my life hacks – personal management


When I was about 15, my family got the Internet.

I meddled around with things like GeoCities and later on got a blog for myself at 19. Apart from MIRC and ICQ, the Internet was also about exploring margin widths, hex code colours (and still is, sometimes for certain things). At that time I would think to myself, “Wouldn’t it be nice if I could customise my own desktop and make it like a personalised dashboard?” And I arranged my blog page (Xanga, Blogspot then) in that hugely limited linear way – as a little dashboard for me to whizz around cyberspace. But it was far, far away from what my mind imagined.

15 years later, the Internet has boomed and more so with the smart mobile devices – which is probably one of the best modern things ever created. Life has never been more interesting with the smorgasbord of apps available to help one handle life in a fast-paced and globalised world.

One key thing is that this age has helped us become less and less paperless. Is that a good thing? It probably isn’t for those who are sentimental, but for those who really want a less cluttered life and consume less stuff, going paperless, CD-less and shrinking our possessions to but a few is really good news.

So, being an avid user of technology and what developers have to offer to store information and the like on a device, I’m gonna share apps that I’ve tested, liked and use as a permanent feature on my device – until something better comes along, that is! Because I am also allergic to clutter on my devices, apps that don’t help, don’t stay.

I use three life hacks for scheduling and reminders

  1. Cal. Cal is a beautifully designed calendar app that moves elegantly between interfaces. That’s a winner in itself. I found it when I was searching for a beautiful phone app that will make scheduling a more enjoyable experience. Cal also pushes a daily summary of events for me in the morning so I am able to keep tabs of how heavy the day will be. When scheduling in a meeting, it attempts to guess an email address when you type in a name, and sends them an invitation at your bidding when you’ve confirmed it is correct. Finally, Cal selects background photos daily for you based on your preferences. It is linked to a to-do list app, Any.do, but that hasn’t passed my life hacks test so I don’t review it here.
  2. Wunderlist. Wunderlist is a powerful tool to keeps detailed track of whatever you need to do, syncing phone and desktop together. It allows you to create folders in anyway you like, and offers reminders, priority badges too. I’ve been using Wunderlist for years and it certainly jumpstarts my workday especially if I feel low-energy, and allows me to prioritise my job tasks. I recently streamlined all my items on Reminders onto Wunderlist.
  3. Email. I never check my notes but always check my emails. So I send long-form notes and reminders, and urgent to-do lists to myself to look into. If I’m preparing a short speech or address for an emcee role, or something to say during cell group, I pop these into an email and send it off to myself, and they pop up in my “unread” mail. So when I’m ready to look at them, I open the mail.

The way I use apps is that each app should have a specific role. The less apps I have to manage my life, the more I remember to use them. Legendary apps that never stuck on me:

  1. Evernote. Usage is too wide, and it takes longer to load. So I jot my stuff on email and email ’em back to myself. In this way I make sure I read what I’ve written, and there’s follow through.

I guess at the end of the day, it’s not really about a Best App, because I can have a best app and never use it. For me, it’s more of what works for me, and what I’m looking for to manage my life.

I use an iPhone 4S. I plan to have some #techgoals for 2016, especially if I’m going to some #minimalist goals too. #cantwait

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