8 Ways To Stay Organized When Things Get Crazy

It’s only mid-November, but as a walk through the mall or a stretch of Hulu commercials confirms, the chaos of the holiday season is already upon us. Party save-the-dates are streaming in. Cross-country airline tickets to see your family are booked. And quickly, it’s threatening to feel as if your sense of sanity is as far away as the spring getaway you’re already planning.

But now is not the time to let slip away the careful balance of friend time, career ass-kicking, and passion projects you’ve worked so hard on for the past 11 months. Keeping that organized life on lock while making room for a season full of festivities just requires bringing in some tech big shots that’ll keep you on your A-game. Enter these eight websites to bookmark ASAP.

From a messaging service that'll save you from ever missing a last-minute “drinks tonight?!” text to a service that will forever banish your rainbow of sticky to-do notes, pack your tote with the ultraportable, versatile Lenovo Yoga 900, and get familiar with life-changing sites and services that’ll keep you running the world.

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Calling all boss ladies and team leaders. Stay on top of the half-dozen projects and even more moving parts that make up your average day at the office by signing into Asana. The project-management tool is the stack of file folders swamping your desk, every-hour-on-the-hour calendar reminders, and receipts turned notes to self — all loaded into one space. We love its ability to add collaborators to brainstorm special topics or get feedback on an idea. Nope, not going to miss a bursting email inbox one bit.
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Save yourself from your high-school squad’s group text gone 45 messages deep while trying to coordinate a reunion, and send everyone a Doodle link instead. Set up an event, select a few proposed dates and times, then send the Doodle poll to all attendees. They’ll choose which date and time they prefer, and you, the fabulous hostess-slash-organizer-in-chief, can then make an informed decision about when to hold the event.
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There’s a dirty little digital secret way too many of us keep: using the same password across dozens of accounts. The practice is numero uno on the tech don’t-you-ever list. Online security experts recommend crafting a long, complicated password made up of random characters, cases, and symbols — maybe even poems. But actually remembering these super-secure passwords as you navigate the web? Impossible for the non-robots among us. Use LastPass to streamline passwords, so you’re not searching for the scrap of paper they’re jotted down on (also a no-no) or constantly requesting to be emailed what you’ve forgotten. The service not only helps you generate secure passwords, it also uses encryption technology to autopopulate passwords on your frequently visited sites. Major.
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Let’s be real: This time of year is not the kindest on our wallets. Between mall-sized shopping lists, group dinners, and impromptu celebrations, a closely managed budget is 100% necessary. Use Mint’s budgeting tools to track your cash flow through the season’s festivities. And, achieve even more financial-planning badassery with Mint Bills, which allows you to organize all your billing information for things like credit cards, car insurance, and cell-phone plans into one place. For an extra bit of magic, set up recurring payments across all your bill collectors, so you’re never surprised with a late fee again. Your rock-solid credit score thanks you in advance.
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It takes a whole lot of willpower to get through all the work emails you received overnight before your morning coffee run, especially when Facebook friends continue to tag you with news stories everyone in your circle is talking about. Keep your focus sharp by directing the supposed must-reads to a Pocket account. As you go through your day, add articles and videos to the Pocket desktop app, and catch up on reading later — even if you’re in a Wi-Fi-free zone, thanks to Pocket’s trusty offline mode. Once you’ve miraculously run through your to-read list, click on over to Pocket’s "recommended" tab for future conversation intel.
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Eliminate the sticky-note-stuck-to-your-computer way of powering through your to-do list with Any.do’s task and calendar management. Though it can be integrated into work projects, we like Any.do best for helping us tick off all the personal errands that fill our weekends and off hours. The minimalist desktop interface allows you to focus on the tasks at hand with a dashboard view of what needs to be done today, tomorrow, later in the week, or someday, because yes, painting the living room can probably wait in a way getting the bridesmaid dress you need to wear next week tailored can’t.
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Venmo is already a big deal in your life for allowing you to reimburse friends for your share of the night’s cab ride while still in the cab itself, or requesting coworkers’ shares of the boss’ birthday cake from the bakery line. Now, in a case of mobile-gone-desktop, we’re using the service’s web portal to check off little financial encounters forgotten about while on the no-service subway. When Netflix is loading the next episode in your Sunday night viewing binge, open a new browser tab and request all those payments accrued the night before.
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We’re pros at group texting by now, but sometimes your phone is lost at the bottom of your bag all day long, and you miss that 5 p.m. invite to a 7 p.m. spin class with your favorite instructor. Avoid this by using GroupMe to plant those messages on your desktop. The service not only syncs across all your mobile devices, but you can also keep up with friends while multitasking on the computer by sending messages through its web interface. It’s the best way to avoid smartphone squint and text neck pain while magically staying on top of every last quickie note.

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