Best Apps for Staying Organized

If you're like most people, you wear a lot of hats. You're an employee, cook, chauffeur and household manager. You may be a spouse, partner, parent, son or daughter. You find yourself constantly prioritizing the responsibilities and overlapping schedules that come with your many roles. While you can squeeze only 24 hours out of the day, a few useful organizational apps loaded onto your smartphone or tablet can clear out a little space for a much-needed breather.

Comprehensive Time Management

"My desk was covered with to-do notes, business was crazy busy, and I have kids at home," says Nichole Holm, owner of Minnesota-based virtual assistant firm Optima Business Solutions. "I have separate workspaces for each of several clients and simultaneous confusion. I needed a way to see my whole task list." Holm relies on a time management app—like Cozi Family Organizer or Schedule Planner Pro—to consolidate and automate the chaos. These apps handle multiple calendars, to-do lists, task reminders and even monthly bills. With the sharing functionality, you can invite participation from your contacts. Online backup keeps the information easily accessible from any device or Web browser.

Synced Scribbles and Note-Taking

A note-taking app like Evernote or Handy Note Pro eliminates the clutter of sticky notes, napkins and other bits of paper you've used for scribbled reminders. These apps are equipped to handle notes created using finger doodles, the on-screen keyboard, voice recordings, photos from the camera and website clippings. Create folders for note organization and use them to file ideas you've collected on the go—like scribbles of song titles from the radio, memorable clips from obscure websites, audio recordings from doctor visits, and snapshots of magazines read in the grocery line. Syncing backs up your notes, and cross-platform functionality keeps them universally accessible.

Portable Scanning

Bills pile up, records need saving, and newspaper clippings seem to appear from nowhere. If you're drowning in an ocean of paper clutter, a scanning app like Mobile Doc Scanner can help you get things under control. Using your device's built-in camera, the app creates digital versions of your paper documents, which can then be organized in a virtual filing cabinet and accessed on the go. This tool eliminates the hassle of carrying around bulky folders, and keyword search functionality saves the time you'd normally spend rifling through piles of paperwork. Stored files can then be viewed, shared, downloaded or printed right from the device.

Multi-Device File Management

Multi-device users require multi-device synchronization, which is easy to implement using cloud storage. You can install the app for your preferred cloud-storage provider, or you can up the organizational ante and configure a general file management app like File Expert or Touch File Manager to simultaneously control cloud, on-device and remote server storage.

Use a file management app to manage device-stored content and free up valuable memory or to access files you've created on a computer without the hassle of USB transfers. The File Expert app also turns your device into a DLNA media server or FTP server—both are effective for file-sharing—and features a built-in document viewer that handles most popular file formats.

Encrypted Password and Data Management

A password and encryption app like KeyRing Password Manager or Keeper Password & Data Vault manages your numerous logins and passwords and encrypts private data such as the credit cards and bank accounts these passwords protect. Because it's designed to both remember and input your passwords when needed, this tool makes it possible to configure complex alphanumeric codes to make your accounts less prone to compromise. Enter a single main password to access the app's interface and manage password data, account numbers and other personal information. Cross-platform functionality maintains edits to encrypted data or stored password information seamlessly across all your devices.

Photo Credits: Samsung

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