Digital Decluttering & Time Management

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I don’t do ‘New Years Resolutions’, choosing rather to change things in small steps throughout the year. The Christmas ‘holidays’ however, can give a chance to do a bit of extra sorting … and with my house near-enough in ‘maintenance’ phase, I turned my attention to my digital spaces, including a  new 2TB hard-drive which rescued 90% of the data from my previous hard drive (which sounded distinctly unhealthy), and allowed reclassification and removal of duplicates, so annual photo albums dating back to 2007 are in progress!

So, when to find time to do this kind of thing – let’s look at the time management tools I’ve developed over the past year to focus my attentions (having managed to largely keep on top of Inbox 0 for 19 months):

1) Google Calendar

Google calendar is so simple to use, accessible on all devices, easy to add new meetings on the move, and easy to share with other users. I have 3 main calendars running, one for CODEC, one for Digital Fingerprint, and one for everything else. Colour-coded, it offers quite an easy way to see if any parts of your life have taken over more of the calendar than they should!

2) Microsoft Word Table

I use a simple 4×4 table, recurring as often as required, which has “the big dates”: top layer for CODEC, purple for Digital Fingerprint, and blue for everything else. I first did this 2 years ago, and a quick check once a month helps to keep on track and see how realistic I’m being:

deadlines3) ToDoIst

I’ve used electronic to-do-lists for 3+ years. When my previous one failed last year, I moved to todoist, and with it’s premium features (especially the ability to add files to to-do items, which means they can be removed from emails!), and finally discovering sub-projects today, this one ‘ticks all my boxes’! I can access the list via the web, on an android phone, and an iPad ..

todoist

No need to get overwhelmed as one needs only to look at the project/sub-project that one is working on (and one is advised to keep the tasks ‘small’), or just the next 7 days things ‘to do’.

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The only trouble is, if it doesn’t make it onto the list, it may get forgotten! But one can see what one has done (and I’m particularly proud of the fact that there’s several days with nothing done):

productivity

4) Toggl.com

As time can fly past whilst one is ‘looking in the other direction’, was great to hear about this piece of software from Dave at work. Decided to try it for a week, just monitoring CODEC time/output, and several weeks later I’m still using it. Stop/start, assign items to particular categories, and see where your time is going. It gives useful data that encourages one to think about where time  is going – as always – use the tool insofar as it helps, don’t let it rule you!

toggl-summary

5) Bundlr

Alongside Pinterest (which is more visually focused), I encountered Bundlr whilst I was collecting articles related to Raising Children in a Digital AgeIt can be quite a useful ‘dumping ground’ for articles, etc. – allowing todoist to list “read articles” re a particular topic, rather than an overwhelming number of thing to-do.

bundlr

Overall, you’ll see that this is about managing focus, and managing overwhelm – leaving more time, space and energy for a more fulfilling life! As each of these have been absorbed as habit, brain space is freed up for more creative thinking…

What works for you?

#Advent20 with @briandraperuk

A beautiful light shimmers in the darkness.

Summarising the #Advent20 journey with Brian Draper:

And so, returning to Advent, we remember the words of the apostle John, as we draw towards this journey’s end: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God… In him was life, and that life was the light of all [people]. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.”

Brian asked us to sum our the advent journey in 6 words: “In the darkness, the light exists”

I wondered if that was too obvious, but that’s what comes to mind. Life still feels quite dark/wilderness like at times, and the little gems have really helped! I still vaguely remember from years ago a sermon someone gave re faith – like a match petering out in the darkness, but it’s still flickering .. and J John talking about in the darkest of night skies, the stars twinkle and beckon… 

#Advent20

Sheridan-Wilderness

Been enjoying the company of others around the country on Brian Draper‘s #Advent20 series – and the poem below got me thinking about the pressures on so many on the Christmas season.. being away or abroad for several Christmas’s can make you think differently… (hence e-card, rather than paper cards)

And if, as weeks go round, in the dark of the moon

my spirit darkens and goes out, and soft strange gloom

pervades my movements and my thoughts and words

then I shall know that I am walking still

with God, we are close together now the moon’s in shadow.

DH Lawrence, Shadows

Be your Own Guru…in the Digital Age (@BeyondChoc)

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In 2009, I went to a 1 day event with ‘Beyond Chocolate’. I’ve been working with their materials ever since, and got more involved this year – including becoming content provider for the Facebook page .. making lots of small changes to attitudes/things doing … and I could definitely see the influence on Raising Children in a Digital Age (everything in life influences everything else, right…)… so I wrote this little blog post!

#Advent20: Tunnelling

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I’ve got a couple of Anne Lamott books on the shelves after Greenbelt this year, so this quote via Brian Draper chimes and challenges:

“My understanding of incarnation is that we are not served by getting away from the grubbiness of suffering. Sometimes we feel that we are barely pulling ourselves forward through a tight tunnel on badly scraped elbows. But we do come out the other side, exhausted and changed.” Anne Lamott

For more explanation of ‘incarnation’, see:

incarnation is about actively showing up, being fully here, now – and it offers a Way in yet also through our present darkness. It’s by walking this Way purposefully, faithfully, that we are transformed, step by step, and in the process become transformative.

