The Best App for Tracking Your Family’s Busy Schedule

Have you ever had this experience in your home: You get home from your child’s sports game only to realize you have a few missed calls on your phone. Turns out, you scheduled a gutter cleaning service for the day, but because you didn’t put it on your calendar on the refrigerator or write yourself a note, you completely forgot about it. Now your gutter cleaning service will have to wait another day, and you may be billed anyway for the professional’s wasted time.

Scenarios like this happen all the time to our customers. At Advantage Pro Services, we’ve worked with all kinds of people across Houston, and we’ve had experiences where customers have forgotten about a scheduled service. This can happen to anyone — even us! — and when families have so many different work, school and sports calendars, it can be tough to keep it all straight.

So we’ve rounded up the best apps to help you keep track of your busy schedule — everything from calendar apps to workout apps to time tracker apps. Here are our best picks.

Calendar apps

You can’t go wrong with a calendar app. When each person in your family has the same one, you can link your calendar apps together so everyone can keep track of each other’s schedules. There are a lot of calendar apps out there, but here are some of our favorites.

Google Calendar

Can’t go wrong with Google. If you have a gmail account, then you can automatically tap into the company’s calendar app. Using the cloud, you and your family can add and change important dates, games and events all from your phones. You can use color-coding systems to denote school events versus extracurriculars, and you can set up reminders to go off at different intervals so you never forget to sign a permission slip or miss a hair appointment.

You can also create private calendars separate from your family’s calendar with your work events and deadlines. That calendar can then be layered on top of your family calendar, so you can immediately see how your two worlds will allign. This will keep you on track during the week as plans change and schedules shift, but since the calendar is private, it won’t interfere with other family member’s calendars — a big plus for younger children who may need more simple viewings.

If you’re already using other Google products such as Gmail or Docs, Google Calendar works best with them all. As far as calendar apps go, Google Calendar offers a great free service, with an easy-to-use interface.

Cozi Family Organizer

This calendar app was designed with the busy family in mind. A fan favorite among moms and dads, the Cozi Family Organizer makes keeping organized fun and simple. It’s best used for families with older children who have email addresses and can use them effectively, and it can be a good way to get children into the habit of checking emails regularly and staying organized with their work.

The Cozi Family Organizer provides families with one shared calendar that members can update and add events to as they come up. Each person’s schedule has a different color, and family members can set up their own email reminders of upcoming events at the beginning of the week. It even has a recipe box feature and a shopping list, so you and your family can update the list when the milk runs out or when cookies need to be made for a school bake sale.

FamCal

So how do you keep younger children without email addresses organized? That’s where FamCal comes in. This calendar app is great for kids of all ages, and it can help teach them how to stay organized in a creative and fun way.

This free calendar app keeps track of grocery lists and messages, and it can be accessed through Apple Watch. You can also add notes and birthdays to your calendar so you never miss an important date.

Work-related apps

Need some help keeping yourself organized at work? There’s an app for that. Sometimes, it’s not our kids with the busy schedules — it’s us. When we’re not organized at work, we often get distracted when we’re home or need to be at a school event. With these organizer apps for work, you’ll find that your projects run a little more smoothly and you have more time to spend with your family.

Due

For those who work off iPhones or iPads all day, Due functions like a personal assistant. With it, you can easily write down tasks and set reminders for yourself. If you’re the type of person that sometimes gets too involved with a project and can’t pull away, Due will jog you out of your project and remind you of other upcoming tasks.

Due also comes with an auto snooze function that will keep going off until you mark a task as completed. All it takes is just one tap to complete or snooze a task, but the app’s persistence keeps you honest about what you need to do and when you need to do it.

TickTick

The ultimate to-do list tracker, TickTick takes all the great features of Google Calendar and upgrades them so you can interact with your schedule and set reminders for yourself. If your work email account is a Gmail account, then TickTick will become your new best friend.

When you integrate your Google Calendar with TickTick, you can use a Chrome extension to create to-do lists out of your emails. If you have instructions for a task sent via email, the extension will create a to-do list from the email so you don’t need to keep referring back to it. If the email gets deleted, then you still have access to the content, and you can create back-up lists saved to the site — just in case.

You can also customize your notifications with TickTick, allowing you to get the reminders you need as often as you like. What’s more, you can even set up location-based reminders that go off when you get home or to the office. If you think you might forget to do something important yet easily forgettable when you get home, like give a dog medicine, you can set an alert to go off when you reach a certain location. Little reminders will help keep you on target.

