7 Apps to Organize Your Life, Blog, and Health

7 apps to organize your life

Let’s be real – life is hectic, especially for a blogger. Not only is it difficult to balance work, life, and blogging, but there are a million apps out there that promise to make your life easier. I, myself, have downloaded most of them. I’ve tried EverNote, Wunderlist, the WordPress mobile app, several different health apps, and more email clients than I care to admit. So while I can’t promise you that you’ll love the following apps as much as I do, I can promise you that they are worth checking out. Some are free and some are paid, but almost all of them come with a free trial so you can find out for yourself.

Life

  • OmniFocus (mobile and desktop) – Part of the OmniGroup, which has a variety of organization tools, OmniFocus is a task management app that is completely customizable. You can add tasks, organize by project, add notes, and more. The desktop app allows for streamlined viewing by project, due date, and more, while the mobile app is simple and minimalistic.
  • Boxer (mobile)  – Spruce up your email app for your mobile device by grabbing Boxer. With customizable swipe options, you can flag things or add them to your to-do list with the slide of a finger. Your to-do list automatically creates a folder in your email account, so you can access it easily with whatever desktop mail client you’re using.

Source: OmniGroup

Blog

  • iDashboard (mobile) – This is, by far, the best Google Analytics app you can get. It incorporates your targets (such as sessions, views, etc.) and tracks your progress with color coding. So, if you want to average 3 users on your site at all times, you can view that. Like most analytics apps, it shows you your stats by present time, day, week, and month, but it also compares your stats to the previous day by showing you, at any given time, what percentage and totals your views are compared to the day before. It also lets you decide what metrics to show in the dashboard, so you can track what’s most important to you.
  • Zemanta Editorial Assistant (WordPress) – I have tried just about every related posts plugin you can get, but most either only include your own posts or only include posts by others. Plus, you don’t get to choose the content that is shown. Not so with Zemanta Editorial. This plugin lets you choose what content to include and inserts it right into the post. You can add 1 related article or 10 – it’s completely up to you. Plus, each new post gets uploaded into their database for both you and others to share. Even better, it lets you add sites that you follow and want to promote, automatically pulling their related posts into the generator so that you can decide. In short, you can mix things up and add your own content, content by your friends, and content from major sites all in one handy place.
  • CoSchedule (WordPress) – Move over WP Editorial Calendar, there’s a new scheduler in town! CoSchedule incorporates all of the great features that other calendars offer but takes it up a level. The bonuses will save you hours of social media management by allowing you to set up future social shares for your posts as you create them. Say you write a new post. You can, within the same dashboard, create social shares for that day, the next day, the next week, or any other time that you want.  And if you don’t want to login to WordPress, you can access your information on the CoSchedule website itself. The best part? It has a little icon on the calendar showing you how many times your post has been shared. It’s basically Bitly tracking + Editorial Calendar scheduling + Buffer – and it integrates with all of them.

Source: CoSchedule

Health

  • Watero (mobile) – I’ve never been someone who drinks enough water but this app is a great reminder. I downloaded 4 different water apps, but this is the one that I kept. You put in your daily goal, the start and end times you want your reminders to come, and then it automatically calculates how often to remind you based on your default glass size. It also lets you customize you alert message, so mine says “Drink more water or you will die of dehydration.” It’s much more effective than a generic reminder!
  • Way of Life (mobile) – Consider this a to-do list for life. Add in your yes/no goals and check them off as you go – then track how often you’re doing what you say you’re going to do. It’s a great app for building habits and I used it when I gave up meat. You can also use it for exercise because it has a “skip” function so that you can skip logging a yes or no without interfering with your trends. Simple and effective.

Source: ITunes

 

How do you stay organized?

 

How Britney Spears and 50 Cent Got Me Through Grad School

britney and 50 cent

You may not know this about me, but I love Britney Spears and rap. I don’t mean Jay-Z and Kanye rap, I mean good rap – like 50 Cent, Ludacris, Chamillionaire, and DMX. I’ve loved it for years, named my new Denali Curtis, and channel my inner Ice-T whenever I need to feel in charge of things. Turns out, my love for these artists has served as an integral part of my graduate school experience and its gotten me through some tough times over the last two years. In June, I finally graduate with my Master’s in Public Policy and to say thanks, I’d like to give a shoutout to the artists who helped get me through it.

