Archive for productivity

Make progress every single day and you’ll beat procrastination for good

It’s hard to believe but we are coming to the end of our seventh blog to get off your butt and finally beat procrastination. I hope you’ve been following along and more importantly that you’ve been making progress on at least one of the things you’ve been procrastinating on. We end today with the most important piece of advice and the main lesson I want you to take away from all this.

Make progress every single day! 

Of course that’s easier said than done. That’s why I’m leaving you today with three simple hacks or strategies to help you. Give them a try and see if you can’t get into the habit of being productive every day instead of procrastinating.

Time to schedule, words on blank board hold by a young girl in the outdoor.Plan For It 

It’s easy to make progress every day when you know exactly what you should be working on next. Make a plan and then decide what you will do each day of the week. Write it down in a planner and adjust daily as needed. In the morning, you can see at a glance what it is you should be doing. Then get to work on it first thing before the day gets away from you. I find it helpful to have my planner sitting right in front of me at my desk, keeping me on track.

Don’t Break The Chain 

There’s something to be said about a chain or a streak. Record every day you don’t procrastinate on something. You can mark it on a monthly calendar, or create a chain of sticky notes, stickers, or even one of those paper chains you used to make in school. The goal is simple. Don’t break the chain. Once you have a few days under your belt, you’ll be motivated to go the extra mile and do that one thing you need to do to avoid breaking the streak.

Check In With Yourself 

As you start to make progress on the things you know you need to be doing, you should feel your anxiety reduce. Instead you will feel your confidence go up. Don’t be surprised to feel proud of your accomplishments. Instead use those feelings to propel you forward to more procrastination free days. Procrastination is a habit. It’s something you learned to do, which means it’s something you can unlearn. Stick with it, make progress every day, and enjoy those feelings of accomplishment.

Make progress every day, and enjoy those feelings of accomplishment. Click To Tweet

Julie Stobbe is a Trained Professional Organizer and Lifestyle Organizing Coach who brings happiness to homes and organization to offices, in person and virtually. She has been working with clients since 2006 to provide customized organizing solutions to suit their individual needs and situation. She uses her love of physical activity to reduce clutter, in your home, office, mind and time. Get started by downloading Tips for Reorganizing 9 Rooms.

Contact her at julie@mindoverclutter.ca

 TwitterFacebook Facebook group Organizing Mind and Space

Click here to learn more about working with a Professional Organizer?

 

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Beat procrastination – listen to your inner voice and change that dialogue

Something we haven’t talked about yet is that little voice in our head that either encourages us to go do something else – thus procrastinating, or the other one… the critical one… the one that tells us how much we suck because we didn’t get the things done we set out to do. Listen to your inner voices; the negative one, the fun one, change that dialogue and stop procrastination Click To Tweet

Forgiveness

Why is it important to listen to those voices? Because they have an impact on your life both on a conscious and a subconscious level. Let’s start with that negative voice because I think in the long run it’s the most destructive of the two. Back on day one of this seven-day challenge to beat procrastination we talked about the importance of forgiving yourself. To quickly recap, it does you no good to beat yourself up over past procrastination and that you should expect to “fail” by procrastinating again here and there. Nobody is perfect. We all have good days and bad days. The important part is to show up and try your best.

Negative Voice

That little negative voice in your head doesn’t help you do that. Become aware of it and when you hear it, defuse it. You can do this by responding to it out loud or in writing (via a journal). Or go up and do something else. Do whatever it takes to silence that voice. A great option is to prove it wrong by doing something productive. Over time that voice will speak up less and less unless you indulge it by paying attention to it and letting it ruin your day.

The Fun Voice

Next it’s time to tackle the voice in your head that tells you it’s much more fun to do just about anything other than what you should be doing. We all have that voice. It’s why we come up with terms like procrasticleaning and procrasticrafting. We can get pretty innovative when it comes to doing anything but the thing we don’t want to work on and that little voice is feeding us suggestions and cheering us on.

The best way to diffuse this particular voice into something more productive is with “yes, and” statements. “Yes, playing video games sounds like a lot of fun and I’m going to play for an hour or so after I get this task done.” Use the suggestions this voice gives you as bribes if they sound like something fun. Ignore them otherwise, or put them off until tomorrow.

