You’re busy. Meetings, kids’ soccer games, dinners with friends, doctors appointments, and all kinds of commitments work-related and personal keep you feeling like you’re treading water in a sea of tasks. Making sure nothing slips by you seems to be a job in and of itself.
You might be thinking, ‘Oh man, I really need something to keep me on track.’
Do you remember PDAs? No, not public displays of affection; but Personal Digital Assistants. They were a contraption for modern professionals in the late 90s/early 2000s. In an era when pagers had gone out of style and Blackberrys were all the rage, they became obsolete as soon as cell phones with features besides calling became available to the masses.
Today, our cell phones have climbed beyond PDA status and are more like a fifth limb. We can’t live without them – and they can store every thinkable bit of info about our lives in one place. Still, many of us suffer from being disorganized.
To address your plaguing lack of organization, you may be contemplating purchasing scheduling software to help you get your life under control. It may also occur to you that if you already have a smart phone, tablet or computer, you shouldn’t really have to dish out for new technology. While there are some great paid scheduling apps out there, the bottom line is- you don’t really need one.
If you’re reading this right now, chances are that you already have multiple scheduling tools on your devices that you’re not even using. You even have the ability to sync them across your devices with minimal effort so you can stay on top of things no matter which device you’re using at the moment.
So now, without further ado, here are 4 apps that you can start using to get organized today, for free.
Free for your Android or iOS, and often already included in your MS Windows operating system whether you use a desktop or laptop, you may already love Outlook’s email management features. Its calendar features make it even better.
If you’re an avid user of the MS Office Suite you’ll be able to learn the program with barely any explanation. Inviting contacts to meetings, customizing reminders, sharing your calendar with others, and maintaining a neat and efficient digital schedule will all be a cinch.
The only problem with Outlook is syncing it to email through your own domain servers may take some IT savvy. This can present a problem if your IT skills fall a little short. If you don’t figure out a solution you can lose the ability to sync across devices as well as email and contacts integration. Without that functionality, it’s not as exciting, but the Outlook calendar tool is still great if you just need to stay focused.
Needless to say, Google has done a great job and service to us all in creating the free online productivity tools included in G Suite. While Google Calendar may take some getting used to for a long-time MS Office Suite user, it’s still very easy to figure out. In case you get lost, you can always Google your questions about the applications and find the most up-to-date information in the top search results.
You don’t have to worry whether the tutorials are applicable to your version like with MS Office apps because G Suite apps are 100% cloud or web-based and all updates are automatically applied. Being cloud-based also eliminates the need for you to approve or download program updates as they’re released, or worry about syncing your server and devices. You’ll simply have access to all of your info on every device you sign into your Gmail account with.
Same as with Outlook, you can manage multiple calendars on one account, share your calendar with contacts, (in G Suite your collaborators need a Gmail account for full functionality), and send out event invites to whoever regardless of what kind of email account they have.
Android & iOS Calendar Apps
These scheduling tools come as part of your mobile operating system and often can’t be uninstalled even if you want to. Why not use them? You can add events directly to them, but your email account calendars are programmed to work with them also, and will add all of your events and run reminders through them by default. Best of all, since these apps are part of your mobile devices it will be really hard to miss notifications from them.
Let’s face it, you probably carry your mobile device with you at least 95% of the time and check it over 150 times per day. Those numbers are staggering but they apply to the majority of us. With that said, we should be able to rely on them to keep us on the ball.
You probably didn’t expect to read about Facebook in this post, but…surprise!
Our family and friends are important, too. Keeping commitments to them easily be overlooked. The Facebook events feature within Messenger automatically detects words that seem indicative of planning and turns them into links that allow you to create a scheduled plan with the person you’re chatting with.
For example, in a chat with your friend Adam you send him a message that says you’ll call him tomorrow. The word tomorrow will appear underlined, and if you click on it a window will pop up that asks if you want a start a plan with him. You can name the plan and choose the time. When the time arrives you and Adam will both receive a Facebook Messenger notification that it’s time for your call. You’ll call Adam on time as promised, and will be on your way to being known as a much more reliable friend.
That concludes the list of four (impressively good) free scheduling software programs that you already have. Hopefully, it’s been a reminder of what great tools are readily available to you, and you now know how to get more out of them!