Productive Apps | How I Stay Organised

January 27, 2019 in Blog - 17 Comments
Productive apps, how I stay organised, Simply Stacey

Day to day, I not only need to be organised….I honestly love being organised. Being productive helps to motivate myself. There is honestly nothing better than ticking a task off your To Do List. When I meet my goals I do a little air punch, I am not ashamed. We all need to do more air punches in life. 

Being a working mummy I need to be super organised in all areas of my existence. Not only just for myself, but also for our family. The kids (no joke) have a better social life than me, they have so many events with nursery and school that I am like a personal assistant. Then I sometimes need to organise Antony and remind him (not nag as he would say) about tasks or dates he needs to remember. 

My job away from blogging and walking around with a camera vlogging, is on the extreme scale for staying organised. I work as a Quality and Regulatory Manager manufacturing medical devices and need to ensure all procedures are met, constantly stay up to date with standards, have a working retrievable system….the list goes on. So you might be getting an idea now that I wasn’t being dramatic. I need to be like a superhero with organisational skills who is radiating with productivity vibes. Ok maybe I was a little dramatic then, but you get the picture.

Focus on being productive instead of busy.

I am going to share with you six of my favourite apps that I am currently loving. These all help me stay on top and be productive. I tend to use certain apps for home/blogging and work, which I will cover in different posts. This is a small selection of apps, I am a sucker for a new app and use many. This list is my main ‘go to apps’ that I use constantly.

Bear App

Bear is hands down my favourite note taking app. I previously was solely using Evernote and I still do for work and longterm projects. I use Bear mainly for research and everyday notes. 

Bear took a little while to navigate, for example making folders you use a hashtag, and sub folders a forward slash. YouTube tutorials was how I learnt to use the app efficiently. 

Once you get use to the shortcuts you will find Bear is a simple app to use. For example you can change font style, add dividers, links and add bullet points. There is much more you can do with Bear to meet your needs and is well worth a download. 

Things 3 App

For my editorial and personal ‘to do list’ management system. I like the fact it is similar to the GTD (Getting Things Done) method, which is a fantastic book to read. Previously I was using Wunderlist, which for work I still use. I like to keep work and home tasks separate if possible. 

All my tasks go into the ‘Inbox’ section, from here or when doing my weekly planning I will allocate the next action steps. This can be adding to a separate folder, maybe the task isn’t urgent and for when have time. If this is the case I will add this to the ‘Anytime’ folder.

If the task needs a due date I will add this to the task itself, which then will automatically appear in the ‘Upcoming’ folder.

You can also make folders for specific projects or folders, which is helpful for planning.

Each task can be amended with checklists, due dates, notes etc. There is plenty of ways to add as much detail as you need.

I like the simplicity of Things 3, and have since downloading for my phone and iPad, I recently paid for the Mac version as I use this app daily. Things 3 is perfect for keeping me organised and letting me know the tasks for the day ahead. 


Fantastical App

The main secret for my organisational skills is Calendar Blocking. I will do a post and video about this soon as honestly it has been a life saver. Each week I plan the week ahead, for work and home. You start to realise how much time you have free in the day and the free time becomes more precious.

I am more regimental with calendar blocking during the week. Weekends I will block tasks I need to remember, or if I have a busy day ahead and want to stay organised. Orignally I was solely using Google Calendar with seperate calendar folders for various elements. For example I have an ‘Editorial’ calendar and ‘Home’ which is a couple of my many calendars. This is mainly for seeing specific entries for the calendar name. 

Fantastical is brilliant for my needs as I can link external calendars, which one is also my work calendar. Plus another addition is the fact I have the app as an element on my Apple Watch face so I know what is always happening. 

Google Calendar worked well for me, but Fantastical meets all of my needs and for me is the best calendar app I have downloaded and well worth the price. Planning your day ahead is one way to be super productive and I really recommend trying this. Make sure you keep an eye for future posts about this subject which I will show you how I make this effective for my needs.

