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In this day and age, getting through all the movies and shows you want to watch, the books you want to read, and the music you want to listen to, requires planning of military precision. And it’s not only about catching up with everything that’s already out there, but there’s also an overwhelming amount of content coming out every day. With only so many waking hours, keeping up is, at the very least, an extra task on your to-do list.

A little organization will go a long way if you don’t want to miss out, and getting extra help from apps and online platforms will definitely make things easier—especially when you run into the dreaded question of what to watch, read, or listen to next.

Keep track of your movies and shows

watching a movie at the cinema
If this is how you spend most of your time, you’ve surely had some blackouts. Did you actually watch that obscure spaghetti Western or was it just your imagination? Luciano de Polo via Deposit Photos

The streaming services you’re already subscribed to should come with some kind of bookmarking feature: Choose + My List next to anything on Netflix, for example, or Add to Watchlist next to anything on Amazon Prime Video. You can then go to My List (Netflix) or My Stuff (Prime Video) to see all the movies and shows you’ve saved so far.

A lot of the time, though, something will catch your eye when you’re not on Netflix or your preferred streaming service. Google is rolling out a new feature where if you search for a show or movie, you can either tap Watched it? or Watchlist on the card that pops up. This will automatically save it to your collection, which you can access at google.com/save. For now, this feature is only available on mobile devices, and since it’s still rolling out, it might not yet appear on your Google app.

Letterboxd does a fantastic job of letting you log movies you want to watch and movies you’ve already seen. Just click or tap the Watchlist button next to any film you come across on the site or in the app (available for Android and iOS), and it’ll be added to your personal watchlist. View it at any time. Letterboxd will even tell you which movies are available on which streaming or digital download services.

We’re also big fans of Trakt, which covers movies and TV shows. Hit the Add to watchlist button next to any item in the Trakt database and it’ll be saved for you. You can sort this watchlist in all kinds of ways, including the date items were added and how long the runtime for each of them is (in case you’re pushed for time). You can access the platform via web browser, but there are plenty of unofficial apps available for iOS, Android, iPadOS, Windows Phone, and even playback software such as VLC.

Next Episode is another good choice. It tracks movies, but it focuses primarily on TV shows and can tell you when they’re hitting the small screen, as well as how to find them on demand. You’ll be able to mark shows and films as watched when you’ve seen them, even individual episodes within seasons, which is extremely helpful if you’re watching several shows at the same time.

Keep track of the books you’re reading

Hallway filled with books
Some people live with roommates. Some people live with books. In both cases though, it’s nice to remember their names. Dustin Tramel on Unsplash

Owned and run by Amazon, Goodreads is one of the most comprehensive apps for keeping track of your reading. The platform has three virtual shelves to sort the books you’re reading, the ones you’ve already read, and the ones you want to read.

If you see something you like while browsing the Goodreads site, click the Want to Read badge next to it, and you’ll find it on that shelf. You can even set yourself a challenge inside Goodreads to get through a certain number of books on your list over a certain period of time.

If Goodreads isn’t for you, try LibraryThing, which offers a similar set of features. On this site, click Add to Your books to put a title in your reading queue, then choose To read from the list on the left (click Show all to see all your collections). You’ll also have the option to create personal lists, so you can sort the books that interest you around a specific topic, genre or language, for example.

The interface isn’t quite as polished as Goodreads, but LibraryThing has a lot of the same tools: You can track how far you are through a book, add ratings, discuss titles with other users, and catalog your collection.

There’s Amazon, too, which can be useful whether you’re buying physical books or reading e-books on a Kindle. Whenever you come across a book on the site, click Add to List to save it for future reference—you can choose one of the lists Amazon makes for you (like Wish List) or create your own “to read” list.

Keep track of your music

person playing record
Every music fan knows that if you don’t have a list of what to listen to next, you’ll just play Led Zeppelin III on a loop for the millionth time and become a ’70s rocker frozen in time. Like this guy. Corepics via Deposit Photos

If you use a music streaming app, see what kind of options it offers for saving tunes you’ll want to listen to later. If you see a track or album you like, you could queue it up immediately or add it to the end of the playlist you’re currently listening to. This is easy to do in all the major streaming apps.

If you don’t want to disrupt your playlist of the moment, save your discovery to a new one (call it “to listen to,” for example). In the Spotify and Apple Music desktop apps, click the three dots by a song or album, then choose Add to Playlist to save something for later. If necessary, you can create a new playlist from the same menu.

Outside of the streaming apps you’re already using, have a look at Last.fm. Not only can the service automatically track what you’re listening to across various platforms and produce intelligent recommendations from that data, but it will also let you bookmark artists, albums, and songs you want to hear at some point in the future.

And when we say bookmark, we mean it. Just click the bookmark icon next to any song or album and it’ll appear in the Bookmarks section of your Music page (click Music at the top of the interface to find it). You can click through on any of the links you’ve saved to start listening.

Apart from the streaming apps themselves and Last.fm, you won’t find too many other options for saving music you want to listen to—though you can, of course, use more general methods.

When everything else fails

There’s always a more old-school approach to keeping track of your favorite content.

You could create a dedicated set of lists in Evernote, for example, or keep track of movies, shows, books, and movies in Google Sheets or Google Keep. The Apple Notes app on macOS, iPadOS, iOS, and the web is also a great option.

Just remember to add checkboxes next to each item so when you’re finally done watching The Irishman or listening to that three-volume Pink Floyd box set, you’ll get the satisfaction of checking and deleting it with just one victorious tap.

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