Britney Spears

I’m a Britney Spears fan. And when I say that, I mean I’m a lifer – I’ve been a fan since Baby, One More Time came out and I’ve been hookrf ever since. So, when I started graduate school in the Fall of 2013, I was pretty excited that she had a new motivational song come out. You know the one – I’m talking about Work B**ch. It was the perfect song – peppy,  a great morning reminder to get things done, and has a shout out to the governor (my academic adviser was governor, so this was particularly appropriate for me). For the past two years, I have listened to this song before every class, every forum, and while writing every paper. Ditto for exams, interviews, and filling out job applications. Work B**ch is, my friends, my grad school jam.

Favorite lines:

Go call the police
Go call the governor

 

50 Cent

I love 50. Not only is he talented, but he is very pleasing on the eyes and owns a publishing company, which has only deepened my appreciation for the man. I’ve been a fan since Get Rich or Die Tryin’ and have channeled my inner P.I.M.P. every time I need to be on point and it never fails to put a smile on my face. That said, now that I’ve finished, I’ve moved on to a new song by him because I’ve finally reached the end. My new song? Winner’s Circle. I actually saved this song until I defended and passed my thesis because I didn’t want to jinx myself.

Favorite lines: 

Consider this the theme song for victory

I’m focused, I’m disciplined, I’m ready
Mentally on point, sharp as a machete

 

Chamillionaire

Sometimes the haters are just going to hate. Life is hard and grad school can be competitive, so sometimes I just needed a reminder that there are people who see you rollin’ and are hatin’. Granted, it wasn’t the police, but you get the point. Every time I felt singled out or targeted for the successes I worked hard for, I would blare this song and feel instantly better.

Favorite lines:

They see me rollin
They hatin
Patrolling they tryin to catch me ridin dirty

 

What’s your favorite song to get pumped up to?

 

 

 

Herman Koch Tackles Taboo Topics in ‘Summer House’

Herman Koch Tackles Taboo Topics in ‘Summer House’

Summer House with Swimming Pool by Herman Koch
Published by Hogarthon January 1, 2011
★Grab the Book Club Guide!★
Pages: 387
Genres: Fiction
Source: Amazon Kindle, Library
Find the book on: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads


I’ve read a lot of reviews of Summer House with Swimming Pool and the general consensus seems to be that those who read the author’s previous book, The Dinner, enjoyed this one less. I am not one of those people. Maybe it’s because I have a penchant for books that tackle difficult topics in a frank manner or because I’m just an oddity, but I enjoyed this book much more than Koch’s previous book (see my review of The Dinner here).

Set in the Netherlands, Summer House With Swimming Pool is about a doctor (Marc) who befriends a famous stage actor (Ralph) and the complicated relationship that ensues, namely the fateful summer at the house with a swimming pool. From the get-go, we know that Ralph’s time on this earth is limited and that Marc is somehow involved, but we don’t know how or why and it is the beginning and ending of their friendship that provides the bookends for the real story.

Koch is an author known for his direct way of writing and for delving into delicate issues, as anyone who read The Dinner knows very well. This book is no exception and most of the uncomfortable topics were Lolita’esque in nature. That’s not to say that the plot itself parallels Lolita, but the overt sexualization of characters of all ages and marital statuses is not off limits. That said, some of his insights will leave you both grimacing and realizing that, if we’re being totally honest, probably true for a good number of people. Koch loves to raise taboo topics that no one discusses but everyone is thinking.

The only problem I had with this book was that it talks about former President Bush throwing back a few shots of whiskey in the White House, which is likely false considering that Bush is a recovered alcoholic and probably not drinking with people lacking proper security clearances, if at all. The policy wonk in me was bothered by this and I’m not sure whether this was an insensitivity assumption on the part of the author or that he just didn’t know. Either way, alcoholism is not something to be toyed with when referring to an actual person, even in fiction.

So who should read this book? Anyone who has a stomach for difficult topics and isn’t afraid to be open to lines of thinking that aren’t socially acceptable.

 

 

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