With Thanksgiving weekend upon us most of us will spend time with family and friends. Our time is one of the most precious gifts we can give but most of us struggle to find the time we want to spend with loved ones and friends.
Although many people complain about how modern technology robs us of valuable time and has replaced face-to-face interaction, it can also do the opposite. I would like to share with you three tech tools that are helping me find more time for the most important tasks and the most important people in my life.
- RescueTime (www.rescuetime.com) – Do you know how much time you waste online checking email, Facebook and surfing the net? Do you know where you are spending most of your time when you are on the computer? RescueTime, the best time management app according to PCMag.com, will analyze how and where you spend your time when online. You can choose what it monitors and also what activities and websites you consider to be good use of your time. A report of your time will be emailed to you daily, weekly or monthly. I prefer the weekly report and find that it is frequent enough to help me adjust my use of time.
Here is what I learned last week about my time spent online over the previous seven days. I spent 17 hours and 22 minutes online which was 5 fewer hours than the week before. My productivity score was 82% which is about 5% lower than the previous week. I spent on average 7 minutes a day on tasks considered to be “distracting time”. The largest chunks of my time were spent on Gmail and Word documents. With this information, I can adjust my priorities and use my time even more intentionally.
Most of us don’t need more time. We just need to use our time more effectively. I’ve heard that what isn’t measured won’t be changed so this is a great tool to give you the facts about your use of time online so that you can make changes to help you use your time more wisely.
RescueTime has a premium version but the free version is excellent and will meet the needs of most people.
- OneTab (www.one-tab.com) – This free Chrome and Firefox extension is easy to install and is useful for anyone who does research online. Instead of having many tabs open at the same time, just click on OneTab and it will convert all your tabs into one list. Having fewer tabs is less distracting and will save up to 95% of your computer’s memory. Your tabs are safe using OneTab. Even if you accidently close OneTab all your tabs will be there when you open it again. There are many different functions available including putting your tabs in categories and prioritizing them. This tool will speed up the time you spend searching online by keeping your tabs organized.
- Scripture Typer (https://scripturetyper.com) – This is a skill builder app rather than a productivity tool but it will save you time in memorizing scripture. For decades I have been memorizing scripture and have tried many techniques. I have bought Scripture memory systems and have set up my own system with verses handwritten on recipe cards. I have taped them on my bathroom mirror for easy review and carried them in my purse or pocket where they got dirty, torn and often lost. I even organized them in a recipe box according to date in order to review them regularly and I still don’t remember a lot of the verses I worked on. This app makes learning scripture more interesting and more engaging than any method I have used.
Adding a verse is easy. You have a choice of ten Bible translations that will automatically import your text once you type in the reference, or you can type in the complete text if your favorite Bible version is not listed.
To learn a verse, practice typing it by typing just the first letter of every word, then the first letter of every other word and finally typing it on a blank screen. Once you have reached at least 90% accuracy the verse will be scheduled for review.
The built-in review is one of the best features of this app. The frequency can be tweaked to suit your schedule and needs. You can choose to receive an email regularly with the verses to be reviewed for that day or week. (I choose just to check the app each day instead of adding more emails to my inbox.)
This app is easy to use and comes with several lists of verses if you are unsure what verses you want to memorize. I enjoy using the record option where you can record yourself reading the verse you want to memorize. Using as many senses as possible will speed up the time required to commit these words to memory.
This is a mobile and web app that works on many devices. It costs $9.99 which is more than what I usually pay for apps. However, this is a skill I have been trying to develop for decades and so for me, it is worth the money. I also wanted to support the creator of this app after reading about him and the app in the July 2016 issue of MinistryTech Magazine, formerly Christian Computing Magazine.
These apps are helping me spend time on what is important this holiday weekend.
I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving too!