When it comes to staying organised I like to use the combination of a digital and a paper planning system. I like the flexibility and storage space that my apps and digital system provides, however there’s something about a paper planner which I love so much, that I just couldn’t give it up. In a past blog post I talk about my minimalist organisation routine where I use a Filofax planner with a combination of both the Filofax and Bullet Journal systems. I love the freedom and creativity that this system allows and I feel a sense of relief after being able to get all my thoughts out onto paper in a trustworthy system. My paper planner is always my first point of call and is what I always come back to when my head is feeling busy and I need to ‘press the reset button’.
At this moment in time I am using solely my iPad and phone when it comes to studying and my blog related work. I like to find useful apps to improve my digital planning system and general productivity, however I find that my devices quickly become clogged up with so many apps that it can actually hinder my ability to stay on task. I recently had a clear out of my unused apps and left my home screen refreshed and organised. I’m still developing the ‘perfect system’, like most people, but here are a few of my top organisational and productivity apps that help keep me on track to live a productive (NOT BUSY) life, while achieving my goals in a systematic way. I won’t bore you with explaining how to work each app, they are quite straight forward to use and pretty self explanatory, instead I will explain how they help me while briefly mentioning which features are my favourites.
Side note: As I stated earlier, I use only my iPad and my iPhone for work, therefore I am unsure of how compatible these apps are with windows or android.
Before I get into the bulk of this blog post I just wanted to quickly tell you about the brand iKAPZ. I was very kindly sent a collection of their new colourful custom charger kapz to try out. These charger covers are so funky, I found them so cool and fun to use. They slot seamlessly onto an apple plug and make YOUR charger stand out from the rest – I’m sure many of you can relate to fighting over chargers in your household, because so many of us now are using these chargers, it’s become so difficult to tell them apart. Lucky for me I now have a bright orange charger cover to keep mine safe from being claimed 😂
This product is durable and fits like a glove – to grab yours head over to the iKAPZ website at www.ikapz.com
I wanted to share this with you, as I was very pleased with what I received from iKAPZ and when I was approached to trial this product I thought that it would collaborate rather well with the theme of this blog post.
**I am NOT benefiting from this AD financially**
My Digital Organisation Routine
1. FamCal – FREE from the App Store
I’m still quite new to this one but it’s basically a calendar app that I started using a few months ago for both Jasmine and myself to sync across all of our devices – I chose it simply for that reason, so that we can both stay in the loop with what events we have going on that may involve each other. I am aware that iCalendar also has this feature however, for whatever reason, we were unable to sync ours together.
This app is used for all our events, appointments and the bulk or recurring tasks such as work, holidays and personal commitments, plus dated reminders for specific finances and bills within our day-to-day life. This is always the first app I refer to before future planning and the understanding we have of this app, is that if it’s not scheduled into FamCal then it’s not happening.
2. Wunderlist – FREE from the App Store
This is my ULTIMATE list making app. If you like lists then this is 100% your kind of app. I love that I can sync it across other users, for example Jasmine and I have been able to collaborate on projects together over both our devices, as well as being able to sync all of this data between my iPad and iPhone. Wunderlist is used for I everything from personal tasks, business tasks to uni tasks and I find the folders so easy to organise with each task having the option to set deadlines, reminders, repeated dates, subtasks, notes, comments and even pictures or any other document e.g. university assignments.
I like to use the inbox section to jot any reminders or tasks down that pop into my head throughout the day. I find this system SO beneficial, this way the piece of information, reminder or task is out of my mind and on to paper therefore I don’t need to worry about forgetting it. I then glance back at this list later on in the day or at night and organise each one into its appropriate list as part of my evening routine. I then have the option to schedule it if I believe it to be necessary, this way I can be sure not to forget. Comment below if you’d like to see an evening and/or morning routine for boosted productivity throughout each day ⬇️
Another feature I love about this app is the options to see my tasks at a daily and weekly glance, this helps me to see what I have to get done each day and aids in my next step of planning which is time blocking…..
