NAPO Michigan Blog / Media Center

The Michigan Chapter of the National Association of Professional Organizers invites you to explore this blog so you can be informed of the latest news, events and trends in the organizing industry.

May 31, 2013

To Do Apps for Smartphones

If you’re happy with the list-making apps that came pre-installed on your smartphone, you can stop reading now! The fewer apps you have, the easier your phone will be to use.

It’s easy to clutter your phone with a bunch of apps to test. Instead, read reviews of top-rated list apps and make a list of the features you need. Consider

·       Organization: how flexibly can you label, prioritize, categorize, and move tasks around?

·       Ease of use: some list-making apps are more intuitive than others. How easy is it to add or modify tasks?

·       Visual appeal: a graphic design you like (or that you can customize) may help you use it.

·       Reminder options: do you want an audible tone? A buzz? A text? An email? Or some other kind of alert? Do you need more than one alert for a particular task? How far into the future do you want to schedule reminders? Can it repeat tasks at the intervals you require? 

·       Sharing: do you need to share lists with others (perhaps a spouse)? Can you control who adds or edits items? How secure does the list need to be?

·       Paper & memory: do you want to be able to print out the list? Should the app track modifications to individual tasks? Should finished tasks be erased or archived? 

·       Coercion: do you want the app to create or enforce consequences should you not complete a task within the assigned timeframe? Consequences might be social or financial or both.

Some features may involve tradeoffs.

For instance, a multi-platform list may be automatically synced and available on your phone, laptop, home and office computers, but it might be expensive, loading time will depend on your internet connection and data security might be a concern.

On the other hand, a list solely on your phone might load more quickly and might be kept private more easily.

You may even find that you use one app for grocery lists (web-accessible and shared with spouse), another for your work obligations (multi-platform, archives completed tasks), another for routine tasks (very flexible options for repeating intervals), and pencil and paper for thinking through today’s priorities.

It’s helpful to find tools that match the way you think and work. But don’t overdo it. Susan Hunsberger of Strategize Organize LLC warns, “Some people spend way too much time trying to find the ‘perfect’ app; at some point, you’ve just got to pick something and start doing!”

Article written by Melanie Sobocinski, of Prof Organizer LLC, NAPO Chapter Member.