12 Apps To Effortlessly Keep Your Life In Sync

It seems that our information is spread across an ever-expanding number of devices.

From computers to smartphones to tablets, home to work, and more.

How do you keep your information organized and in sync?

Today, I want to share 12 apps that effortlessly keep me in sync no matter where I am.

Keeping With Your Data

These days it can be a chore to keep up with all your data.

We use multiple devices at work and in our personal lives.

How do you easily access your information, files, and more?

Despite all the advances in technology, mobile devices, and cloud computing …you still find yourself searching for information and files.

Even harder than keeping up with all that information, can be keeping it in sync across your locations and devices.

Too often, I see people resorting to thumb-drives, external backups, or emailing files to themselves. (Do you do these?)

It shouldn’t take that much effort.

12 Apps To Sync Your Life

There are many great apps out there to keep your life in sync.

I use a Mac-centric setup including an iMac, iPhone, and iPad Mini. However, many of my recommendations also work or are available on other platforms.

Here are 12 Apps To Keep Your Life in Sync No Matter Where You Are:

  1. Things - Todos: For tasks, I use Things to keep me on track. It is the perfect blend of power and simplicity. Things does cost more than the freeware out there, but I think it is worth the investment. Get Things for MacThings for iPhone, and Things for iPad.
  2. Drafts - Quick Notes and Idea Capture: For taking quick notes, nothing is faster than Drafts. It sits in the home tray of my iPhone and iPad. When you open it, you are immediately presented with a blank screen to capture whatever quick thought was on your mind. You can later export these “drafts” to many other apps depending on where they belong. Get Drafts for iPhone/iPad.
  3. Day One - Journal: Day One was just named the Top App of 2012 in the Mac App Store. It is a wonderful journaling app that keeps my personal writings in sync across platforms. Get Day One for Mac or Day One for iPhone/iPad.
  4. Workflowy - Workflowy is powerful web-based outlining tool. It works best in a web browser and can capture all of your outlines and brainstorming. There is also an iPhone/iPad app. Get WorkFlowy for iPhone/iPad.
  5. iCloud - Contacts, Calendars, Backup: iCloud keeps my contacts, calendars, and more in sync across my Apple devices. I can capture contact information on my Mac, and it shows up my iPhone & iPad. Not to mention the other services that iCloud provides such as backup and “Find my iPhone.”
  6. Kindle – Books and More: I don’t buy paper books anymore, and Kindle lets me carry all of my reading material with me. It also marks my progress so that I can continue reading on any of my devices.
  7. Asana – Projects: Asana is a web-based project management application. It is simple to use and free for small teams. My virtual assistant and I use it to keep all my TMN projects on track. You can also access it from your iPhone and iPad. Check out Asana.
  8. Spotify - Music:  Spotify forever changed how I manage my music library. In short, I don’t manage it anymore. Nor do I worry about syncing music among my devices. For a small subscription fee, Spotify lets me access any music in their library on any of my devices. Playlists sync across platforms so I always have my favorites with me. See Spotify.
  9. MindMeister - Mindmaps: Mindmaps in the cloud? No problem. Mindmeister is a web-based mindmapping app. You can use it on your computer via the web, and you can also use it on your mobile via their app. Get Mindmeister.
  10. Dropbox - Files: Dropbox is everywhere when it comes to keeping your documents in the cloud. It makes accessing your files simple no matter where you are. You can also easily share files with others. Interesting to note that many of the apps on this list use Dropbox for their cross-platform syncing capabilities. It has become the sync backbone for many applications. Get Dropbox.
  11. Evernote - Notes, Clippings, Etc.: Evernote keeps my notes and clippings in the cloud so that I can get to them no matter where I am. From photos of whiteboards, to meeting notes, to clippings from home, I always know where to find my miscellaneous notes. The recently updated user interface make another reason to take a look at Evernote if you haven’t been using it. Get Evernote.
  12. iaWriter - Writing: iaWriter is a minimalist word processing app. There are no bloated features. Just a super-simple app for writing text documents. It helps keep you focused on one thing. It is my go to app for writing on the iPad. And when I return to my Mac, the my docs are already there. Get iA Writer for Mac and iA Writer for iPhone/iPad.

Staying In Sync Effortlessly

Stop searching for data across your devices.

Let these apps keep your information in sync across your life.

I know that my files and information are at my fingertips, no matter where I am or what device I am using.

Question: What apps do you use to keep your life in sync?

