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Your smartphone is a memory machine

Here are some apps to help you remember everything—from billion-dollar ideas to baby-diaper changes


Smartphone apps can keep track of your schedules, remind you to pay bills, even motivate you to complete household chores. Photo: iStockphoto
Smartphone apps can keep track of your schedules, remind you to pay bills, even motivate you to complete household chores. Photo: iStockphoto

Constantly juggling meeting schedules, travel dates and hotel stays on business tours, Mumbai-based Rajesh Nambiar, a business-to-business tour operator, was beginning to lose track— so he started looking for a solution.

“All my time was being spent in checking my flights, informing clients and vendors on when I will be in their city and coordinating,” says the 42-year-old, who travels as frequently as eight times a month, both domestically and internationally, on tours, as well as for negotiations and business meetings. That’s when he came across WorldMate (freemium on iOS, Android and Windows phone), a travel app that automatically creates an itinerary after you feed it your flight and hotel details. All Nambiar had to do was forward his travel and hotel bookings to WorldMate’s email ID and get a chronological itinerary for the whole year.

“Now if someone asks me when I’m reaching Dubai, I just check my WorldMate and tell them. I can also access what time I’m travelling, where I’m staying, the address of the hotel, the PNR of my flight and other details one tends to forget, all with a single click,” he says, adding that he liked using apps for schedule reminders so much that he has synced his personal and office calendar with WorldMate updates using Google Calendar (free on Android and iOS). “The Google Calendar app has replaced the need for a personal secretary for me. All I have to do is open it and I know my meeting times, travel time, dates and all the things I have to do in a day,” he says. It gives him the feeling of having a few hours extra each day.

Something similar happened to Bengaluru-based Nimisha Bhadauria Shivam, a mother of two, who wanted to organize her life. She decided to use Feed Baby Pro (Rs.100 on Android, free on iOS), an app that tells her when it’s time to change her child’s diapers, feed her, track her weight and growth. “When my first child was born five years ago, I did the same thing in a diary, which was much more cumbersome. An app makes it simpler,” says the 37-year-old, adding that she has also installed Water Drink Reminder (freemium on Android), an app to remind her to drink water regularly. “My friends make fun of me, but with two children to manage, it’s hard to remember to do things for yourself,” she says. The self-confessed app addict also uses Google Calendar for bills and payment reminders and has recently been looking for a good money-tracking app. “It’s less stressful if you know what all is needed to be done in a day,” she adds.

Mumbai-based author Samit Basu likes to key his “billion-dollar book ideas” into his phone or laptop. He uses Evernote (free on iOS, Android, Windows phone and Web). “I just add in random ideas, article links, research points and reviews to my Evernote, which then syncs this information to all my devices,” he says. Every few months, he scans all his ideas to see which ones he would like to turn into a book. Except that he cannot decipher his own notes sometimes. “Now I’m waiting for a reminder app that will explain to me what I meant when I wrote the billion-dollar idea a few months ago and hopefully can also write the book,” he says with a smile.

While Basu waits, we have listed some apps for you to remember the things you need to do.

Multitasking on the go

Make checklists, add tasks and sync them across all devices, all with simple gestures of swipe and click. You can set alarms to tasks, share tasks and lists, choose to get time- or location-based reminders, set recurring tasks, attach notes or attachments to your tasks, even add a to-do by sending an email. You can print, export or share your lists and add in sound recordings or photos. There are many apps that offer these features. Choose from Any.do (Any.do), Wunderlist (Wunderlist.com), Todoist (Todoist.com) or Evernote (Evernote.com), most of which have apps for iOS, Android, Windows phone, Kindle Fire and the Web. The smartphone apps are free to download, with optional in-app, or additional feature, purchases.

Remember the toothbrush

Packing for a trip can be stressful—you will invariably forget something as important as a toothbrush. PackPoint (freemium on Android and iOS) makes an automatic checklist after you tell it where you’re going, and why. You can share this list with fellow travellers and help them out too. Apps like Tripcase (free on Android and iOS), Tripit (freemium on Android and iOS) and WorldMate make your itinerary automatically once you forward your hotel, flight, car rental and restaurant confirmation emails to them. You can view the itinerary, tweak it or even save it offline.

Never forget the pill

Take the stress out of daily medication with Medisafe (freemium on Android and iOS), which not only reminds you when you have to take medicines but also tells you which one to take when, and sends you a reminder if your parent or child has missed theirs. You can also track blood pressure, weight and other parameters and get reminders when you need to buy new medicines. Lady Pill Reminder (free on Android) can remind you to take birth-control pills. Install Aqualert (free on Android) or WaterMinder (free on iOS) to remind you to drink water. Then there are Clue (free on Android and iOS) and Glow (free on Android and iOS), which can keep track of menstrual cycles.

Memorize that password

Stop using the same password on all your accounts or panicking if you forget one. Instead, use a password-managing app that helps you create, remember and automatically put passwords in all your accounts. These apps encrypt all your sensitive information and save the new account login details you create. When you open an account on your device, the app fills in this login detail automatically. Choose from Dashlane (freemium on Android, iOS and Web), 1Password (subscription starts at Rs.335 per month), or LastPass (freemium on Android, iOS and Web). Of course, you still need to remember the master password that opens these apps.

Finish your chores

Every app marketplace has many an app for humdrum chores. If you’re the type of person who runs away from chores, you can try turning them into a role-playing game with EpicWin (free on Android, Rs.133 on iOS), which converts those boring things-to-do into larger-than-life quests. Instead of monsters, you destroy chores, and with each completed task, you earn reward points. Remember The Milk (freemium on Android and iOS) is insistent and sends reminders via email, text, instant messengers, notifications, even Twitter to embarrass you into completing your task list.

If you have children, opt for ChoreMonster (free on Android, iOS, Kindle Fire and Windows phone), which comes with a list of seasonal chores and cute animated monsters that dole out rewards.

Ideal for forgetful flatmates, Chorma (free on iOS) divides the chores equally among people sharing an apartment and shows each flatmate his/her chores and due date. You can even earn points when you complete the work.

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