The Verge’s favorite tools to stay organized

Life as of late may be very difficult, and many people — I’d guess that almost all of us — are continuously searching for the very best methodology to maintain our lives so as. What do you want in your grocery record? When is that work challenge due, and who’s engaged on it with you? A pal desires to do a movie-watching session, however is that the identical day you promised your dad and mom to assist clear the storage? Which payments are due, and may you afford to pay all of them? The place is that article about which masks to put on? And on and on.

So we’ve requested the workers of The Verge what they use to maintain monitor of all their appointments, duties, tasks, and workflows. And it seems that they use a wide range of completely different apps or some pretty old style paper-and-pen options — or each.

For those who’re discovering that this 12 months is popping out to be a complicated one and also you want a strategy to attempt to preserve your life and your sanity so as, listed here are some strategies that we use. We hope they’re useful.

A pocket book

Leuchtturm 1917 notebooks

Leuchtturm1917 notebooks.
Picture: Leuchtturm

Get a pocket book. You don’t want tech for this. The truth is, conserving monitor of your self is way simpler in the event you aren’t utilizing tech designed for another person. Are you aware why? Solely you use your mind. You’re more likely to design a system you’ll use than another person is.

You have to a pencil or a pen. You will get wild and purchase markers and a ruler. Personally, I like markers as a result of I like coloration, however that is your pocket book, so you must observe your coronary heart. Now, you’re going to experiment. Are you a monster who operates her life by jerry-rigged to-do lists? Nice. Make some to-do lists. Do you wish to monitor stuff utilizing bullet journal layouts? Nice. Do this. Do you simply wish to write down your emotions earlier than you discuss to somebody about them? Brainstorm on a job? No matter? Nice information! There’s a clean piece of paper, and it may be no matter you need it to be.

You don’t want to purchase an costly pocket book, although I like them as a result of they make me really feel fancy, and the paper is good to the touch. Nonetheless, my oldest notebooks are cheapo, nasty spiral-bound dominated paper I purchased on the drugstore for beneath a greenback. The purpose isn’t the instruments you might be utilizing. The purpose is that you’re utilizing one thing that works to your personal mind. Glad we had this discuss. — Elizabeth Lopatto, senior reporter

Well-liked high-end pocket book.


Picture: Notion Labs

I’ve all the time had a not-so-great reminiscence, and because of this, all through most of my profession, I’ve gone by I don’t know what number of completely different apps for conserving monitor of what I’ve to do. I want one thing I can seek the advice of to trace tasks, remind myself of who owes me an article, which articles I promised to write down or edit, what how-tos I swore I might tackle subsequent, and so on.

Because of this, whereas I admire (and typically use) easy note-taking apps comparable to Google Preserve or reminders comparable to TickTick, I like experimenting with extra advanced job managers. (Remind me someday to rant about Ecco Professional, a splendidly versatile outliner / database again within the ’90s that was ultimately acquired by one other firm and instantly deserted, dammit.) At the moment, my go-to for attempting to keep up all of my numerous tasks is Notion. I’m positive I haven’t discovered 50 % of the varied methods one can use it. But it surely lets me nest pages inside pages inside pages; create outlines and to-do lists and on-the-fly notes; and, most significantly, add reminders and hyperlinks in order that I don’t let essential issues fall off my radar. — Barbara Krasnoff, opinions editor


Picture: Doist

Todoist — particularly, the Chrome plug-in — has been my journey or die each day organizational app for years now. The free model that I exploit could be very fundamental however does precisely what I want it to: it permits me so as to add objects to my each day guidelines and cross them off as I get issues finished. The “crossing issues off after I’m finished” is important as a result of I’m an elder millennial, and I require affirmation that I’m doing issues proper. Favourite options in no explicit order:

  • Drag and drop duties from sooner or later to a different
  • The flexibility so as to add a web site as a job for stuff I wish to learn later
  • Precedence flags you could add to duties after which ignore
  • Transfer a job to tomorrow’s record with one click on

It doesn’t do all the pieces — I want a separate instrument for long-term planning — however it’s a lifesaver for each day priorities. And I swear it used to show a nice little sundown graphic once you emptied your guidelines for the day, which was very gratifying. It doesn’t try this anymore, and I miss it. — Allison Johnson, reviewer


