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5 Apps That Keep My Life Together

Use apps to keep your life organized
Use apps to keep your life organized

You’re laying in bed and come up with a killer idea, and you think to yourself, “That’s so good, I’m going to look into that in the morning.” Then you don’t, because you forgot.

When you’ve got so many ideas and so many things to do, it’s wild to keep everything sorted. Since we live in the digital age, there are essentials that can help keep you organized, and I’ll share my top 5 go-to’s. While going through the list, keep in mind that I rock Android, so while some of these may be Android specific, there are surely alternatives for Apple devices. Here’s a short list of apps that I use on a daily basis.

Business Calendar 2

By Appgenix Software (free/paid)

Don’t worry, this is the only paid option on the list. While it’s still available as a free option, dishing out a few bucks will make it ad free and integrate additional features like in calendar weather, easy drag & drop of events and the ability to get right into calendar customization.

Why I like it so much

Without a calendar, I’m lost. The standard Google Calendar doesn’t cut it for me because for every email account that I have, I have an associated calendar. Business Calendar 2 merges all of my calendars into one view seamlessly. On top of that, the calendar widget can be viewed daily, weekly or monthly with a ton of customization features. If you fully utlize your Google account with your calendar and to-do list, they’re both integrated in this app as well.

Being honest here, I’m a bit nuts when it comes to my calendar. I go as far as setting my gym sessions in as reocurring appointments, so relying on a robust calendar app is a huge win for me.

Google Keep

By Google (free)

When you’re bouncing between your desktop, laptop, tablet or phone, having a note taking app that syncs between devices is huge. That’s where Google Keep steps in. This app allows you to make check lists, typed or handwritten notes, scribbles and even attach images. You can colour code your notes for organization and even pin notes to the top of the app for easy access (Perfect for your running grocery list).

Why I like it so much

For any time sensitive tasks, I use Google Tasks, but since that’s integrated into Business Calendar 2, I didn’t bother mentioning it here otherwise. For any other tasks or lists that I don’t associate a deadline to, they hit Google Keep. My grocery list, misc. shopping lists, quick notes out and about or maybe a quick note I need to get on my laptop from my phone, I turn to Google Keep. In addition to this, the widget make it super easy to view without having to open the app from my Android phone. I haven’t bothered looking into other note taking or list apps because this one is exactly what I need.

Microsoft OneNote

By Microsoft (free)

Back in the BlackBerry days, I was a fan of Evernote, but when I discovered OneNote, everything changed. This free program/app allows you to create notebooks on however many subjects you like. Imagine a backpack full of notebooks, but enriched with media, embedded Excel sheets and attached PDFs…All the good stuff to make sense of everything. On top of fully functional digital notebooks, you can also password protect them and share notebooks or pages with colleagues/collaborators. You’ll need Microsoft OneDrive (Microsoft’s cloud storage) to fully utilize syncronizing across multiple devices, and you’ll see that’s the next app in my list, so that works for me.

Why I like it so much

Anything that doesn’t fit into my calendar or on a notepad, gets stored into OneNote. I’ve got a notebook to do with all things Etsy & Mattmade, then I’ve got one for personal (Finances, goals, health & fitness) and then some others. I embed Excel files, clip images, PDFs and all sorts of things. I create checklists and brainstorm ideas. All of this can be done from my phone, tablet or desktop. I don’t just use this app daily, I leave the program open on my computer for quick access as I plug away.

Microsoft OneDrive

By Microsoft (free)

OneDrive is Microsoft’s alternative to Google Drive or Dropbox. Since I’m an Android user, of course Google Drive is another go to (Which I highly recommend too). That being said, I store all of my major files on OneDrive, while I use my day-to-day stuff with Google Drive. Why do I do that? I simply have more free space with my OneDrive account. I don’t pay extra for any cloud storage with my accounts, so I divided up my usage like this:

  • OneDrive – Design files, Mattmade related things & syncing OneNote
  • Google Drive – Every day files, quick sharing between my devices and Google related syncing
  • Dropbox – Mostly for shared files with colleagues because it’s still popular

Why I like it so much

Microsoft gives you a ton of storage for free, and it’s seamless with any PC user experience (Yes, I rock both Android AND PC, haters gonna hate).

OneDrive is like the glue that keeps my files together, and that’s why it made the list.

Google Drive

By Google (free)

As I mentioned above, Google Drive is another one that keeps my madness intact. With the ability to sync easily across my devices, Google Drive is a fantastic solution. Google Drive is especially useful if you use Android or Gmail.

Why I like it so much

Again, for the reasons I mentioned above, and on top of that…It’s got a simple web interface making it especially easy to use hand in hand with Gmail or as a general cloud storage. All this and you are likely able to get away with the free account. If you’re looking for more storage, this is also one of the cheaper paid models.

