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Sands Of Time

When I find something that works, I desperately want to share it because it might just help someone else out there.

I have been a strict planner sort of gal.  I design one every year and I work so hard to be organized.  It works in fits and starts.  The problem with a paper planner is that I am apt to leave it somewhere and not have it when I need to access it.  I’ve tried electronic devices but they are always more work than benefit for me.

Last year, I got a smartphone.  Before you bask in the glory of my device, I want you to know this is a cheap tracfone smartphone.  I paid something like $10 for the phone and I pay $20 every three months for service.  So it’s not an “investment”.  I ended up getting  a smartphone because it was the best deal.  It doesn’t have a ton of memory so everything I put on the phone must be something I use on a regular basis.  Something I can’t live without.

I’m a big Google user but I also use Outlook.  Between the two I have become more organized and less apt to forget things.

The first application I started using was Google Calendar.  Not only can I put in events but some websites actually allow me to add events directly (without extra typing) such as MeetUp.  I like that I can access it on my phone but on my computer as well.  You are going to find that everything I use is synced up to my computer.

I did try to use the Notes program that came with my phone.  What a nightmare.  Not only was my phone the only place I could access those notes but it had so many glitches that using it made me want to cry.  Sometimes it would eat an entire “note”.  Then I found Google Keep.  I have been using this program for about 2 months and I love it so so much.  You have 2 options (from what I know) lists or notes.  I have so many lists.  I have made lists for the books on my Nook so I know what I have read and still want to read.  I have made to-do lists.

I now have my evening list – that list of things I need to remember when I get home.  When I think of something, I just quickly add it to the list then I check it when I get home.

Notes and lists can be pinned so there are ones at the very top (that is cool but not nearly as cool as when I discovered I could rearrange the lists and notes to my desire).

I have conversations with friends and they tell me I need to look up xyz – I put it in a note.  I don’t have to be hooked up to the internet at that time.  The next time I am, the note syncs to my computer and I can go back and look at things to look up or to check out.  It’s amazing.

Another tool I have used on my phone is the camera.  While it’s great for taking pictures, I use it to take pictures of books I see at the library or products in the store.  I’ve taken pictures so I can compare prices.  And because I have One Drive on my phone (the Outlook cloud application), my pictures are automatically uploaded into the cloud when I have access to internet.  Prior to discovering to that, it was a nightmare trying to email the pictures to myself.  Now I go into the cloud and I can either save them to cloud files or download them to my computer.  No more waiting for emails or trying to load each picture one at a time.

While these won’t solve any major crisis, they make me feel a bit more in control of my life.  I’m less apt to forget something once I have used one of these apps to put it to “paper”.

I now use my Google calendar to remind me to take a break and to eat a snack when I am working.

One last feature – the clock.  My phone has a clock feature that also has a timer and an alarm.  Once I figured out how to set the volume on the phone, I’ve been able to set a timer for when I want to play on the computer for just a little bit before getting back to work or I set the alarm for when I want to read at lunch but hate having to stop and check the time.

Outside of my phone, I have my trusty whiteboard at my side.  I have a little board about the size of a piece of notebook paper.  I keep my pen and eraser nearby (I use a mini magic eraser), then as I think of things as I am working, I make a note on the whiteboard.  It reduces the amount of paper notes and keeps me from convincing myself I’ll remember so why waste the paper.  Because it’s completely reuseable, I have no problem scribbling a note on it even if I only need to remember in five minutes.

All of these tips require effort on my part.  They only work because I use them.  I hope you can take something away from this that will work for you.  Feel free to share what works for you as well.  The more we share, the more ideas we have for solutions when problems arise.