Top 4 Apps for Multipotentialite Productivity

As someone who loves, loves, loves productivity and, let’s face it, gets high off of self-help books and apps, I thought I’d share my list of the top 4 apps that have actually improved my life.

Being a multipotentialite means you spend a lot of time moving between interests, and it can make keeping up with one to-do list or project difficult. Keeping track of where you are, what stage you’re on, how many hours you’ve invested, etc., is never easy even with just a couple projects, but when you have as many as the average multipod does, it can be downright impossible to keep things organized.

I’ve tried a number of apps and websites and tricks over the years, but these 4 apps are the ones that have helped me make changes the most or stuck with me the longest, so take it from a seasoned mulipod/planner that these work!

1. Habitica

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Photo Credit

Oh gosh, you guys, I can’t rave enough about this site/app. I’ve been using it for almost three years now, ever since I was in Korea, and it made to-do lists and keeping habits way more rad. Now, you kind of have to be a bit of a nerd to appreciate it, since it’s styled after old-school RPGs with cool armor, pets, mounts, and quests to level up, but come on…defeating a manic tree monster by slaying a to-do list? How awesome is that?!

Seriously though, it made tracking my habits, goals, and to-dos a lot more fun, which made it more likely for me to get on there and actually do it. Sure, I may have made a few throwaway to do things to cross off just for the heck of it (make Habitica account – check, check off make Habitica account to-do – check), but I’ve also used it to up my word count during NaNoWriMo and meditate almost daily (not counting that small period a few months ago…ahem).

To do lists are manna to me, but for some, they’re dreadful, responsible, tax-levels of awful that bring on shivers and convulsive hair-pulling. And I get that. But I suggest trying it out. You just might find conquering feral dust bunnies to be right up your alley.

2. aTimeLogger

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Photo Credit – Google Play Store

This one is fairly new, and honestly, I don’t plan on using it for very long. It was more of a diagnostic app than a daily one. Basically, TimeLogger lets you track how many hours you spend a day doing various activities. You can make your own set of categories, and then see the cool pie chart that breaks your day into percentages. Yeah, work and sleep are going to be the major ones (50 hours of sleep…really?), but it’s the other stuff that I was interested in (17 hours this week on entertainment…that’s like a part-time job…on ENTERTAINMENT).

It’s the same idea behind keeping a food diary; being aware of your patterns will help change them. It’s been helpful for me to see how long I spend watching TV and mindlessly surfing the web compared with how little actual time I spent working on my goals. I thought I was spending at least five hours a week on goals – try one hour. Yikes.

It was a good wakeup call, and I’m going to keep it up for at least a month to get a more accurate picture. But it is kind of a pain to remember to start each activity and then remember to end it, so you don’t end up with 6 hours of bathroom time. Yeah, you can track whatever you want.

3. Stay Focused

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Photo Credit – Google Play Store

This one goes hand in hand with TimeLogger, because it tracks app usage on your phone, as well as total time spent and how many unlocks. Mel Robbins said on average, people unlock their phones something like 150 times a day, and I wanted to see if that was true. I didn’t think it was for me, because I’ve never had a social media problem, but I was still curious how long I spent on my phone each day. I spend most of my time in the mornings (a problem in itself) or listening to music, but I still unlock about 50-80 times a day. Below average, but enough that I could cut down on it.

4. Daylio

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Photo Credit – Google Play Store

Daylio has taken the place of my mood tracking, which I was never great at anyway. I just didn’t see the point in tracking my mood, when I was tracking things like medication changes and panic attacks…but you can see how silly that is, right? Mood tracking is very important when you’re on serotonin boosters, as some can cause depression.

Daylio helps me keep track now. I’ve tried other quick-journaling apps before, where you can write a short blurb or even take a picture, but it was too much work when I wasn’t a picture-taker in the first place and it’s super irritating to write long things on my phone. Daylio makes it way easier for people like me by eliminating writing and pictures entirely. All you do is pick the smiley face that corresponds to your mood (from great to awful), and then pick the activities you did that day. It’s a bit like TimeLogger in that you can track what you did each day, but it’s not timed and there’s an option to write a note if you want.

I like the simplicity. There’s a reminder as well, which I set to 8pm, but I’ve found myself doing it a couple of times a day to get a feel for my mood as it shifts.

Aside from Habitica, these are apps I’ve started using only this year, so I can’t say for sure whether or not they’ll stick with me for the long-term. Regardless, I think they’re all incredibly useful for managing time, and not too involved to make using them a time-waster in and of themselves (something I’ve found happens to me a lot).

What are some productivity apps you use?

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Quarter Life Crisis: Redux

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When I was around 23, I had a quarter-life crisis.  It’s a cute term for a terrible, terrible feeling that most people my age can relate to.

I’m feeling the same way now. Not growing, not grown. Stuck in limbo. Stuck in a pit stop that is, honestly, the pits.

