all of your email subscriptions into one. You can then unsubscribe with one click – and organize the rest into a daily email, so that you don’t have to waste time scrolling.
What ActiveInbox does for email, Franz does for other notifications like Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, Slack and more. If you feel like you’re falling behind trying to read and prioritize messages you’re getting (whether personal or through work), Franz can help by consolidating all instant message notifications into one central place. You can set different priorities for different apps and also create to-dos directly from message content.
3. Apps to Build and Enforce Healthy Habits
Habit List allows you to record positive habits and daily practices you want to improve (eating healthier, drinking more water, working out, etc.) and set how often you’d like to get them done. The app will let you set gentle reminders for yourself, track how often you complete your goals, and can work on a flexible schedule. Habit List is also gamified, so you can earn rewards and badges for completing your goals. Learn more about your habits and how you can improve on them.
Many of us now must spend more time online and our computers than we ever would have before. That can lead to some unique distractions and challenges. If you feel like you’re not being your most productive in an online format, RescueTime is for you. The software allows you to take more control of your day online by better understanding how you spend it.
RescueTime records everything you do on your computer or online device – from checking emails and using work applications like excel, to checking social media or online shopping – to show you how you can be more productive throughout the day. It also shows you which days you’re most productive, which can be helpful for establishing a new routine for remote work or schooling.
4. Apps to Save Time While Keeping You Safe
While working from home is keeping us safe, there are some hidden dangers to working off of a personal Internet connection. As we blur the lines between work and leisure time, we need access to applications across multiple devices like never before. If you are constantly forgetting passwords, you can spend unnecessary time trying to recover them and put your personal data at risk.
LastPass can both help you create strong passwords and save you time having to remember them. This software works across devices to input your password automatically on saved sites – so you can remain safe online and save time logging in.
If you don’t have a scanner at home, things could be tricky for you right now. Multiple businesses and schools are running completely online, so scanning important documents could be moth more essential and more difficult. The CamScanner app allows you to take pictures of documents on your phone and turn them into scanned PDF or JPEG files that can be shared as scanned documents.
We're all adjusting to the new world of remote work, schooling and even entertainment. Even if you didn't use personal organization-type apps or software before, it could be time to take another look. Not only can these types of apps save us time at work or doing chores, they can also help us spend more time with family and doing things we love.