Apps to Help You Stay Organized
With kids’ schedules amping up again and bosses returning from vacation, there’s no time like September to get all of your technological ducks in a row. The goop app roundup has become an annual tradition (see the last two iterations here and here), and for this year’s list, we’ve trimmed it down to the real workhorses—the apps that we never close; the ones that keep our inboxes, reading lists, passwords, and even our cycles as organized as possible. Below, the tried-and-true favorites, plus a few new releases we’re excited to try.
Ultimate reading list app, Pocket is a great solution if you’re the kind of person who usually has a huge pile of tabs in your web browser. The sleek user experience is great for normal articles but what makes the app so powerful is how smoothly it integrates photos, websites, and even videos. Categorizing items by category is easy, and you can save them from your browser, your email, and more than 1,500 apps. It’s especially beloved by subway commuters, as the mobile version is great, and saves everything right to your device until after you’ve finished reading (no data necessary).
Evernote’s not exactly news at this point, but it’s now officially solidified its place as the world’s best note-taking app. Features we love the most include easy sharing, excellent web plugins for saving articles and sites, and straightforward annotation. That, plus tags (including geotags), and a surprisingly powerful mobile version that makes it easy to note-take from places like the seat of an airplane or the lobby of a doctor’s office.
To-do list types who love crossing things off are immediately addicted to Wunderlist, which is basically an amped-up version of what we used to scrawl on scrap paper; lists can be filed, shared, prioritized, and assigned to specific people. While Wunderlist has obvious office applications, we actually like it best for domestic to-dos—updating the grocery list in real time while your roomie is in the dairy aisle is a real game-changer.
Of all the apps in this roundup, none received a more enthusiastic applause from the #goopgang than Clue. While Ovia is a more thorough option for full-on fertility tracking, Clue is a great starting point for anyone in the early phases of learning about their cycle and fertility. Clue’s polite prompts ask about your bleeding, pain, emotions, sleep, sex drive, and more, pointing to the date you’ll likely get your period and the window during which you’re most fertile (and offering plenty of life-changing information along the way). The more you use the app, the more accurate it gets, so you’ll be rewarded for consistency.
Once you start using LastPass, you’ll wonder how you ever lived without it. The service (which has a streamlined web plugin in addition to its mobile app) safely stores all of your passwords, eliminating the need for dangerously accessible word documents or notes pages. It can generate new passwords when you create new accounts, and periodically scans for duplicated or otherwise insecure passwords, which can be automatically reset. Just don’t forget the master password, which is the key to unlocking everything else.
The writers of the goop city guides are enthusiastic evangelists of this simple app for organizing bar and restaurant recommendations (as well as good and bad dishes and overall experiences). The sharing feature makes it easy to pass great lists on to friends, and the map tool helps you visualize bookmarked spots in your area.
There are a few options out there for cleaning up unwelcome subscription emails, but when it comes to simplicity, graphics, and price (free), Unroll.me is the clear frontrunner. The service automatically shows you an inbox of your subscription emails, including a list of everywhere you’re subscribed, allowing you to opt out of anything superfluous in one click. Just make sure to include goop’s weekly note in their Rollup, a clean “daily digest” that shows you all your subscriptions at once.
Okay, so it’s not exactly groundbreaking technology, but Punkpost gets a lot of points in our book for sheer cuteness. How it works: Scroll the app to see previews of constantly-rotating stationery by cool, young artists and illustrators. Type in the address and a note, and Punkpost will send a handwritten card to your friend, (or grandma, or husband) via snail mail. It comes in handy for writing thank you notes at the last minute.
Think of this brand-new app as the perfect combination of Instagram and Goodreads. Once you create a profile, you’ll have a “stack” where you can track books you’ve read, are reading, and want to read. Big-time readers may want to share quotes blurbs, and reviews, but it’s equally good for passive users looking for inspo and an organized way to keep track of their TBR list. Adorably, posts with spoilers are marked with a skull and crossbones for the safety of the entire community. Our favorite follows so far: Subway Book Review, Book Bento Box, and Strand Bookstore.
Voice Dream takes any written content (word documents, articles, powerpoints, you name it—sourced from anywhere from Dropbox to Evernote) and turns it into a clear, easy-to-understand audio file. Unlike some of its competitors’ models, the rewind function on Voice Dream works incredibly well, and there are more than 186 voice options and an astonishing 30 languages available. While it was originally built for blind and dyslexic users, it’s also a productivity game-changer for anyone with a long commute.
Based on the “don’t break the chain” productivity model, the concept behind Streaks is awesomely simple: Users pick a few tasks that they want to turn into daily habits, and track how many days they do them in a row. In practice, the addictiveness of keeping a streak unbroken makes powerful motivation for accomplishing the types of tasks that take a small time commitment but have a big payoff. At #goophq, we’ve got streaks for everything from meditation to calling relatives to writing thank you notes. You can also turn the concept on its head by tracking broken habits, like days without a cigarette or swearing.
Developed originally for freelancers, you can think of Hours as a time clock for millennials—you can track multiple projects at once, switching back and forth easily, and automatically totaling hours for day-, week-, and month-long intervals. The free version is also great for anyone trying to get a sense for where they’re spending their time—though for only $8/month, you’ll gain access to their helpful data visualizations, too.
The magic of this long-awaited mail app isn’t that they’re bringing anything new to the table, but that features previously managed by a slew of plugins on other mail apps are now built in and totally seamless. Available for most email platforms (there’s a glitch with Outlook accounts currently, though a fix is reportedly on the way), the mobile and desktop app allows for delayed sends, a “read later” timer, and an easy-to-search universal archive. Inbox zero subscribers will be immediate devotees.