Linux Productivity

7 Ways You Can Use Linux to Organize Your Life

Bertel King 09-03-2017

Many people have taken to using smartphones to keep their lives in order, but not you! You have a system in place that you’ve perfected over years, and your laptop or desktop remains your primary means of keeping everything in order. But now you’re switching to Linux, and you want to know what’s out there.


Linux may not have the same apps you’ve grown accustomed to, but there’s no shortage of software that can help you keep track of everything. Whether it’s juggling dates or managing your finances, Linux has plenty of tools to organize your life. Here’s a taste, one category at a time.

1. Remembering Meetings & Events

Windows has Microsoft Outlook, the king of corporate calendars. Apple Calendar is a key part of macOS and iOS. What does Linux have?

Since there is no single operating system known as Linux What Is a Kernel in Linux and How Do You Check Your Version? Linux is an operating system, right? Well, not exactly! It's actually a kernel. But what is the Linux kernel? Read More , there’s no one calendar app that serves as the standard bearer. But there are a few big names to check out. Two of Linux’s most popular desktop environments The 12 Best Linux Desktop Environments Choosing a Linux desktop environment can be difficult. Here are the best Linux desktop environments to consider. Read More , GNOME and KDE, each have calendar apps. The former traditionally offered Evolution, though you can now opt to use the more modern GNOME Calendar. The latter defaults to KOrganizer. Each lets you sync with Google Calendar.

2. Keeping a To-Do List

To-do list apps are plentiful and diverse. GNOME To Do covers the basics with style. Tasque is simple on any desktop. Getting Things GNOME relies on the GTD method of task organization. If you’re unfamiliar with that approach, it’s actually a pretty good way to get things done Organise 2015: Learn The Martial Art Of Getting Things Done [Stuff to Watch] Ever wonder why the successful, over-achievers always seem to keep a cool head? Read More .

Or you can stick to a full-featured email suite. Evolution (GNOME) and Kontact (KDE) both have built-in task lists. But these are basic and may leave you wanting a dedicated app for the additional features.


3. Organizing Files

If you’re like me, your downloads folder is the most disorganized area in your home folder. It’s the place where your web browser vomits all the things you found interesting since the last time you went through and cleaned things up. Have you ever? Maybe you don’t like to touch any of your folders.

The job can be tedious, but it turns out that the file manager that came with your distro may be slowing you down! Consider swapping it out for something else, such as Krusader, GNOME Commander, or one of the other options Thunar vs. Nautilus: Two Lightweight File Managers For Linux Is Thunar a better file manager than Gnome's default, Nautilus? Read More . One of the benefits of Linux is being able to swap out components as you like.

4. Managing Photos

Even if you automatically upload all of your photos to someone’s remote servers 4 Ways to Sync and Upload Photos to Cloud Storage on Android Here are the best apps to automatically upload Android photos to the cloud so you never lose precious memories. Read More , you probably want a local copy somewhere on your PC. Unfortunately getting the images off your camera or phone and onto your laptop in a presentable manner isn’t quite as simple.

I use Rapid Photo Downloader. It pulls photos and videos off my camera and sorts them into folders arranged to my specifications. It renames files too, so that names are consistent regardless of which camera I used.


Afterward, I use a photo manager to view my images. Here, Linux has a diverse selection. DigiKam is one of the most feature packed options on any operating system. Shotwell and gThumb strike a nice balance between features and simplicity. GNOME Photos lets you view your images with even less complexity. Whether you want something powerful, simple, or light on system resources, Linux has an option for you 8 Picasa Alternatives Made for Linux You may have heard that Google is closing Picasa, but of course, Google stopped supporting the Linux port of Picasa years ago, so we've plenty of great alternatives already available! Read More .

5. Journaling

Keeping a journal can change your life Start A Digital Journaling Habit With A 30-Day Challenge One useful path to personal self-improvement is through keeping a journal. But this approach requires journal writing to become a habit. A journaling challenge could be the push you need to just begin. Read More . The act of writing focuses your thoughts. You get a view of what you consider important, and you can spot trends over time. Plus you save a record of your thoughts after you’re gone.

Lifeograph is a GNOME app which lets you save entries, apply tags, format text, and encrypt data to ensure your privacy.

Like to try out many Linux distributions? Dayjournal saves your entries as plain text, so even if you change apps or operating systems, you don’t have to leave what you wrote behind.


6. Keeping Up With Non-Digital Stuff

It may seem like it sometimes, but your life doesn’t exist entirely on your phone or computer. You probably have plenty of physical possessions lying about, and a some of them could benefit from a little organization.

Apps like Tellico and GCstar are general purpose organizers. They can manage collections of books, video games, stamps, comics, toys, or whatever else brings you joy. You can take photos of your objects and keep track of who you’ve loaned things to. For heavy readers, BibShelf is a more specialized option that only does books.

7. Tracking Finances

You need to know where your money is going if you want to have any semblance of control over your life. Signing into the websites for your bank accounts and credit cards will give you an idea, but that’s a bunch of hopping around. Why not put all that data in one place?

Windows users may turn to Quicken for this purpose. That isn’t an easy option on Linux, but there are alternatives 3 Ways to Manage Your Finances Using Linux Quicken won't work on Linux, but you have several options open to you for spreadsheet and accounting app alternatives. Here's how you can use Linux to stay on top of your finances. Read More . You can try GnuCash, HomeBank, KMyMoney, or Skrooge to name a few. Using accounting software requires you to be hands-on with your finances, but after you’ve been at it for a while, you should have a better understanding of your money than you’ve ever had before.


Keep in Mind…

You don’t even need to bother with dedicated software. You can keep track of just about anything with a spreadsheet 10 Amazingly Useful Spreadsheet Templates to Organize Your Life Is your life a mess of missed deadlines, forgotten shopping, and broken commitments? Sounds like you need to get organized. Read More . And if you use Evernote or other cloud services to manage your life, you can continue doing that on Linux without having to set anything up. Mint can manage your bills How to Use Mint Bills to Manage Your Bills Like a Pro Once you’re comfortable using Mint, you can start using its very useful, though less well-known, sister app: Mint Bills. Read More just as easily from a Linux PC as it can from Windows or macOS.

What methods do you use to organize your life? Does your computer help you get the job done? Does Linux? Let’s talk in the comments!

Related topics: Linux, Productivity.

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  1. JM
    March 21, 2017 at 12:46 pm

    I would also suggest MoneyManagerEx for tracking finances. It has a lot of useful features and is cross-platform but is easier to use than GnuCash (in my opinion) and is aimed more at individuals rather than businesses.

    • Bertel King, Jr.
      March 22, 2017 at 1:42 am

      I hadn't heard of Money Manager Ex. Thanks for bringing it to my attention!

  2. Tami
    March 12, 2017 at 10:58 pm

    What about Org-mode ? That's THE power organising tool !

    • Bertel King, Jr.
      March 20, 2017 at 11:14 am

      I had never heard of Org-mode. Thanks for sharing!