How do you survive your day?
Some days my answer to this question is:
I just. Get. By.
However, if I can find a tool to help keep me better organized and on top of my family of five’s busy days of: school, work, extracurricular activities, errands, meetings, and so much more… then sometimes it can mean the difference between “just getting by” and feeling more accomplishment at the end of my long day.
A couple months ago a group of mothers from the Mothers’ Center of Greater Toledo (which I am a member of) got together to exchanged information on the electronic tools we used to help us successfully get through our day. After sharing our favorite tools with each other, I thought maybe others could benefit from our list!
Have you used any of the the following tools to help keep your busy day on track?*
Use an Electronic Calendar!
First things first… These days although many mothers still use large wall or desk calendars at home, it seems more and more are also using electronic calendars that: are color coat-able according to child and parent, can be carried around easily and which sync among phone(s), tablet(s) and/or computer(s). Members in our group used the following calendar tools:
Many of these calendars additionally allow one to set reminders (delivered via email or phone alarm) when entering an event or task. Ever worry you’ll forget to take your child to a birthday party? Add a reminder to buy the gift AND to attend the party!
Note Taking and Book Marking
Speaking of reminders, do you ever wish there was a way to keep track of things you “eventually” want to recall? Maybe a recipe you’d like to make for dinner someday, or a present you noticed would be great for your Aunt Patty’s birthday six months from now, or even an article you read online that you want to refer back to at work?
Paper lists easily get lost, however during our group’s brainstorming session, many of us discussed different note-taking tools we used to help organize our lists and or things we would like to locate in the future. Resources like:
5. Pinterest: A social sharing and gathering tool for images (with an ability to create “secret boards” that no one but yourself can view for things like, say Christmas lists!)
P.S. Did you know the Mothers’ Center has Pinterest Boards? Follow the NAMC boards on Pinterest here!
The tools listed above were just the “big ones” that many mentioned and were familiar with. Here are a few additional tools our members in the group also discussed:
8. Apple iCloud Notes: Just what is sounds like – for iPad/iPhone/Mac Computer
9. Inkpad: Capture your thoughts, lists and more / access them easily on any device
10. Delicious: Save, organize and remember the links you find interesting on the web
11. Dropbox: A tool for sharing files, photos (nearly anything!) with others
Keeping Track of Your Money
Many of our members needed help keeping track of business and family expenses such as mileage, gas, receipts, etc. The following apps were highlighted by our group:
Shopping and Lending Tools
Lets face it, some of us are online shoppers and others of us are not! The tools listed below were suggested by group members to help keep track of our purchases (both online and in person), save us money AND easily buy (and loan) things on line.
13. Cozi Shopping List: Your grocery list, shopping list, and so much more
14. Our Grocieres: Keep your grocery list synchronized on all your household smartphones
15. Grocery iQ: A customizable shopping list that syncs across household smartphones
16. Amazon Mobile Shopping App: Shop Amazon easily wherever you go
17. OverDrive Media Console: Download and enjoy eBooks and audiobooks from your library
18. Retail-me-not: Find coupon and promo codes for online and in-store purchases
19. Hobby Lobby App: Get the latest coupon, see weekly savings and more
P.S. Our discussion caused us to realize that many of our favorite stores now have apps!
5. Pinterest (again!) To keep track of things you’d like to buy!
Feeding your Family
Apparently, the days of recipe books are in the past for many of our busy mothers! Our group’s members talked about online ways they categorize, refer to, and remembers recipes that their families enjoy. The three most talked about and used tools in our group were:
20. Epicurious (and its app): Recipes from magazines, cookbooks, chefs, and home cooks
21. AllRecipes.com (and the Dinner Spinner App): Recipes, cooking tips, how-to videos
5. Pinterest: (are you seeing a Pinterest trend here?) Make a recipe board
Traveling (with or without kids)
Away soccer games, family outings, traveling for work… in addition to always having our GPS in hand, the following travel tools were mentioned by our group members as helping them when away from the familiarity of home:
22. Gas Buddy: Locate gas stations and find the lowest gas prices
23. TripAdvisor Mobile App: Get traveler reviews & opinions on hotels in top cities
24. Yelp: Search for everything from your city’s tastiest burger to a doctor
25. Kaboom Map of Play: Find a playground anywhere you are
5. Pinterest (Yes, Again!) Make a future vacation destination board
Of course being able to go to a gym (as a bonus ,a gym with childcare!) is a great help to staying on track with fitness. However sometimes we just can’t make it to the gym or need additional support. Our mothers in Toledo, Ohio found the following fitness tools helpful with their own fitness goals:
26. Nike Training Club: Find a workout
27. My Fitness Pal: Track your food and exercise on the go
28. Daily Workouts: Find a good workout
5. Pinterest (Really, again…) Start a boards to mark workouts you’ve found
Just for Fun
As our evening wore on and the “electronic functionality” of our day felt thoroughly discussed, many of us started to discuss other electronic tools and apps which we used on a regular basis or had just found interesting. Some of the following listed might seem random and cause a giggle… but at the end of a productive night, sometimes you can’t help but add a giggle or two!
29. Danberry Realtors App: A terribly addicting app for finding information on homes listed on the Market/MLS
P.S. The above app may be more local for our community, however when researching I also found this one through realtor.com which seemed to work very similarly!
30. TV Guide App: Which boasts you can watch T.V. Anytime. Anywhere.
31. iPeriod: Track your menstrual flow
32. Metronome App: For keeping a beat (great for your child’s piano lessons)
33. White Noise App: For soothing infants or helping kids sleep in a noisy atmosphere
34. Google Sky App: A Fun way to locate constellations
35. TedTalks: Inspirational talks to motivate and keep us uplifted
Well, and of course Pinterest! (Obviously a reoccurring topic in our discussions!)
Leave a Comment: So now it’s your turn! Tell us what apps and electronic tools you use to survive your everyday life as a parent. Do you use any of the tools mentioned above?
*Note: None of the links above are affiliate links, nor are they officially endorsed by the NAMC. This listing is in no way meant to be a complete listing of the best tools available, but instead used as inspiration and a resource to highlighting individual recommendations shared independently by the moms at the Mothers’ Center of Greater Toledo. Most of the apps are available on multiple platforms however not all platforms are featured here. Be sure to check your platform for similar apps and tools!