Fordham GSAS: Grad. Life: Appy July!! (<-- not a typo)

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Appy July!! (<-- not a typo)

Happy July everyone!
I hope everyone had a nice Independence Day week/weekend!
Don't pictures like this just make you HAPPY?

July is always my favorite month -- lots of daylight, fireflies, ice cream, pool parties, BBQs, beach trips, my birthday, summer blockbusters, baseball.
This is how my childhood summer days exist in my mind. 
This year, the month of July includes several dissertation defenses for my friends and colleagues, and lots of revising and writing for me!
Love July!!!
     In honor of all these fun memories in the making, I wanted to take this month to introduce you to a couple of cool APPS (get it, "Appy July"????) that have been helping me manage my dissertation, health, and writing goals amidst all all my summer fun.
    The first featured app is my favorite -- it's called aTimeLogger 2. I searched far and wide in the App Store for a time tracker app that would meet my needs. Out of all of them, this one is the best and the most fun. Here's what the icon looks like:
When you get it, it is preloaded with a bunch of basic life activities; it looks like this:
When you tap on the icon -- say, Transport, for example -- you can track the time you spend doing that activity. Then, at the end of the day, week, or month, you can see a pie chart of all of your tracked time, to get an idea of what you spend the most (or least) time on.
     BUT -- the best part is that you can customize your activities!! That's right, I said customize. Add any activity that you'd like to track. For me, it is super useful because I can track time on things that I know I need to commit to, but that aren't the easiest tasks to get motivated to do. Here's my customized list:

As you can see, I track my dissertation, blogging, teaching time, work-out time, and chores/ household stuff. When I meet my goals, I can reward myself! I also track certain other stuff that I have as personal goals and hobbies -- a non-fiction manuscript I am working on (not my dissertation), poetry, fiction writing, and music. Recently, I decided I'd like to track my time spent walking around the city -- just for fun, to get an idea of how I feel during weeks when I walk a lot versus weeks when I don't.
     You can track whatever you want! Time with friends, family -- if you're a parent, for example, you can track your time spent doing homework with your kids, or time they spend watching TV, or time they spend exercising. It's great for grad.students, but it really is great for anyone. I really like to track my workouts; I find that it is really motivating and reinforcing to see time tracked -- it makes you recognize the time you put in rather than panicking about it and feeling inadequate.
    The app has cool features, too, to help you visualize your time. You can view summaries in pie charts:
Who doesn't love a pie chart?? This is the break down of one week in April for me.

Or line graphs:
Here's my April Dissertation line graph...

Or Bar Graphs:
Are you a bar graph person, or a line graph person? With this app, you can be yourself.
Or just see a list of what you did:

I've been walking a lot more lately!!

It also helps me balance my life a little bit! If you feel you need to put more time into something, you can set goals for the day, week, or month, and it will let you know when you've met your goal. So then you can relax once you've hit it, and do something fun -- like go to a BBQ! Or, if you feel you are spending too much time doing something -- say, watching TV, for example -- you can track it for a week to get a baseline, and then try to reduce it the next week! I think it is super cool to see how you are using on of your most valuable possessions -- your time.
   This month, I will be featuring some other cool apps for What are some of your favorites? Write in to let me know! Or, if you try aTimelogger 2, I want to hear what you think!!!
Until next time-- GET 'APPY!!! -- Liza


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