Comment on which voice do you listen to most often and why? 

Julie Stobbe is a Trained Professional Organizer and Lifestyle Organizing Coach who brings happiness to homes and organization to offices, in person and virtually. She has been working with clients since 2006 to provide customized organizing solutions to suit their individual needs and situation. She uses her love of physical activity to reduce clutter, in your home, office, mind and time. Get started by downloading Tips for Reorganizing 9 Rooms.

Contact her at julie@mindoverclutter.ca

 TwitterFacebook Facebook group Organizing Mind and Space

Click here to learn more about working with a Professional Organizer?

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Old habits are hard to break – accountability is key to beating procrastination

Beating procrastination can be hard. We do well for a few days, but then old habits set back in, or we get frustrated with our lack of apparent progress. Nothing goes fast enough. If you face a small setback at this point, it may be enough to stop working on what you wanted to accomplish in the first place. Thankfully there’s something you can do to greatly improve your chances of success. Accountability.

Procrastinating is a habit and you can get out of it and turn yourself into the motivated and productive version of yourself you want to be. Click To Tweet

Track Your Progress 

Start by tracking what you do. You can do this via a simple habit tracker. Use a box for each day of the week and check it off or fill it in when you do the thing you told yourself you would do. Keep tracking until it becomes a habit or until the project is done.

For larger projects that you may or may not work on a daily basis, it helps to write down your goal and then break it into milestones. Record your progress and how much closer you’re inching to each of your goals.

Make Daily To-Do Lists 

Write out a list of everything you want to get done for the day. I find it helpful to do this the day before. Play around with how many items you put on that list. You don’t want it to overwhelm you, but you do want to challenge yourself to get more done. The list holds you accountable because you can see in black and white if you procrastinated or not.

Tell Someone About Your Plans 

If there’s something you’ve been struggling to get done, tell someone else about your plans to finally tackle it. Call a friend, tell your spouse, or announce it on social media. Encourage the people you’re sharing with to check back with you on how you did. It may be the little extra push you need to stop procrastinating.

Find An Accountability Buddy 

Last but not least, find someone else who’s procrastinating and start holding each other accountable. This could be as simple as checking in once in the morning to declare what you each want to get done, and then again at the end of the day to see what happened. Knowing someone else is right there with you can be super motivating.

Give each of these procrastination beating strategies a try and see which ones give you the best results. Like anything else, procrastinating is a habit and you can get out of it and turn yourself into the motivated and productive version of yourself you want to be.

Need help being accountable? Set up a complimentary 30-minute virtual appointment to help you stop procrastinating 

Julie Stobbe is a Trained Professional Organizer and Lifestyle Organizing Coach who brings happiness to homes and organization to offices, in person and virtually. She has been working with clients since 2006 to provide customized organizing solutions to suit their individual needs and situation. She uses her love of physical activity to reduce clutter in your, home, office, mind and time. Get started by downloading Tips for Reorganizing 9 Rooms.

Contact her at julie@mindoverclutter.ca

 TwitterFacebook Facebook group Organizing Mind and Space

Click here to learn more about working with a Professional Organizer?

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Organize your office to be more active

With more people working from home, it is a good time to look at your office design. When I started organizing in 2006 I learned about organizing efficient offices so you didn’t waste time away from your desk. Starting in 2014 new research was telling us to organize offices to help you be active.  Stand up, sit less and move more. Click To Tweet

Even the most well-designed office can make you feel chained to your desk.  Make sure that you can get up and take a walk occasionally, or maybe move to a secondary location where you get a little work done without sitting in the same place all day.

Organize an Active Workstation

 

Move more, Sit less

An active office has a standing area, sitting desk and whiteboard

Stand up Sit less Move more

An active office is defined “as a workplace design concept that proposes an integrated supportive environment, which aims at the reduction of sedentary behaviors and promotion of  physically active work processes that are characterized by regular changes between different work-related tasks, workstations, and working postures.”  Try adding to your traditional desk, elements such as active seats, standing desks, and whiteboards to help you get moving.

Products that make your office active

 

Use an exercise ball as your chair.  You constantly contract and release muscle tension to help your balance.  This muscle contraction helps you to be more active and less sedentary.

