Friday, 5 August 2011

Getting organised

Things 8 and 9 are Google Calendar and Evernote. I’ve found both to be useful for the same reason – they allow content to be shared between my work PC, which I can only access during office hours, and my smartphone, which I can access any time except office hours. These two devices contain all my important information, but I never have access to them simultaneously, so the ability to sync them is very important. 

I don’t use Google calendar much, though it is very useful on the occasions when I do. I love that it syncs friends’ birthdays from Facebook, and gives you a week’s notice of them, and I also note down various personal appointments along with alarms to remind me. I waited three years for an NHS dentist and now they have recently warned patients that a missed appointment will result in being dropped from their books, so forgetfulness is not an option! 

I don’t tend to use Google Calendar for work, though it would be a good habit to get into. Since we lost a member of staff around a year ago who won’t be replaced, my manager and I share responsibility for keeping a service point open, and it is essential that one of us be available at any one time. As we can’t attend meetings together anymore, my manager attends all meetings relating to our work, so I never have anywhere else I need to be, and am therefore not in the habit of using Google Calendar at work. It has occurred to me that it would be useful to note down my manager’s commitments in Google Calendar, as well as my paper work diary, so that I have them with me on my phone, allowing me to book things like medical appointments at times when he will be available to cover me. But these occasions are so rare that I just haven’t got into the habit. 

I haven’t come across Evernote before, but I’m now using it on a daily basis. With my life split between phone and PC, I usually check Twitter on my phone morning and evening before and after work. I use Twitter solely for keeping in touch with professional networks, so I don’t want to spend hours on it in my downtime. Scanning Twitter can be done quite quickly – checking out the links takes longer, especially on a 4 inch screen. Quite often someone will share a link which requires a heavy pdf download, or won’t display well on a mobile screen, or maybe I want to send it to someone in my work address book. Now, when I come across things like this, I ‘bookmark’ them in Evernote, and check them out when I next have access to my PC. I say bookmark, as that is really all there is to it, but I’ve never really found a bookmarking service which syncs as nicely as Evernote. There seems to be lots of other things I can do with Evernote – screengrabs and photos which sound handy, but for now, grabbing urls to follow up later is absurdly useful compared to emailing them to myself.

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