BFT App, Bear Focus Timer, Pomodoro

Staying productive is hard when you have distractions which is mainly your phone. We all are guilty of this, you could be typing a blog post, working on an urgent project and your phone pings or you see a notification. Resisting the urge to see what indeed has come through to your phone is a hard task alone. This can then lead you breaking concentration or stopping what you are doing all together. 

One way to eliminate distractions on my phone was to remove notifications. I have minimal amounts alerting me. For any social media especially, no notifications appear. I have to physically go into the app to see if someone has tweeted or liked my recent Instagram selfie. 

To take this further I decided on a timer app on my phone. These are fantastic for stopping you using your phone. Originally my first timer was Forest, I still use this app. You decide on which tree to grow which is dependant on the length of time you wish to not check your phone. Eventually if you grow enough trees and receive coins you can plant real trees for charity which is a. nice addition. Obviously if you have a sneaky peek on your phone outside of the app and go looking to see where Maureen has tagged herself on facebook then your tree will sadly die.

Then on one of my many researching moments I came across the Pomodoro Method. For this you have 25 minute sections and in between 5 minute breaks. This really helps when on big tasks and really does work.

Bear Focus Timer (BFT) focuses using the Pomodoro Method which helps you stay productive. You can even have white noise playing if you wish, I am more of a Spotify focus playlist person to be honest on that part of. the apps features. If you use your phone the bear is not going to be happy with you and makes you put that phone back down and carry on smashing your tasks. 

Mindnode App

Brain dumping is perfect for staying productive. Emptying your thoughts helps empty your brain to concentrate on the task ahead.  Also brainstorming is a method I regularly use.

MindNode is perfect for brainstorming or having a brain dump session. I again use this app at home and work. Some examples of how I use is for content ideas, planning blog posts. Over Christmas I used MindNode to plan tasks, for example Christmas Dinner, shopping, activities. The app makes this so easy to start building a structral idea. 

MinNode is one of my more recent apps, and is now also one of my most favourite. Again I love the simplicity of the app. Not only being simple to use the app makes me super productive and creative. I have been using this more recently for work when planning a project and cannot recommend enough trying to brainstorm and seeing how much you actually start building on ideas. 

Instapaper App

Instapaper is perfect for those moments when browsing the internet and you come across a page that you simply haven’t got time to browse fully but want to read some other time. 

You can set Instapaper up for a shortcut on your phone. I simply go to share and find the app icon, also you can get a desktop extension for ease of use. 

Previously I was using screenshots but they would get lost on my phone and not convenient to find the pages I wanted to re-visit. 

Other ways I use the app is for when browsing Pinterest, I find pages from pins I have checked out and want to save this for later. 

I tend to check out pages when I schedule a research hour or weekly review. A pattern with these apps is the simplicity and aesthetically pleasing look. 

Making use of your phone apps can help enhance your productivity and staying organised to your own needs You can build your own platform of apps that help make your own life easier. 

I prefer staying organised digitally as it is so easy nowadays with the technologies available to us. On twitter the other week I was chatting about apps with a fellow blogger and I mentioned how much easier I would have found staying organised when at school and college. I mean it didn’t make a difference as these apps was not around back in my days of being a teen, I would just live by my filofax and mum being my calendar. 

However now living in this digitally minded world, I am embracing apps to make life simpler. There are so many to view and try and my main tip is find what works for you based on your own needs. Hopefully this will give you an insight on apps you may not have seen before and hopefully may help your needs.

Have you got a favourite app for being productive or staying organised?

Stacey Spruels

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  • Jess January 27, 2019 at 11:28 am

    I’ve never heard of any of these apps before but they all sound great and I’m definitely going to check them out to help organise my life more! I really like the idea of Instapaper! I’m forever finding articles I want to read then losing them and missing out!

    Jess //

  • Anaïs January 27, 2019 at 6:46 pm

    Omg, I was so in need of a post like that!!! I’m like so not organised about my blog and I want to be!! So thanks so much for sharing those apps, I’ll surely have a look at them xx

    Anaïs |

    • Stacey Spruels January 27, 2019 at 8:51 pm

      Thankyou, I hope you find them helpful. Let me know how you get on x

  • Eleanor January 27, 2019 at 8:53 pm

    I’ve never used any of these apps before. I’ve never even heard of them. I need to give some of them a chance though as I’m always looking to organise my life a little bit more..

