Erik and I got married nearly 2 years ago. We knew we would have the typical disagreements that married couples have: money, politics, where to spend the holidays, etc. But we also knew we’d have to come to terms with our biggest division: Google vs Apple products. Coming into the relationship, both Erik and I operated on different frameworks. I love Android and Erik loves iOS. And just as a married couple needs to learn how to grow together, it’s equally important for each person to maintain their individuality. So, since neither Erik or I will budge on what platform we use, we needed to learn how to incorporate both under one roof, living in digital harmony. We’d like to share with you our secrets! Listed below are a few apps that I love (Android), a few that Erik loves (iOS), and a few that we use together (compatible with both platforms) to help keep our lives and relationship organized!
Here’s what Laura loves:
Google Keep (Android and iOS)
I am a “list person.” I derive so much satisfaction from organizing my thoughts in a list format...paper and/or digital lists. But there are certain lists that are most helpful in digital format, and that’s where I enlist Google Keep. It’s where I dump ideas and checklists that don’t require immediate action but are not forgotten later on when I need them. Google Keep is awesome for all my packing lists (eg. Maui Spring Break, Catapult Conference, Cottage in Summer, Cottage in Winter, Cottage in Cold August, etc). You get to check off the boxes when you’ve packed each item, and then when you return, you can Uncheck all the boxes and use it again...like for Cottage in Warm September or Cottage in Second Winter AKA May. Here is also where I store birthday gift ideas, party planning ideas, baby name ideas, travel ideas, frozen meals stored in our deep freezer, and songs I want to learn on the piano.
Google Drive (Android and iOS)
Welcome to “the cloud.” This is my happy place where digital files are neatly organized and easily found within custom folders. Whether they are PDFs or images, or they are Google Sheets, Docs, or Slides, they keep my paper file desk drawer very condensed; all the important files are in the cloud, ready and accessible whenever I need them, wherever I am. (Ask me about the time I had my purse stolen in Budapest and used Google Drive files to obtain an emergency passport.) While this app is available for iOS, it really shines on Android for its scanning feature. You can take a photo of a greeting card or signed document, crop or rotate it, use a filter (like black/white or vibrant color), add multiple pages (or double sided pages), rename the file, and save it in the folder of your choice.
Slice (Android and iOS)
Are you on a first-name basis with your package delivery person? Me neither...I don’t answer my door (introvert). BUT I do receive a lot of packages. So many that I sometimes don’t remember what I ordered and when I should be expecting it. Sound familiar? Thankfully, there is a service that helps you stay organized with all your incoming shipments. Slice connects with your email inbox to identify and track all your shipments and consolidates them in one place, so you know what is arriving when. Also, it can help you save money by alerting you to recent price decreases to your item, so you can contact the merchant and ask for a price adjustment. This has worked for me several times!
LastPass (Android and iOS)
Are you still carrying around a little black book of passwords? Ok, you can stop that now. It’s not secure, it’s difficult to maintain and therefore often outdated, and pretty impossible to access when it’s not with you 24/7. Switching to LastPass has changed my life. Not only does it securely store login info for websites and apps across all devices, but it also stores encrypted images and data relating to my important identification cards and certificates. I once used an image of my drivers license to get into a bar! Plus, you can safely share certain logins with your family members, so, for example, you and your spouse can log into all your smart home accounts and banking accounts, etc. It even has the capability for you to designate someone to be your Emergency Contact in the event you are unable to log in using the Master Password (death, brain damage, etc). It gives you AND your family peace of mind, so important info can be accessed when necessary.
Here’s what Erik loves:
The native iOS Calendar app is just ok. I always keep my view on the month view...but in the iOS Calendar app, when I do, all I see is a single dot on days I have events. Since I have events every day, this dot-notation is completely redundant and visually useless from an organization and information standpoint. Enter Fantastical....one of the few calendar apps that gives a month-view with each day actually showing my color-coded calendar events on it...rather than a single dot. I am a very visual person, and this format allows me to quickly digest my day/week/month with a single screen view and helps keep my calendar organized. A few other apps have this view feature, but I feel Fantastical's version of it is the most visually-appealing and useful and utilizes screen real estate the best. Fantastical works as a standalone calendar, but it also allows users to subscribe to and modify all of their existing digital calendars. Laura and I both have a shared Google Calendar, so when I add something to that calendar in Fantastical, that event is instantly added to her phone and computer, and vice versa. This shared calendar functionality, I feel, is one of the best uses of a digital calendar and a helpful way to keep a couple organized...because it is always synced. Since I don’t know what I would do without my calendar, this app is a very useful addition to my phone’s home screen.
1Password (iOS and Android)
A password manager is something EVERYBODY needs. If you disagree, please read that first sentence again. With the sheer amount of passwords I have, combined with all the different requirements for their formats and doing my part to combat the MAJOR digital faux pas of reusing the same password for multiple websites, utilizing a SECURE digital (see: “not paper”) password manager helps organize my passwords and frees up my brain power to focus on other, more-important things. I cannot tell you the peace-of-mind I have knowing I never need to think about or remember my passwords. With a password manager, they are always present when I need them...and with 1Password on my iPhone, with FaceID, my face becomes the only password I need...logins all flow seamlessly. I used to use LastPass for some-time, but one of the biggest reasons I switched to 1Password is because they store my passwords locally, on my phone or computer, rather than on a cloud server...and after LastPass lost my whole vault of passwords, I like knowing, with 1Password, I am in complete control of my digital data. Plus 1Password has a really cool feature that notifies you if one of the sites in your vault has been compromised or hacked.
