THE BLOG
12/02/2013 05:05 pm ET Updated Feb 01, 2014

The Daily App: Awesome Note -- Make Organizing Fun

Ever open your to-do list or agenda and just feel tired? Annoyed and stressed at the idea of everything to do and the limited time to do it? Those obligations, it seems, never shrink. Your packed schedule never leaves any time for yourself. And no matter what your approach to productivity, keeping your life organized feels like another job.

But what if you opened up your planner and felt inspired and excited? That's what Awesome Note aims for -- and for the most part, it largely succeeds.

What's the App?

Awesome Note, which costs $4 for the iPhone, iPad and Galaxy Note, is an all-in-one productivity tool that comes with a calendar, to-do list and reminders. You can combine note-taking, brainstorming and organizing in one app. Sure, it sounds basic, especially if you're familiar with paper-based organizers like Day-Timers, but that multi-purpose function is hard to come by in the world of apps. And getting it all right in one app? Even rarer.

Awesome Note, though, does it all beautifully. It's structured like a traditional paper planner, with a notes/memos section to jot down ideas, folders to organize information and a calendar. The pre-loaded sections have instructions to guide you through the features, but you won't need them -- the intuitive interface is well-designed, with a highly visual, warm and friendly layout. Everything is available at-a-glance -- calendar, notes and folders -- with clear and simple icons.

Folders are at the heart of the app, and the primary way it organizes notes and information. You can create folders for work, shopping lists, lists of restaurants you want to try -- just throw your notes into them. You can also make "project" folders and fill them with to-dos and ideas, for example, or a travel folder to store your itinerary and diary notes. The folder system is very flexible and works well for both professional and personal use.

Awesome Note has a few unique features. You can create different note types: normal ones similar to the iOS Notes app; event notes that work with an existing calendar app; to-do notes that set reminders and alarms; and diary notes where you record your day or reflections. You can even draw on notes and embed photos to add a creative touch to the planning process.

Managing notes is a cinch. You can change colors, icons, backgrounds, themes, typefaces and more. It's also simple to create, delete, set their priority and even edit their creation dates if needed. Move them to different folders in batches too, saving you time from shuffling them around. And a calendar layout -- in monthly or weekly periods -- shows you all the notes for one convenient view. You can preview up to five folders at once, with more available when you swipe right to left. There's no daily agenda view, though, so getting a sense of the day's to-do list is a bit more complicated.

The app also syncs with Google Drive and Evernote, which is especially useful if you share a lot of information with family or co-workers. It works offline as well, so it's handy on the road. And when you connect back on, you can easily data transfer via Bluetooth or backup everything over Wi-Fi as well. Syncing is a bit troublesome, though. When I used the Wi-Fi backup/restore feature, some notes were duplicated. Overall, though, it functions well.

You can customize notes and folders with a variety of colors, icons, graphics and even different paper stocks for backgrounds, and I especially love the Pinterest-like grid view within some folders. It's a nice shake-up to the typical list format. The app even has unique, interesting audio cues for alarms and reminders, which differentiate it nicely from the other apps on your phone.

Overall, Awesome Note is brimming with options and features, but thoughtful touches and visual flair elevate it into the five-star category. The package makes it both useful and a pleasure to work with, and worth the $4 price tag -- not just because it does what it purports to do very well, but makes it so fun and inspiring at the same time.

You'll Want It If --

You're a highly visual person who uses your phone as an important, creative tool. The simple and easy to use interface, as well as the ability to include visual information and drawings makes it truly unique. If you want an all-in-one productivity tool for both work and fun, you'll get a lot of mileage out of it.

It's Not My Thing -- What Else Ya Got?

Awesome Note is genuinely fun to work with -- but if you need serious time-saving organization, you want a dedicated list or calendar app. Tools like Tempo, for example, connect you with e-mail, scanning it for appointments, events and data to automatically slot into your calendar, saving you time and hassle.

But there's something about having all your information in one place. Being able to customize and manage your thoughts easily inspires creativity and pleasure when it comes to organizing your life. With Awesome Note, you see not just the nuts and bolts of your days, but the random pieces of information you collect, allowing you to make unique connections and give birth to new ideas.

The visual elements can't be understated, as well. Awesome Note proves that organizing your life doesn't have to be drudgery -- it can be a fun, inspiring and even playful process.