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Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • http://timestudytechnology.blogspot.co.uk/ TMT

    And you can always use pen and paper too….

  • Gustav

    I really like your site, and check it daily for updates on things to save time etc.,but you really have to look up from your iphone/ipad sometime and acknowledge the other platforms, android/windows phone/windows. I realize you live in the Apple cloud and ecosystem, but at least link to the apps you like for all ecosystems if they are available. I use Android, but all things technology, including Apple products. Maybe you can put “5 Productivity apps for Smartphones” instead of “5 Productivity apps for iPhone”. Don’t want to sound like a whiny android fanboy and apple hater, because I am not, but I would like to see some more diversity on your site.

    Regards,

    Gustav

    • http://www.facebook.com/HEERAVANSHI Dipak Desai

      YOU ARE RIGHT, I THINK THIS MAN IS GETTING MONEY FOR PROMOTING APPLE PRODUCTS, WHAT DO YOU SAY?

    • http://www.timemanagementninja.com/ Craig Jarrow

      Gustav,

      Thanks for the positive comment.

      As stated, I personally use Apple products currently. So, I tend to write about what I know.
      I welcome other insights from other platforms.

      That might be a great guest post, Top Android Productivity Apps or something similar. :)

    • http://twitter.com/escameron E.S. Cameron

      I agree, as an Android user, I would LOVE to see more apps for this platform featured on this blog. I need an Android productivity hack!

  • http://twitter.com/Zen_Ken Ken Britz

    I use Evernote, iaWriter, Dropbox and Kindle heavily. I also use iBooks and nook. Wherever I can find a book, that’s where I’ll buy it. I prefer Wunderlist to Things, but I don’t think there’s much difference.

  • http://www.facebook.com/HEERAVANSHI Dipak Desai

    IT’S ALL ABOUT APPLE, MY QUESTION IS THIS THAT ARE YOU GETTING MONEY FOR PROMOTING APPS THAT WORKS ON ONLY APPLE? NOT EVERYONE USING APPLE PRODUCTS.

  • KLE

    I use Rdio instead of Spotify, but same idea. Small fee, all the music you want, tonnes of way to find new artists, can sync to your ipod for when you’re not connected… it’s awesomeness, basically. For lists, I use Wunderlist, but it’s just doing a big update to wunderlist 2.0 so I’m not sure what that iteration will look like yet.

  • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

    Craig, it appears you have about three task managers going here: Things, Asana, and Workflowy. How do you decide what goes where?

    • http://alphaefficiency.com Bojan Djordjevic

      Completely agree with the statement :)

    • http://www.timemanagementninja.com/ Craig Jarrow

      Michael, great question. I use each for a distinct purpose.

      Things is my daily todo list and where I keep all my action items. I can quick add a todo via Siri on my iPhone or via Alfred on my Mac. The cloud sync is awesome and keeps Things up-to-date on all my platforms.

      Asana is my team project manager where I collect project materials and steps. I also use it to communicate with my virtual assistant. I don’t use it for action tasks… but add those to Things when I need to do something.

      Workflowy is a great tool that I sometimes use for outlining and brainstorming. I find it a great outliner, but I don’t use it for tasks. I know some others do.

      Hope that helps. It can definitely seem like tool overload at times. :) I try to keep to the “power of 1″ and have only 1 tool for each area of organization.

  • http://alphaefficiency.com Bojan Djordjevic

    I am running Omnifocus / Evernote / iCal. For writing nvALT / Byword / Dropbox combo.

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  • http://www.thedailysaint.com/ Mike St. Pierre

    Hi Craig, great list here! I would add Evernote, Pocket and my new favorite Nirvana (web app and very fast iOS app) for task management.

    • http://www.timemanagementninja.com/ Craig Jarrow

      Mike, haven’t seen that last one. Will have to take a peek.

      Love Pocket! Use it everywhere. :)

  • Sherrie

    I use scrivener – I read your blog entry that mentioned it and bought it right away. I’m writing my thesis for my masters now and it keeps me organized. I love it.

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  • Chris

    Thanks for recommending Evernote. I had seen it once before but passed over it before I could really see its potential value. After some reassessment, I’ve found it to be a perfect new tool for tracking my very busy and often tangential daily life.

    As for unmentioned tools, I’m a big fan of the LiveScribe pen. It’s one of several ‘smartpens’ that allows you to write notes and record audio simultaneously, which for me means I can finally get all the notes I need, even if I don’t catch it the first time (which is often!) Only complaint is the paper’s a bit expensive, but the benefits are worth it.

