Wednesday, January 02, 2013

New Year's Program Recommendations

I took a bit of a hiatus from the blog during the week of Christmas, and then that sort of rolled right into New Year's and so I'm playing catch up. But only a little!

I used to be very much against this whole "new year, new you" kind of idea that we get hammered with right around now. But this year it's actually something that's working for me. I've got a lot of things I want to change about me, how I live, how I deal with the world, and how I accomplish goals. I've had plans for a lot of things, but there was always little stuff standing in my way. But after the week and a half of vacation that was the Christmas holiday this year, it's just turned out that New Year's was a really good time to get started.

It really has felt like a bit of a clean break with the past this time around. So I've got a million things going on. First and foremost, to keep up with this blog and try to not just update regularly but also grow my readership and try to get some interaction with my readers. So please, comment on posts if you have something to say!

I'm also trying a few new ways to keep myself organized, including working with Evernote. One thing I'm doing is using that to keep track of all the things I want to write about, which should help me with updating this on time. So far, I like it quite a bit. Especially because I can use it on both computers, my phone, and my Nook with all the same information synced up across all devices.

Along with blog updates, I'm also using it to keep track of the deep cleaning/organizing project that I'm doing around the house. Plus another similar notebook where I'm starting to list the bigger and more long term renovations that we'd like to do, like new shelving in the linen closet.

I'm also continuing to use Todoist and Toggl for my task manager and time-keeping. Both are great programs, and I highly recommend them. Todoist is especially nice because unlike all of the other popular task managers that people like to talk about, it allows you to set up recurring tasks in a number of different ways. So you can have something that occurs every day, every Tuesday, every third Monday, etc. It's been a lifesaver so far.

The biggest fault I have with ToDoist is that it's useless to try to use it on my phone in any way. The app only syncs once a day unless you pay for the premium service and I just don't have that in the budget right now. Plus the mobile browser version of the site doesn't sync properly even when it does sync. So it's really only useful for me in Chrome, but that's okay because that's primarily where I need it.

Of course, I also still use Google Calendar for scheduling day to day things, but I've also started trying to adapt to using a mix of digital and analog scheduling. I'm still experimenting to find the right mix of everything for me. But scheduling my day by the hour is actually really helping me with time management, so anybody that's a freelancer or a stay-at-home whatever should consider it.

All of my bills I'm starting to keep organized in a paper planner that stays on the desk, because I've realized that I don't really ever look at the month-long view in my Google Calendar so I don't see upcoming bills and paychecks as easily as I need to for our budgeting issues. The planner to the left is similar to the one I'm using, only I think mine is prettier (thanks Cyn!) and I love that it's got tabs to quickly flip to the different months.

Hopefully everyone else is having fun with trying to work out new ways to accomplish the goals that they've set for themselves. Don't overreach, but it's always worthwhile to try to make things a little easier on you, you deserve a break.