Creative Commons photo by Blake Patterson is licensed under CC BY 2.0

It might not seem like it makes sense to use our phones to put out a magazine, but our favorite apps help us get the job done and create more time in our day

Sunset Staff  – January 17, 2020

Best App for Scheduling: Google Calendar

I live and breathe by the Google Calendar app. I’m so intense about it that I’ve hooked my fiancé and a large number of my friends on using it. I use color-coded calendars to track everything from my regular work meetings to my next game night, and even have it hooked up to our editorial calendar so I can see what stories are coming up on my to-do list. Plus, I can connect schedules with all those people I got onto Google Calendar, making it easy to plan our next outing without a nightmarish group chat discussion. (Available for iOS and Android.) —Nena Farrell, associate home editor

Best App for Streamlining Your Wellness: Mindbody

I’m a gym rat, but I also enjoy taking a yoga, pilates, or dance class every now and again. Mindbody makes it easy to discover the best fitness and wellness options in my area—and then allows me to book my spot. The app doesn’t just focus on physical wellness, either. You can explore local acupuncturists, chiropractors, nutritionists, and other practitioners. Plus there’s an entire section dedicated to finding and booking beauty appointments, helpful for avoiding a long wait for a pedicure or nabbing that once-in-a-while facial. (Available for iOS and Android.) —Jessica Mordo, associate digital director

Best App for Working Remotely: Dropbox

Children, gather around my rocking chair and let me tell you about the olden days, before mobile computing. Back around the turn of the 21st century, we worked on inexplicably candy-colored computers that [pauses to hold flashlight under chin] YOU COULDN’T TAKE ANYWHERE! Because they were lashed to the wall! With cords! And they could only communicate with each other through something called “dial-up” that I’ll tell you about when you’re older and braver. Then there were laptops, which weighed more than our actual laps, so we were still stuck at our desks. Eventually came thumb drives, which let us transfer files, but not very many and sometimes we [flashlight] LEFT THEM AT THE OFFICE BY MISTAKE! Where they were useless! Finally, along came Dropbox, and we could access any file we wanted, whenever we wanted it, no matter where we were. It worked with all our devices. Now we could work on our phones in line at the grocery store if we wanted to. And everyone lived happily ever after. (Available for iOS and Android.) —Nicole Clausing, digital producer

Best App for Hand-Written Communication (Seriously!): Punkpost

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Okay, so it’s not the kind of app that consolidates my to-do list or streamlines my conversations, but it makes it super easy to send a good old-fashioned card in the mail. No matter how many times I enter a birthday or major life event into my calendar, I always forget to actually send a card––and Punkpost helps me get that done in a pinch so I can get back to my overflowing inbox and back-to-back meetings. 

How it works: Scroll the app to see previews of constantly-rotating stationery (often by events) by up-and-coming artists and illustrators. Type in the address and a note, and Punkpost will send a handwritten card (by talented calligraphers) to your recipient via snail mail. It comes in handy for writing thank you notes at the last minute, too. (Available for iOS.) —Jasmin Perez, digital strategy director

Best App Duo: Happy Lamp + Siri

Best App Duo: Happy Lamp + Siri
Courtesy of Verilux

I have to admit that while I once had a freelance gig writing on tech for parents, I am married to a software engineer, and I even have a smart oven that allows me to set my casserole baking time from the comfort of my neighborhood bierstube, I’m kind of a luddite about certain things. I stay on top of deadlines by writing them on a scrap of paper that lives on my messy desk (it is, remarkably, always plainly visible to me regardless of the amount of crap that’s cluttering my office) or if things are really piling up on my schedule, I ask Siri to remind me of an appointment or set a timer or something. Last year I also discovered the production-stimulating properties of strong blasts of light from the HappyLight that now lives on my desk from December to March (again, I ask Siri to set the timer for me). —Heather Arndt Anderson, garden editor

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