Look, there’s no other way to put it: this stage of my life is pretty chaotic. There’s so much to keep up with, to catch up on, to keep under control, that it feels like I need about 10 more hours in a day to make it all manageable. I know most of you can relate. If there’s something I can do to simplify my schedule, outsource tasks, or better organize my mess: Sign. Me. Up.
Toward the latter part of this year, I realized that constantly playing catch-up was really not how I wanted to live my life. It’s just, like, not fun. So, I’ve been taking small and steady steps toward becoming more organized, paring down my to-do lists, and prioritizing the things that matter most. One way I’m doing that is with the help of this amazing thing called technology. It’s kind of ironic that the very thing that adds to so much of the chaos and distraction (where are my fellow scrolling addicts?) is also such a powerful tool to help manage that chaos.
Okay, without further ado, here are 3 apps I’m currently using to manage my chaos:
Plan to Eat.
Why you need it: If I could only have one app on my phone, it would be this one. I’m serious. I only discovered it about a month ago, and let me tell you: it is a wonder my family was being fed up until that point. This app is keeping us all alive.
What it does: First, you add recipes to My Recipes in the app. You can enter them manually (if you’re a psychopath) or just copy/paste the URL and the app will automatically import them. From there, you add meals to the Planner, designating whether they are for breakfast, lunch, supper or snacks. So now you have all the recipes you need for the week in a calendar inside the app. Here’s where it gets really beautiful, though: From the recipes you’ve planned for the week, the app CURATES A SHOPPING LIST with exactly what you’ll need to make those recipes. Seriously? Pair this sucker with Kroger Clicklist or your grocery pickup of choice and you are now mom of the year, congratulations. Other cool features are the ability to adjust the serving size, add your comments to the recipe (I.E. – that was wicked spicy, less crushed red pepper next time), and rate your recipes. Oh, and the app also has a Staples List, which is customizable, and you can go through and add items to your shopping list that aren’t ingredients to your recipes but that you’ll need to buy that week.
What it costs: You can sign up and get a free 30-day trial, and then a one-year subscription is $38.99. I can’t even emphasize how worth it that is. DO IT.
Why you need it: I’ve tried about a trillion organization apps and tools and planners, and I keep coming back to Trello because it’s just so user-friendly and visually helpful. It really gives you a birds-eye view of all your tasks, and then allows you to break them down as much as you need to. At first I was just using it to keep track of work-related tasks, but I’ve realized it can be so much more than that. It’s a life organizer, and we all need that. I always keep my Trello boards open in a Chrome tab on my computer, and I also have the app on my phone.
What it does: Trello is an organization/task management app that consists of Boards, Lists and Cards. Boards can be used for anything, from managing specific work clients to managing your household. Within your Board, you can create as many Lists as you need to manage that board. So, let’s say you have a “Home” Board. Within that Board, you may have a List called “Upkeep.” Within that List, you can create different Cards that apply to the upkeep of your home, like “Cleaning,” “Bills to Pay,” “Home Projects,” etc. Within those Cards, you can create Checklists. You can also assign cards to repeat themselves with whatever frequency you need. For instance, if you need to pay the water bill monthly, have that card repeat every month. The best part is that you can customize the organization of the Boards, Lists and Cards in any way that makes sense to you. Other users can be added to boards if you need to collaborate, which is great for both home-related tasks and work tasks.
What it costs: The basic version is free, and it works just fine for the way I use it. More robust versions for businesses start at $9.99 per user/month.
Why you need it: Because you need Jesus. But really. I absolutely must start my day with Jesus or everyone else suffers. I love doing devotionals and reading my Bible the old fashioned way, but let’s be real: my phone is always with me, and opening an app to read for 5 minutes is something I can 100% guarantee will get done on a daily basis. I’d love to say I get up super early every morning and read my Bible for an hour, but I’m not going to lie here before the Lord.
What it does: Everyday, you open the app and there is a brand new 5-minute study to read. It really is no longer than 5 minutes. There’s a scripture reading, and then a study written by one of the brilliant women on the writing team, such as Lysa TerKeurst and Ann Swindell. There’s an opportunity to comment on the study and discuss with other readers, join various groups, and read through previous plans.
What it costs: Just 5 minutes of your time.
If you’re struggling with managing the chaos in this season of life, I hope this is helpful. It’s so easy to get overwhelmed with the endless to-dos, so take advantage of the tools available to help you simplify. If you have a favorite app that’s helping you live well these days, I’d love to hear about it!
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