As Richard Rohr puts it so beautifully, “Transformed people transform people.”

#Advent20

Love this quote from today (#(digi)disciple-ship in being):

‘To be a witness does not consist in engaging in propaganda, nor even in stirring people up, but in being a living mystery. It means to live in such a way that one’s life would not make sense if God did not exist.’

So, does this image make sense in that context (more to it than this, but we are made as we are made – see GWL feedback from Oct 14 – acknowledge it’s there, and moooove on):

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#Adventbookclub: Martha #advent20

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Luke 2: 1-7

Martha is the name given the Innkeeper’s wife in this version of the story. She’s a rather cynical woman who’s done her fair share of midwifery, and, clearly feels she’s been taken advantage of frequently, so is quite tough with a ‘take it or leave it’ attitude. She saw both desperation and dignity in Joseph and Mary, however, and so took pity on them. She gives a clear impression of just how dirty and dingy the space was, with straw full of excrement, probably not refreshed for several days (due to lack of time), with a trough (manger) provided for the forthcoming baby. We get a sense of just how scary this was for Mary – she’s young, and not experienced giving birth before… she goes through the full painful process.. and then engages in some ostentatious breastfeeding! Martha doesn’t understand it all, but feels that there is something different .. likening it to a new fire being kindled…

#Advent20

Brian thinks about those who make such a big effort for Christmas, and questions what elements of Christmas we should really/truly be making an effort for:

But it matters that we try. I mean, what was it about Christmas itself that proved so powerful that the guns fell silent, albeit briefly, in December 1914?

If Jesus was born as a child, what else is possible for us to achieve?

BBC Radio 4: Digital Human (Series 6:2014: Episode 3: Abandon) #DigiHuman

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3/6: Abandon http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b04mc1hf

What happens when we abandon a place? And why is it so difficult for us to leave these places behind?

In this episode, Aleks explores abandon both on and offline. We tell the story of the only permanent resident of Fukushima’s radiation exclusion zone. Naoto Matsura stayed in Tomioka while everyone around him fled. He’s now the unofficial caretaker of this abandoned town.

Aleks contrasts this with a remarkable example of digital abandon. Meridian 59 was the first massively multiplayer online game. When newer competitors arrived on the scene, many players left. The game has been abandoned and restarted several times over since. Aleks hears from the hardcore community of players who refuse to let the game disappear entirely.

  • What are the threads that draw us into the abandoned? We want to understand what has gone before?
  • In physical environments (e.g. post Tsunami), if there’s no one left, someone may stay, in order to provide for the other creatures.
  • These abandoned places, we are provoked to think about our relationship to place. Love of nature built into our evolution? We need place to survive and sustain?
  • Why are we not seeking comfort, refuge – rather than places that have been abandoned?
  • Post-religious societies – have fascination for unearthly places … our version of spiritual experience? Mystery, ghostly, re-imagination of imagination in a doubting age. Often ‘moral landscapes’ – can be places of redemption where people can start again. Often destroyed by an act of ‘human arrogance’ or greed. Do we repopulate as penance?
  • Hearing about the development of online gaming. The importance of being able to see when Meridian 59 players came online = a cohesive platform. Has kept the group together whilst much bigger games continue to develop.
  • As the game was closing down – 100s of players were actively online, saying goodbye – http://www.meridian59.com (the world felt like a real world – people got married, etc. – to have it taken away felt like a violation). http://www.newyorker.com/tech/elements/the-last-survivors-of-meridian-59
  • In the digital world – it’s much easier to ‘click away’, and no one really knows how to build a healthy (engineered) a society? Still very new. How engineer a social experience that people will keep with a platform? Underestimate the amount of time that people invest in something, so they are less likely to abandon a platform.
  • Abandonment indicates movement… so is there a similar pull as towards physical spaces? Places of redemption, more than spaces of sin and guilt – without dust, could be rebuilt.
  • 2006/7 – Second Life was huge – but unlike physical – don’t get over-growth, etc. but as game not designed to last 20+ years, bits of code do collapse, etc.
  • When we say ‘abandoned’, we are talking about ourselves as a species.
  • EMOTIONAL AND SPIRITUAL CONNECTION TO GAME AND TO EACH OTHER = RESCUED FOR DIGITAL ABANDONMENT – now been released as open-source for players to develop as they wish.
  • Debate as to whether to ‘start over’ – Meridian 59 – decided not to reboot as all that pre-existing gameplay, etc. is part of the game’s history. If revisit after 5 years, it’s not changed – unlike if physically disappear after 5 years, friends and place will both have changed.
  • The novelty of a new place that can be imagined.
  • If there are people, things don’t get completely abandoned …