Notion (iOS and Android)
Notion has quickly become my favorite app, helping me turn digital chaos into organized order. Think of it like a collaboration combining a planner, note-taker, calendar, tracker, library, todo list, and project manager all into one awesomely designed app. Among other things, I use it to create, store, and track medical notes, addresses, my journal, business notes and resources, client information, house projects, events, travel plans, book ideas, and even use it to log our puppy’s weight! Additionally, Notion has a handy web-clipper that allows me to import ANY website, take notes on and highlight in it, and file it away for future use. Notion is literally my digital brain...a single place I can put EVERYTHING and have it available in an instant. You might be thinking, “like Evernote?” To that I say, “not quite.” Notion is similar to Evernote, but where Evernote starts to fail, Notion picks up its slack. Rather than continue to sing Notion’s praises, I’ll let you read about why the Wall Street Journal named Notion The Only App You Need for Work-Life Productivity.
“Inbox Zero” is my goal. With Spark I can achieve this goal a little quicker. With swipe actions, smart inboxes, calendar integrations, send later and snooze functionalities, and custom signatures, Spark allows me to have one email app for organizing my personal and business communications. Additionally, it blocks emails from sending read receipts so my privacy is maintained. iOS 13 really botched the native Apple email app. Thanks to Spark, I never had to worry about it!
Here’s what they BOTH love (including each other):
Todoist (iOS and Android)
Laura: “Why didn’t you pick up my almond creamer from the grocery store?” Erik: “You didn’t tell me you needed any almond creamer!?” Laura: “You’re supposed to be able to read my mind!”
Does this conversation sound familiar? Ladies...men are not mind readers. Men...you could probably do a better job of understanding what your lady needs. Regardless, when it comes down to it, we all know the likelihood of both of these scenarios happening at the same time is next-to-none. Fortunately for us, there is a fix...Todoist. Todoist is a to-do app. But saying that is like saying a Rolls Royce is “just a car.” Todoist is actually an app that prevents anyone from forgetting to do anything ever again...and it works everywhere you are! They gamify it a bit, as well, to nudge you into using it...and once you actually do start to use it, it becomes SO addictive to continually use and you literally do not forget to do anything ever again! Look at that! An addiction that is healthy for you! Aside from the personal to-do list features in the app, you can create a collaborative to-do list...and place your almond creamer on it...so the next time your husband goes to the grocery store, he can see on his phone that you need almond creamer! It’s kinda like mind reading. Digital mind reading. ...saving marriages since 2009. As an added bonus, if you are set up with Alexa or Google Home, you can integrate Todoist with either platform and actually dictate what you need to do for the day while brushing your teeth in the morning! It’s pretty awesome. This is Erik’s second-favorite app after Notion. Erik loves that I introduced him to it. Erik also loves me.
Google Photos (iOS and Android)
Imagine this...you took a picture of your dog 3 years ago. It was your favorite picture. But since then, you got a new phone and, to save space, didn’t transfer over your old photos. Luckily for you, though, you have Google Photos on your phone and have every photo you take automatically backed up to the cloud! You open Google Photos and type “brown dog,” scroll a few lines, and BAM! There he is! Little Spot looking as cute as ever! In a time when we take pictures of EVERYTHING, Google Photos makes not only archiving your photos efficient, allowing you to free up coveted phone storage space, but also makes organizing and FINDING your thousands of pictures extremely easy. Thanks to a super smart indexing feature, its AI knows the difference between Spot and a stuffed animal and can even pick you out in a crowd of 100! But what about your husband? His phone is a black hole for pictures and you want that super cute one of the both of you on vacation to post on Facebook. The smart organizer you are, you asked him to download Google Photos on his phone and share his album with you! BAM! Downloaded and posted! Thanks, honey! Aside from the sharing features, Google Photos also has a great assistant that can make smart albums based on like-photos, auto-enhance images, and even show you what you were doing last year, two years ago, or even 10 years ago today...which is a totally fun “memories” break! In a world where digital photos are the norm, Google Photos should be the organizing standard.
WhatsApp (iOS and Android)
Do you know what’s awesome? Being at work but not feeling like you are disconnected from your significant other! When we started dating, Erik and I communicated via text message all the time. But since being on the phone at work is not very professional...or efficient...we downloaded WhatsApp so we can communicate easily from our computers! What’s more, given how WhatsApp is platform-agnostic, rather than the ambiguity found with combining iMessages, Google Messages, and Windows whatever, WhatsApp works like a native texting app on ANY platform so we can always stay connected! We’ve even created family groups to keep communications active with our parents and siblings!
Google Calendar (iOS and Android)
I initially shared my work calendar with Erik, so he could see when I was with a client and where they lived (in case of an emergency). Then, as our relationship got more serious, so did our collaborative efforts. We created a shared Google Calendar for events that pertained to both of us. We never miss date nights, anniversaries, birthday parties, mulch deliveries, airport pick-ups, or vet appointments. I still have a private personal calendar I use to schedule my haircuts and dental appointments, so I don’t clutter Erik’s calendar view. Our family also has a shared Cottage calendar, so we know who is using the cottage at any given time to avoid overlap (or encourage it...party time)!
Notion (Laura is warming up to it)
Notion has quickly become one of our favorite collaborative apps (see above). We use it for organizing house projects, events we are hosting, to store our medical records in case of an emergency, for keeping notes on how to raise kids someday, and to even record some of our favorite “Remember that one time?...” memories! Notion is a digital brain...a single place we can each place anything and have it available in an instant. It is the literal embodiment of a collaborative relationship. Read about why the Wall Street Journal named Notion The Only App You Need for Work-Life Productivity.
"A house divided against itself cannot stand." - Abe Lincoln
We agree! Therefore, we have found these solutions to help unify this house and our relationship. Hopefully, we inspire you to check out some of them and help you live harmonious and organized lives also!