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Dorothy Breininger is America’s Most Innovative Professional Organizer. She is an organizing expert on A&E Television’s Emmy-nominated weekly TV series, “Hoarders,” and also appears on the Today Show, the Dr. Phil Show, the VIEW, QVC and PBS, in addition to being featured in the Wall Street Journal, Forbes and O Magazine.
Jul 08, 2016
When I meet with an overwhelmed parent for their first coaching session, I can see a look in their eyes and translate, "Please give me a weekend, a day – even just a few hours – of peace without the chaos." I understand. I want to magically create more time for them. I would like to do this for you too. It is my belief that the best way to get more quality time back, is by planning and organizing first. The tasks, then, becomes so much easier and they take far less time to complete. Take a look at these seven organizing apps to see which might work for you.
This app is perfect for families. You can create lists for day trips, weekend get-a-ways, vacations, family reunions, road & RV trips, camping, skiing, cruising, international travel, business trips, etc. Use the included sample lists, or use the expert list-making tool to automatically customize your own list based on the number of adults (males & females), children & days, as well as temperature, destination, food prep & clothes washing preferences. Search or pick from over 800 items in the huge, built-in master catalog. You can also automatically sync all of your lists, catalog & settings between all of your iOS devices, and share your packing lists & catalog content with family, friends and fellow travelers via email (import/export), iTunes' File Sharing, AirDrop and Dropbox/Box/iCloud Drive (iOS 8+).
Our inboxes can give us a feeling of being “out of control” no matter where we are. Streamlining your inbox has been made easy. Unroll.Me scans your inbox to find how many subscriptions you have, then gives you the option to either unsubscribe or consolidate them into a daily digest called a “Rollup” - in one swipe.
If you’re stuck in the paper muck and you need a rescue helicopter to pull you out, try PaperKarma. It lets you take photos of the unwanted snail mail you want to stop receiving. Just snap a photo, and you're done. They automatically contact the Mailer and remove you from their distribution list. PaperKarma can stop most unwanted mail that is addressed directly to you.
As a family unit we can spend hours each week looking for missing items. It can be aggravating and frustrating and the time lost can be crucial. If you are tired of losing your keys, wallet, or phone, you can attach the coin-sized TrackR bravo to any item - then use the TrackR app to locate it in seconds. Quickly ring a missing item around the home or be notified before leaving things behind. For example, if your child loses her house key, you can press the button on your TrackR device to ring the lost key. It also has a distance indicator which tells you whether you are getting “hotter or colder” in terms of your distance from the lost item. TrackR has an app for both iPhone and your Android smartphone.
In an effort to keep your shopping efficient, your budget on track and even manage supermarket coupons, you may want to consider Grocery IQ. You can type, speak, or scan grocery list items into your list. The list automatically adds your items into categories and then alerts you if coupons are available for any items you might be adding to your list. Coupons can then be sent to your email when your list has been made or (if you have a wireless enabled printer) can be sent to your printer for printing. As you gather your items from your list, simply check it off and the item moves to the bottom of the list. Once your whole list is complete, everything is shifted towards the bottom and then can simply be clicked to add those repeat items back on the list for your next visit. GroceryIQ can sync your list from your iPad to your iPhone so you can use whichever device you have handy – making it easy to add items whenever you need them.
Most of my clients have at least one procrastinator in the family and this app may help. Setting a timer to get tasks done around the house works remarkably well. The idea behind this time management app is very basic: you work for thirty minutes and focus on a single project or task. When your time is up, you are rewarded with a break and can do something completely unrelated, also for thirty minutes. This cycle of 30 minutes focused and 30 minutes of reward is repeated until your tasks are done. Type in what your ideal day will look like including carving out times for a little fun or quiet time like meditating, calling your sister, enjoying a cup of tea, or watching the Olympics. Then from a more productive aspect, set up what the rest of your day will look like and use the 30/30 app to forecast if you are going to all of this done in the predesigned time. It provides a countdown and a visual reminder of what you are working on and beeps when your time is done. (Free. Available for the iPad or iPhone.)
There's nothing stationary about your life, so why depend on a family calendar that hangs on a fridge or wall? This website allows you to create a free account that comes with a calendar, organizational list capabilities, a journal and has additional features like a meal planner and recipe box. Cozi Family Organizer and Cozi Family Organizer Premium are the apps that accompany the website. The original organizer is free and allows you to manage the basics of your web account while on the go. The premium version will come at a higher cost but has more bells and whistles. No matter where or how your family signs in to Cozi, you'll always be looking at the same information. The whole family shares one account that everyone can access using their own email address (as specified in Settings) and the shared family password.
Just remember, no matter which app you select in order to stay organized, it is almost always the planning part of your day or event (not necessarily the execution of the day or event) that eliminates the chaos and creates the and the peace which you are seeking.