Monday 25 November 2013

A Nod to Technology

A few months ago I was asked if I'd be interested in trialling Journl (free trial), the on-line organiser. The prospect tickled me. As a technology Luddite, I assumed I'd be organising my life with a pen and paper for at least the next three score years and ten so if Journl could turn me, I thought, then their product deserved to go viral. I'm a list maker. I write things down so I can tick them off – the pen on paper makes me remember and the ticks are bundled with a whole little reward system of their own. Could an on-line tool possibly be as clear and reliable as my cumbersome desk planner-plus handbag diary-plus an array of to-do lists (some illustrated), I wondered, and would it be as practical and rewarding?

I flew around the Help Pages with great gusto but, I'm sorry to admit, my enthusiasm quickly evaporated when I lost my family set of to-do lists in a fiction folder and some birthdays found their way into teaching.

Feeling guilty for not giving my all to the trial, however, I decided to have another go. It coincided with the launch of Journl's extra Christmas Planner which was very timely considering we were well into November and I, unusually for me, had little more organised than a date to go shopping with my mum. 

No sooner was my planner installed, and my Journl diary was spotted with cute little Christmas trees reminding me to buy my Christmas cards, book Father Christmas, order the turkey etc. Hmm, I thought, how nice that I don't have to work these things out for myself, nor remember where I've put the particular to-do list with my workings.

It took me a few attempts to get all my separate folders set up and to stop putting my children's sports fixtures in with the shopping list but slowly I started to love Journl because it does what I want it to do. Whatever I want to plan, I can. I have a cluster of small jobs and they're all up there, with their own separate to-do list, diary and notebook. And my children have their section, as does our social life. As do the bills.

Starting to smell a lot like Christmas
But the beauty of Journl over my lists on scraps of paper is that when I look at the front page, all the day's to-dos are merged. It doesn't really matter whether I have to remember to scoop up my children from various places in North Yorkshire, bake a Christmas cake or hit a deadline, these things must be done so having a list with my to-do's all together is both practical and calming.

My Journl is also installed on my phone so I can tick off lists wherever I am. But it does have its limitations in that it is reliant on Wi-Fi so you could be left high and dry in an area without a signal. I did pause when I came to buy my 2014 diary last week but for this reason, went ahead. It's a purple Moleskine® so, to be honest, I was quite glad of the excuse.

Journl isn't free either, and there are plenty of free organisers on-line but, of course, their scope is limited. Journl will cost me the same as my annual desk planner inserts so that's OK with me.

So, it looks like I'm headed into 2014 with a small diary and Journl instead of a small home diary, large work diary and an army of notes stashed in any room of the house, or deep inside any bag, other than the one I need.

I'll keep you posted but for now, it looks like this particular technology Luddite is finally enjoying a dip into a non-paper age. Worry not though, I shall still keep stationary shops everywhere in business feeding my fiction writing notebook habit.

Monday 18 November 2013

Perfect, yes, absolutely

One of the books I chose to review for the Christmas issue of Chase Magazine was Perfect by Rachel Joyce. This is one of those stories which followed me around when I wasn't reading, nagging me until I picked it up again - and yet was almost too painful to read in parts. 

But Perfect is also funny and satirical and it made me sigh with relief sometimes too - a five star read for me all the way. 
Click Chase (pgs 52&53) to see the rest of the article including my views on the life-affirming, Humans by Matt Haig, as well as my stocking of must-have reads to end the year. 
Your turn! If I could ask for only one book for Christmas this year, what would you recommend?