Invest in a sit stand desk.  They are very economical and allow you to transition from sitting to standing as you change the type of work you are doing.  It is the transition from sitting to standing and standing to sitting every 30 minutes that give you the health benefits associated with an active office design.

Make a larger investment and buy a treadmill desk.  It allows you to walk while working.

There are many more products you can use in your office.

Health benefits of an active office design

Studies are showing that it is transitioning from one position to another that is good for your health; it activates muscle contraction and circulation.

Studies suggest that transitions between sitting and standing be made every 30 minutes.

This is a link to a great article http://mi-lab.org/files/2012/02/ActiveOffice-final.pdf 

If you need a virtual presentation on this topic for your staff that is working from home, contact me.

Julie Stobbe is a Trained Professional Organizer and Lifestyle Organizing Coach who brings happiness to homes and organization to offices, in person and virtually. She enjoys working with her clients to provide customized organizing solutions to suit their individual needs and situation. She reduces clutter, streamlines processes and manages time to help her clients be more effective in reaching their goals. Julie can coach you to break-free of the physical or emotional clutter constraining you from living life on your terms. 

Contact her at julie@mindoverclutter.ca

 TwitterFacebook Facebook group Organizing Mind and Space

Click here to learn more about working with a Professional Organizer?

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Have you been putting something off?

Here is an excerpt from a great article on why we procrastinate and tips on how to stop procrastinating.

“You know how it goes. One part of your brain says –

“Stop procrastinating. Just get on with it. Finish it!”

But then another part screams-

“But I don’t want to!”

Ziegarnik effect

It may not be anything major, but the task keeps niggling at the back of your mind. It can leave you feeling unsettled, slightly annoyed and stressed. Here’s the thing: you can’t be fully at peace until you complete the task. Why? Because the Ziegarnik effect is in full swing. The Ziegarnik effect is the tendency we have to worry about something we have started and haven’t yet finished. But if you can just get it done, your brain will breathe a sigh of relief. You will feel lighter. Chances are you will have turbocharged energy levels too.”

Read the entire article at  http://learningfundamentals.com.au/blog/how-to-motivate-yourself-at-any-time/

Procrastinating, why do you do it?

There are  tasks or projects that needs to be completed and they are  getting put off to the side and nothing is being done.  Many times the problems is that you don’t know what to do.  Break the task or project in smaller pieces that so you can start on the things your know how and complete them.  As you continue you will find the parts you are not sure how to handle.  When you have determined the part that is outside your knowledge, ask for help, do research or delegate to someone with that expertise.  Let procrastination be a trigger to look at the situation as a problem solving question instead of an activity you don’t like to do.

For tips and articles to help you organize your mind and space  join Julie’s Facebook group Organizing Mind and Space 

Julie Stobbe is a Trained Professional Organizer and Lifestyle Organizing Coach who brings happiness to homes and organization to offices, in person and virtually. She enjoys working with her clients to provide customized organizing solutions to suit their individual needs and situation. She reduces clutter, streamlines processes and manages time to help her clients be more effective in reaching their goals. Julie can coach you to break-free of the physical or emotional clutter constraining you from living life on your terms. 

Contact her at julie@mindoverclutter.ca

 TwitterFacebook Facebook group Organizing Mind and Space

Click here to learn more about working with a Professional Organizer?

 

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My favourite time management technique

No Wifi, oh no

My favourite time management technique is to know when I will have a WiFi connection and when I won’t.  Yes, there are still times and places when I can’t get WiFi.  Use data? Not me. For those time I plan to have work with me to do when I am unconnected.  You might think, “when does that ever happen”, more often than you think:

  • When I  arrive early at a client’s home
  • When I arrive early to pick up someone
  • When the person I am pickup arrives late
  • When the client is late
  • When the distance between appointments and returning to the office will cause me to waste time commuting, I find a quiet location to work instead of wasting my time driving.

Plan your time

I will have a book along to read to do some professional education,  mail to open or start on my e-mail that I downloaded before I left for the call.  Sometimes I am reviewing a speech I am presenting, signing holiday cards, planning my week/ month or getting in my exercise by going for a walk.  Using these small expected or unexpected amounts of time well will make you more productive.  I learned this technique by trial and error.  I found myself sitting around waiting with nothing to do when my children were involved in activities.  I quickly realized that I was wasting a lot of time and needed to plan my “spare time” as well as my work time to be able to get everything accomplished without using my family time or free time to get things completed.

