What’s On My Phone? (Early 2017)

The tl;dr is just the pictures.

In the spirit of staying organized throughout 2017, I made an executive decision to shake up what my phone’s layout. Ironically, I waste a lot of time doing this. Go figure. I put things that make me write more  directly on the front, and things that are just for farting around are given less priority. I also got rid  of all of clutter on my phone, apps I never used but kept because “you never know when you might need it.” I like what I’ve come up with, but knowing me it could change at a moment’s notice.

The Phone

My phone is an LG G4, which I got in March of last year. I mainly got it for the great camera, great battery life, and storage. It’s 32GB and I threw in another 32GB Micro SD card into it. I don’t need nearly that much space, but when I studied graphic design, it was drilled into my head that it’s always a good idea to get more storage than you actually need. You never know when you’ll be short on space and not have it. Also, I can always get a bigger SD card, on the off chance that I actually need it. Also, I don’t keep a case on my phone. Rebel, I know. I own a case, but I almost never use it. I am really protective of my phone and I almost never use it while I’m walking. As a result, I think I’ve dropped it on concrete three times in the year since I got it.

The Home Screen

As you can see, I don’t like a cluttered home screen. This is actually the only one I have.

First, the aesthetic. I use Nova Launcher, and installing this will be the very first thing I do whenever I get a new phone. If you’re never satisfied with the default look of your phone, you want this. I use the Cryten icon pack, mainly for the sake of uniformity. I’ve been using this for the past few months and going back to “normal” icons just makes me anxious.

The social media apps are pushed off to the side where I’m less likely to open them all the time. TwitterInstagramReddit and YouTube are really the only social media apps I have, now that Instagram does pretty much everything Snapchat can do – or maybe not, I could never figure it out. I have my productivity apps in the forefront.

Aside from the Search Bar, the only widget I keep on my phone  is from Weather Timeline. All weather apps essentially work the same, where the differences lie in the look. And this is the one that looks the best to me with its material design and customizable icons.

WordPress: I’m more comfortable writing blog posts on my laptop – I’m actually writing this one on my laptop – but it’s still nice to have.

Evernote: This is the central hub for my ideas. I keep random ideas for books here, shopping lists, and scattered ideas for blog posts I might want to write at some point.

Forest: There are a lot of apps that are meant for you to get work done in short bursts, but so far this one is my favourite. You pick a time for how long you want to work, and the goal is to work for that time without picking up your phone and leaving the app. Succeed and you get a nice tree to look at. If you fail, you kill the tree :(, but this gives you a instant sense of accomplishment by showing you all the trees that you’ve planted by staying focused.

Google Calendar: This is pretty self-explanatory. I keep track of all my events and reminders for what I have to do.

Phone: I almost never make phone calls, but I like to keep this on my home screen to remind me that this is a phone.

The Rest of Them

I like to think the amount of apps I have is a lot lower than the average person. I’ll only be mentioning noteworthy applications:

Backdrops: This is my new favourite wallpaper app. If you like your wallpaper to feature graphics instead of a selfie (hate that!) give this one a look. Costs a couple bucks, but it is worth it.

Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel Links: I downloaded this just yesterday. I don’t know why I did that.

Hopper: It’s an app that lets you track the fluctuating prices of flights and when a flight reaches its lowest predicted price. I’m planning on going on vacation with my mom in the spring, so this is being a big help.

Pocket: An aggregate app that lets you save links for offline viewing. This one is pretty great.

Pocket MAL: I have a MyAnimeList account, which lets me catalogue all the anime I watch, and this is an app that lets me use my account away from the site, because for some baffling reason, an official one does not exist.

Google Rewards: This is an app everyone should have. All you do is answer very brief surveys and you earn Google Play credits. It’s let me buy a few apps for free, and there’s no real detriment to it. Give this one a look.

Stocard: If you have a ton of membership card burning a hole in your wallet, give this one a shot. It lets you keep all your cards digitally on your phone. I never realized how light my wallet could be until I got this app.

