Technology to help you be more organised!

Technology has changed considerably over the years and it seems that if you don’t keep up with the times It’s possible to get a bit left behind. You can now get books on a kindle, music on your phone, photos are digital (who still has those old sticky photo albums where you had to lift up the plastic to stick your photo down?) and does anyone even own a DVD player anymore being that you can download pretty much anything whenever, wherever! Don’t be too hard on yourself though, “back in our day” we had to have DVDs to watch movies, you printed all your photos and actually had an Exclusive Books loyalty card or a library card. Now that technology has improved so much and we have easier access to all these things, it is an idea to embrace this change and down scale/ declutter things like DVDs and books as we can use technology to still enjoy the things we love without it overwhelming our spaces.  It’s definitely not to say that one has to rush out and purchase the latest phone, kindle, digital camera or computer in order to do this as there are a lot of ways to use technology to your advantage with it also being cost effective for you. In this log post specifically though, I’m going to talk about how apps can make you more organised, productive and efficient in your everyday lifestyle.

Let’s talk traffic. If you are like me and live in Johannesburg, you will know that traffic is an everyday thing. Leaving at certain times can alleviate some of this pressure, but how do you always know when is the best time to leave? Waze is a GPS navigation app which was purchased by Google. It works on all smartphones, tablets and computers that have a GPS function and provides turn-by-turn navigation information. Users can also submit info into the app (e.g. where a pothole is, traffic cop, times, routes etc), and all this info is gathered over cellular networks so it’s in real time. It also allows you to plan a trip and to input the time you need to arrive. It works backwards to calculate the time you need to leave your current location to get to the next, taking into consideration all the delays on the way. I’m definitely not saying you are going  to sit in traffic any less by using this app (although it does always try take you the shortest route), but I am saying that helping you plan a trip allows for you to get to your destination less stressed, rushed or late. Planning your day right down to how you get to the office or a meeting in the mornings, can make you a way more productive person. And also a happier one 😊

Are you a small business owner? Do you worry about your cash flow, invoices, receipts and tracking who has paid you and

who hasn’t? Do you also not have the money or time to employ someone on a monthly salary to do this all for you? Then I have the answer. This app is not the only one of its kind, but I find it the most user friendly for small business owners. It’s called Wave Apps and it’s a company that provides financial services and software for small businesses, including invoicing and accounting software with credit card processing and payroll services. Best part, IT’S FREE! This app is truly amazing and easy to use. You can create a generic invoice and quotation with your logo and relevant details, create client lists and product lists, send reminders and track payments. As mentioned, you can go further by using the payroll function or link the program to your bank account too. The paperwork can be sent directly to your client via the app and makes keeping up with your admin far easier. Being able to handle your own back office too in an effective manner shows professionalism and efficiency and having everything in one place makes you a more organised business owner.

Dare I even mention the dreaded load shedding! Unfortunately, a lot of the information we get from Eskom isn’t always accurate which makes load shedding even more frustrating. In saying this though the Eskom Se Push app is probably the most reliable form of communication regarding load shedding and I suppose if it doesn’t go off when it’s supposed to, we can just count ourselves lucky. You can input the area you are in and get updates to your cell phone when load shedding will take place and at what stage we are in. The reason an app like this can be helpful is that it allows you to plan ahead, whether it be meals, perhaps leaving earlier to avoid additional traffic or moving appointments around that could be affected by this. There is nothing worse than getting home with groceries to cook and there is no power. But if you knew the power was going off, its easy to buy a pre-made salad and some braai meat to cook on the braai or a readymade rotisserie chicken, which then doesn’t affect dinner time. You can also use it to make sure you don’t put washing in the machine, and it stops halfway through the cycle. This not only wastes water but is very time consuming to have to do the laundry again. A little heads up can be the difference between a good day and one that is just chaos from beginning to end.

Ladies and gents, have you ever got a call from your significant other when they are on their way home and they say something like: Honey, I’m on my way home, do we need anything? And you roll your eyes on the other end because you are currently at swimming lessons with the kids and not in front of your diary or grocery list and you still have to go past the vet to pick up the dog that’s over due to have his vaccinations (you forgot to set a reminder, hey?) so you just say: “No love we are good!” Knowing you aren’t, but you can’t for the life of you remember what you have run out of.  So, you get home after doing all the above and are asked what’s for dinner and why the fridge is empty? And a light bulb goes off and you remember it was your turn to get dinner. *Face palm emoji* Then, drum roll, the Cozi Family Organizer app is for you and your team! You can download this free app on both android and iOS and its great for making a shared grocery list. You can add members of your household to the app and everyone can see and add to the grocery list from their phone or computer. You can access the list from anywhere and see any new items that have been added. This app also helps put items into categories like dairy, fruit and vegetables etc. which makes shopping quicker as you can be in one section at a time and get everything you need. You can even go as far as to create different lists for different stores. This way, your partner doesn’t have to ask you what he/she can get on the way home, they can have a look at the app and the list is all there. Winning.

Time Management, time management, time management – I’m sure everyone has heard this before and if it’s not managed correctly can make you feel like you are cramming 2 weeks worth of work into a few days or make you feel overwhelmed and over worked. Nothing like a deadline to make you panic and if you are like most people, they say, “But I work better under pressure”. Trust me, this is not the case and your life would be half as stressful if you had help just managing your time.

If you are an apple user, then you should try an app called Focus Keeper. This app focuses specifically on making you more productive with your time. You can set up alarms to remind you when to move on to another task so that you can manage to get to multiple things during the day rather than getting caught up in your inbox and not doing anything else. It allows you to work with time and not against it. You set up a task, set the timer and focus only on that task until the timer goes off. It allows you to take breaks and can track your productivity in charts that you can personalise. This app is also great for doing things around the house that you hate, like putting away the laundry. Set the timer and just put away laundry for 20mins and you’ll be surprised how much you can get through in that time. Cleaning the kitchen, decluttering your kids play area, focusing on one thing for a shorter space of time allows you to give all your attention to that one task and results in you making quicker decisions as you are not trying to multitask 10 things at the same time.

Android users, don’t stress, there are apps like Time Focus which essentially do the same thing. You can also log how much time you spend on certain things. Give them a try and become a more efficient version of yourself.

Calendar reminders, making notes on your phone rather than leaving your list on the fridge are all ways of keeping you connected to the world without having to remember birthdays and when to renew your driver’s license or change the water filter. I put reminders into my phone all the time and then when they pop up, I can complete the task. This way I also don’t have that niggling feeling in the back of my mind that I’ve forgotten to do something which personally just gives me anxiety. Ain’t nobody got time for that! There are so many apps out there to improve time management, efficiencies and productivity, from counting calories, creating recipes, managing your music playlist to listening to audio books or doing your books. We would love to hear from you if you have any standout apps or programs that you cannot do without. Its always nice to add to this list and everyone has different needs so what I use may not work for others and visa versa.

Good luck out their folks,  let’s make 2020 the most productive and organised year yet!!