It's dawned on me in the past few days that what I need is not a "To Do" app, but a "Done It" app. Until I find such an app (or learn to create one), I have been using pen and paper. Every couple hours or so, I make notes of what I have actually accomplished. Just before bed, I take a look and - well, I just started doing this so, right now, I mostly realize how little I do accomplish. What I am learning is that I waste a lot of time. Since I am forcing myself to be more aware of how I spend my time, I hope to start spending it better.
If you want to try this, I suggest that you keep pen and paper nearby. Every couple hours, jot down what you have accomplished. (It can be a little cringe-worthy at first. If you don't think so, look at my first list below.) Don't try to change your usual routine for the first day if you want to get an honest idea of your time use. On Day Two, on one side of your paper, make a note of what you'd like to get done by day's end. On the other side of the paper, keep a log of what you actually did get done.
So, yeah. That's my little challenge. But I'm not knocking the use of apps. Matter of fact, some apps are really necessary for me. I have one that tracks my blood pressure checks. This is because my doctor's like to monitor that sort of thing and I can rarely remember appointments, let alone a month's worth of pressure readings. Because I check my phone so much, I always notice the widget, which reminds me to check my pressure and log it.
I used one app when I was quitting smoking. It was (literally, I guess) a lifesaver. Whenever I wanted a smoke - which was about every 2 seconds, it seemed - I'd open Quit Smoking: Cessation Nation (*) and play a game or check my quit stats. It's kind of nice to be reminded of how your body is healing itself after years of nicotine abuse.
The apps I love though are the ones I just know I am going to use. I see them and think, "Wow, this is what I need to help solve every life problem I have." (Okay, not really, but I do get all hopeful like that.) I have so many apps on my phone that I forget about half of them unless I try to re-download them. Seriously.
One of the things I struggle with is keeping myself on track with goals. I am trying to get this book written, but I have trouble keeping plot and characters in line. Evernote has been my best friend for a minute now - though I don't like its widget. But the main kinds of apps I have been attracted to are the memo and list apps.
I actually use the Memo app (that came on my Samsung Infuse) several times a week. It's the only app of its kind that I do use on a regular basis. Not that it's the only good app of its kind, but there is something about how easy it is to use. Also, it never gets trashed up with updates. It's a good thing and they let it be. Bravo! (Watch what happens now that I mentioned it...)
Here are just some of the other apps I always intend to make use of:
- Assistant (a little bitchy & you need data or wi-fi open)
- Bother Me (needs work, but a great idea)
- Calendar (don't like the layout)
- Executive Assistant (I got tangled in options)
- Days Since (does "until" also. I like it a lot.)
- InNote (forgot I had it til this post!)
By the way, I hope my challenge works for you.
My 1st Day List
Checked and answered email
Blogged & Music
Set out stuff for dinner
Online and email while eating
Exercised for about half an hour
Music and on phone
Visited family and took a nap
That's it. Like I said, cringe worthy. I am pretty embarrassed that I got nothing much done. And what in the hell did I do that warranted taking a nap? What am I - 2 years old?
Thankfully, I can say that this is one of my slower days, but I was up at around 8am and in bed by about 11pm. This is all I did with my precious life hours??? Yeah, so, my next step will be tracking start and finish times.
(*) Thank you, Ron Horner, for an app that probably really did add some years to my life.