I’m a minimalist at heart, and technology is truly perfect for minimalists! A single laptop or tablet meets my needs thoroughly! More often than not, though, I’m conflicted. I don’t always enjoy using technology like I know I should. While I feel the need to be a a fabulously tech-savvy example at school, dealing with various apps and programs aren’t always as efficient or effective as they should be leaving me longing for something better.
At the start of this new year, I’m once again questioning my chosen tools at a higher level. Where’s the balance between efficiency and satisfaction? And will I ever find it? In any case, I’ve jotted down a few of the things with which I struggle regularly.
Calendars! This is where I start going crazy with too many choices! Since a calendar, by its nature, is something we use regularly, I don’t want to struggle with calendar decisions.
Do I use a calendar because it integrates nicely with my district’s email program, or do I continue to use my calendar of choice? How about one of those fabulous apps that offers an encouraging thought for each day? I’ve tried many of them. I’ve synced them all so they talk to each other and had some good results. Bizarre things also pop up, though, like a birthday or appointment showing up five times in five different colors. How exasperating! If I use technology for something like a calendar, I want quick and uncomplicated! I go back and forth between digital and physical calendars on a regular basis because of these issues.
Technology makes file sharing straightforward and is tech’s biggest plus for me! But those files arrive in different forms and at times have to be downloaded or at a minimum filed someplace helpful. Have you noticed that you hold on to more seemingly worthless files just because they are digital? If those files were on paper, they would have gone in the trash, but for some reason, I’m not that discerning with the digital versions. And while I love that a doc is saved as soon as I open it, I’ve got way too many empty docs named “Untitled Document” that I have to periodically go in and delete.
I don’t know about you, but I take 100 pictures to get one really good shot! And it’s so simple with my phone, but now I can’t find the pics I really want to use. Or worse, I take a screenshot of a great idea, and then it gets lost amongst those thousands of images.
We’ve got mail coming to us from all directions with a new set of decisions to make. For valid email, do we want the conversations stacked or seen separately? For sales and information, do we unsubscribe or forward to a file to look at later? Then there are the ones we have to examine closely to see if they are even legit. I used to think we got a lot of junk mail in our physical mailbox, but that pales in comparison to what comes into our email inboxes! Another blight of email is that it’s so easily accessible. I’ve got it on my phone, which brings a whole new meaning to the phrase blessing and curse.
Possible Solutions and a Few Resolutions
Checking my computer’s drive periodically helps me make sure the files I need are uploaded to the cloud and are deleted from my computer. While I’m doing that, I double check my online drive for issues with docs and files. What I want to do differently this year is to schedule some time each week so this doesn’t become such an overwhelming task.
For pictures, I started a digital scrapbook using GoodNotes. This allows me to keep the great pictures while deleting them and all the not-so-good ones from my devices.
Scheduling a time to deal with email is something I want to try. Maybe a morning and afternoon time each work day? The timing will take some experimentation to see what best meets my needs. I already try to deal with email when I read it by responding, making a note to do something later, etc., but this has been too haphazard on my part. I’m hoping making an appointment to deal with email will be better than checking it on the fly. District email has a pin feature, which I’ve been using for things that will take longer to address.
Other email issues I’ve been working on:
- Unsubscribe from as many incoming emails as possible. I really like seeing that daily email from the local department store, but I’m deleting more of them than I’m reading.
- Setting up more filters. This a great way to nab those emails that are difficult to unsubscribe from as well as group other emails.
- Check my draft folder! Our email program saves unfinished emails as drafts and leaves the screen.
- Perhaps the app should come off my phone.
I don’t know if I’ll ever figure this one out. I may be destined (or doomed) to keeping a paper version along with the digital one.
Several years ago, I discovered bullet journaling. I use a cheap composition book to keep up with info I get on the fly, thoughts that have no particular place to reside, and lists that are for me only. This has been a huge help for me and fulfills a list-making urge. The last several years, I used a bullet journal/calendar combo that’s worked fairly well. Sometimes it’s very satisfying to hold pen and paper in hand to write and draw.
What about You?
What aspects of technology do you wrestle with and what are some of the strategies that have helped you?
Author: Bitsy Griffin
Bitsy Griffin is the school librarian and technology facilitator for Old Town ES in Winston Salem, NC. She has 25+ years experience in elementary, middle, and high schools as a math teacher and librarian. She serves on the Board of Directors for the North Carolina School Library Media Association and is active in ALA as a Councilor-at-large and AASL Affiliate Assembly as the Region 4 Rep. Find her blog at http://www.bitsygriffin.com