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Thursday, 14 June 2018

Use your mobile phone and never lose your memory.

Subtitled: To old codgers everywhere - and a few younger ones!

This article is aimed at people like me, who have been retired for a few years, are starting to procrastinate, but still have their mobile phones. Alas, as I use Android, some of the apps I suggest may not be easily available on the Apple store.

You may not be exactly the same as me as, in under a month, I will be celebrating my 79th birthday. I run our home using the following apps and software.

Younger readers might be interested in the following as well, as – apart from helping procrastinators – it can also help to make one more efficient.

A little while ago I discovered £20,000 in an old ISA which I had totally forgotten about. This led me to search for a full accounts program to list all my assets and liabilities. I didn’t want to make the same error again! However, I can now see exactly when bills are coming in so I can be earning as much interest as possible.

I chose a free program – I like free if it works and this one does. I use Linux so was a little restricted but I chose GNUCash. The good news is it is also available on Microsoft Windows and Apple operating systems. Like Quickbooks, if you make a mistake and it hasn’t been reconciled with your statement yet, you can overwrite the errant transaction. And add new accounts to your account tree whenever you need. I won’t talk about their reports section! There are so maay of the reports I haven’t began to use them all!

I use “Daily Expenses” by Michel Garvajal. Load version 2 and if you like it, pay for version 3. This allows me to add my expenses, cash/credit card etc as I travel around and every Sunday I transfer the week’s expenses into my GNUCash. This is, in fact a great freedom.

I arrange my time during the week, but only Mondays to Fridays using the 52 minutes on a job and 17 minutes as a break. The 52:17 is a recognised system and you can Google it. For this I use “Just Reminder” by AppHouze Go. Available from the Google app store. I keep fairly bland names starting with Admin for the first period followed by Project A, Project B, Project C, Project D, Firefighting (for all those problems that crop up) and Reading as the last period when you may be too tired to work! During the day I have an exercise period where, rain or shine I walk one mile. I have a weekly time table proforma and against the projects, I put what I am going to use them for for that week.                                          

I use the “Todo List”, the one by Splend Apps. They write great apps and I have four of them, all paid for but you can use them free. This is for regular things and information throughout the year and I get daily reminders. I always forget to take my asthma puff mornings and evenings. I also remind myself here to take the dustbins out, Another reminder to increase my blood pressure every Wednesdays to watch PMQs. And to change my undersink water filter twice a year, and to buy a new pair once a year, to give an idea. To remind me a month earlier when my home insurance becomes due so I can shop around for a better deal. The uses here for a procrastinator are endless.

“Simplenote” by Automatic Inc for all the major things to do, listing all the major items I have to accomplish. I find this particularly useful as they have a browser app whick links so you can use your computer keyboard. Yes, I know there is Google Keep and Evernote. I use them both for various reasons, but this is best for this job.

I also use “Voice Recorder” and “All Notes”, also by Splend Apps. Voice Recorder records onto various sound files – I use mp3 – for notes on the go. You can speak fairly fast, and have gaps whilst you think of what to say. I use it for taking down people’s phone number, appointments, notes and sometimes expenses, to be added to various apps later when I am sitting down comfortably. All Notes is different. It allows speech to text, but if you hesitate too long the sound closes and it types out what you have said. It also has a todo list, use of your camera, and you can also record a voice file. You can also share all types of these notes by email.

Suddenly, at approaching 79, I have become more efficient. You may find it hard to believe, but regimenting myself this way has given me a new lease of life. Now I never have to clutter my mind with all the things I have to do over the coming twelve months.

I also use “Call Forwarding” by DHC Apps. I have a good phone system at home with a wire free handset in every room. So when I get home I forward all my mobile calls to my home phone. When I leave home, I “unforward” them. Apart from the obvious, saving battery, it also saves me rushing from room to room searching for my mobile. [I also have a wireless charger in each room so that doesn’t help me find my mobile!]

If you can think of other apps which can be included here, add them, together with a paragraph on what the app does, to the Comments Section below. Please also add the cost of the app.


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