This weekend I gave a presentation to the Sacramento Valley Rose chapter of RWA on Writing and Organizing a Fiction Series. Part of my presentation included showing the audience the various software tools I use to organize my writing, such as Scrivener, Scapple, and Aeon Timeline. This got me thinking about my recent push to become more organized in my personal life, as well.
I’ve generally been what they call a “pantser” in both my writing and my personal life. In other words, I prefer not to work off a set schedule or outline and instead fly by the seat of my pants. However, over the past several months I’ve become concerned about my productivity. In an attempt to squeeze the most work out of my day, I’ve recently added a few apps to my repertoire:
Any.Do – This is a to-do list app that syncs between my mobile devices. I’m something of a collector of to-do apps, but I really like Any.DO’s clean, simple interface. Unfinished tasks automatically roll forward to tomorrow, you can set a due date/time for a task, and you can create a task that repeats every day, week, etc.
ATracker – This app helps me track how much time I’m spending on tasks during the day. The free version only allows you to track four active tasks, so I quickly upgraded to the paid version. What’s really cool about this app is that it will show you a pie chart of all your tracked activity for the day, week, month, etc. Seeing a visual representation of my time is VERY helpful to me. This app also syncs across my mobile devices.
Another favorite organizational tool is one I’ve been using for a while. I use Evernote to store everything from the release dates of books of my favorite authors, to hotel and airline reservations, to notes about potential character names and book titles. Evernote has a web, desktop, and mobile version that all sync.
For quick, handwritten notes on the fly, I use Penultimate on my iPad. I write notes with my special iPad friendly pen and the notes then upload into my Evernote account.
Of course, none of these apps are helpful unless I actually use them, so I’m trying to be vigilant about starting/stopping tasks, checking off to-do’s, etc.
Those are my current top four favorite organizational tools for my personal life. Do you have any additional suggestions?