3. iCal – FREE default app for all apple devices
I’ve seen so much online about time blocking and it’s something I’m yet to fully master, however iCal is where I like to give it a go. I used to use this app for all my appointments, events, work etc. however FamCal took that role over when myself and Jasmine decided to sync our calendars together. I love how easy and accessible this calendar system is, plus the fact I can colour code everything and sync it across all my devices is just ideal, so I decided to use it for weekly time blocking.
For anyone who isn’t familiar with what time blocking is, it’s simply a planning system by which you schedule specific time during each day for allocated tasks to be completed, whether it be half an hour or 3 hours long. I’m really guilty for spending three times as long on a task than I should, resulting in me running out of time for everything else that needs to get done (can anyone relate?) I need to be strict with myself 🙈 so if I allocate half an hour to spend on emails and an hour of blog writing after that, then I must stop with my emails after the allocated time, accept that I can’t complete my entire email inbox and move on to my next task of blog writing for an hour.
I have set time slots in place all the time e.g. morning routine, dinner time, tea time, night routines, work and uni. Then each evening I will refer to Wunderlist and my Filofax planner to see what is on my agenda. I will then schedule timeblocks for each task, this way I can ensure I’m staying productive and working on my priorities as evenly as humanly possible 🙈. Notice that I tend not to refer to FamCal at this stage, unless anything new has been added, most events and appointments that are approaching will more than likely already be in my filofax planner.
If you’d fancy more info on ‘time blocking’ then let me know in the comments ⬇️
Apps I use for work, uni and personal organisation/productivity
4. Strides – FREE from the App Store (FREE PLAN = 7 daily habits)
This is a habit tracker which I use for just a small collection of important tasks that I aim to do either everyday or a few times every week. With Strides I can keep track of important daily tasks e.g. spending time on self development, as well as developing new healthy habits throughout the year e.g. drinking more water and getting up before a certain time everyday. I think it’s a great way to work on new habits as the satisfaction you get from ticking it off your list strives you to get it done even more. This way the task is more likely to be completed everyday and tasks that we do EVERYDAY will eventually become a habit which you do without needing a reminder. At this stage I can then remove it from my list and add a new one.
I love keeping the list short yet packed with habits that are important or mean something to me. That way if I have a ‘not so good day’, I can be reassured knowing that I have completed my main habits for that day which in turn are all leading me more towards my main goals.
5. Life cycle – FREE from the App Store
This app isn’t one I use everyday, but I find it useful to glance at periodically to help determine where I am spending my time. Life cycle is a daily, weekly and monthly pie chart showing when your time is being spent. You can categorise each location that you’re in during the day e.g. work, home, the shop, uni etc. The app then remembers each location and when you visit that place again it can record how long a time is spent there. This helps me cage whether I am spending too long in a specific area (thus wasting time), for example if I spend 3 hours at the yard when in theory it should only take me 2 hours to get everything done, then I know to adjust my day and in turn I will gain back time which can be spent on other important commitments.
I also like the fact that this app can record my sleep, I’m unsure as to how accurate this is, but it gives me a general idea of how much rest I am getting as appose to time working and running errands out of the house. Another feature I like is the step count and time spent walking, because it’s always nice to see how active you’ve been throughout the day, week and month.
6. Flow timer – FREE from the App Store
I have this app for mainly university and work use. It helps me to stay focussed and on task using the pomodoro technique. For anyone who is unfamiliar with this technique, it is a work and rest timer which at factory settings will have you completing 25 minutes of completely focussed work before being given a 5 minute break. These timings can be changed in the settings and usually after a few 25 minute intervals you are given a longer break of around 15 minutes. The whole point is to keep you focussed when you’re working and to avoid fatigue and reduced concentration by not working for too long and allowing yourself time to recuperate and refresh. At the end of each interval; whether you choose to watch a short YouTube video, get a cup of coffee or stretch your legs for 5 minutes, ordinarily you should feel more energised and ready to work when you return for the next 25 minute interval, resulting in an increased quality of work.
