Here’s your useless trivia for the day: February is National Time Management Month. (I totally just got excited. What up, Type A’s?) Later this month, I’ll share with you my not-so-new, but improved, tickler file system of household maintenance. It’s pretty much my greatest organizational achievement.
For now, I thought I’d share my top 10 productivity helpers. They may not organize your linen closet for you, but they’ll help you plan to do it. Plus, they’re just fun.
- Things. I’ve used this iPhone app for several years for my to-do list, and recently was gifted the iPad and Mac apps so I can sync it across all my devices. I love it’s scheduling and due date functions, and how you can break up items into separate lists. For instance, I have an ongoing list for one-time, mundane reminders (return library book, send card to Aunt Susie) and project lists for my extracurricular activities (sign up for spring volunteer shift) or holidays (buy Valentine’s Day cards). I also love that each to-do has a notes feature – I often use it to add shopping lists or directions – and that items can be emailed easily. You can also categorize to-dos by adding tags, which I use to designate who the item needs to be accomplished by.
- Trello. I use this site to manage our home improvement and decorating projects. Each room/area is its own board, and it’s easy to add pictures and links so when you’re ready to shop or create, inspiration is available without a half-hour search through your Pinterest boards. Its app suite means that I have all measurements, paint names, etc. with me, from Lowes to the thrift store, so I know what I’m buying will fit and is what I need.
- Mint. Not a new site by any means, but if you haven’t gotten on board, do it. It’s free, and it’s amazing, even for a non-financial-minded person like myself. You can track your spending by assigning categories, and set budgets and goals, and the app suite makes it easy to keep track of your accounts wherever you are (including while in Lowes and the thrift store, above. It may fit the room, but not your budget.).
- Dropbox. Seriously, if you’re not using it, you should be. It gives you instant access to any file, anywhere, from an app or a desktop. It also allows for shared folders; for instance, the husband and I have a shared folder that holds our master address book spreadsheet, so either one of us has access to family and friends’ contact info at any time, and, we know it’s up-to-date.
- Manilla. Nearly all of our bills are paperless, since we pay them online anyway, but that means that once a month, someone has to log into, then out of, every.single.account to write down their due dates. Manilla is a fantastic site that does that for you by aggregating all of your bill due dates into one calendar. It will also send you email alerts when a bill is coming up and keep PDF copies of bill statements in your account, so if you need to reference them, they’re all in one place.
- KeyIngredient. I use this to store all of the recipes that I’ve tried, liked and plan to make again (that aren’t already included in an actual, published cookbook). You can use the website on its own, or, along with the Demy, a tablet-like digital cookbook device that syncs with the site. The app makes it easy to look up recipe instructions and ingredients while out and about, and I love how easy it is to email a recipe to someone else. You can also organize your recipes into categories (main dishes, sides, desserts, etc.) or mark them as favorites for easier searching. The site is also set up like Pinterest, where you can follow other account holders, add their recipes to your list, comment, etc.
- LastPass. This password manager has super-secret-squirrel encryption whatnots and prevents you from having to remember that password for the site you visit once a year. You create a master password to sign in to LastPass when you open your browser, and LP remembers all your other logins as you enter them. It’s also a great way to share access to an account temporarily without having to share the actual login credentials or change them after you’re done sharing.
- Wishpot. I adore this site for keeping track of gift ideas for both myself and other people. You can make lists public or private, prioritize items based on your desire for them, and share the lists as needed. It will also alert you when the price is reduced on an item in your list, so if you’re planning ahead, you can buy that vase for Aunt Edna during a half-off sale. Since you can add things from anywhere on the Web, it’s more versatile than an Amazon wish list.
- Doodle. This is a scheduling dream. While our work email suite includes a calendar function that lets you see other staffers’ availability, when I’m trying to schedule a senior celebration lunch with 25 busy college students, I need something more efficient than a string of “reply all” emails or, God forbid, hunting them down and asking them. Enter Doodle. You put in several dates/times for a meeting and email the survey to the group; everyone then responds with their preferences, telling you which meeting time is best for most people. Easy peasy.
- Celebrations (formerly Pingg). This is my go-to electronic invite site due to its special RSVP features. It tells you who’s coming (and who even opened or clicked links within the invite) and lets you coordinate what they’re bringing. If you’re having a potluck, for instance, you can set limits ahead of time to prevent the all-stuffing, nothing else Thanksgiving dinner.
*I found the super-cute chalkboard-style computer desktop wallpaper at TidyMom. Home office area reveal coming this weekend, too. Gotta manage that time, y’all :).