Manage yourself

Time management is not about managing time it is about managing yourself.  There are traps we fall into that cause anxiety and stress because:

  • we are late,
  • we don’t meet deadlines,
  • we miss meetings,
  • we are unavailable for important personal events

Determine what “traps” cause you to miss mange your behaviour making you late.  Are they:

  • doing one more thing that makes you late
  • underestimating how much time you need to get ready and leave ( the house, for a meeting)
  • thinking your time  are more important than the people’s time who are waiting for you (to arrive, hand in a report), they won’t mind waiting
  • procrasting on projects, reports and committments instead of looking for a solution to be able to complete the task on tim

I can help you manage your time and streamline your routines to increase your productivity.  Give me a call or text 905-321-1616 

Julie Stobbe is a Trained Professional Organizer and Lifestyle Organizing Coach who brings happiness to homes and organization to offices, in person and virtually. She enjoys working with her clients to provide customized organizing solutions to suit their individual needs and situation. She reduces clutter, streamlines processes and manages time to help her clients be more effective in reaching their goals. Julie can coach you to break-free of the physical or emotional clutter constraining you from living life on your terms. 

Contact her at julie@mindoverclutter.ca

 Twitter – https://twitter.com/Julieorganizer Facebook – http://facebook.com/mindoverclutter/  

Facebook group Organizing Mind and Space https://www.facebook.com/groups/1881280812154271/

What to learn more about working with a Professional Organizer?

https://mindoverclutter.ca/what-does-a-professional-organizer-do/

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Is procrastination stopping you from getting organized?

Why don’t I want to do it now?

Is it boring?

  • Do it anyway and consider the consequence if you don’t do it.

Overwhelming?

  • Break it into smaller parts and do one or several parts at a time

Do I only have small blocks of time available but want to do everything from start to finish?

  • Change your mindset and make it a positive idea.  Small blocks of time mean you only need to do a small amount of work

Am I tired?

  • Be aware of your circadian rhythms.  Each of us peaks at different hours of the day.  Before and after lunch is usually a good time to catch up on mundane activities

Do I fear failing or that it won’t turn out perfectly?

  • Fear of losing things,
  • forgetting things
  • not finishing things or
  • doing the wrong thing can generate a lack of action.

How to be Successful

1.If you are easily distracted keep only one project on your desk at a time.

2. Give yourself a time span to complete a project and don’t let your mind wonder from the task.  Set a timer.  When it goes off you change what you are doing or take a break and come back to the same task.

3. Try setting small goals and giving your self rewards, a coffee, a walk, 15 minutes on Facebook, call a friend etc

4. Think of how you will feel when the task is completed, pride, relief, satisfaction

There are more great ideas in a book titled  “Don’t Agonize Organize Your Office”By Diane A Hatcher

Join  Organizing Mind and Space to help you become intentional about getting things done. 

POC Gold LeafJulie Stobbe is a Trained Professional Organizer and Lifestyle Organizing Coach who brings happiness to homes and organization to offices, in person and virtually. She enjoys working with her clients to provide customized organizing solutions to suit their individual needs and situation. She reduces clutter, streamlines processes and manages time to help her clients be more effective in reaching their goals. Julie can coach you to break-free of the physical or emotional clutter constraining you from living life on your terms. 

Contact her at julie@mindoverclutter.ca

 TwitterFacebook Facebook group Organizing Mind and Space

Click here to learn more about working with a Professional Organizer?

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The truth about multitasking

Do you feel like you have too many tabs open in your brain?

Image by Jason-Salmon

Psychologists have described flow as an ecstatic feeling, being totally engaged with an activity you enjoy. Good productivity habits minimize interruptions in flow.

The average American uses up to 3 mobile devices daily. The untethering of people to these devises has made productivity shoot up. Multitasking slows down your productivity because moving from unfinished task to unfinished tasks means every time, you need to look back to see where you left off and where to start and all those seconds add up to minutes decreasing your productivity by up to 40%.

