Admit it. If there’s one thing you need to do this year, it’s get organized. 90 percent of all your resolutions and promises will soon fall by the wayside, lost in an endless sea of assignments, work commitments, appointments, travel, and unexpected turmoil. But the Mac you use every day can help you lock down and keep track of your busy life. Here’s 6 tips to help you get started!
1.) Keep Track of Your Work and Responsibilities
If you’re a student, or just have a lot of projects to keep track of, make sure you check out our article on 5 Apps For Staying Productive At School, where you’ll find our recommendations for assignment wrangling. Having one of these apps is invaluable, no one can remember everything all of the time. For a more simplified to-do manager, check out Remember The Milk. It’s an internet-synced to-do manager that will sync with as many computers as you want. Just set up your account, install one of the many services RTM offers, and get organized.
2.) Sync and Organize Your Digital Devices
iTunes is great for the iPods and iPhones in your life, but what about your other devices? You have a few options. Use the junkware that came with them to sync your music, photos, and movies, or take charge with a Mac application that makes its living from picking up where inadequate software leaves off. One answer lies in DoubleTwist (Mac OS X – Free). An open-source project that is still under heavy development, DoubleTwist supports Archos media players, the Palm Pre, Sony PSP, INQ1, G1 and Android phones, select Nokia, Motorola, and Sony Ericsson phones, as well as Blackberry, WinMo 5.0 and 6.0, as well as iPod and iPhone models! Just drag and drop for file and playlist transfer to your mobile device. New devices are being supported all the time, and you can request a feature or device in their forums.
3.) Get Access To Your Computers From Anywhere!
An important aspect of being organized is having easy access to all of your information and tools that you need to get things done. Several Mac apps make this idea easy to implement. Start with a solid VNC app for remote control of your computers from any corner of the globe. Try out the free apps JollysFastVNC or Chicken of the VNC, which we featured in our huge list of awesome Mac Freeware from last year (many applications in there are still very relevant today). Both will let you see and control your home or work computers from anywhere with an internet connection.
Also, grab an FTP client for easy transfer of files across your computers. I fully recommend downloading the free Cyberduck or the $28 YummyFTP, both of which work equally well in my own (and others) experiences, for file transfer to your website or personal machines.
4.) Back Up Your Files…twice.
If you aren’t doing this by now, get to it. Like, as soon as you’re done reading this paragraph. I cannot stress the importance of having multiple backups of your stuff. Having another copy of your data off-site (away from home, work, wherever) is equally important, and can save you in the case of a fire, Act of God, or robbery. In addition to Apple’s own Time Machine, there are many online services available, such as Dropbox (2GB Free; plus Paid tiers for more storage) and Mozy(2GB free as well as paid levels with more storage). Both do a great job of running silently from the menu bar, backing your stuff up to their servers as you go. So go get one! I think I hear a tornado coming…
5.) Keep your Mac up-to-date with AppFresh.
Spend less time keeping all your applications updated! Let AppFresh take care of it for you! AppFresh is a free indispensable utility that will index your applications and find their updates, all you have to do is click download and it installs them for you! Just run it once a week or so, and enjoy an quick update experience.
6.) Lock Down Your Finances
Whether or not you choose to do this completely digitally, there is something to be said for a software solution to one of human-kind’s most stressful topics – money. There are standalone apps to help you wrap your head around where you’re spending all that hard-earned dough (that thing you’re typing on, maybe?). For that, I recommend apps like SEE Finance($20), iCash($39.90), and even Quicken 2007($69.99) can help you get ahold of and track your finances. These apps serve their purpose well, and are all worth at the very least a look-see. From simple budgeting to keeping track of interest and investments, they’ll provide a good user experience and some allow you to download transactions from your bank’s website.
If you want to see up the minute updates with your current balances and lines of credit in an easy to see visual environment, I recommend Mint (free). Being able to have everything in front of you is invaluable. Mint provides you with complete breakdown of all your account activity over time, and gives you readouts of where you currently stand, all in a cross-platform web interface. It can’t get much easier than this, folks.