People often ask me, “How do you do it all?” I’m no Sarah Jessica Parker, and I will be the first to admit I don’t get to the “all” part of that question, but I have found some great tools that help me to maximize my efficiency. Here are the apps and programs that help me to juggle so many balls:
NotifyMe is like a personal assistant that follows me around all day reminding me not to forget critical tasks. It syncs between my iMacs, iPhone and iPad, so I see my reminders on whichever device I’m using. Here’s a screenshot that shows how I enter a reminder:
I especially appreciate that NotifyMe allows for repeating reminders and for an auto-snooze if I don’t complete a task. I use the repeating reminder for tasks such as updating my timesheet, and I use the snooze for times such as when I want to remind myself to bring my camera to the office. NotifyMe has helped me to remember a long list of very important tasks.
NotifyMe has apps for Apple devices, but if you use a PC you can use the web version.
I hate having email pile up in my inbox. It’s a constant reminder that I’m not caught up with all that I need to do. Nudgemail helps me manage my inbox by allowing me to forward emails to myself in the future.
If I receive an email with a link to an article that I’d really like to read, but don’t have time to read it now, I forward it to Nudgemail and it sends it to me when I want to receive it. It’s incredibly easy: if I want to receive the email in 6 hours, I forward it to firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com. If I want to receive it in 3 days, I forward it to firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com. I can choose whatever time, in minutes, hours, days, weeks, months, or a combination thereof. I didn’t even need to sign up for the service: it automatically forwards to the email address that it comes from. So if I send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org from my me.com account, in five days I’ll receive that same email at my me.com account.
Nudgemail is free and works with any device or email address. It’s been invaluable in helping me to manage the quantity of email in my inbox and to remember to take care of important things.
TeuxDeux (SEE NOTE BELOW FOR UPDATE)
With eight years of French lodged in the deep recesses of my brain, how could I resist a service called “TeuxDeux”? Thankfully, it’s just as wonderful as its name suggests. TeuxDeux is a free service which allows me to enter tasks into a certain day or put them in the “someday” category. If I don’t complete a task in a certain day, it rolls into the next day.
Here’s a short video which explains how TeuxDeux works:
TeuxDeux has an iPhone app, but I usually just use the web app. I have it pinned as a tab in Firefox.
UPDATE: As of January, 2012, I’ve stopped using TeuxDeux and now use WorkFlowy. It allows me to easily view and prioritize as much or as little of my to-do list as I wish. It’s also free.
Several years ago, my family transferred its calendars to Google Calendar. I use the plural “calendars” because we have a different calendar for each family member, and several for combinations of family members. The calendars all feed into our own personalized master calendars. For example, I have a calendar called “Kathy @ Work” which I don’t share with other family members because they don’t need to clutter up their main calendar with all of my work meetings. Likewise, my kids don’t see the the calendar that shows events that just my husband and I will attend. Why should they see how much fun we’re having in the empty nest?
Here’s a short video that explains how to use Google Calendar:
Google Calendar is free and easy to access as long as you have a Gmail account. You can also import other calendars created using Google Calendar. When my kids were in high school, I imported the high school PTSA calendar so I could see all of the important events without having to enter them myself.
Of course, these tools alone don’t get all my work done. I also work super-hard and often don’t get enough sleep. I definitely don’t recommend the latter. But if you want a head-start on chipping away at your mountain of tasks, these should help.