Picture: Apple

I exploit two apps to maintain monitor of my to-dos: Apple’s Reminders app for private duties and TickTick for work duties. I like Reminders as a result of it integrates properly throughout Apple’s machine ecosystem (which I’m in), and it permits my spouse and me to simply make shared reminders if wanted. I like TickTick for work as a result of it’s straightforward so as to add duties and since it sits unobtrusively in my menu bar. Holding duties throughout two completely different apps isn’t essentially the most environment friendly course of, nevertheless it helps me preserve a greater separation between private and work stuff. — Jay Peters, information author

Fountain pens

Lamy Safari fountain pen

Lamy Safari fountain pen.
Picture: Lamy

I’ve to piggyback off Liz a little bit as a result of I’ve tried digital options to arrange myself, but I usually come again to pen and paper. I’m extra centered when taking a second to jot one thing down, whether or not it’s making a to-do record and description in my pocket book or creating an up-to-the-minute morning routine on an index card.

I channel my obsessively geeky tendencies into my selection of writing instrument. I received into fountain pens years in the past, and I’ve picked up a bunch that I like utilizing. They encourage me to take private notes, get organized, and plan out my day — as a result of I similar to writing with these pens, even when it’s just a few phrases and a checkbox.

End up one thing you want to write down with, whether or not it’s a elaborate (or reasonably priced) fountain pen, a unusual gel pen purchased off AliExpress that appears like a cute bear (I’ve this, too), or an affordable ballpoint that simply feels proper to you. Fountain pens may be finicky, however they make all the pieces very purposeful. Take a look at the Lamy Safari for a tried-and-true pen that’s pretty cheap however undeniably good or the TWSBI Eco for a bit more cash and get a cool bottle of colourful ink you’ll be able to see slosh round within the translucent piston-filled barrel. You’ll really feel like the good nerd round. — Antonio G. Di Benedetto, commerce author

Comparatively cheap however helpful fountain pen.

Stuff widget

Stuff widget.

Adding a task

Including a job.

I’m often not as organized as I wish to be. However outdoors of jotting important to-dos and must-buy groceries on sticky notes, my different line of protection from getting overwhelmed by the flailing tentacles of life is an Android widget referred to as Stuff. It’s a free to-do record app that allows you to denote duties for at the moment, tomorrow, or someday down the road.

I prefer it greater than different to-do record apps that I’ve tried as a result of it’s truly a widget, so it will probably dwell entrance and heart in your display screen if you would like it to. Additionally, it doesn’t require an account and is ad-free.

Stuff is pretty restricted by way of customization, however you’ll be able to pay $2 as an in-app buy for extra options, like the power to rename the classes (I occur to love the default ones) or change the colour of the bullet factors that seem subsequent to every line merchandise in addition to extra under-the-hood particulars of the widget itself. You possibly can spherical its corners, change its background coloration, and extra.

I nonetheless discover myself bouncing off utilizing it (extra of a “me” drawback than a difficulty with this widget), however after I’m attempting to get centered, I flip to Stuff. — Cameron Faulkner, reviewer

Five Star 3 notebook

5 Star 3 pocket book.
Picture: 5 Star

I exploit a mixture of issues, however like a couple of different folks on this record, this easy $4.79 5 Star pocket book is my favourite instrument. Though I don’t adhere to it religiously, I just like the bullet journal strategy, so I manually quantity every web page and add a separate index sheet in one of many pocket book’s folders to simply discover what I want by classes I’m continuously creating. I like coloration, so I exploit a couple of markers and pens however nothing too fancy.

For me, the easier and cheaper the pocket book is, the higher as a result of I discover I really feel much less responsible about utilizing it not simply to write down out my to-do record but additionally to plan, brainstorm, shortly jot down notes, journal, add my grocery purchasing lists, and extra. I discover I simply can’t do all of that when I’ve a high-end or exceptionally lovely pocket book. Don’t get me incorrect — I’ve a set of beautiful journals that seem like artwork, however I hardly ever use them as a result of I do know it’ll be costly to purchase one other. After I do truly use them, I nearly really feel this type of stress to make my entries as organized, enticing, and as Pinterest-worthy as doable — whereas by no means truly getting something finished (true story). — Sheena Vasani, commerce author

Easy and fundamental dominated spiral pocket book.


Picture: The Omni Group

I principally run my life out of OmniFocus. Work duties, dwelling duties — all of them go into the identical app, laden with tags and metadata like a defer (learn: “don’t bug me about this till”) date, due date, and challenge. The app lets me change views if I solely wish to see private duties or work duties, or it’ll let me get the big-picture view of all the pieces I’ve received developing and all the pieces I’ve been laying aside from the Forecast view. It may be a bit fiddly with managing tasks and folders, however now that I’ve received a system arrange, it seems like I can do nearly something in relation to organizing and displaying my duties.

