Skip to main content

2 absurdly simple tips to simplify and organize your life in 2016

Happy New Year! I’m Patrick Norton from TekThing, and I’m here on Digital Trends today with some mobile apps to help you get organized in the new year!

First up … don’t set yourself up for failure. If your inbox is overflowing, your garage is the place where useful things go to get lost, or you just want all your family photos organized … pick one problem at a time, put together a plan, and take it a step at a time.

Simplifying your life with Google’s Inbox

I’m a huge fan of Google’s Inbox by Gmail app for email. You can download it for Android or iOS. It brings some of the best features of Gmail, and adds even more features I use constantly on my phone.

Like Gmail’s Web app, Inbox sorts the bulk of your email into ‘Bundles.’ There’s a tab at the top of your inbox labeled Promotions, full of the weekly — or if you’re really unfortunate, daily — ads from websites, stores, and online services. Purchases and Trips each get their own bundle, and you can create bundles for anything you like … school emails, that group of friends that emails you those cat GIFs … you get the idea.

The newest and most important mail in each bundle is highlighted. Seeing all seven emails this from that store you bought something from once three years ago should be a strong reminder to look for the word Unsubscribe up near the email address. Click on it and it will ask you “Are you sure you want to stop receiving similar messages from This Store/Website/Whatever …” and if you hit the blue Unsubscribe button … you’ve just removed some future clutter from your inbox. Nice!

Hit the red Plus button on the lower right hand corner of the app and you’ll see a list of the email addresses you use the most often alongside a little blue button with a string tied around a finger inside of it. That’s the Reminder button, and it will put a to-do reminder at the top of your inbox for actions like call, email, text, read, check in … or you can just type in anything you need to do, like change the oil in your car, or call the accountant. Give it a shot! Getting your email under control is a great way to start the new year.

Organizing your life with Trello

Need to organize something bigger than your in box? Check out Trello. Technically Trello is a professional grade project management tool, but it creates big, easy to read visual lists that are great for organizing anything from household chores to your family reunion. I started using it at the office then realized it was just the thing for bigger projects around the house.

You can create a Trello account for free. Then you create a board and name it something like My Truck Project, and inside the board you create lists like Engine, Suspension, Bodywork … you get the idea. Then you add cards to the list, like drain oil, coolant, attach engine hoist, unbolt transmission, loosen engine mounts, attach engine hoist … did you forgot a step or find something new that needs to be done along the way? Just add a new card and drag it to where you want it, in that list or into another. Clicking on a card lets you or anyone you invite to your team to make comments, assign due dates, add attachments. It’s good stuff, and runs on anything with a browser, or you can download an app for Android and iOS.

If you’re looking for something simpler, both Wunderlist and ToDoist are great tools for creating todo lists and managing tasks … and unlike that legal pad you left back on the kitchen table, you can access ’em on your phone, share tasks or lists with your family and friends, and get reminders.

Hopefully one of these tools will help you get organized in the new year … I know they’ve made a huge difference at work and at home for me!

Patrick Norton
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Patrick cohosts TekThing, a video show packed with viewer questions, product reviews, and how-tos. He also works on This Week…
The best camera phones in 2024: our top 8 photography picks
A person holding the Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra and Xiaomi 14 Ultra.

In the past decade or so, cameras on smartphones have evolved so much that they can pretty much replace a standalone digital camera for most people. The results you can get on a smartphone these days are just so impressive, and being able to be with you at all times means you'll never miss a moment.

But what if you want the best possible camera phone money can buy? A camera that won't let you down no matter what you're taking a picture of? You've come to the right place. Here are the very best camera phones you can buy in 2024.

Read more
The best password managers for iPhone
Login screen on an iPhone held by a woman.

As password management becomes more challenging because of the tons of logins we have to keep track of, it may be time to move beyond the default Apple Keychain for passwords on your iPhone. You may want a tool that seamlessly syncs with your Windows computer or offers extensions for web browsers other than Safari.

For safe and solid options to maintain passwords and logins on iOS, this list provides you with the features, security measures, and prices for the best password managers on iPhone.

Read more
I have a mysterious problem with my iPhone 15 Pro Max
iPhone 15 Pro Max laying outside in a park.

There’s an issue with the iPhone I’d like Apple to fix, but I’m not quite sure what it will take to do so. I don't know if it’s a hardware or a software problem or even if I’ll always notice it if the issue has gone away.

It’s the battery life, but not necessarily the length of time the battery lasts on a charge. It’s more about battery life consistency, which is currently (and has been for some time) all over the place.
What’s the issue?

Read more