Friday, November 4, 2011

6 Great Apps to Help You Manage Your Household

Can’t remember what items your family needs from the grocery store or what days the kids’ dental appointments fall on? These apps can help you keep everyone in your life on the same page.

6 Great Apps to Manage Your Household

PCWorld - Whether you’re a couple or married with children, managing the intricacies of a household–keeping up-to-date with everyone’s schedules, tracking chores, making grocery lists, and formulating travel plans–can be a handful. To help out, we’ve collected six great mobile apps (many with complementary websites) that can help you stay on top of these challenges.

Syncing Calendars

Cozi online family organizer; click for full-size image.
Cozi Calendar lets you see 
your family’s
schedule while you’re out 
and about on the road.

A free online family organizer and mobile app available for iOS, Android, and BlackBerry, Cozi provides a simple way to put everyone’s schedule on the same page. Most impressive is its calendar, which is easy to navigate and color-coded for each member of the family. That level of scheduling assistance can help ensure that Joanne gets to basketball practice on time and Jimmy doesn’t miss out on his turn to mop the kitchen floor.

Activities for the week are easy to input, and you can set them to recur regularly. You can also choose to have Cozi notify you of an event via email or text. All members of your Cozi circle–which can include grandparents, and friends–can see your calendar, so all of the key players are in the loop if you’d like to ask grandma to watch the kids for an evening, or if you want to invite your best friend to attend your daughter’s ballet recital.

If you use a calendar application other than Cozi, you can import individual Cozi circle member’s Cozi schedules into it. Conversely, you can export your Google, Apple iCal, or Outlook calendar into Cozi. In either situation, the imported calendar will be accessible as a view-only file. To enable full editing, you must download Cozi Outlook Toolbar.
The mobile version of Cozi lacks the ability to filter an individual member’s calendar (so that, for example, you access only Dad’s calendar entries); this feature is available exclusively on the Web version of the app.

Sharing Information

Evernote app; click for full-size image.
Share your Evernote notebook with
your partner to keep everyone
on the same page.

Many a domestic altercation might have been avoided if the contenders had shared some piece of vital information early on. But how do you make that kind of sharing a reality if you and your partner rarely have time to talk over plans and upcoming time commitments?

The answer may come from an app many people already use: Evernote. You can use this versatile note-taking service to share information such as recipes (handwritten or clipped from the Web), holiday shopping lists (with boxes to mark), pictures of furniture you may want to purchase, or an audio recording of your thoughts about an upcoming home remodel.

If you have a free Evernote account and share a laptop with your partner, though, you significant other will be able to read your notes but not add to them. Editing privileges among other perks, are reserved for premium account holders, who must pay $5 a month or $45 a year for the privilege.            More