9 Apps That Help Me Organize My Life

I’m going to tell you the secret to being organized. The whole secret. Are you ready?
It is a learned, developed skill. You have to practice it. You do not emerge from the womb completely organized. It is something you become. You have to figure out what works for you to keep you on track. It’s a process.

I use apps for a lot of organization/productivity. I also have two notebooks and obsessively put things into my Google calendar. What needs an app and what needs to be down on paper are different things for different people. This list of apps can help you get started, though.

And finally, all of these apps are free! I’m also only linking to the android store. Sorry, iphone users. You can handle searching.

Image of ClearFocus timer.
ClearFocus
Have you heard of the pomodoro technique? It’s pretty simple. You time how long you work and then take a short break, and repeat in cycles. It doesn’t sound revolutionary, but it really helped me plan my study time when I was in college. I like this app because it lets you name what task you’re working on, and then go back and see how much time you’re spending on each one. I don’t use it as much now that I’m out of school, but I can see it being useful if you have a job where you’re juggling multiple projects.

Image of the Sleep Debt Tracker dashboard.
Sleep Debt Tracker
This isn’t going to give you fitbit levels of sleep tracking, but it does help me make sure that I’m laying in bed without staring at a screen for a minimum amount of time. I find the bedtime reminders particularly helpful. I tend to ignore them if I set them myself.
I need my phone to be an authority figure. #millennial

Image of the Hydro Coach dashboard.
Hydro Coach
Hi, I’m April and I’m admitting to the internet that I am too dumb to remember to drink enough water. This app was EXTRA useful when I was working a job that didn’t let me keep water at my desk. Those exist. It’s rough for the chronically dehydrated.

Image of the Loop Habit Tracker dashboard.
Loop Habit Tracker
This app is so simple, but so useful. I’ve tried some of the fancier habit trackers and they just don’t do it for me. It’s just a checklist. You can set how often you want to do things, and are able to look at a plot of how you’re performing. I use this to keep track of what parts of my rotating skin routine I’ve done most recently.

OurHome
OurHome is definitely made for parents to schedule chores. I don’t have kids. I’m busy and have a busy partner. We set each chore to be worth an amount of points equal to the number of minutes it takes. So ten points of dishes is ten minutes of dishes. It eliminates wondering if you’re doing more housework, and also helps us keep track of when we last cleaned the bathroom.
Though, if you have to ask..clean it again.

Memo
Yeah, the regular memo app in your phone. I use it to keep track of how things fit when I’m shopping and to type up book quotes that I want to use later. I used to keep longer term lists in there, but it turns out I just ignore them.

Mint
I’ve been using Mint for something like seven years at this point. Keep track of your money.

I get daily texts to help me live intentionally & feel like a boss. -Shinetext app
Shine
The only referral link of the bunch. I think I get a sticker if a few people sign up? I love stickers.
Anyway, shine is a little text bot that sends you motivational messages at a set time every week day. I set them to send while I’m on the train for my morning commute. It’s helped me to be a little more reflective and ready to attack my day.

Sample texts from BGSDlist.
BGSDlist
Have you ever wanted Kelly Sue DeConnick to send you sporadic motivational texts? She has lowkey changed my life. I love her.

What are your favorite productivity apps?

The College Tips Masterpost

1. Community College is a Thing

I went to community college, got my AS, and then transferred to a four year school. I think if you’re focusing on exploring your options and gaining job skills, this is the way to go. If you’re using college to leave your hometown and spend thousands of dollars to make friends, maybe don’t? I dunno. That’s a lot of money to make friends.

Cons: Transferring after two years is a huge pain. It’s hard (basically impossible) to make friends when you don’t live on campus. There’s a huge, gross stigma against community college students. I constantly had students and professors talk down to me and be judgmental at my four year school. It was hard to get the guidance that I needed once I transferred.

Pros: I ended up with the same degree and the same job as everyone else, but for less than half of the debt. Professors at community college were much more helpful in my job search. Class time and labs were more skills focused at community college, so I felt better prepared for life from my first two years of school. Worth it.

2. Ignore that the School Bookstore Exists

Don’t buy your textbooks there, guys. Check textbook rental sites (Amazon and Half.com were always good to me, the others varied). See if your school library has the books. Buy an edition or two back for $10 and read more closely. Not much changes in the world from year to year.

If your course requires an access code, buy the access code and then rent/buy a cheaper book.

3. If Your Professor Can’t Teach You, Find Someone Who Can

At least one of your professors will have an amazing gift for explaining things that you understand in a completely incomprehensible way. This course will be required for your major. This is a law of the universe. At some point you will need a second source of information. I went to youtube for this. Crash Course and Bozeman Science  were all really good for biology. Khan Academy got me through calculus.

4. Get Your Experience Before You Get Out

Do a program that makes sure you get experience before you graduate. You need an internship, or a co-op, or a really intense capstone project. After college, no one is going to ask you what you learned, they’re going to ask you what you did.

5. Keep Records of Everything

Email forms to have proof of a date of submission. Photocopy what you can’t email in so that you have a copy. Send emails to confirm that things were received. Do this for everything even remotely important.

My financial aid was wrong every semester at my four year school. One year a clerical error cut my scholarships in half. They didn’t catch their mistake, but I got it fixed because I had records. You need records.

6. The Obvious

Learn how you study best. Plan everything. Get enough sleep. Ask for letters of recommendation well in advance. Have more people writing you recommendations than are required for what you’re applying to. Someone will be busy.

And I guess, if school is your thing, have fun.