The last-minute out-of-town client meeting that coincides with teacher conferences. The mid-week emergency plumbing situation at home. The realization that you’ll be preparing for an important new business pitch while also handling the last-minute details of your parents’ 50th wedding anniversary party. What’s the best way to handle the many work, home, and family demands, with only 24 hours in the day, and no clear way to keep it all together?
Part of the answer, at least, could be residing right on your smartphone or tablet. Many productivity, calendaring, and other apps can do double duty in managing and coordinating your professional and personal lives. Here’s a roundup of some of the best apps for work-life sanity.
Instapaper (iPhone, iPad)
Stuck in a tunnel during your commute? Waiting outside your daughter’s dance class? No Wif-Fi? No problem. Instapaper saves web pages (usually as text only) so that you can read them offline.There is nothing more freeing than clicking Instapaper’s “Read Later” bookmarklet at work, knowing that you can catch up with the article or website later, and make use of some of that “lost” time during the day. What’s equally convenient, the bookmarklet works with Google Reader, FlipBoard and over 140 other apps. You can even send links and long email messages to your Instapaper email address to read them later. This one is well worth the $4.99 price tag.
Cozi Family Organizer (iPhone, iPad, Android)
The Cozi Family Organizer, a free app, was made with busy families in mind. Each family member can view, add and share items on the calendar, shopping list, task list, and family journal from the website, or from their smartphone or tablet. Reminders, sent via text message, can be set up in advance to make sure that all bases are covered.
HomeSmarts (iPhone, iPad, Android)
You know that nagging feeling that your list of home maintenance projects is growing by the day? Well, the HomeSmarts app will help you get a handle on things so you can keep up and enjoy more of your weekend time. The free app by ServiceMagic lets you customize your maintenance tasks and timelines, and offers DIY tips and seasonal pointers.
Asana (iPhone, Android)
Another versatile, free app, Asana offers a simple way to manage and share projects (along with related notes and documents), and also schedule and assign tasks. While it’s lacking in looks, with its very basic, grayscale design scheme, it more than fits the bill for managing projects with family and friends.
This roundup is a small beginning to getting a handle on the many competing personal and professional demands on your time and attention. You might even find that you can use some of the time-saving, communication, and organizational features of your other favorite apps in ways that simplify your work-life balance.