Reading – Side Hustle: From Idea to Income in 27 Days

Side Hustle By Chris Guillebeau
Side Hustle By Chris Guillebeau

Written By: Chris Guillebeau

I’ve always been a fan Chris Guillebeau’s work. In fact, one of the first titles I’ve read on the starting my own business was The $100 Startup, but let’s talk about this one.

Already going through the motions of a “side hustle” myself, the best part about this book, was that it reinforced that I was following the right path for a true side hustle. I operate my Etsy shop on the side and it made me feel pretty good that I was following the major steps outlined throughout the book. This book gives you a guideline on how to successfully get you in the right mindset to start a side hustle for all of the right reasons.

What I thought

I really enjoyed it for the reason that I mentioned above. On top of that, Chris Guillebeau keeps his writing on point. For occasional readers, this book is a perfect length. For those who rip through novels, it’s a walk in the park with clear takeaways.

I had the opportunity to meet Chris on his book tour for this book in Toronto. Chris is engaging with the audience and follows up with all of his fans. In fact, I had the opportunity to be interviewed and featured on his Side Hustle School Podcast, where he publishes podcasts daily on side hustles out there. To check out mine, hit up Podcast #455. Not only did I want to give myself a lil plug there, it also shows that Chris really is dedicated in helping all of those side hustlers out there.

Who should read it

Anyone who’s thought about starting a side hustle, currently running one or simply interested in the idea of creating a passion project that can turn a profit, this book is for you. Chris creates a simple side hustle recipe that anyone can understand, all you need to do is apply it to your own work.

Trying Something New

The Make Den
The Make Den

Just like most people approaching New Years, I make a list of things that I’d like to accomplish.  On the list for 2018, I wanted to take a sewing class.  I print and screen shirts all of the time, yet I don’t know a whole lot about sewing.  I wanted to learn.  I had my eye on sewing classes and I found The Make Den.  It took about 6 months to finally book a workshop, and I was pumped.  Yea, I was pumped about learning how to sew.

Crush comfort zones

First class, definitely the only dude that signed up for sewing classes, which I sort of expected.  It was fine, I just snagged the corner machine so I didn’t stick out.  Literally, I sat in the corner, see below.  

Sewing at the Make Den
Photo cred: My dope sewing instructor

When you try something new, and you’re hesitant about it, just remember why you wanted to in the first place.  That got me going to all of my sewing classes, and I’m sure it’ll get me through a lot more on my list.

Spoiler alert:  I ripped through the classes and had a great time.  I felt accomplished and I learned some sweet new skills.  Now, if you know your way around a sewing machine, get ready for some basic shit, but that’s not the point of this post, or even the sewing class…The point is, if you want to learn something new or do something you haven’t done before, just do it because there will be 1 of 2 outcomes.  You’ll either:

  • experience something new and learn something along the way
  • be pumped when it’s finally over, and also learn something along the way.

Yes, I made things, and those things serve as a lil reminder that I tried something new and I should do it again sometime.

Teachable moment

Make a list of things that you want to accomplish or experience, then pick one and just get it over with.  Maybe you’ll rip through that list sooner than you think.

Who I Am, Who You Might Be

Mattmade Workspace
Mattmade Workspace

First off, I’m just a regular guy (mostly, I think).  I have a full-time job and in my spare time, I like to make stuff.  I do other things like hit the gym, skateboard and read, however, something I found super interesting is the ability to create things, and maybe those things are just for me, and sometimes other people like those things and that brought me closer to the idea that I can create a side hustle in my spare time, with something that I enjoy doing.  The idea is crazy, like, where’s the catch?  How is it possible to do something that you enjoy doing, and make money from it?  I feel that the catch is that there’s not one way to do it, there are plenty of ways, and to really enjoy it, you need to figure out which combination of ways works for you.

My stories could be served as a resource for you, because I’ll share a bit about what I’ve learned along the way, it can also be a source of entertainment (idk maybe?), and you can also help support my journey if you like some of my creations.  Since this is my first post, this site could go in a number of directions, so this is me figuring out which combination of ways this works for me.

I’ll admit this in the beginning, I’m not a world class creator, which means you won’t find the most amazing artwork, writing, curation or even business advice.  I’m just me, sharing my ideas, and if you like them, awesome, if not, no worries, move on with your life.

So that’s me, now, who are you?

You could be someone who has similar hobbies and you’re simply curious on what I’m up to, you could be someone who has your own side hustle and you’re looking for another perspective, you may be someone who bought something from my Etsy shop and decided to visit me here.  Whoever you are, thanks for reading at least this far.