Z-Type: Pretty much the only game I keep on my phone. It’s a game that turns typing into an action game. You type words to destroy ships and you’re rewarded for speed and accuracy. And yes, this is just like Mavis Beacon.

Putting what’s on my phone into words has shown me that I’ve officially warmed up to paying a few bucks for apps I really like to make my phone more efficient.


Bullet (Journal) Hell

In the week and a half since the year started I’ve been binge-watching YouTube videos about organizing your life through cleaning your desk, overcoming distractions, and keeping up with everything you want to do in the form of bullet journals. “Bullet journaling” is the act of logging tasks and events in short increments, the purpose of which is to pressure you into getting things done. The key to success is to rapidly log your notes because having overly detailed entries takes up much more time, which results in you eventually abandoning your journal.

This format will probably change on a weekly basis until I find a format that I can work with. I don’t expect to get through all of the fourth season of The Boondocks.

I didn’t think I’d jump into the world of bullet journalizing as quickly as I did, but in a week it’s really helped me out to get what I need done by dividing my tasks into different subsections:

  • Blue = Writing: This keeps me accountable for tasks realated to my manuscript, which is now about halfway through its second draft. My goal is to get at least one chapter done per week.
  • Green = Blogging: I like to keep scattered ideas for blog posts on the Evernote app on my phone.
  • Yellow = Entertainment: I’ve realized I spend too much time watching short YouTube videos and I want to transition into watching longer, more professional content. This section is for the things I want to tackle for the week.
  • Orange = Personal: These are general tasks, related to my personal life and things I need to buy.
  • Pink = Professional: Until I land a steady job, this will be the least used section in my journal. For now, it’s focused on the projects I have to get done for my internship.

Last week I made it a  priority to clean my room and clear out the clutter in my room. And I mean really clean it. I got rid of a gigantic stack of paper in a drawer. It was all notes from past classes that I know I’ll never look at again, so I emptied the drawer in favour of filling it with cables and smaller devices that have lower priority. It also got me to consume more media at a faster rate. If you know me, then you know how long it takes me to get around to actually watching something after you pester me to watch it (Still haven’t seen Stranger Things, haw-haw).

Also, while it has nothing to do with actual organization and task management, a bullet journal that I can’t recall  the name of used the concept of recording good things that happen to me – literally anything. I added this because it’ll be fun to look back on at the end of the year.

It was a Sandile, by the way. Certainly beats the Luvdisc I found in Y.

My objective for this bullet journal is for it to be a time capsule on 2017, like a scrapbook of sorts. Here’s hoping it’s a good one.

Baby Steps: My 2017 Game Plan

Between a lot, and I mean a lot, of celebrity deaths, and the three-ring circus CNN called “the election” – regardless of who won – 2016 is a year that not a lot of people will be looking back on fondly. First off all, I just want to say 2016 wasn’t all bad. Second, on a personal level, I’m pretty content with how my 2016 panned out. I’ve made progress on my debut novel (“Aegis Alliance” is its name now), and I scored an internship late in the year, finally setting my career in the right direction. But like all things, there’s always room for improvement. 2017, in all its awkward-sounding glory, is going to be a year of self-improvement where I fix my biggest problems.

I lack discipline. I said it. That’s what I want to work on more than anything. I spend most of my time in a state of being worried about things that I should be doing, instead of actually doing them. Writing this blog being of those things, interestingly enough. I’m hoping 2017 is the year I get things done as soon as possible instead of sitting on it. I have enough self-awareness to know that I have some serious confidence issues, which probably stems from my inability to get things done.Get more things done, feel better about myself. That’s the plan.

Also, I need to get out more and make new friends. I’d really like to reconnect with old friends and go out more. I am just on the outside of Toronto, and I pretty much never go there unless I absolutely have to. I want to join some writers’ guild and actually meet people who write and fully immerse myself in the world.

New Years’ Resolutions get a bad rap, and it’s everyone’s fault. Nobody ever gets them done because people love to go big with them with tasks that they can put off until December 2017. I’m going with smaller tasks that I’ll have to do every day if I want to succeed. It’s all about baby steps for 2017.