7. Trello – FREE from the App Store
This is my ULTIMATE project manager. I have assigned this whole app to blog planning only. This involves blog post ideas, content planning, scheduling monthly blog plans, to-do lists, as well as new up and coming projects which I’ve yet to share with you 🤫
Much like Wunderlist, I love that I can sort everything into folders, then cards, then tasks – each with the option to write additional notes, subtasks, comments and attach images or files. Plus it also has the feature of setting due dates, colour coding and sharing across numerous accounts. I chose to use this over Wunderlist for my blog and social media planning as I feel it is a little more flexible when it comes to moving tasks around and I feel there is more space to elaborate on my ideas as I can convert subtasks into separate cards e.g. if I list blog post ideas in subtasks and then decide to use one of the ideas and make a plan for the post, I can convert it into a card and inside that I can add additional info, subtasks, images and documents to aid in planning that blog post.
I see Trello as a larger project manager which I like to access mainly through my iPad to record and plan new ideas at my desk, but also with the option to access all the data from my phone whenever I need to e.g. when posting a pre-planned social media post. In the Trello App, everything has its own place, it’s a very flexible and interchangeable system with separate boards, columns and cards to keep it looking neat and tidy. I believe this helps to stop any chance of an information overload and avoids me from getting overwhelmed with mixed pieces of information all at once.
8. AudioNote 2 – FREE from the App Store
This app is still rather new to me, as we are beginning a new year of university, so this app is yet to be fully utilised. I have however, been testing out the features of this new note taking method I’ve decided to adopt this year, after I discovered it online. I liked the idea of being able to record lectures, however I was cautious that this may clog up my iPad memory. Ever since starting uni I’ve continuously been on the look out for a better and more efficient way to take notes in lectures, as well as deciding on a system for which all my notes, slides, handouts and revision can be stored. Coming into my third and final year of university you’d have thought I’d have all this figured out by now, that couldn’t be more wrong! Every year I try something different and I feel like I’m slowly but surely finding the best method that suits me.
With AudioNote 2, I am able to record lectures and take notes as I go. Each recording will run along side its corresponding notes collectively saved in files on my Dropbox account. This means I can listen back to my lecture with my notes directly in front of me, no switching from app to app or flicking through endless sheets of physical notes and all the files are saved onto dropbox, so my iPad memory is unaffected.
Although what really sold it for me was this…… the app gives you the option to type, write and take or insert pictures and PDF files. I can re-read my notes and add extra detail without making a mess, or simply highlight important points to help with revision. I can switch to draw mode if ever I need to draw a diagram, or I can just as easily take a picture of the white board, or a handout and label it on the iPad using the ‘draw tool’
All my lecture notes in one place! It’s easily accessible and perfect for revision.
9. Dropbox – FREE from the App Store
People may argue that this isn’t an App as such, however I couldn’t not mention it. I honestly can’t remember the last time I used a memory stick and I’m sure I’ve actually lost them more times than its ever helped me out. I was introduced to Dropbox last year for saving my uni work on. It now consists of all my uni, work and personal files and documents.
Dropbox is an online file storage system which allows me to access any of my saved documents wherever I am, on any device. All I need is access to the internet. No more lost memory sticks or what I used to do was email myself my work for uni and college which really just clogged up my inbox!
10. Exams countdown – FREE from the App Store
There are so many apps out there that provide this service, however this is just the one that I have used the most. Exams countdown allows me to input when my assignments and exams are due and provides me with a continuous countdown to all my important deadlines, right down to the final second.
The layout is so simple and its easy to see at a quick glance which deadlines I have coming up and exactly how long I have to get it done! I have to say though, my favourite part has to be the colour coding feature. I commonly have an exam and an assignment for each module, therefore each module is given a colour and an icon, for example last year I used a DNA double helix for my Equine Breeding and Stud Management module. So for anyone who is quite visual (like myself) I highly recommend this app just to exaggerate the dreaded deadlines and exam stress 🙈😂 – I’m only kidding, it really does come in useful when I need to decide which modules take priority at different times of each semester, therefore enabling me to complete each task on time.
So that wraps things up for my top 10 apps for staying organised and boosting productivity. If you enjoyed this post please don’t forget to give it a ‘like’ and follow this blog to be notified each time I post. I always love to hear from you in the comments and through email so do not hesitate to get in touch with your thoughts or questions surrounding this post. The support from your likes, comments and follows means a lot! You can also find me on my social media channels, most commonly facebook and instagram where you can keep up to date with my most recent content, projects, adventures and general daily life.
Happy September all 😘