Looking for life-organizing software
May 26, 2012 5:18 PM   Subscribe

I am looking for software to help organize my life : notes, calendar, to-do lists, links, passwords

I need something that I can use on my home, work, phone, and on the go.
posted by digdan to Computers & Internet (17 answers total) 23 users marked this as a favorite
Evernote might meet your requirements.
posted by Yma at 5:39 PM on May 26, 2012 [1 favorite]

Seconding Evernote. Works flawlessly across my devices (smartphone, tablets, laptops, windows/Mac app/web).
posted by donovan at 5:48 PM on May 26, 2012 [1 favorite]

What kind of phone do you have?

I use the following and am on a Mac with Android:

Catch - for notes
1password - for passwords
Business Calendar or Jorte for Calendar (syncs with Google Calendar)
CallApp is also interesting for contact-specific notes
posted by You Should See the Other Guy at 5:48 PM on May 26, 2012

Nthing Evernote, but I prefer Things. It goes wonderfully with this book, which was the single biggest influence in me getting my shit together and becoming an organized professional after college.

Oh, and my iTouch. I'd be completely lost without its calendar and memo apps.
posted by Kevtaro at 6:13 PM on May 26, 2012

Seconding 1Password. It might seem a little pricey (especially if you're buying for two or three platforms simultaneously), but it's excellent software. It works on Mac OS X, Windows, Android, iOS, and with a variety of web browsers. It easily syncs across devices with Dropbox*. It's got some little touches (like auto-login URLs you can copy into other programs) that make it a delight to use. I know that I'd waste more time (and be generally less secure about passwords) without it.

If GTD appeals to you, then OmniFocus (Mac and iOS only unfortunately) might be the project and task management software for you. Every now and then I consider switching operating systems, but the thought of leaving OmniFocus quickly dissuades me. Again, it looks pricey, but it's excellent software.

*Oh, yeah, if you use more than one device, you should be using Dropbox to sync up files, if you're not already. I rarely use a USB drive to move files around anymore. The first 2GB is free.
posted by ddbeck at 6:42 PM on May 26, 2012

For me (with an Android phone) it's Google Calendar, GMail, Google Voice (with Contacts), MyFitnessPal (for diet and exercise).

And (as so many others have said) Evernote for syncing between home and phone, which I use for:
- Shopping Lists (broken down by store...note that it lets you put a check box next to each item which you can uncheck from your home PC and then check off when in the store)
- Jotting down notes to investigate later (e.g., thoughts on vacations)
- Keeping track of facts (e.g. clothes sizes)
- Things to remember to ask the doctor next time, or to discuss with my boss
- Web links
- Inspirational quotations or Scripture verses
- Movies to see, books to read
- Web links to save within the relevant category and sub-category
- etc.
posted by forthright at 7:30 PM on May 26, 2012 [1 favorite]

Evernote is available across the board but as far as I can tell, all it does is store notes. It doesn't seem to help scheduling or to-do listing. It is also stores everything in the cloud. This is fine except sometimes Evernote doesn't come up instantly as it must sync.

It's nifty for what it is but it isn't much more than a digital storage bin. If that's all you want then it's great.
posted by chairface at 9:37 PM on May 26, 2012

I have been looking for the same thing forever. I use a PC and an Android phone most of the time and have evolved a system that is based around a combination of Google Apps, OneNote and Lastpass. I'm not altogether happy with it but I am a longtime OneNote user and that's the bit I can't let go. I have tried Evernote and Springpad but at times my internet access can be dodgy so I prefer to have a backup on my own equipment.

My dream product/system would be an information container system that combined with my calendar and to-do list. I guess I could go back to Outlook and use OneNote more fully and I guess that is an option if I were to go to a Windows phone next time around.
posted by chairish at 9:59 PM on May 26, 2012

I haven't tried Evernote, but I've been using Google Tasks and really liking it. You can use it for free, it's got a web interface (backed by Google, so it's reliable), and there are native apps as well. I think it's a particularly good solution for keeping to-do and shopping lists in sync among multiple people (spouses, roommates, etc.).