Only about 2% of people can successfully multi-task Click To Tweet

Slow down to be more productive

People also need time to think and reflect on their work so they can be more intentional and less reactive.

Sometimes, task switching is unavoidable –  an important  phone call at work or children hurt themselves at home. Whenever it’s possible, try to limit distractions and block out time to work on a specific task, and only that task.

Multi-tasking is seen as a badge of honour but really, it slows down everything and creates open loops in the day.  Reteaching yourselves and your children how to focus on one thing at a time is going to be the single most critical skill for the next few decades.  When focus remains on a single task, it can be completed, producing  a sense of accomplishment and confidence.

Physical vs mental multi-tasking

Brain research indicates that you can have several motor programs running at the same time. (Your Creative Brain ) So you can steer your car, talk to passengers and adjust your rear view mirror simultaneously. Unfortunately you can only focus your conscious mental attention to one of these things at a time. You can multitask physically, but not mentally.  We think sequentially so we should work sequentially.

Julie Stobbe is a Trained Professional Organizer and Lifestyle Organizing Coach who brings happiness to homes and organization to offices, in person and virtually. She enjoys working with her clients to provide customized organizing solutions to suit their individual needs and situation. She reduces clutter, streamlines processes and manages time to help her clients be more effective in reaching their goals. Julie can coach you to break-free of the physical or emotional clutter constraining you from living life on your terms. 

Contact her at julie@mindoverclutter.ca

 TwitterFacebookFacebook group Organizing Mind and Space 

Click here  to learn more about working with a Professional Organizer?

 

 

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Organize your life with a desk calendar

Don’t ditch your desk calendar: The benefits of handwriting events and tasks

My guest blogger this week is Jessica Pyykkonen.

Even with hundreds of available apps to help organize your life, a paper desk calendar may be just what you need to stay on top of your work schedule. Despite dire predictions, desk calendars are thriving in the digital age. Furthermore, desk calendars may even be gaining some ground. Between 2014 and 2016, the sales of calendars jumped 8 percent and the sales of planners grew 10 percent.

Why are people sticking with or rediscovering paper? As organizational guru David Allen says, “There’s still no tool better than a paper planner.” Scheduling with pen and paper even offers some advantages over digital calendars. Keep reading to learn about the benefits of analog scheduling and discover tips to improve your desk calendar.

The brain-hand connection

Typing and handwriting may seem similar, but our brains handle the two activities differently. Because handwriting requires you to make sequential strokes to form each letter, it activates large regions of the brain involved in thinking, language, and working memory. The same is not true for typing a letter on a keyboard.

In one study, pre-literate children were split into groups and taught how to draw letters by hand, trace letters, or type letters on a keyboard. Later they looked at the same letters while their brains were scanned in a functional MRI machine. Networks of the brain known to support successful reading activated in the students who’d written the letters, but not in the students who’d typed or traced.

The benefits of handwriting are also evident later in life. Older students comprehend lectures better when taking notes by hand rather than on a laptop. Moreover, adults are better able to learn a new alphabet when they practice letters by hand rather than on a computer.

What does this research on the brain-hand connection mean for your work calendar? You may remember your appointments better if you write them down on paper rather than typing them.

You could even think of jotting down tasks and appointments as exercise for your brain. “One of the advantages of moving away from the keyboard and doing something that requires greater flexibility in how we use our hands is that it also requires greater flexibility in how we use our brains,” writes Nancy Darling, a psychology professor at Oberlin College.

A desk calendar also provides a place to doodle. Scribbling idly may seem like a waste of time, but it’s a powerful way to improve concentration during boring tasks. In one study, people who were randomly assigned to doodle during an intentionally dull phone call remembered 29 percent more of the information transmitted on the call afterward. Doodling also quickly calms the mind, and most people find it enjoyable.

Dash digital fatigue

Of course, using a paper planner or calendar offers a way to step away from screens during your busy work day. If you feel like you spend too much time on mobile devices and are drowning in notifications and alerts, you’re not alone.

Devices are designed to be addictive. Our brains secrete the feel-good chemical dopamine when we hear a notification, and we experience real symptoms of anxiety if we can’t respond. American adults spend nearly 11 hours per day staring at screens, and iPhone users unlock their phones up to 80 times a day.