  • http://twitter.com/arialee410 M L Madrid

    My favorites are Dropbox, Evernote, and Dayone journal, all recommended by you. I will try the rest. So grateful for your site. Thank you!

    • http://www.timemanagementninja.com/ Craig Jarrow

      Thx! Much appreciated. :)

  • http://www.rileyadamvoth.com/ Riley Adam Voth

    Hey Craig, so does this mean that after years (it appears) of faithful Wunderlist evangelism, you have stopped using it – replaced by Things? If so, what’s the selling point over Wunderlist?

    • http://www.timemanagementninja.com/ Craig Jarrow

      Riley,

      Good catch. Yes, I have moved on from Wunderlist.

      I stayed with them into the failed “Wunderkit” experiment, but ultimately had to move on to a more powerful solution.
      Wunderlist is still a great simple app. I prefer Things as it has many additional features without complicating the interface. That being said, Things does cost while Wunderlist is free.

      • http://www.rileyadamvoth.com/ Riley Adam Voth

        Hmm, alright. So one last question about Things then: Does it work well with Google Tasks? I’m a huge fan of Google’s Tasks (I’m a cross platform guy, amongst other reasons), and Im always on the hunt for something that uses and improves Tasks.

      • http://www.timemanagementninja.com/ Craig Jarrow

        Hmm. Not sure if it integrates with Google tasks.

        You could check out their support/help on their website: http://culturedcode.com/things/

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  • Quinton

    Best app around in this category is EasilyDo! (on iPhone). It’s brilliant – reminds you when your Facebook friends have birthdays and can message them for you, also combines duplicate contacts in your address book, automatically alerts you if tomorrow’s weather is going to be bad; you can even set it to automatically give directions to home or work when you leave a place. Love it.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=521292733 Marilyn Rogers

    Craig, Have you had a chance to take a look at the LifeTopix iOS app? It integrates with Dropbox, Google Docs/Drive, Google Tasks, Asana, and Evernote. If you’re using a variety of different tools, it’s a great way to bring all of this information into one place and within context of your daily schedule. You can get an idea of how LifeTopix works with Google Drive/Dropbox/Evernote here: http://lightarrow.com/simple-ingredients-for-productivity-success-lifetopix-evernote-google-drive-and-dropbox . Please let us know what you think if you take a look.

    • http://www.timemanagementninja.com/ Craig Jarrow

      Nope. Sorry, haven’t take a deep look at this tool.

  • danzac

    I’d love to see Drafts sync with iCloud at some point – it’s annoying to have to pay for yet another sync method

    • http://www.timemanagementninja.com/ Craig Jarrow

      I too would like to see some other sync options.

      However, not sure what “paid” option you are referring to.

      • danzac

        Drafts has a sync option with a service called simperium.com/

      • http://www.timemanagementninja.com/ Craig Jarrow

        Yes, that is the backend for Drafts.

        But, does’t have a cost for you as a user of Drafts. :)

        I too would like to see iCloud or Dropbox sync.

      • danzac

        Ahh :-) I saw the name, googled it, saw its pricing, and assumed we had to pay for it :-) I learn something new every day.

  • danzac

    If you’re looking for a great todo app that is cross platform, see 2Do. It is my GTD app of choice.

    Lift is one of my new favs (replaced Habit List). Lose It also syncs (both are mobile only apps).

    IWork apps are still great standards too. And I have 1Password in all my devices.

    • http://www.timemanagementninja.com/ Craig Jarrow

      2Do is a great app.

      I am on Things (by Cultured Code) these days.

  • Ganttic

    These 12 apps to keep life in sync are impressive! Thank you so much for the great share. I’ve been reading your posts and they seem interesting and they are very helpful, too. Keep on updating and best regards!

    My Last Post: Ganttic

    • http://www.timemanagementninja.com/ Craig Jarrow

      Thx, appreciate the kind words. :)

  • http://www.personal-success-factors.com/ steveborgman

    My favorite to do app is ToDoist. Unfortunately, they haven’t developed an IPad version, but I still love the ease and simplicity for organizing my To Dos by project.

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  • Jennifer Mark

    Good applications for time management. I literally depend on tools for all of my business work and have as such deployed many tools that specifically help me reach to the respective level in managing the time and keep a good track of it. Along with these tools one more tool could also be considered that I have been using, Replicon hours tracking tool