Here's how I'm using it:

My wife and I set up a joint Google account, and we access that account's Tasks primarily via GoTasks, an iOS Google Tasks client. We've got a to-do list as well as shopping lists. It's pretty slick... If one of us is in the supermarket checking off groceries, the other can actually watch them get checked off in real-time from home.

We're pretty satisfied with this, and it's nice to depend on Google's backend rather than some random app developer's servers, proprietary app, etc.
posted by hodgebodge at 12:37 AM on May 27, 2012

Another iOS user here. Gmail for email, calendar, contacts and tasks. Email, calendar and contacts synchronised on the iPhone using ActiveSync. GoTasks on the iPhone for tasks. Evernote for notes.

Works well and is accessible (and in sync) on my iPhone, iPad, laptop and work computer.
posted by mr_silver at 2:12 AM on May 27, 2012 [1 favorite]

While Evernote doesn't have a calendar function it's superb for collecting and managing notes, clippings from the Web (via one click browser bookmarklet), photos, PDFs nd other files and does have an offline option so you can access your stuff without a connection.
posted by donovan at 9:38 AM on May 27, 2012

posted by 4ster at 11:41 AM on May 27, 2012

Are those of you suggesting Evernote paying for the ability to look at your stuff offline?
posted by Spumante at 3:00 PM on May 27, 2012

+1 for Taskpaper. I use it in conjunction with http://todotxt.com/ (the paid for IOS app + the free Windows app + cmd line at home on my Mac)
posted by Spumante at 3:02 PM on May 27, 2012

I finally found the perfect to-do list app (for my tastes anyway) with Errands. It's quick and simple when you just want to add a task, but has all the complexity I want for when I really want to organize projects. It's the best of both worlds; I've never before found anything that can be both simple when I want simple, and detailed when I want detailed.

It's also totally free, and there are no ads or reduced functionality. You can pay for it if you feel like it's worth it, but you get no additional functionality for paying. I actually did pay for it after using it long enough to realize it was my dream app.
posted by greenmagnet at 7:59 PM on May 27, 2012 [1 favorite]

Outside of the calendar, Workflowy is the shiznit. When you start tagging in it, you will never go back. Plus you can bookmark any element without your workflowy outline.
posted by jasondigitized at 8:52 PM on May 27, 2012

I have tried nearly everything for mac / iOS.

CALENDER: I use Google Calendar. It syncs to my iPhone.

I use LockInfo (jailbreak required) to always display the next 10 entries on my calendar on my lock screen. So I can always just hit the top button on my phone, glance at my upcoming appointments, and then hit the top button again and put the phone away. Super fast and effective.

On my mac, I use Fantastical. It's a menubar app that displays the date and day of the week, and when you click it, your full calendar. Adding appointments is super easy, you can just type free form "lunch tomorrow at 2 at Balthazar" and it populates the right fields. This of course syncs with google calendar.

PASSWORDS: I used KeyPassX for a long time, synced with Dropbox to my desktop as well. I'd recommend it. However, I recently switched to 1Password for a nicer UI. I'd also recommend it, although it's probably not worth the huge increase in price. It also has so glitches. Either app should serve you fine.

NOTES: I use NValt on my mac. It's a fork of Notational Velocity, with the main beneficial addition (to me) being that it acts as a menubar app, so it only appears when I click the menubar icon. You can use either NValt or Notational Velocity. Both are super fast and stable (read: won't lose your notes). More importantly, they sync with SimpleNote, which lets you read your notes via simplenote.com, and your iPhone via the SimpleNote app.

TO-DO: I used to use ToDo; there is an iPhone and Mac version that sync with each other. I'd still recommend this program. However, I recently switched to "The Hit List" which I like even more. I think it has an iPhone app as well, but I realized I don't need my to-dos on my mobile, so I now just use the Mac app.

EVERNOTE: I use this kinda of like a scrapbook for some random clippings. I never really got into it the way some other people have.
posted by User7 at 8:06 AM on May 28, 2012

« Older Therapist answers texts during our session   |   Some questions about lighting, indoors and out Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.