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Can iPad + iPhone + Macbook Pro + Real Book = An Organized Life?

Life preservers for the ocean of information? Or anvils to just sink deeper into more overload?

by
Dave Swindle

Bio

January 22, 2013 - 4:00 pm

My “10 Secret Reasons Why The Avengers Is the Best Superhero Film” mini-ebook concluded with this image depicting my attempt to organize my intellectual preoccupations and professional pursuits for 2013. Now to begin exploring how to utilize the technology to bring about this harmonic balance.

(New Year’s Resolution #2 – More Diligence About Sticking to a Schedule and Organizing the Life)

Three weeks after publicly proclaiming seven self-improvement goals for the new year, my quest for more disciplined time management still remains the most elusive. Some of the problem is that I have not yet figured out how best to utilize the four tools that will navigate me through the combination of my personal and professional lives:

*** Laptop

*** iPad

*** Cell phone – currently a Motorola Droid but soon to switch to an iPhone… Finally!

*** Extra large Moleskine journal

Part of this I can blame on not having all the puzzle pieces yet. My new journal — a birthday present from The Wife — arrived on Friday. And our new phones won’t appear until the end of the week. But soon I’ll have only myself to blame for those all-too-familiar feelings of anxiety and frustration that still arrive some days when I fail to achieve all the goals set.

I suspect that part of the problem is my tendency to multitask. As much as I want to focus on just writing a blog post or just editing an article or just reading a book from the stack of to-review titles, it’s so easy for interruptions — a phone call from a writer, an instant message from another PJM editor — and stray thoughts to lead me astray. And then before I know it I’m juggling numerous tabs across devices, drowning in a sea of emails, tweets, and YouTube videos. And then I’ll have half a dozen tasks part of the way done. Then Maura, our Siberian Husky, comes and asks for me to take her out.

75% there. The Wife thinks the new iPhones she ordered for us will arrive by Friday. The Moleskine sits under the mousepad. I’m now discovering too that it’s big enough to double as a decent lap-board…

Part of the problem is the nature of the technology itself. For most of the tasks that I do throughout the day I can technically use either my laptop, phone, or iPad. And often even within the same program. Writing emails, reading news reports, and publishing PJM articles through WordPress — these all happen in a single program on one device, and thus end up intermingling together. I haven’t figured out yet which devices and programs are the best.

A few areas that I’ll investigate on in the next few weeks and then report on:

1. Is it easiest to keep track of and respond to emails the traditional way with a computer or primarily on ipad, or phone?

2. Can I really get to the point where it’s possible to publish and edit WordPress articles from the iPad? Can one blog more efficiently and effectively from iPad instead of laptop?

3. What possibilities do the cameras on the iPad and iPhone allow for increasing organization? Am I the only one who has gotten in the habit of casually taking photos of bits of information I’d rather not forget?

4. Maybe I should experiment with this as a “division of powers” of sorts: A) To encourage concise communication, email primarily on the iPhone or iPad B) Use laptop for serious writing and editing, work C) The iPad should be utilized for consuming and sharing media (keeping up with news, blogs, and Kindle books) and social networking.

But what I’m definitely going to start doing:

5. With my new Moleskine journal (volume 15) I’m going to get in the habit of early EVERY day, taking the time to write down a quick summary — perhaps a bullet list — of my goals and plans for the day. If I can visualize the ideal day first thing can I then project an image of it through the visual reminders on the iPad and cell phone? Can I program my technology to help program me into a more organized, more focused person? We shall find out…

****
Related at PJ LIfestyle:

Are You Grateful for the Products That Make Your Life Better?

An Old Fashioned Secret For Injecting Some Life Back Into Your Writing

David Swindle is the associate editor of PJ Media. He writes and edits articles and blog posts on politics, news, culture, religion, and entertainment. He edits the PJ Lifestyle section and the PJ columnists. Contact him at DaveSwindlePJM @ Gmail.com and follow him on Twitter @DaveSwindle. He has worked full-time as a writer, editor, blogger, and New Media troublemaker since 2009, at PJ Media since 2011. He graduated with a degree in English (creative writing emphasis) and political science from Ball State University in 2006. Previously he's also worked as a freelance writer for The Indianapolis Star and the film critic for WTHR.com. He lives in Los Angeles with his wife and their Siberian Husky puppy Maura.
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