While I still prefer to keep track off many things with good old fashion pen and paper, there is no arguing that the Internet has made scheduling and task management much easier.
I have compiled this list of my favorite programs for each section of my life and why I like them. Some of them I have been using for a few years now and some of them I have only been using for a month or so. If you know of any websites or programs in any of these categories that you think I will like better then what I am currently using then please don't hesitate to share in the comments.
For my everyday email I use Gmail. I have two separate Gmail accounts, one for personal and one for blogging and everything related to my blog. I love Gmail because it is simple to use and I really love organizing my emails with their "labeling" system. You can file emails under their preexisting labels or create you own labels. bI have it broken into categories like Personal, Receipts, and Household. I then have it broken down further with sub-categories like Bills, Subscriptions, School, etc. I also love that I can choose to have certain emails bypass my inbox altogether and go straight to the folder of my choice. For example I have all emails from NB Power and Roger's go straight to my Bills folder. It saves me having to read through a bunch of unnecessary mail and keeps my inbox free of clutter. Another thing I LOVE, is that you can use Remember The Milk as an Add-On with Gmail and view your To-Do List/Tasks right on the same page as your inbox.Which brings me to the next website...
To-Do List/ Scheduling- Remember The Milk
I am currently using Remember The Milk for my to-do lists, scheduling activities, appointments and managing my families day-to-day life. I have only been using RTM for about a month now so I have yet to unlock its full potential. So far I like that I can organise tasks by family member and level of priority. I like being able to "Tag" tasks and then I can search for multiple tasks under the same tag. As I mentioned earlier it can be used as an ad-on with Gmail and my To-do list appears right next to my inbox when I sign on Gmail, saving me from having to check the RTM website every day. One thing that drives me nutso about RTM, however, is that there is an icon of a calender when scheduling dates, but when you click it nothing happens. There is no pop-up calender to chose a date from!! Yes, you can type in "next Friday" and it will automatically detect the date, but I need to actually see a calender in front of me when scheduling a date in order to see the actual day. As a result, I have to open another program to check a calender, which kind of defeats the purpose of saving time. A pop-up calender when selecting a date is standard on any scheduling program so I don't really understand how Remember The Milk didn't think of this. This is the one thing preventing my RTM experience from being the most efficient. If anyone can suggest a better program for task management and to do list please let me know as I am definitely open to trying a new one.
I have been using Picasa to manage my photos for over a year now and I love it. I upload tons of photos on a monthly basis and Picasa allows me to upload straight from my camera to Picasa. It is easy to organise pictures and you can edit them with Picnik from Picasa. It also has online albums and the option to email folders or single photos which makes sharing with family and friends extremely easy. Adding captions to photos is another option I really like because it is kind of like when you write on the back of a real photograph, you can add details, the loaction or just a cute comment and it can be seen on the online albums. When I am looking for a picture from my blog it allows me to browse through Picasa, instead of tiny thumbnails, and simply copy the path and post to Blogger. It is much easier for me that way because I can find a picture, crop and edit it and then add it to my blog all from Picasa.
Music and Burning CD'S- Blubster
I have been through so many music programs, including Bearshare, Kazaa, Limewire, and many of them caused issues on my computer or just didn't work for me for one reason or another. I have been using Blubster for about a year and a half now and it has been the best so far. Mainly because it hasn't slowed down my computer or gave me a virus...yet. I use it to download songs, organise my music and burn Cd's. Well actually, I don't actually use Blubster to burn them, I use Windows Media Player to burn them, but I download them on Blubster then simply drag the songs from Blubster to my Media Player burn list and push burn. It is super simple! One downside to Blubster is that while they have millions of songs, songs that are less popular and not as well known can be difficult to impossible to find. It is frustrating when you have a song you really like but you cannot find it. However, I have yet to find something better (Feel free to recommend one:) so in the meantime, Blubster it is!
Music and Videos- YouTube
Okay, I know that Youtube isn't really a website I "need" but I honestly can't go without it. I use Youtube every single day. If I am looking for new music to listen to or I want to just listen to music without downloading it, Youtube is what I use. I also use it all the time to find tutorials on things such as crafts, makeup, etc. While I love written tutorials, I am the kind of person who has to see something being done as opposed to just reading about it. The downside to so much Youtube is that with Roger's High Speed Internet you have a monthly cap on how much GB you can use (I think it is usually 60GB, but you can pay for a higher cap) and once you reach 100% of your usage then you are charged by the Gigabyte. It is stupid and I learnt the hard way that Youtube sucks up usage like there's no tomorrow. Trust me when you are streaming videos it doesn't take long to reach your limit. But until I can find a better ISP I am gonna keep on YouTube-ing.
Until about a week ago I had yet to jump on the Pinterest bandwagon. Not because I didn't want to but because I could not get them to send me a damn invite! Finally, after begging another blogger on their comments to send me an invite, I finally got to see what I was missing. And boy, was I missing out!! I absolutely LOVE Pinterest now for quickly bookmarking things such as projects, activities for the kids, cleaning tips, you name it! I love how you can make several different bloards for whatever you wish. Right now I have a pinboard for Valentine's Activities, one for Organisation and Cleaning Tips, Projects/crafts to Try, etc. Plus, the "PIN IT" button on my toolbar makes it a cinch. So to the creators of Pinterest: THANK YOU!
Financial- Scotiabank Online
For financial stuff I simply use my regular banks online banking service. I do almost all of my day-to-day banking online because it is just easier then calling them or dragging the kids all the way to the bank. Pretty much anything I can do over the phone or in person I can do online (except cashing cheques and withdrawing cash obviously). I can pay bills, transfer funds, check my balances, review my statements, order cheques, etc. It saves time and is environmentally friendly (no more paper statements!) However, I do NOT get any emails from my bank containing any personal or banking information. This is because I don't feel that email is secure enough, and I was right!! My Gmail account just got hacked last week!
Organisation/Meal Planning/Calender- Cozi
While I use Remember The Milk for my To-Do lists, I use Cozi for all my other family planning and organisation. I use the calender to schedule appointments, activities, school stuff, birthdays, etc. There is also a meal planning feature, a journal, shopping lists and more. I am currently using the Flylady version because I LOVE Flylady. There are also some neat extras and ad-ons available for download such as the Cozi desktop widget (To display your tasks on your desktop) or the Cozi screensaver (which not only posts reminders but also a slide show of all your photos on your screensaver). Just make sure they are compatible with your version of Windows before you download them. I downloaded both and turns out I don't have the right version of Windows for them to work properly: Overall, the Cozi webpage is fairly easy to use and navigate and I will continue to use it until I find something better.
So, there you have it! It is so hard for me to remember what life was like before all these great programs! Or imagine having to go without them! So, what types of websites can you just not live without? Feel free to suggest any programs that you think I will like better!!