Whether you have lots of tasks to remember or just a few appointments every now and then, there’s an app that can help you stay organized. Phone apps are tools that can bring convenience to our busy lives and can ultimately reduce stress. And of course less stress will “bring you joy!”
There are great free apps that come pre-installed on your iPhone that can help you remember all the important things. I have an iPhone so I’ll specifically discuss iPhone apps, but Android phones have similar apps. Even if you already use these apps, read on to learn features on these free apps that you may not know.
In regard to organizing your life, phone apps can be particularly helpful when:
- Timing is important (alerts for to-do items)
- You’re trying to form a new habit (friendly reminders)
- You need to recall important information on occasion (I.e. Emergency info, medication lists, user IDs/passwords, etc.)
- You’re out of routine and need extra prodding to keep up with good habits. (For example, when I go on vacation I get out of the habit of drinking lots of water and taking my vitamins.)
The iPhone Reminders app is great for one-time reminders AND for repeating reminders. Add a reminder to the list and optionally set a timed notification pop-up along with an alarm tone.
I’m not sure how I remembered anything prior to using this app. Scenarios where Reminders are particularly handy are:
- To remind yourself to phone someone to schedule an appointment, place an order, or just keep in touch. (i.e. Doctor, pharmacy, friend, etc.)
- Set alarms to go off at intervals throughout the day to remind yourself to stretch or do something related to a new habit you’re trying to create.
- A daily/weekly/monthly repeating to-do item. (i.e. Weekly meeting, daily vitamin, daily time you need to leave to pickup the kids from school, monthly bill, etc.)
To create a new reminder: in the Reminders app, tap into the blank line below the last entry in your reminder list. The app will bring up the iOS keyboard so you can type what you want the reminder to tell you.
After it’s typed, tap on the reminder you just created, and then tap the info circle to display the Details screen. Set a reminder date/time and/or location trigger by sliding on the option and entering the details. Search or enter the address where you want to be reminded (optional). You can also set a Priority and add notes to your reminder in the Details screen. When finished, tap Done.
Location reminders get triggered when you arrive at a given location. A couple examples of how to use location reminders are to buy milk when you get near the grocery store, or to get the item you forgot at your sister’s the next time you go to her house.
To receive location based reminders, make sure that Location Services is turned on and that your device supports this feature.
Remember that great idea you had last week? No? Use the Notes app on your iPhone and you’ll never lose another idea.
I use notes to keep track of…my life! Just a few of my uses for the Notes app are:
- Movie recommendations: If I don’t write these down when people talk about a good movie, I simply won’t remember it when I have time to sit down.
- Medical information: with my notes on my close family members, I’m prepared for an emergency in that I have lists for medications, allergies, and significant dates or other information.
- Vehicle info: The day we purchase a vehicle, I get the important info into a note. It comes in handy surprisingly often. I record basic info such as purchase date, model, OnStar account number and password, answers to security questions, etc. The piece of vehicle information that once saved the day was the Roadside Assistance phone number along with the services they provide and when the service expires.
- Blog posts: When I have an idea, it starts flowing! I can type it into a note or, better yet, use voice recognition to get my words down before I forget them.
- Others: I think this list gives you an idea of the span of uses for the Note app.
Although the Notes app is extremely easy to use and fairly self-explanatory, you may want to read detailed instructions about the Notes app by imore.com.
Your friendly virtual assistant can come to your rescue any time.
- Ask Siri to remind you of something at a specific time or location. Next time someone asks you to call them at 7pm, just speak to Siri and say “call Susie at 7 PM” and magically you’ll get a reminder pop up with an alert tone at 7pm. Siri uses the Reminders feature discussed above, so the reminders Siri creates are displayed in the Reminders app.
- Ask Siri to “Tell Susie I’m running late” and Siri will prepare a text ready for you to hit send. Very handy!
- Don’t miss a good opportunity for a selfie, just ask Siri to take a selfie, and you’ll be looking into the front-facing camera.
By the way, if Siri pronounces something wrong, just tell it by saying “That’s not how you pronounce…”. Siri will ask for the correct pronunciation then let you check that it has it right.
Clock – and so much more!
Most people are familiar with the Alarm feature, but there are several other features in the iPhone Clock app that aren’t as widely used, yet are so useful.
- Timer: I find this feature incredibly handy and I use it almost every night while listening to a podcast or little soothing music – knowing I will drift off to sleep. I set my music to turn off using the timer. In the Clock app, go to the Timer options. Here under ‘When Time Ends’, switch out the alarm option for the ‘Stop Playing’ option. When the timer hits zero, it will turn off the tunes automatically. Nice!
- Go to bed on time: The latest version of iOS helps you keep your bedtime. In the Clock app on your iPhone tap on the Bedtime link to get started. The app will take you through 3 setup screens: set the time you want to wake up, decide which days of the week you want the alarm to go off, and then select how many hours of sleep you want each night. Your iPhone will then send you a reminder when it’s time to go to bed, as well as track how well you’re doing with your sleep goal. Now you’ll go to bed on time without your mom having to tell you!
- World Clock: This comes in especially useful when you or a family member travels. Add the time for any city. I add the time for home, where my immediate family members live (or are traveling), and wherever I might travel. It’s not only useful, but sometimes interesting just to know what time it is across the seas.
This tip is related to organization if someone else isn’t as organized as you and they lose their iPhone.
Find an iPhone’s owner: You can find the owner by asking Siri, “whose phone is this?” and it will show you the name and give you options to iMessage, Facetime or email the owner.
Ready… Set… Go get your life organized!
Phone apps will help you get and stay organized, keep you on task, and help you find information when you need it.