Apps for Task Management & Organization
Here at BridgingApps, we love “single purpose” apps, the ones that we can share with people of all abilities that are designed to address one need in a simple, easy to use format. An example of this would be a calculator app or a tracking app for parents. Sometimes however, it is helpful to share how one app (especially one that is FREE and already installed on your device when you buy it) can manage many things at once. For that reason, we decided that in this issue, as we focus on tools for life’s transition stages, we would share all that is wonderful about Apple Calendar and Google Calendar: Get Organized. Disclaimer: As of this writing, some Android based smartphones do not come with Google Calendar already installed. If you choose not to download the Google Calendar app, the built in Android Calendar app functions very similarly to the Apple and Google Calendars. Visit our YouTube channel and search “Did You Know: Apple Calendar” or “Did You Know: Android Calendar” for more information.
Apple and Google Calendars can store so much information about one event. Start by clicking the plus sign (+) and easily the date and time, where it is happening (physical address or virtual address- such as a Zoom link), notes about who is attending, what you need to bring, and any number of items you would like to add to make sure the event or appointment goes well. When thinking about people with complex medical needs, perhaps notes about a certain medication’s new side effects that they have begun experiencing or a list of questions to ask the physician? Both of these apps also have a sharing function where family members can invite others to share and view calendar events. This is helpful for families managing multiple schedules and a great way for teens to begin to learn how to manage their own schedules by first having the events created and notification preferences set for them by parents, then eventually learning to create their own events and set notifications. It is important to note that by adding a physical address, the app connects to the device’s built in map to provide navigation on getting there by driving, walking, biking, or even taking public transportation! This is helpful for those young adults beginning to travel to work or school independently, as they can view the route ahead of time, see how long it will take to get there to plan what time to leave the house, etc.
We also want to share a couple more apps for the organization – Reminders and Google Tasks. These are great apps for making lists of things that need to get done and are easy to use for most everyone. This is helpful when you need to quickly take note of something on the go or while multitasking. Just use your voice to say, “Hey Siri” or “Hey Google,” and ask them to create a reminder or tasks for you!
Lastly, we want to share an app that can help you relax or maybe focus better while working as well as one that can help you learn something new or just be entertained. The first is our favorite new app for masking background noise while working, completing school work, or just trying to relax and unwind: myNoise | Relax, Sleep, Work. This app provides every user with their own customizable sound machine. Choose from ocean sounds, rain, temple bells, cafe restaurants, and even flying fortresses- the sounds of the B-17! With all of these options, there is sure to be something to please everyone in this app. For learning something new or just being entertained, we share the ever-popular video platform app, YouTube: Watch, Listen, Stream. YouTube has really grown into a place online where people go to learn practically anything and everything these days. For children and adults with disabilities, it can be a great way to learn something new without the anxiety that sometimes comes with learning a new skill in a classroom or in some other in-person setting. The reason is that users can stop, rewind, and re-watch videos as many times as needed, turn on closed captioning to more clearly understand everything being said, and save the videos to return to as often as necessary. We, at BridgingApps, use our BridgingApps YouTube channel to teach all ages and abilities of users all types of things related to technology, from how to access and turn on built-in settings to how to use apps for all types of needs.
Google Calendar: Get Organized
By: Google LLC
Google Calendar is a great scheduling app that allows for the ability to sync schedules with family and friends. Users can easily create events, tasks, and reminders and include the title of the event, date, people involved, location (physical addresses or links for virtual events), any additional descriptions or notes, as well as when they would like to receive reminders about the upcoming events. It is really like having a virtual secretary for you and your family! Google Calendar comes already installed on Google phones and some other Android phones, however, is available in the Google Play store and the Apple App Store for FREE to users of other device types.
The Calendar app that comes pre-installed in every Apple device is another great scheduling and organizational tool. It allows families to share calendars across multiple devices and users. Many of the parents on the BridgingApps team use this calendar to organize their children’s medical appointments, school events, and more using Apple calendar. One helpful feature is that users can pick which calendars they share with each family members, cutting down on the confusion of having multiple events that do not pertain to that user on their device. This is great for parents of older teens and young adults to help them begin to manage appointments and schedules on their own.
The Reminders app that comes pre-installed on Apple devices has had quite a makeover since it first appeared! One of our favorite accessibility features of Reminders is the ability to ask Siri to create reminders for you no matter what else you are doing on your device at the time. The ability to not have to open the app and navigate adding a reminder is excellent for people of all different ability levels and those of us who might have our hands full of multi-tasking! Users have the ability to create lists that are organized by event type, priority, and more. As with Apple’s other apps, users can choose to have reminders show across all their devices- iPhone, iPad, Mac, Apple Watch, and even Apple CarPlay!
By: Google LLC
Google Tasks (formally known as Google Reminders until May of this year), can help you manage, capture, and edit your tasks from anywhere, at any time, with to-dos that sync across all of your devices. Another important feature is that because it is part of the Google suite of apps, users can manage tasks created in Gmail or Google Calendar while logged in on the web or from your mobile device. The other features included such as setting due date for tasks, organizing tasks by date, and receiving notification reminders to stay on track are all tools that older teens and young adults juggling school assignments, doctor appointments, or work meetings and projects could utilize to help stay organized.
myNoise | Relax, Sleep, Work
By: myNoise BVBA
myNoise is an app that covers up sounds that you don’t like with sounds you like- sort of like a customizable sound machine. The app is designed to be used to help with sleep, relaxing, or while focusing on a task at work. At this time, the free version allows access to 20 different noises, including soft piano and nature sounds, among others. This could be a very helpful tool to be used by a student trying to complete homework in the evenings while siblings are playing nearby or for a young adult on a lunch break that needs to unwind from a busy school or work morning.
Price: Free • Offers In-App Purchases
YouTube: Watch, Listen, Stream
By: Google LLC
YouTube is one of our favorite apps for so many reasons! It is a great, FREE tool that anyone can use to learn all kinds of new things. Perhaps your older teen or young adult child wants to learn a new hobby or how to play a new video game or new ways to organize their room or how to put on makeup? There is very likely a YouTube video for that! Our team uses our BridgingApps YouTube channel to create and share how-to videos about mobile technology- from built-in settings of your smartphone (check out our Did You Know Series) to how to use specific apps to make the daily tasks of life a bit easier.
Free • Offers In-App Purchases
Check out BridgingApps App Search Tool to search for apps, create lists, and share them.
BridgingApps, a program of Easter Seals Greater Houston, is a community of parents, therapists, doctors and teachers who share information about using mobile devices with people who have special needs.
Amy Fuchs is the Program Manager at BridgingApps and a former special education teacher. Amy Barry is the Digital Marketing Lead at BridgingApps and mother of five children.
Cristen Reat is co-founder of BridgingApps and a mother who found success when using a mobile device with her younger son who has multiple disabilities. We share a passion for using mobile technology to enhance the lives of people of all ages with disabilities.