Time-tracker apps

Have you ever gotten through a day at work and felt like you got very little done? These time-tracking apps keep tabs on what you do and where you go online to show you how you’re spending your time and how you could be spending it better. If you find yourself easily distracted at work by social media or other apps, these time-tracking apps will keep you focused and remind you when you’re getting off track.

Timely

Timely takes a top-down approach to time management. The app allows your to lay out your schedule a week in advance and set time limits on how long you think certain projects or activities will take. You can then time those projects to get an accurate reading on how long it really takes you do to certain work.

Timely’s time-tracking function can serve a number of purposes. If work projects are taking longer than anticipated, you can use Timely to document your work as proof that you may need additional help. It can also show you where your workflow should be improved. If you’re spending too much time on an otherwise simple task, then it may be time to adjust the workflow to make it easier for everyone.

Because Timely tracks how long certain activities take, it can help you better budget time based on previous activities. This can help keep you honest about your schedule and stop you from overexerting yourself. If you’re prone to making too many plans, Timely will give you an honest estimate of how much time you spend on real-world activities.

RescueTime

This handy time-tracking app is a data miner’s dream. It tracks your whole day’s activities so you can see which apps you’ve spent the most time on throughout the day. Overtime, you can see which apps occupy most of your time.

This can also be a helpful tool to determine where you’re wasting money on subscriptions you don’t use. For example, if you’re paying for HBO GO but never use it, then it’s probably time to cancel that subscription. On the flip side, if you’re using a free version of an app all the time, then you might get more out of it if you upgrade to its paid service.

Relaxation apps

With so much going on in our lives, it can be tough to remember to stop and smell the proverbial roses, but if we’re not taking some time each day to relax and have a moment to ourselves, we may feel stressed out and find less enjoyment in otherwise fun activities. Now that’s not an excuse to spend a whole afternoon scrolling through your Instagram or Facebook feed because you find that to be relaxing, but taking a few quiet moments for yourself here and there can help you refocus and stay on task when you really need to get work done.

Ambi Pro

Sometimes it’s the noise around you that’s stopping you from working productively. In open offices, it’s easy to get drawn into a conversation, but with Ambi Pro, you can tune it all out with some white noise.

Unlike other white noise apps, Ambi Pro doesn’t just look an audio recording of waves crashing or crickets chirping. Instead, it uses an algorithm to create noise that never repeats. You can also choose from one of eight equalizers on the app. If you need to refocus your attention, pull out the equalizer, turn on the abiente noise and take a few deep breaths while looking at the equalizer. It’ll help clear your mind and get you back on track.

Calm

White noise not your thing? It can be distracting for some people, but its overall purpose to recenter yourself can be achieved in other ways. If you’ve never tried meditation but would like to be more mindful, then Calm is the perfect app to help get you started.

No matter what you’re feeling, Calm has a mediation track ready for you. Its mediations range in time from three to 25 minutes, which is great if you can only step away from your desk for just a few minutes or if your concentration is short. You can also choose a subject for your meditation. If the day’s been particularly trying, the stress-management meditation will help you give yourself a break. There are also medications for happiness, gratitude and even self-esteem, for when you need a little boost.

Breathe2Relax

Sometimes the best cure for stress is a few really good deep breaths. If you’ve ever done a yoga class where you’ve inhaled and exhaled deeply, then you know how fast it can clear your mind and help you focus on the present moment. 

Simple in its task, Breathe2Relax takes you on a guided breathing exercise to help you manage your stress levels. After a minute or two of concentrating on your breath and breathing from deep within your diaphragm, you’ll find that you’ll feel calmer and more level-headed, even in stressful times. You can even listen to music through the app as you breath. It offers a selection of calming tunes that cancel noise and allow you to focus on yourself.

You can also link Breathe2Relax to your Health app on your apple device. This will show you how your breathing can affect your heart rate.

Let’s face it: Our world is as busy as ever. But with new calendar apps and other apps for tracking our busy schedules, we can make it easier on ourselves to stay focused and spend more time relaxing with families and doing what we love most.

Tell us: Which of these calendar apps or work-related apps will you be downloading? Share with us in the comments — and let us know when you’re ready to schedule your gutter cleaning service.

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