I mean, some things are looking up. I had failed miserably in my habit upkeep for about three months, but I’m back on track now, working hard to stave off the inevitable psychic collapse.

Okay, that sounds dramatic. But that’s what it feels like. Underneath the hope in my new projects and plans, there’s this fear that they won’t work at all, that I’ll be stuck at my retail job for all eternity, that I’ll never find time to date and will end up alone, that my legacy will be a few happy customers and some good D&D memories. “Legacy…what is a legacy?”* 

I was at work the other day and had this thought that kind of helped and really hurt. I wrote it down on one of our memos so I wouldn’t forget it because I thought it was pretty good.

“Don’t confuse purpose with certainty.”

I used to confuse these two all the time or at least, kind of. I mean, I thought that if I “found” my purpose, then certainty would be a kind of tag-along, the other side of the golden purpose coin.

I thought purpose was the end all and be all of confidence and peace of mind. But the more I read about people who, in my opinion, definitely have purpose, the more I’m convinced that’s not the case. They all struggle with doubt. Famous authors who’ve written a dozen books before doubt their own ability. Famous YouTubers struggle. Everyone does. It’s not a case of the haves and the have-nots at odds over feeling peaceful. It’s a choice anyone can make.

In fact, I think the best caveat to my little quote there is another one;

“Purpose is a byproduct of action.”

That one may not be my own; I seem to remember reading it somewhere before…

And I can’t forget my own advice about a creativity crisis either, that sometimes the years go by with nothing to show but effort, but that effort is absolutely key to making a change.

Now, those actions. What actions am I currently taking and what actions will I take to get a sense of purpose?

Currently taking:

  • Keeping up with habits daily
  • Writing this blog
  • Not complaining about things I can’t change
  • Accepting negative situations and feelings (I consider this action, because it’s a purposeful choice every time I’m tempted to do otherwise)
  • Reading a hell of a lot of books

Will take:

  • Write daily (instead of monthly)
  • Do more art
  • Learn how to make websites
  • Parent myself to do the hard things (courtesy of Mel Robbins)
  • Be honest
  • Finish more to-do lists

I have a lot more actions to take regarding specific projects I’m working on, but I want to keep those under wraps for now.

The problem is, being a multipotentialite, I can barely stick with one course of action for very long before I need to move to another. I tried that rotating priorities board, but it didn’t really stick. Daily lists are more my style.

Anyway, plans aside, the crisis is well underway, or would it be continuing from those years ago? Does it ever really end, or is what we call the quarter-life crisis merely the full brunt of adulthood assaulting our tender hearts and spirits with the crushing reality that childhood dreams can never be realized? Or am I just waxing doleful and moronic?

We’ll never know.

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*Lyrics from Hamilton, the greatest musical

I Failed, and That’s a Good Thing

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Well, We All Fall Down

Remember my four-month check-in? I was doing so well. I had those nice preprinted habit trackers that I filled in faithfully each day, getting a jolt of pleasure every time I checked one off. It was addicting to be so fruitful, and I felt like I was making good progress. Towards what, I didn’t know. Recovery, in a sense, as by the time four months was up, I was well enough to start going out and thinking about getting a job.

A job. Well, I do have a job now, and I’m very, very grateful. It’s even full-time, which means I get health insurance; my biggest financial concern.

Here’s the thing though, once I started job hunting, my habits shut down. Now, I’m not one for excuses *cough cough*, but there are a few reasons.

An Irresponsibility of Excuses

Firstly, I stopped using the preprinted habit trackers. I made my own for May in a different format, which worked reasonably well, but it wasn’t easy to see the markers, and I wasn’t as into it as the others. It just didn’t give the same satisfaction. Then I got less interested in bullet journaling, as has happened before, and stopped tracking them at all, relying on what I hoped were well-enough ingrained habits to keep me going. Turns out they weren’t very ingrained.

Thirdly, in June I got a pretty bad case of vertigo. I think it was a headcold messing up the fluid in my inner ears, because it lasted for quite a while, and while it was bad, I stopped doing yoga and meditation, since closing my eyes made my head spin. It was hard to concentrate, and I started looking for a job around the same time, which took all the energy I could muster.

Then there was the job search itself. I applied online and in person for about six weeks before I heard anything, and it was about two months of looking overall. The stress was impressive, and while I didn’t have a full relapse, thank heavens, I let a lot of others things slide.

Failure Is A Great Teacher

I failed to keep up my habits. I failed to make them stick, to keep up my good streak. Add to that the compounded guilt of making new habits and restarting it all and everything else kind of slipped away too. This blog, for instance. I stopped logging in to Habitica. I stopped exercising and put on weight. All I could do was work, and think about work, and zone out after work from sheer exhaustion.