You may be suffering from spending too much time on technology without realizing it. The more time teens spend online, the more likely they are to say they’re unhappy. Adults randomly assigned to give up Facebook for a week ended up happier, less lonely, and less depressed at the end of the week than those who used Facebook.

Former tech employees are even raising an alarm about the negative impacts of the technology they helped create. A group of them started an organization called Center for Humane Technology; they feel too much technology erodes mental health and social relationships. Stepping away from your laptop and phone to schedule on paper is one way to decrease your time on digital devices at work.

Plan and personalize

Using a desk calendar may help with big-picture planning and organization because it’s easy to see all your appointments at a glance. Many people prefer the tangible feeling of paper. For instance, 92 percent of college students prefer to read print books versus reading on a digital device.

Furthermore, whether you love minimalist, elegant, or cute desk calendars, your calendar becomes as unique as you are once you put pen to paper. Personalize it exactly how you want and don’t be afraid to transform it into an efficient, artistic extension of your brain. Once you have your calendar, stock up on different highlighterssticky notes, and colorful pens.

Don’t ditch your desk calendar: The benefits of handwriting events and tasksInfographic by Quill

Long live the desk calendar

Digital devices aren’t going anywhere. Chances are you use some sort of online calendar, and you may want to continue doing so. But don’t ditch your desk calendar just yet. Many people use both a paper planning system and an online calendar because each offers different benefits. Writing down appointments helps you remember them better, gives you an opportunity to step away from screens, lends itself to big-picture planning and organizing, and offers a myriad of personalization options. Moreover, putting pen to paper may help you stay calmer and more focused.

Check-out this article for more information about the benefits of handwriting, Is handwriting dead? Hardly. We need it more than ever.

Do agree with this article? Paper or electronic what works best for you?

Julie Stobbe is a Trained Professional Organizer and Lifestyle Organizing Coach who brings happiness to homes and organization to offices, in person and virtually. She enjoys working with her clients to provide customized organizing solutions to suit their individual needs and situation. She reduces clutter, streamlines processes and manages time to help her clients be more effective in reaching their goals. Julie can coach you to break-free of the physical or emotional clutter constraining you from living life on your terms. 

Contact her at julie@mindoverclutter.ca

 Twitter  FacebookFacebook group Organizing Mind and Space 

Click here to learn more about working with a Professional Organizer?

 

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10 Apps to help get your family organized

My guest blogger is Olivia Cordell from AppsGrooves

AppGrooves, just published this article on the Best Apps for Making Digital To-Do Lists which I thought would be super helpful to busy person like you! AppGrooves has one of the most comprehensive collections of app-related analytics data, and we use it to rank the top apps on the App Store in over 600 categories that we designed. We do this to save you the time and stress of figuring out which apps are best to download and use.

Best 10 To Do List Apps

Best 10 To Do List Apps

AppGrooves has filtered the best 10 apps for “To Do List” in Productivity from 1,939 apps. Check it out !

Any.do: To-do list, Calendar, Reminders & Planner1  Any.do: To-do list, Calendar, Reminders & Planner  

By Any.do

 To-do list, Calendar, Reminders & Planner ✅📅🔔 Free, and Simple. All-in-one app
  1. An intuitive, straightforward planner! Instantly create quick memos & organize your monthly calendar in a matter of seconds
  2. Need to buy fruit next time you visit a grocery store? Set up a smart reminder that will alert you when you reach a specific location
  3. With the powerful Home Widget you have your entire, neatly organized to-do list right on the home screen

    How to manage time⏳, get things done ✔ and accomplish tasks! 🙌🏻

    Why we love this

    1. Thanks to Smart Date Parsing, adding notes via voice or type input automatically sets a reminder without you having to do anything
    2. Be smart with your productivity! Discover useful statistics that turn your working schedules into beautiful graphs

      3. To Do List

      By Splend Apps

       SplenDO is smart task list for everyday use. Truly usable, splendid in action!

      Why we love this

      1. The ability to group tasks in neat Task Lists makes sure your to-do list stays organized no matter how many notes you add
      2. Staying organized made easy! Quickly set up due dates, view tasks that are past due & check off completed tasks to stay efficient
      3. In a hurry? Instantly add tasks to the Quick Task Bar whenever you need to schedule something important

       

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