    • Stacey Spruels January 29, 2019 at 5:34 am

      Most I found through watching reviews on YouTube, then tailored to my own needs. There are so many available, it is getting the right ones for your needs. Thanks for reading xx

  • Cute Gift Ideas January 28, 2019 at 1:28 pm

    Wow .That’s amazing . I was finding such apps because I am not so organised but I always wanted to be .Finally I got know by your post . Thanks a lot for sharing such apps . I will obviously try out each apps .

    • Stacey Spruels January 29, 2019 at 5:33 am

      That’s brilliant, let me know how you get on. It took me a while to find the ones to work for my needs xx

  • Bexa January 28, 2019 at 1:42 pm

    These are great suggestions Stacey! I’ve never heard of any of these apps so thank you for sharing. I especially like the idea of the Bear Focus Timer and the Pomodoro Method, it sounds really effective! I think the tree growing app would also work well for me, I am so guilty of getting distracted and having a ‘quick 5 mins’ on Twitter, ha ha. I would feel bad about killing a tree for the sake of checking notifications which could wait.. I think I need to download this one. Thanks again for sharing, fab post! <3 xx

    Bexa |

    • Stacey Spruels January 29, 2019 at 5:35 am

      The timer apps are brilliant. Makes a difference as I kept going to my phone and then the tree or bear are warning me I am meant to not be on my phone. I even use the forest one if reading for 10 minutes xx

  • Kristin Harris/Tales From Home January 28, 2019 at 2:38 pm

    Thanks for sharing these! I’m always looking for new apps to help keep me organized!

  • Alice February 22, 2019 at 8:26 pm

    Instapaper looks so perfect for Pinterest! Sometimes I’m in the mood to just scroll through but I don’t really feel like reading each article, so being able to save them all in one place to look back on is a great idea. I think in terms of a to-do list app, I’d prefer Things 3 the most as I like apps that are simple and straightforward – that way I have less to think about as I find organisation hard enough as it is haha. I definitely need to get Fantastical as well, sometimes I find it hard to keep up with when each RT account is hosting comment threads, chats etc. so it would be useful to put it all in one place like you have.

    Alice x

    • Stacey Spruels February 22, 2019 at 8:36 pm

      Thanks for the comment Alice. Things 3 is brilliant and is working for my needs. Using a digital calendar is a game changer and the only way I can stay organised. Let me know if you do get any and how you get on with them x

  • Jenny in Neverland February 24, 2019 at 11:28 am

    Great post and amazing suggestions for people who need that helping hand staying organised! I’ve always been an incredibly organised person so I have all my own methods which work great for me. Lists are a BIG one! But I just use the general ‘notes’ section on my phone but I do separate lists for different things 🙂 I also have a fantastic organisational spreadsheet for me blog! Goodness me, I just love talking about organisation haha!


  • Mariam April 29, 2019 at 1:15 pm

    I love the sound of these apps! I use the timer that comes with the standard clock app on my phone but I love that the one you use donates to charity after a certain amount of time. So neat.

  • Sammy June 9, 2019 at 4:54 pm

    These all look really useful – I have just downloaded MindNode!

    Sammy | Self-Care Sloth

  • Kim July 1, 2019 at 8:57 pm

    Great post. I’ve actually never heard of any of these! I tend to use the default notes and timer apps / widgets that came with my phone. But I love the sound of the tree app – that would definitely keep me from looking at my phone. I wouldn’t want my tree to die and bonus that it gives money to charity too.

    • Stacey Spruels July 2, 2019 at 6:54 am

      Thanks Kim! It does stop you which is great, let me know how you get on. The longer you choose the better the tree xx

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    Simply Stacey

    My name is Stacey and I am lifestyle blogger from Wiltshire. I am a part time working mummy and have 2 children, Josie and Rowan. I love learning different ways to be mindful, organised and productive. In my spare time I like gaming and catching up on the latest Netflix series.

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