But you know what? It’s okay. It was even good. Because I needed to fail, and fail hard, to see what had worked and what would work again, and what wouldn’t.

It’s good because now it’s September again, a time of refreshing for me. I have always begun anew mentally in September when the weather begins to change, rains come, and Mabon nears (autumn equinox). As we celebrate the waning of the year,  I celebrate a revitalized interest and energy in improvement. In change.

Celebrate Renewal

  • I set up Habitica once again.
  • I collected rainwater to symbolize refresh.
  • I made a list of projects to work on, and plans for each one.
  • I forgave myself for messing up.
  • I developed a new mindset about work (mainly, that it has no right to stress me out).

These small things have meant that last Saturday, I awoke for the first time in a long time with hope for myself. I have felt a weight of unknown-ness, a pressure that my life wasn’t where I wanted it. I felt underemployed, and useless, packing books on interesting subjects for other people who must be doing so much more for themselves than I was.

I packed books on performance and storyboarding for people who must be getting amazing jobs making stories in Hollywood, books on physics for people who must love it, and be working in labs making a difference, books on business for all the amazing people who must be starting their own businesses, as I longed to.

And books on writing, the same books I’d read or wanted to read, for people who must be actually writing at home, instead of watching TV and dreaming their lives away…

But Saturday I awoke with hope, and forgave myself, and made a plan, and followed through.

And it’s all very, very good.

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And We Skip On By

August has skipped itself right out of existence, with nary time for me to put my head down and think. My blogging reflects my life in many ways; when my life is full, my blogging flags. When my life lies silent, my heart seems to stir more towards self-expression.

August has wound itself down, with no respite from the heat. I walk to work from my car and start to sweat at once, the heat a dead weight on my shoulders, the hollows of my eyes full of it. I wait for autumn, for a cool breeze, for nature to turn and say “it’s time to sleep.”

August has worn itself to the bone, the shards fragmented in the last of summer, as kids go back to school and customers come looking for textbooks. I need it today, they say. Well, I think, that’s not how it works. I judge their carelessness while my free time goes to crime shows and fantasy novels.

August has faded to vapor on the wind, and my goals lie still and dormant, waiting for me to pick them up again, dust them off, and take a good look. Do I still yearn for this or that? Do I know what I want? I gave myself six weeks, I think, to get used to working, to get used to being tired again, to get used to aching feet and tired throat and hands sore from pulling and stacking books. Six weeks have come and gone, and where do my plans lie?

August has skipped on by, and now come the heady golden days of September.

When the Other Shoe Drops

Seven months ago on this day, I came home. Tomorrow I start my new job. As I told my friend when he called to congratulate me, it feels like the other shoe has finally dropped, like I’d been waiting around for it, hopping on one foot, a little off-balance, but now it’s done, and that measure of anxiety has worn off.

While the fanfare plays on, let me explain. I’ve been job hunting for about two months now, and in job hunt terms, that’s really not that long. I’ve known people who looked for six months, or a year, or two years, before finding something, and that majorly sucks. But two months sucks too. Two days sucks when your savings are slowly being eaten away and nothing…NOTHING…is coming in.

This isn’t about to turn into a treatise on the economic times of my generation or anything, but health insurance for the unemployed is really expensive, especially when you need to go the doctor. I have panic disorder, so I need to go regularly. I can’t afford not to, but I can barely afford to. Thank goodness I was able to save up money in Korea because otherwise…well, I don’t know what I’d be doing.

I mention that because job hunting felt particularly vital when so much of my savings was going towards doctor bills. I wanted a full-time job with benefits so I could have an affordable health insurance bill and actually have some money to do other things with. Like moving out, for instance. And getting a car. If you ever want to feel like a kid again, and not in a good way, just move back home without a car. It’s not at all nice, even though I’ll always be eternally grateful I had parents willing to take me back (and who I was willing to move in with).

Near March, I wrote out a list of adult life goals that I had once crossed but kind of crossed back over to the undone side when I came home. Having a job, living on my own, and having a car are the three major ones. And having a job is a kind of precursor to the others, so that was the biggest event on my horizon.

I did it all – applied to a bunch of places online, asked friends and applied to places they recommended, went into stores – the works. And finally, I got one. After nothing for two months, I had an interview and then a job offer the same day.

I start tomorrow. I’m not worried, because I know that after a month or so any job feels like regular life, no matter how steep the learning curve, so I’m just going to wait it out patiently.

In the meantime, I’m going to start thinking about all those things I didn’t when I started job searching. Writing, goal-setting, future-thinking; once I realized getting a job wasn’t going to be a walk in the park, everything else seemed to shrink, and the letters J-O-B loomed so high they were all I could see. Now that I’ve rounded the corner, and it’s like a funhouse where the letters are actually pretty tiny when you see them from behind, I can turn my attention back to the world at large.

It’s nice. A happy-seven-month-anniversary to me.

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