In the digital age, we don’t necessarily have to remember people’s phones numbers any more. We just use a voice assistant app to say, “Call Jim” and the number automatically dials. Or at the least we open up the contact list on our phone and select the name for a quick dial.


Unfortunately, we still have to remember our appointments and other tasks. But your handy dandy smartphone can help you stay on top of your day if you take the time to plan and program ahead. Your smartphone can even synch with various calendar software on other devices so no matter what screen you are in front of at the time, you’ll get a heads up before you miss out.


The iPhone, for example, has an app called Reminders. You can use it on your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch—but it’s also available on your Mac desktop. If you use iCloud, it synchs across all these devices. Apple suggests using Reminders for projects, groceries, and anything else you want to keep track of. You can even set when and where you want to be reminded, or remind yourself to get back to something you’re doing in another app.


Here’s one example: Need to be reminded to pick up your dry cleaning at 10:00 a.m.? Or to stop by the grocery store when you leave work? With Reminders, you can set notifications that alert you when reminders are due, or when you arrive or leave a location.


Regardless of what device you use, you can rely on Google Calendar to remind you of appointments at whatever interval you choose, a week ahead, a day ahead, an hour ahead, 15 minutes ahead and so on. Google Calendar will also automatically remind you of airline flights, concerts, restaurant reservations and other appointments you set. You can create one time events or events that repeat, like weekly staff meetings. Google Calendar lest you switch between month, week and day view.


A popular alternative is an app called NotifyMe but unlike Reminders and Google Calendar, it’s not free. Still, if you are a hard core road warrior or your to do list runs off a standard sheet of paper and you need constant prompts, this might be the most efficient way to keep yourself in your own loop. You can receive notifications on your computer or your phone. You can also manage notifications from a browser log in, import birthdays and categorize your reminders into ToDo, Work, Personal, School, TV Show, Shopping and more.


There is no lack of appointment, reminder and calendar apps on the market. Some are free and others are paid. Be sure to look at the features and functions of each and even take one or two for a test drive to discover the one that helps you work smarter, faster and more efficiently.