Saturday, January 03, 2015

Productivty Apps

"How do you $pend your time"

I've had that post it on my monitor at work for a while. I realized around that time I was pissing it away like a nouveau riche millionaire. Though none of us really have time to piss away. Around that time I also had a conversation with a friend about something called the passion planner which is a detailed day planner, with to do checklists and built in goal setting. Two areas where I needed a lot of work. Today I discovered that there have been quite a few apps coming out to help with this as well and probably are a better way for me to stay organized. 

Areas where I need help
  • Personal relationship management
  • Time tracking
  • Goal setting
I have actually found technology to help with all of these areas:

Keeping in touch
There are plenty of robust services to help with this, but I just needed a  simple app to do the basic. Keep good records, set reminders and keep it all in one place. Contacts Journal does just that. 

Time Tracking
I realized I have been drifting aimlessly since I set my next big goal a few years away (bike trip through Europe, Middle East and Asia - something like this). I have just been pissing away my time in the interim as I save/plan for this big trip. That's been a terrible mistake. I need to make a vow to myself to never live for anything in the future. Anyway, I found an app/website/desktop service Toggl, that works exactly like a stopwatch lap function. You just type in the activity and hit start. Anytime you switch what you're doing it records it. I have also tried building a little one page thing in excel that I have been using at work where I allot my time in 30 minute increments and then also have space for other things I want to keep an account of (Gratitude, personal and work to do's, what I learned today and a space for meeting notes). In this process I realized that how I hoped to spend my time is quite different than how I actually spend it. I also found another time tracking app that lets you estimate how long you thought a task would take and how long it actually took. I have realized I do a terrible job estimating how long some things will actually take to do.      

Goal Setting
I found a wonderful blog post that reviews several nice apps for setting goals. I settled on Habit Calendar, which is a very simple and straight forward app that asks you to list your habits. In the short run I am more interested in creating habits that reflect my goals/values. Right now they are writing more, reading more and connecting with friends. The underlying goals are to stimulate my mind (the book selections dive into my values/goals and are designed to help me lay out a vision for myself - my book for January is a good example), connect with people that I love and care about who stimulate my mind, and being less critical, which is probably my biggest flaw. Two of these are carry over resolutions from 2014 that I wasn't able to carry out without more of a system in place. I am hoping that these system can help me to get more focused on what I want to do.   

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