Planning Tools and Apps for Staying Organized!

September 12, 2023

The fall semester has started and it’s time to make sure you’re staying on top of all you need to get done. In this post, I’ll be listing some great (free!) planning tools and apps to help manage a busy class schedule and all those actual life tasks that need to be accomplished.


Notion allows you to personalize your tasks in the way that best matches your style. Use check boxes, timelines, or boards, color-coded as needed.

  • Everything is drag and drop
  • Create your own labels, tags, task IDS, and more
  • Include status information to make sure you’re staying up to date

2) (Structured)

Structured combines your calendars and tasks into a visual timeline” making it easier to keep of track of your daily tasks and important upcoming due dates.

  • Color coded with customizable icons for individual tasks
  • Works across all Apple devices (with an Android Beta forthcoming)
  • Easily drag and drop tasks
  • Tasks include notes and sub-tasks to add additional information


Touted as the “The world’s #1 task manager and to-do list app”, Todoist lets you quickly add your tasks using natural language. Add sections and subtasks to help tackle more complicated projects.

  • Organize tasks by due date, specific filters, and more
  • Give tasks a priority level and check them off as completed
  • Use Kanban boards to help organize projects and keep track of individual tasks
    • (Not sure what a Kanban board is? Check out the prior blog post on Kanban boards)
  • Add tasks by forwarding emails into Todoist


In addition to tasks & lists, reminders, and calendar, includes My Day, a daily planner which lets you prioritize your daily tasks and quickly review your day.

  • Get personalized suggestions of which tasks to tackle first
  • Review your schedule at a glance
  • Customized backgrounds and themes
  • Visualize upcoming tasks with Kanban boards


TickTick lets you take to-dos directly from your email inbox and use them to create tasks. Quickly organize your tasks by date, location, and more. TickTick also includes a Pomo Timer (with the option for white noise) to give you time to focus on completing specific tasks.

  • Various calendar views to fit the approach you want to take
  • Tailor your reminders to the method that suits you best
  • Organize your to-dos using tags and folders


“One app to replace them all”, ClickUp combines asks, whiteboards, dashboards, chat, goals, and docs into one easy to use platform.

  • Set goals and track progress as you complete individual tasks
  • Multiple views (including by calendar, by board, or by list) to visualize your work in the way that works best for you


Although intended for a team, the Microsoft Planner app can still be a great way to organize your tasks with the added benefit of already being included in your Microsoft365 subscription. Use buckets to move around tasks and break larger projects into smaller chunks. Add colored labels to help with organization.

  • Included with Microsoft 365 (with integration into other Microsoft products)
  • Easily create plans and organize as needed


Prefer a pencil and paper? The library still has you covered.

  • Dot Journaling: The Set provides a practical how-to for dot journaling with guidance for starting and maintain a planner and to-do list.
  • Specifically aimed at lawyers, How to Do More in Less Time provides strategies for organizing tasks and setting and prioritizing goals.