Lately I've been loving my technology. January was a busy month with my mother having a partial hip replacement, my oldest daughter turning twelve, and my youngest daughter having her tonsils and adenoids removed. I'm still writing too, although my writing is much more sporadic than I'd like it to be, and I'm starting to pull things together for Romancing The Smokies! (psst! I only have one seat left at my table! Want it? Better hurry over here and register before it's too late.)
How do I manage it all?
Let me show you ...
Ten Apps That Keep Me Sane
01.) Jorte. This is a calendar/planner app that I use almost religiously. It reminds me to blog on the 4th days so that you hear from me on the 5th days. It reminds me to post on social media every so often. It helps me keep track of laundry day (so that I don't end up buried under mounds of clothes after waiting to do laundry when the girls and I run out of clothes), my bedclothes laundry day, appointments for myself and my kiddos, birthdays, and lots more. I love that it has little "stickers" I can use, that it allows me to color code my appointments and other plans, and that it has a customizable user interface. I can set the viewing panel to show daily, weekly, our monthly, and it has widgets that help keep me on track at a glance. This app has taken the place of the calendar section of what used to be my DIY paper planner (which I loved but didn't fit in my purse).
02.) Microsoft OneNote. This app has taken the place of all the other sections I had created in my DIY paper planner. OneNote is like a virtual notebook that never runs out of paper, and I love that I can erase mistakes without messing up my page. I have the app (and Jorte, too) installed only on what I refer to as my "work tablet," which lives in a notebook-like folio case and has a handy slimline stylus built right in. That and the handwriting keyboard allow me to have the textile feel of handwriting on paper without all the hassles of dead pens, running out of paper, messing up and having to contend with scribble marks, etc., etc. It also helps me to stay organized; OneNote allows you to have multiple notebooks, each of which is allowed to have multiple sections, each of which can have multiple pages. So in my OneNote, for instance, I have a notebook for novel ideas. Each idea gets it's own "section," where I can then have separate pages for character names and info, scene ideas, plot thoughts, etc. I also have a notebook I use as a prayer journal, with prayer request sections and pages for various people. But my favorite use for this app is my bullet journal. Most people who love bullet journaling love it because it's organized for to-do listing and tracking other things, but I love it because it gives me organized chaos in my journaling habits. With a bullet journal, I'm not obligated to string my thoughts together in any way, and I also love that I can label different bullet styles, such as "quotes," and "movies to watch," and other things like that. Journaling helps me to keep a clear head and work through emotions that might otherwise build up and stress me out, so I love having a digital version that I can carry around with me at all times.
03.) Microsoft Word. This app allows me to write on the go. I've got it installed on my phone and I've used it that way several times, but my most favorite way to use it (aside from my laptop, of course) is my tablet. Like using OneNote for journaling I can use Word on my tablet to mimic the creative textile feel of writing with paper and pen, but the handwriting keyboard (yet another app) helps word to translate my handwriting into usual text. It's the best of both worlds ... I get to handwrite, but I have the convenience of everything being saved in a digital format complete with spellcheck and all the other perks.
04.) Facebook. I use this app not only for the social connection, but also as a portable newspaper. I follow CNN, Fox News, and several of my local news channels, as well as a few celebrities and some fellow authors. Most importantly, I use it as it was intended to be used: as a way to keep up with my friends and post quick updates, questions, or things I want to share with the people I care about. Writing is a solitary job though, in a lot of ways, so using Facebook to help keep my social life alive means a lot to me and probably keeps me from becoming some kind of weird hermit who never showers and doesn't know what the words "selfie" and "fleek" mean.
05.) Slacker Radio. Without music, I'm not sure life would be as worth it for me; listening to music is one of my favorite coping techniques, and Slacker makes sure that I'm never without something to listen to. The app is free to use, and with a paid subscription I can eliminate the annoyance of commercials, shut down the DJs, and play most music on demand. They have seasonal channels, lots of genres to choose from, and even (a few) news channels to listen to.
06.) YouTube. Sometimes, I just need to veg out and watch something funny, listen to something encouraging, or just relish the feeling of solidarity that comes from watching a badass chick help other chicks embrace their inner badassery. I love Joe Santagato because he's hilarious and Ryan Abe because he's funny but also beautifully soulful sometimes. I love Sarah Rae Vargas because she's a badass who inspires me to embrace my own inner badass, and Alayna Fenderr because when she's not making me think, she's making me laugh. I used to love Christian Collins (Weekly Chris) back when he first started YouTube because he was always uplifting and inspirational, but then he got popular and ... meh. Lately I've been getting to know Kendall Rae, and sometimes I'll just watch random stuff.
07.) HULU/WWE. I'm listing these as one app, because for me they both work together to serve one singular purpose: They keep me in touch with WWE wrestling, which has been an obsessive passion for me ever since I was a little girl. I'm not even kidding, you guys ... in recent years some of the legends I remember watching in my childhood years have begun to die off, and I've cried real tears for them. Last year I cried over Rowdy Roddy Piper and I totally broke down and wept over the lost of Dusty Rhodes. I watch now and see the legends I grew up loving brought out as novelties, and knowing that someday they won't be there anymore makes my heart hurt. In the meantime, I continue to fall in love with new talents, and professional entertainment wrestling remains something I love and respect with all of my heart.
08.) Clue. It's a lady tracker, for lady stuff. It keeps track of certain lady things and keeps me knowledgeable of my own ... stuff. It even has mathematical pattern predictions. And that's all I have to say about that.
09.) Chrome. This is my chosen web browser, and I love that when I use it on my laptop, phone or tablet, I can get to the tabs on one device that are open on another. It also helps me keep track of my favorite pages from one device to another, and is generally pretty seamless in functionality. I also love the incognito browser tab, not because I'm doing things I feel I need to hide, but because when I have chrome logged into my personal google account, I can easily use an incognito tab to log into my work google account. No signing out and then back in, just bring up an easy tab and do what needs to be done.
10.) JetPack JoyRide. Guys, seriously. I love that game. It's addictive enough to play for long periods of time, but pointless enough that if I need to turn it off suddenly tend a crying munchkin, run an errand, or deal with the urgent demands of daily life, I can drop it without being stressed.
And now I have to drop this, because my bitty one is crying upstairs. I can't wait til her throat is done healing and she's back to her usual cheerful self. Forgive me for typos, wish me luck, and I'll wish you Happy Reading.