Ahh, that (glorious) time of year when the back to school shopping is complete, the first day of school is near, and the next few days are a mix of end of summer fun and getting ready for new schedules and routines.
One thing that remains constant throughout the year is our attachment to our smartphones, and for once, that might just be a good thing. New routines and schedules are tough to start (and stick to!), so apps that can simplify your life are more popular than ever before.
We’ve compiled a list of some staff favorites to help kick start your school year in an organized way!
Calendaring and Time Management:
A 2013 study showed that the average family spends just 36 minutes a day together during the week thanks to busy schedules. As exhausting as that sounds, there are apps to help you keep the chaos somewhat organized and on-time.
- Moleskine Timepage ($4.99): This is one of only two paid apps we’ll feature, but it’s beautiful and functional, combining your calendar, weather, contacts and more in a single app that can be personalized by color, style, etc. I like to think of it as the “chic” calendaring app busy mom’s can be proud of.
- MyTime (Free): This app makes booking appointments (of just about any type!) virtually seamless. Whether you’re waiting in the carpool line or sitting on the sidelines of a soccer match, you can book appointments for everything from haircuts to housecleaning with this single app.
- 30/30 (Free): This app is my obsession. For those with a million things to juggle, this app allows you to put timers and reminders in place so you won’t forget a single task (including leaving a load of laundry in the washing machine for almost a week, not that I did that or anything…) Simply set up your task list, apply timers, and voila! Based on user reviews, this app works great for kids, too, to help balance chores, sports, homework and more.
Sports and Activities Management:
I can remember my mom standing in our kitchen, on the wall mounted phone (with the ridiculously long cord that I’m pretty certain was a choking hazard for anyone under age 10) talking to other softball parents about where our next practice and game was night after night.
As organized as they thought they were, it could have been so much easier with apps like RosterBot and TeamSnap that allow you to build your team roster, add contact info, send out schedules and maps, and so much more. Both apps have web-based setup, and from there can be managed directly with the app. Parents these days are so cool! (Sorry, mom.)
I know, this concept is rather humorous for parents, especially with school, sports, and more. But, trust us, and take a look at these free apps to help make the most of your (minuscule) free time.
- Timeful (Free): This beautiful app allows you to set up “good for you” activities, and then places those activities throughout your day during your free time (think meditation, yoga, walking, etc.)
- Eternity Time Log (Free): Much like a fitness tracker, this app helps you track your activities to see what’s taking up most of your time. A super simple app, Eternity allows you to quickly and easily see what’s taking up your time, and make adjustments accordingly.
Meal planning has become my new hobby. Not only does it satisfy my love for cooking, but it’s also started to save money (and time).
- MealBoard ($3.99): I use this app pretty religiously these days, which is why I didn’t mind the $3.99 price tag. It allows you to find/store recipes, create shopping lists, and schedule meals for the entire week. I can also access it on my computer or iPad, which is super helpful when referring back to a recipe.
- AnyList (Free): A super simple, but very useful, list sharing app. With some time, you can build your own recipes into the app and share with family and friends very easily.
Notes and Ideas:
My hubby is the digital note maker of our family, and swears by these apps to collect his ideas when we’re on the go.
- Evernote (Free): Essentially the do-it-all workspace for notes and checklists. You know those great work ideas you have while sitting in traffic? This is the app for you to capture those.
- Microsoft OneNote (Free): Much like Evernote, OneNote is just that – the one location for all of your lists, notes, and ideas. The beauty of OneNote is that many businesses support it, so you may be able to easily contribute to work projects and ideas while on the go with your busy schedule.
As with anything digital, apps are constantly popping up and changing. In doing the research for this piece, I came across some great blogs that cover the digital landscape including Cool Mom Tech and Digital Mom Blog.
What are some of your favorite apps to keep life in order?