There are so many apps out there for organising your life from to-do apps to calendar apps. Some are free but to get the full feature set you generally have to pay. So for me, I use the stock Apple Apps which are pretty feature rich and best of all free.
There are three Apple Apps that I use on a daily basis to manage my personal and content life. These three Apps are:
- Apple Reminders
- Apple Calendar
- Apple Notes
In this post I am going to run through each of these Apps and why I use them, the benefits and why I use them over other 3rd Party Apps.
Reminders have become much more useful over the past few iterations of iOS with some great functionality being available. But what is it that I use Reminders for specifically;
- To Do’s
Like a lot of people, I do like a good list and I use Reminders to track my list. I use it specifically for shopping lists and the great thing about Apple Reminders is that I can share this list with my other half. So we can both add items to the lists for the weekly shop and it means that either can do the shop as we have access to the same up-to-date list.
I also capture what I consider as true reminders, these are the things that I do daily or once a week like taking my tablets or cleaning the hound’s ears. These are all given specific times and dates and I will receive a notification to remind me.
Ok so this is technically a list and is created as a new list but I capture my To-Do’s in the reminders in two ways. I have my main to-do list and my Today list. All of the things I want to do are added to my To-Do list with no dates just what comes into my head (Siri on my apple watch come in great for this).
Then there is my today list which is where the task that I need to get done for the day get moved to. And this is where Smart Lists and Tagging come in. I have created a number of tags such as #today which means that when I add that Tag to my reminder it will add it to my Today list. So in the morning or the evening before I can scan my To-Do list and then add the Today tag to the ones that I want to do that day. You will need to create a smart list to do this but this is really straightforward.
I also have a couple of other lists which work in the same way. For example, anything that is to do with my blog will get tagged with #blog, this allows me to see what I have to do on specific things like for my blog etc. I find this a nice and easy way to organise my to-do’s and it’s across all my devices.
I have used a couple of different email clients but always seem to migrate back to the stock Apple Calendar, which seems to get a bad rep and I am not 100% sure why. It’s clean, uncomplicated and does what I need it to do. It has also had some big improvements with new iOS and macOS updates e.g. schedule emails etc (one to cover in a future post.
The biggest thing for me with the Apple Calendar is the ability for me to share my calendar easily. My other half has an iPhone so this is where I put all the events and important dates that we both need to be aware of. It is basically where we plan our family life from school holidays to birthday parties (OK it’s where we keep our daughter’s social events ).
Another useful feature I find is being able to add events from my mail app. So if I have booked something like a meal at a pub then I can easily add it to my calendar. I love that I don’t need to write it down.
Now there are some great third-party calendar apps out there but for me, the Apple Calendar just provides less friction. And this for me is why I keep coming back to it, it just works.
Apple Notes has come a long way. I use it for my second brain but have also used it to write blog posts and write scripts. There are several features that have come to the app but below are the few ways I use it.
- Quick Capture Notes
- Sharing Notes
- Smart Folders
Quick Capture Notes
I mainly use it to capture quick thoughts or information when I don’t have a pen to hand. This is also where all my ideas for blog posts, YouTube Videos, reels etc start out before moving into Notion.
Those ideas are captured in a list that is pinned to the top of my notes list so I can easily find it and add to it at any time on whatever Apple device I am using. Being able to pin those notes that you need to be able to find and use or refer to frequently is so useful. The sorts of notes that I have pinned are a reading list and my YouTube Description outlines.
I recently started using this feature and it’s great. I wanted to organise my daughter’s party but I also want to share it with my other half so we knew what had left to do. So I created the note and simply clicked on the share icon and sent it to him. We can both edit the note so we can tick off the items that we have done.
This could be used for any other kind of note as long as the other person you are sharing with has an Apple device. Now you could use other third-party apps but you may have to pay to share with multiple people with Notes it’s free.
These smart folders work in the same way as smart lists. You create a folder and then you assign tags to that folder. Again this is a great way to organise your notes in a way that works best for you.
I have a number of folders that I have set up for blog posts, YouTube Scripts, Newsletter etc and each has a relevant tag. I then create a new note, give it a title and add the tag or tags and then as well as being in my main notes folder it will also have been put into the relevant folder. This makes it so much easier to find the right note without having to pin them all which after a while would become pointless.
As I have mentioned there are a number of third-party apps (free and paid) that you could use and might want to if you have an Android Device. But if you are in the Apple Ecosystem then these Apps are really worth thinking about other apps. I find them clean and easy to use and work seamlessly across all my Apple devices and this is certainly the reason I struggle to move away from them to other apps.
So if you are looking for an easy and free way to manage your life then look no further than these stock Apple Apps.