Every daddy geek has responsibilities. Responsibilities to family, to friends and to work and it’s hard to find time to fit everything in. Being organised is key to using your time efficiently.
For me, my smartphone is an essential bit of kit for the running of my day-to-day life. I write on it, socialise on it, watch YouTube and play games on it. There are also a few apps to ensure I am on top of the many jobs I have tasked myself with.
Take my daughters recent birthday party for example. Who would have thought it needed so much organising? The goal was to have the local sports centre put out lots of toys and inflatables for the children to play with. This would be followed by a lunch for 24, with party food and all the trimmings. Failure would result in a sad looking four year old. A fate worse than death.
So using a combination of my recommended apps for keeping organised I hit the ‘to do’ list:
Wunderlist / Epic Win
I love a good list. They are simple and effective but if you want to take your ‘to do’ list to the next level then you need one of these.
Wunderlist is a tried and tested app that ensures list making is a doddle. Lists can be created easily and quickly. They can have; due dates, repeat functions, have added notes and even be assigned to other users. It’s like a mini project management tool in your pocket. The Interface is clean and easy to use and it’s level of detail means you can be as complicated as you like. The added functionality of cross-device syncing was also invaluable as I could work on my list both on my phone but also on my desktop.
Epic Win on the other hand is the gamers dream, as it takes list making and integrates it with an RPG quest game. As you cross off to dos, you earn XP and progress on a map. Your character levels up as you beat more tasks and the sense of progression just drives you to list EVERYTHING.
So, with my ‘to do’ list created I had everything from invites to the final party bags to sort out. With everything written down I was feeling pretty confident.
Whilst Wunderlist and Epic Win are fantastic, those who need more detail and are familiar with project management tools might find Omnifocus a better tool. You pay a premium of about $15 but you get lists, calendars, maps, charts and more. This gives you a truly top down view of your time. I tend to use this more for running my business, but family tasks tend to creep in and it definitely helps me stay on track.
I use Simplenote ALL the time. Simplenote is a cross device notepad that works on iPad, android and desktops. I note everything down from articles ideas to party booking references. It’s ridiculously simple and has a search box for when your notes mount up. There is no need to save manually and it syncs across devices. A must have app for any dad looking to get organised. Having used Simplenote to store my invite text, possible birthday present ideas and the party booking reference I was ready for the next step.
Cloud storage is essential for Daddy Geeks as it give you more room to keep your files. Photos, documents, spreadsheets can all be stored (and accessed) quickly and easily. In the example of my daughters birthday, I used Dropbox to store some high quality photos (Lucy in an Elsa dress) to upload to photobox – a bespoke card making company to create the invites and birthday card. Dropbox gives you 2GB storage as standard but you can get more free space via referrals or simple pay for more.
This one is a no-brainer. Last pass is a secure password storage app that allows you to keep and control all of your usernames and passwords. For a small monthly fee you have extra security for all your passwords and it learns as you browse so you don’t have to add them all at once. Also, if I get hit by a bus (heaven forbid) then my family have complete access to my digital world. For Lucy’s party i was jumping from Amazon to Photobox, to Facebook and over to Tesco. Last Pass means I can use my memory for more interesting tasks.
Mint / OnTrees
With all the presents, decorations, party games, kids food, adult food, and venue all costing money it’s a good idea to keep on top of what you are spending. Although, we felt powerless to stop the money haemorrhaging from our account, some comfort was found in our OnTrees App (or Mint for US residents). Using this app we could see where all our pennies were going all in lovely colour coded charts and graphs. OnTrees is a financial management app that brings together multiple bank accounts and credit cards so you can see exactly what you are spending. It takes a while to set up initially but once you are up and running it works like a dream.
Once we were organised we had to check in with parents, in-laws, god-parents both before and after the event. Our app of choice for this was Skype, as it works on my Xbox One, my iPhone, iPad and work computer. This meant we could have video calls with the family to thank thank them for the presents and generally keep in touch. FaceTime is good but it does mean that everyone needs iPhones, so if you are looking for a free communication tool then Skype is fantastic as you can call, message or video call other Skype users. For Uncle Gaffer in Australia it was only a few pence to give him a call.
Although I knew where the sports hall was, many of the family didn’t, so I advised them to get the Google Maps app as this was as good as any sat-nav. I am just going to assume everyone knows what Google Maps are…
So the party was as success, the cakes were awesome and everyone had fun, but with all that organising it’s more than likely that you missed out of lots of browsing and reading time. For this kind of situation FlipBoard is ideal. FlipBoard is a RSS reader in the style of a magazine and once you plumb it into all your favourite websites you will have the ultimate magazine. Videogamer, Den of Geek, EnGadget and IGN all feeding into one super magazine. Now all you have to do if find the time to read it all.
So there you have it, 10+ apps to help a Daddy Geek stay on top of the crazy world of parenting. For those parents already familiar with the world of project managment, then I would also recommend TeamGantt, as many project managers would already be familiar with Gantt charts and be able to use this software as if they were running a well-oiled project team.