I imply, I don’t. I just about defined all the pieces I do within the first two sentences. However the level is that I might — and sure, I notice that my use of OmniFocus is like somebody insisting they want an F-650 field truck to maneuver a plastic desk made for kids. (Severely, I’m getting jealous of my co-workers who’re pleased with $5 notebooks or free apps, particularly since I’ll most likely be dropping wherever from $50 to $100 to improve to OmniFocus 4 when it comes out.) However not one of the different apps I’ve tried have mapped so completely onto how my mind categorizes duties, and I like utilizing it a lot that it (and Overcast) are principally what made me swap from Android to iOS. I’ve received no plans to alter job administration techniques anytime quickly. — Mitchell Clark, information author

Apps and notebooks

Tsuki ‘Winter Wishes’ bullet journal

Tsuki Winter Needs bullet journal.
Picture: Pocket book Remedy

Like lots of my colleagues, I exploit a hybrid of apps and notebooks. Nonetheless, there’s a transparent line between work and private duties. Work duties get apps; private duties are analog.

For private stuff, I’ve been a Leuchtturm1917 fan for a few years, however lately, I’m attempting out one in every of these cute bullet journals from Pocket book Remedy. Don’t get me began on how a lot I’ve spent on Japanese and Korean pens, markers, and highlighters. Mainly, if it’s at JetPens or MochiThings, I’ve most likely spent an excessive amount of of my cash on it. (Are you able to inform I used to be the dork with color-coded notes in class?) It’s only a soothing strategy to course of all the large image issues happening in my life and break them down into extra digestible items.

However, as a tech reviewer, my complete working life is digital, and I want to have the ability to swap between my telephone and laptop computer. That’s why I additionally like Todoist. It’s received a cellular app, Chrome extension, integrates with my electronic mail shopper — the works. I additionally use Day One as a scratchpad for drafts I’m combating and 3AM bathe ideas alike. Otter is important for recording briefings. On days I actually can’t focus, I like to make use of Be Centered, which is principally a Pomodoro timer. — Victoria Tune, reviewer


Picture: Apple

I’ve been utilizing Apple’s macOS Stickies app on my work computer systems for so long as I can bear in mind. That is the first means I manage my ideas all through the workday, and I exploit the app for almost all the pieces. I make lists of assignments and ongoing tales, ordered by deadline or urgency; I transcribe particular occasions at which I wish to revisit a quote throughout interviews and dwell occasions; I write myself reminders for issues that I do know I’ll later neglect; and I preserve tabs on particular threads I wish to observe up on when time permits. This very blurb was drafted in Stickies.

To be clear, this isn’t the one means I manage my life. I exploit Asana for long-term tasks, bodily notebooks and a day planner for note-taking and private planning, and instruments just like the Slack reminders function (which I exploit exhaustively). However Stickies are tremendously helpful for day-to-day list-making and scrawling down stray ideas. And the Notes app merely received’t do — that’s for issues like groceries and errands!

I’m positive there’s a greater strategy to hack your productiveness, however this one’s labored for me for years. For those who don’t thoughts your desktop picture being obscured by a rainbow of translucent home windows filled with lists and blocks of textual content, I like to recommend this (admittedly chaotic) methodology of workflow administration. — Catie Keck, former Verger

Apple Notes

Picture: Apple

Don’t @ me. It’s simply really easy! Proper there at my fingertips on my laptop computer and my telephone! Apple’s built-in Notes app has delightfully few options. Actually the one one which I exploit is the guidelines function that permits you to make lists with empty bubbles subsequent to them, and nothing is extra satisfying than clicking to examine off a kind of unhealthy boys when you’ve completed your job. Notes permits you to daring and italicize, too, which I do each occasionally if I’m feeling wild. Plus, you’ll be able to search your Notes. You possibly can’t Command-F an analog pocket book! Notes syncs throughout your whole iOS units if you would like it to, however I don’t. Mine are saved separate. My laptop computer notes are for work, my telephone notes are for private duties, and my iPad notes are for random musings and journaling in occasions when my analog diary is out of attain.

Taylor Swift makes use of the Notes app to jot down lyrics every time inspiration strikes, and since she’s one of the prolific creators on this earth, that must be all of the convincing you want. — Jackie McDermott, affiliate producer, Decoder

Replace August third, 2022, 9:20AM ET: This text was initially printed on January seventeenth, 2022, and has been up to date to account for adjustments within the merchandise talked about.