Editor’s note: This is a guest post from Garret Stembridge of Extra Space.
Whether you’re an Android guy or an iPhone gal, one thing’s for sure: that smartphone simplifies your life, and you know it. No matter how organized you think you are or aren’t, we could all use a little help in making things easier and breezier. Try on these seven organizational apps I’ve found to make my days more productive, my tasks more efficient to complete and my head a bit clearer.
Admit it: You’ve always wanted a personal assistant to remind you of that meeting you almost missed today or that conference call number and code you needed to dial. It’d be nice to be alerted as to what kind of traffic to expect, where to park and what time to leave to ensure you arrive to an appointment on time. Enter EasilyDo. This app accesses info carried by things like your calendar, Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter accounts, and then works in the background to figure out how to keep you on track with birthdays, events and so forth. It’s pretty miraculous.
It’s tax-filing time and the dreaded shoebox full of receipts is waiting to be painstakingly organized — something you have tons of time for, right? Say goodbye to that tired routine. With the Shoeboxed app, you can simply photograph that lunch or gas receipt and save it safely online. Once the image is downloaded, the receipt is sorted by date and filed under one of the spending categories such as travel, fuel, office supplies or meals. Now you can easily add up the expenses when it’s time to claim deductions and put that money back in your pocket.
Short on an interior designer budget? No problem. Try the Mark on Call app, designed by and for designers. Whether you’re a professional room arranger or an amateur buying your first can of paint, this tool will have you daydreaming of shapes and colors in no time. Not only can you recreate your room/houseplan on screen, you can also fill in the floor type, wall color and furniture to scale. What’s more, if you see a wallpaper pattern you like when shopping, simply photograph it and plug it into the app. Now you have an idea of how it would appear covering a whole wall inside your own home. Nifty.
Stop using the same passwords for every site you sign up for: that’s identity suicide. Of course everyone does it to avoid memorizing tons of nonsensical characters. With LastPass, you can make up different, hard-to-crack passwords for every site you need, all of which are saved in the LastPass secure vault. If you decide to change a password at any time, it’s easy to go in and edit them as well. Congratulations: your LastPass password may be the last one you’ll ever need to remember.
You don’t have to be an extreme couponer to know that a penny saved is a penny earned, but who has the time for cutting all that paper? Not to worry: this savvy app allows you to shop through its coupons, click on a product you like, and link it to your grocery and drug store loyalty cards. When you shop at your local store, your savings will accumulate in your SavingStar account. Once you hit $5, simply select a payout form like direct deposit or PayPal, and then pat yourself on the back! You’ve saved cash and a tree or two.
Sure, those loyalty cards are big money savers sometimes, but the weight of your keychain isn’t so convenient anymore. Stop lugging that burden around, and listen up. With Key Ring, you can easily scan all of your loyalty codes with the app’s QR reader and toss out those worn-out cards. It also works for easy-to-lose stuff like gym cards, library cards and gift cards.
If you’re that shopper who will forget to buy what you went to the store for in the first place, this app is for you. With ZipList, you can tap in ideas as they come to you, and they’ll be saved and accessible on any screen, be it iPhone, iPad or PC. Then the app will automatically categorize ingredients according to what grocery aisle they’re located in so you don’t have to wander around aimlessly. Save time and money by reducing distraction and getting exactly what you came for.
One last tip: Don’t get lost in everyday chaos. While I trust my brain to be smarter than a machine (sometimes!), my phone is still filled with page after page of helpful assistants, list makers and organizers. Take advantage of these intuitive apps developed by some incredible brains, and give your own a little break.