Andy Fleming writing on downsizing

Technology is a funny thing. With all the various ways to communicate, services to subscribe to, and passwords to keep track of; you could hardly be blamed for letting it complicate your life.

Technology is perhaps at its best when it allows us to simplify. E-mail lessens the amount of paper clutter coming through your physical mailbox, and texting can reduce a five-minute phone call to a 30-second message.

These days, tech companies are focusing on tools and applications that actually reduce the complexity of our lives. We no longer need to remember so much, or keep so many detailed records when we can let computers and phones do it for us. The days of having to keep everyone’s phone number memorized or written in an address book are long gone, and most or all of your bills can be paid automatically so that you never have to worry about incurring late fees.

With this in mind, you might want to consider using some of these tools to further simplify your life or, at the very least, help keep things in order. We could all use a little extra time for family, friends, and fun; and what better way to achieve this than by cutting out some of the time you spend organizing, fretting, and keeping track of all the little details?

Time Management

Setting and sticking to a schedule has been shown to dramatically improve productivity and efficiency. If your week has ever been seriously derailed by a double-booking or a missed appointment, you know exactly how important proper time management can be.

Accomplish

You can consolidate your calendar and to-do list into a single platform by using an app like Accomplish. This program divides your day into hours and lets you schedule reminders and check off tasks as you complete them. Accomplish automatically moves tasks you don’t check off as “completed” to the next day, so you won’t forget anything. The daily schedule feature also helps you keep track of free time so you can easily schedule in things you want to do.

Wunderlist

Accomplish is currently only available for Android, but iPhone users have access to Wunderlist. This app keeps your to-do lists organized into neat categories that you can access from your computer or phone. Wunderlist is synchronized across your devices, so you can make lists at home and access them from your phone while you’re on the go.

Cozi

If you’re in charge of schedules for multiple people, you might want to try out Cozi. This “family based” organizer will let you view multiple, color-coded schedules for each member of your family or group of friends. You can also use the app to share grocery lists or important documents. Everything is updated in real-time, so if someone needs to make a change to an event or schedule something on the fly, everyone will be informed of the change.

Reward Card Organizers

Key ring

 Is your wallet or purse full of reward and membership cards? Do you constantly find yourself fumbling to find the right one when you get to the register? Key Ring will allow you to leave all those cards at home and scan your phone at the register instead. Gym membership cards, reward cards, loyalty cards…all of these can be registered with the app so you don’t have to think about them anymore.

You can also avoid having to remember and deal with all your various passwords with an app like 1Password. For just $3 a month this program will allow you to store your passwords and usernames securely and save time by singing into your accounts with a single click. 1Password is well designed and won’t expose you to any security vulnerabilities. In fact, you can even use their password generator to increase the strength of the passwords you use, and you won’t have to worry about remembering long strings of numbers and capital letters.

Tidying Up

Sortly

If you’ve got lots of things in storage you’d like to keep track of, Sortly can help. You create a visual catalog of your things by taking photographs or scanning QR codes. You can then sort these items into folders by locations (the box on the top shelf in the garage, for instance). The app also lets you keep track of warranty and purchase dates if needed. If you’re packing for a move, Sortly can help keep everything organized as it gets boxed up.

Tody

Tody is an “intelligent cleaning management” app to help you stay on top of chores. If you’ve just moved to a homestead and have lots to do, Tody can keep you from forgetting new tasks you’re still getting used to remembering. You create tasks and to-do lists and label them by frequency. Tody will alert you when a chore needs to be done or when something should be cleaned. If multiple household members use the app, you can keep track of who’s done what and when.

Chore Monster

Grandkids visiting for the weekend? You can encourage them to help around the house using ChoreMonster.  This app attempts to encourage the younger generation to help out by “gamifying” chores. You set chores and offer rewards like a piece of candy or a trip to get ice cream. Kids can use their phones to keep track of the chores they’ve done and what rewards they can earn.

Image: ©iStock.com/scyther5

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