Monday, January 16, 2012

Sane & Satisfied-Approved Apps

I've been kind of obsessed recently with apps and tools that help me be more productive and organized. I've also recently realized that in searching for these productive apps and tools I've neglected to actually be productive and organized.

Sometimes what you are most looking for has been in your possession all along. In the spirit of this wise old statement I thought it would be helpful to myself and my readers if I listed my top 10 favorite apps and tools that actually make you more productive, organized and most importantly Sane & Satisfied.


1. iNoteBox (previously called My Notebook) - $3.99 from Trinkilee: This is by far the best note taking app for iPad. It's greatness lies in how customizable it is. You can create folders and rename the built-in folders much like on a computer. You can type notes, handwrite notes, add pictures and video, record audio and draw. It also has an expanded keyboard that allows you to tab, undo, add the date and time, arrow left and right one character at a time and has a line of common symbols you might need. It also connects with your Outlook calendar. On top of all of this you are able to upload notes to Google Docs, Blogger, Drop Box and email. It's also a sign of the dedication of the creator that each update has made this app easier to use. It's basically got everything.

2. Get It Done - $FREE from This is a task organizing app that allows you to organize tasks by project, tags and when you plan on getting them done. What I like most about this app is I can organize my tasks and view them in many different ways. If I want to see what tasks I'm working on today I tap the Today group. If I want to see what tasks I have left for a specific project I tap on that project. If I want to see which tasks I've deemed "Important" I tap on the "Important" Smart Group. I've also added a "Recurring Tasks" Smart Group for the tasks I do most days like "dishes", "write blog" etc. so I don't have to rewrite them everyday. I just move the task to the Today group in the morning and then move them to the Inbox when I'm done. This app is FREE but you can pay a small fee to allow you to sync with an account that you can access from any computer. My only complaint is that this app didn't come with a guide so I had to mess around with it a lot before I understood the power of its design.

3. Bread and Milk Classic - $0.99 from Jim Holloway: Another highly customizable app. (Seeing a pattern here?) This is a grocery list on steroids. It let's you organize items by category like "baking", "dairy", "deli", "produce" etc. and by store. You then add items to your "Shopping List". When you get to the store you tap the items as you put them in your shopping cart. This system reduces time it takes to write out every item by hand and allows you to add items to your shopping list as you run out of them without having to keep track of loose pieces of paper. You can also rearrange the categories to match the layout of your grocery store. Produce comes first? Move the produce group to the top so you see the items in the produce isle first. You can also enter prices for each item and the app totals your "Shopping Cart" to help you stay on budget! The only drawback is that I have to constantly explain how to use it to my husband. Men will be men no matter how easy you make things for them.

4. Relax Melodies Premium - $3.99 from iLBSoft: This app is one of my all time favorite apps. We have all heard that music and pleasant sounds help us focus. Well Relax Melodies takes this to a whole new level. It comes with 76 recorded sounds including Humming, Urban Rain, Ocean, White Noise, Fire Camp, Night (cricket sounds), and Whales. It also includes melodies like Tribal, City and India. You can combine sounds and melodies to create your own relaxing experience and add them to playlists for easy play. My favorite combination is Night, Ocean and Fire Camp. Use this app while you study, read or meditate. It also helps you fall asleep. Plus, it includes Binaural Beats which sort of train your brain to enter a particular brain wave pattern that promotes states like Concentration, Pre-Sleep or Dreamless Sleep. So insert headphones and escape from your stressful day.

5. HootSuite - $FREE from HootSuite Media Inc.: HootSuite is a straightforward app that allows you to write a status update and post it on Twitter, Facebook and LinkdIn at the same time. This cuts down on writing and posting time and allows you to keep track of your social media environment from the convenience of this one app.

6. Zite - $FREE from Zite, Inc.: Zite is a customizable magazine interface. You select topics you enjoy reading about and Zite creates a newspaper pulling from websites and blogs. Read about all your interests from this one app. No need to scour the net for articles on design, crafting, business or sports. It's all on your Zite front page!

7. - $FREE from app allows you to connect to your account and watch instructional videos right on your iPad. It's a free app but you need to have a account to watch videos. Subscriptions are very reasonable for the insane amount of value. You get access to probably thousands of videos that teach you how to use various software including Dreamweaver, Illustrator, Flash and HTML among hundreds of others subjects. Knowing these programs are essential for any designer or designer wanna-be. No need spending tens of thousands of dollars at a college. Pay $250/yr and learn all you ever need.

Since this list is about staying Sane and Satisfied here are some fun Apps as well. After a long day of getting all your tasks checked off you need a break. And since Sane & Satisfied loves entrepreneurship and creativity these two games are the best games I found that incorporate creativity and resource/time management.

8. Fiona's Flowers - $0.99 from Chillingo: In this game you play a young gardener named Fiona who is trying to earn enough money to enter a prestigious gardening competition. Much like in real life Fiona starts out small with only flower seeds. You control Fiona by tapping on various actions to make her plant seeds, water the flowers and eventually cut them and put them in her shop where customers purchase them. As you go through the game you unlock equipment like the Juicer and Food Dryer to help you create more products to sell in your shop. You also receive special orders that you have to deliver in the allotted time earning you even more money. Unlike other time/resource management games you only pay the .99 cents and are not hounded to purchase more Bux or coins in order to progress through the game. Play in "Story" mode or "Free Gardening" mode. When you've won the Story mode you can reset and play again or go back to any level and continue to earn money for endless playability.

9. Eden World Builder - $0.99 from Kingly Software Inc.: This really isn't a game so to speak. You don't unlock achievements or gain skills. You simply build things with square blocks. You can pick from the stone block, grass block, wood block and a dozen other blocks to create houses, castles, amusements parks and bunkers. It's a 3D environment so you can actually walk around your creations. There's also an online community of Eden creators who have posted their creations for you to download and walk through. It's all accessible from in the game. Create as many Worlds as you like and add, edit and get inspiration from other Worlds. It's easy to use and has endless playability.

This next tool isn't an App or a game but it's the best way that I know for being productive, organized and happy.

10. Define, Create & Reflect - $FREE from Sane & Satisfied: You can have all the Apps and tools in the world to keep you organized and productive but they won't be of any help to you unless you define your goals, create the elements that get you closer to your goals and reflect on your life. Clearly define what you want out of life and how you plan on getting there. Create the parts that make up your goal. Write the outline for that book you've been thinking about. Go for a walk to kick-start your exercise program. Attend that conference to learn more about your industry and network with potential customers or business partners. In short "Just do it", whatever "it" is. And lastly, reflect on your life and take a break to have fun and embrace where you are right now.

What are your favorite Apps that help you stay Sane & Satisfied? (If you don't have an iPhone or iPad you can still share tools, programs or organization systems you use to stay Sane & Satisfied.)

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