February 2, 2018

When 'busy' became 'productive'

Maybe less than two years ago, my husband and I realized 'busy' had a negative connotation. Everyone we know was busy, is always busy.

'How was your week?' 'Busy?' 

'What did you do?' 'We were busy.' 

Busy, busy, busy. We, like many of our friends, were drowning in busy. What was this new state of 'busy' we had identified? It was regular life—work, school, activities, housework, hobbies—but it was out of control—more like running on an accelerating treadmill than actual living. At the end of each day—week, month—we were exhausted. What had we done? We were busy.

We decided to step off the treadmill. We made a conscious choice to turn 'busy' into 'productive'. Being productive gave us a feeling of accomplishment. Instead of running errands around town like a mad hamster, we completed errands. Being productive was positive. It indicated progress toward our goals. Being productive was the first step toward living instead of doing.

There's an app for that. And not just one. The smart phone is actually, really smart. Seriously. I'm not joking. My husband and I were tech late bloomers, not buying iPhones until 2014. Its capability impressed me then, and still continues to impress me. I use my phone to organize my life... and this is how...

Some of the gems I use:

Cozi is a shared family calendar—including reminders—with shopping and to-do lists, recipes, and a journal. I use the free version, but you can upgrade to Cozi Gold which has a few more bells and whistles than the free one. I use it mainly for the shared calendar—no more double-booking the family car—and grocery lists. You can receive reminders on your phone and by email. The app is also on the iPad.

I found the list making function on Cozi rigid so I use Wunderlist to organize my personal to-do lists. Reminders also come via phone and email. You can assign due dates and reminders for your to-do items. You can schedule recurring items. You can create subtasks. Items can easily move between lists as well—something Cozi can't do. Wunderlist is synced on my phone and MacBook.

Tody is my latest find. Its a shared cleaning app that's very convenient for roommates or families. If you feel behind in your housework... like it's almost spring and the fall cleaning isn't done yet? Tody might be for you. Those of us with productive lives tend to push housework to the end of the list. Maybe the bathroom and kitchen are (passably) clean, but when did you last santitize your light switches and door knobs? I did it last Friday... because Tody reminded me. I don't typically pay for apps—but after some comprehensive research on cleaning apps and there are a lot of them—I paid $9.99 for this one. It's a new purchase—I bought it last Friday—but I am very pleased so far. Getting stuff done is rewarding, and this app is definitely encouraging me to get stuff done!

Mint is a financial one-stop shop app. You can't make transfers or pay bills, but it provides a great snapshot of your financial situation—bank accounts, loans, investments, mortgage, assets, credit cards. You can input a monthly budget. I use it to keep on top of spending. It's convenient to track credit card purchases in real time instead of logging into a website or waiting for the statement.

DS File is how I access our home network-attached storage (NAS) device. It's like a personal cloud. It holds pictures, home video, and computer backups. I also back up on an external hard drive... you can never have too many backups!

Dropbox is how I share pictures with family and friends. I mostly use it through the website though. I can't remember when I got the app, but it's an easy way to save and share files so I'll keep it on my phone.

iCloud Drive is the Apple version of Dropbox. I backup select files from my phone and laptop. Plus, I use it to sync my Safari bookmarks.

These are some of the apps that make my life easier. I select apps based on intensive online research. I'm currently looking into apps for a home inventory system for groceries. Have you tried any of these? What are your thoughts?

No comments:

Post a Comment