I took most of August off from writing here, being wrapped up as I was with various other types of editing, folding, and unfolding of projects. I’m back, with a several-times-per-week post schedule.

This year has been about two personal objectives: the first being a restructuring of my thought patterns towards more positivity and optimism. The way I’ve approached this is through specific daily habits and meditation.

The second project I’ve been calling The Autodidact Degree, which is an intense focus on language learning and skill building, as well as an overview of contemporary literary history. Since I haven’t wanted to travel, this has very naturally led into more work with immigrants based in Portland- a path that is developing into a project. More on that in a couple months.

So now, 67% of the way through the year, and getting ready to enter September, the traditional ‘new year’ in educational terms, it feels like a great time to sum up and reflect.

Which I do privately.

However, I thought it might be interesting to share two new apps I’ve installed on my phone.

The first is called ATracker ($4.99) It’s a super easy-to-use and comprehensive time tracker.  Build the list of activities that you participate in regularly, and track time spent with the click of a button. Since we have a habit of checking the phone every time we task-switch anyway, it’s pretty easy to remember to do this step and easy to fix if forgotten. I don’t intend to track time like this forever, but I was interested to see how much time I really am spending doing certain things. I use these parameters for tracking:

  • Start tracking from the beginning of transportation to the activity until the return home. This accurately accounts for time used up.
  • Don’t track things like sleep, eating, or pure leisure activities (watching tv, reading in English.) I only track things I’m considering productive (climbing is one of those, which might be counter-intuitive to some.)

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The second app is called Moment, which is for tracking phone usage. I don’t really enjoy social media, so my phone usage was already low, but I wanted to see what it was looking like.  Anyway, read this post about how to use maps/GPS before using Moment.  You don’t want the app tracking your hour-long GPS session as phone usage, because that’s not really how we think of it. Same with listening to music or talking on the phone.

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Posted by:Brook DeLorme

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