My favorite apps to stay organized

My 2013 resolution this year was to create a simpler life. I have discovered that simple = zen = happiness (for me at least!) I am a morning person. I love my sleep, and I love my daily routine. All of those things – morning time, sleep, daily routine – all come into jeopardy when I feel as though my life isn’t organized. The way I want to eat and the exercise I want to do means I have to plan those as well. I’d imagine that there are many people with busy schedules that feel this too.

 

So, I thought I’d share with you the apps that I use on a regular (daily, weekly, or monthly) basis to keep my life organized and my head clear.

 

Google DocsOrganizational App #1 – Google Docs

I have my entire life transcribed in Google Docs. My monthly personal financial budgets that my husband and I both work from to stay in the loop.  My workout schedule. My personal/side projects wish list. Recipes. Meal planning. My work projects & calendars. And my entire marketing/social media calendar is on a giant Google Doc spreadsheet.

Why I love Google Docs – I can get to it all the time, from any computer or device. Plus there’s the added benefit of getting to share it with other people who need the same info.

 

TeuxDeux

Organizational App #2 – TeuxDeux

I heard about this app at SXSW this year during a session with Tina Roth Eisenberg aka SwissMiss. There is a small yearly fee to use the app, but it’s the best $24 I’ve ever spent. The app has two main sections. The top is by day of the week always showing you the current day on the left side with future days proceeding to the right. On each line, you type out what you need to get done that day. You have the option to actually cross it out once you’ve completed it. However, should you not complete it, it automatically pushes forward to the next day on your calendar by the morning.

The bottom section is set up to create project lists with a title and then subsequent actions. Works the same way as the top where you can cross things out.

Why I love TeuxDeux – I rarely ever forget small tasks or follow-ups anymore. When I’m in a meeting, I can grab my phone, click on the TeuxDeux app, and type away. It’s the first thing I open every morning when I get to the office to see what I’m starting with for the day. I have never felt more organized to the minute detail level.

 

EvernoteOrganizational App #3 – Evernote

I’ve been using Evernote probably the longest. It’s essentially a note taking app. I am the resident scribe in most of my meetings simply because I won’t remember the conversation if I don’t write everything down.

Why I love Evernote – Syncs with everything – iPad, iPhone, and computer. Tags are awesome! It allows you to tag each note for easy searching. You can also email right from the app. For me, that means I can email meeting notes to the group within minutes of closing the meeting. Productivity madness!

 

These may not be the coolest apps around, but they are tried and true ones that I use everyday. I am always looking for new options too! Please feel free to share in the comments any organizational (or other) apps you love and why. Namaste, friends.

Pinterest: The funniest thing you’ll do all day

I remember the day I received the polite invitation from a friend. “Lynsay, you HAVE to get on Pinterest!” What would come from that innocent email invitation I was not prepared for. After 7 minutes, I felt like I had just taken the “other pill” in the Matrix (I can’t remember if it’s the green or the blue pill or even if those are the colors.) One thing I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt was that life as I knew it would never be the same. I was in love…and I couldn’t stop pinning.

Pinterest needs no introduction, no tutorials, and there is no new lingo to learn. Let’s face it, the reason why so many people flee from Twitter is because we use words that are completely irrational in normal everyday conversation – tweet, hashtag, 140 characters. It’s basically like learning a foreign language. But Pinterest is so damn user-friendly, once you’re on it, you’re stuck. It’s like Fight Club, just instead of brawny men with no shirts on, you’ve got DIY crafts and party planning ideas to keep you gluing stuff together until 4 in the morning.

Just today a new thought occurred to me as to why people love Pinterest with such a passion. It’s like being in a huge, freaking flea market and finding the perfect stuff you’ve always been looking for. It excites the antiquer in all of us to rummage through 1,000s of photos to find something you really like. Well, for me today, I stumbled upon some images that made me laugh to my core. The source of this laughter is of course rooted into one of the funniest inside jokes I’ve ever been privy to. For those of you on the “outside” (as we must refer to you in situations like this), I will retell the story for you through pictures.

 

Once upon a time…..

On a lovely, dark evening nestled in the mountainside of a little village in Guatemala, lived a group of American yogis. They were euphoric with the amount of yoga practice since traveling to this small village and were delighting in the local flavors of the region (ah hem….margaritas that is). Around the dinner table, one such individual emerged as an entertainer for the group and began imitating a T-Rex throughout the evening. She would try to pick up her glass or open a package with her tiny little arms. The group roared with laughter at her simple tasks! They could not believe how funny T-Rex’s could be! So from henceforth, she was know to all those there as “T-Rex” and would imitate what a T-Rex would do in any situation with which they were presented.

Here is a picture of T-rex in downward facing dog:

Here is a picture of T-rex texting her friends:

As you can see, T-Rex can do many of the things we all do. However, they aren’t without their own set of struggles.

If you’re not familiar with the struggles of the T-rex species, let this be an awareness for you all. The great Pinterest has provided us with some more information on these lovely creatures and the struggles they face in their daily lives.

T-rex working out

T-rex singing songs with the other kids

T-rex falling in love

So as you can see, there are so many things one can love and learn through Pinterest. Hope you’ve enjoyed my little story for today.

Happy Pinning! 🙂

Connections are Powerful

It was back in 2008 when I really started reading blogs on a daily basis. One of the first social media blogs I stumbled upon was Gwen Bell. I still remember the cute avatar she used at the time when I started reading about her life as a yogi and social media practitioner. At the time, I was just developing my own understanding of the power of social media, the connections that can be made through the social web, and how it changes all of our lives and businesses. I didn’t realize it at the time, but Gwen writing about her experience provided a resource for me as I developed and grew into my role as a social media practitioner. (I think the word practitioner is much better suited than the words often paired with someone whose primary job/career/position is social media for business such as guru, expert, etc. )

Randomly a few weeks ago, I stumbled upon Gwen’s blog again. I noticed then that things had been changing for her. She had written a book and was now sharing “letters” with those who wanted to read her writing. I felt inspired. Here was someone who was using social media in such a profound way. I realized then how much her writing had meant to me over the years. How much I related to her as a yogi, her introspective thinking and continual search of balance in life. It takes effort to turn off the news feed even more so than it does to turn it on.

I decided then to write her a short note, thanking her for putting the time in she did to share her experience with the web. I wrote because I wanted to and not because I expected to receive anything in return. I know what it’s like to be busy and have an inbox constantly exploding with messages. However, to my surprise not too long after, I received a very kind and in “Gwen Bell fashion” reply to my message. In that note, she asked if it was cool for her to post an excerpt of my original message on her website for new-comers to the site.  I grinned from ear to ear while reading. You can see that post here on GwenBell.com.

Seeing my name on someone else’s digital life work showed me just how powerful social web connections really can be.  We all are connected. Really connected. It’s one of the most exciting things to watch those connections take shape and even more so to see what unfolds from there.

So what about you? What connections in your life via the social web or IRL have impacted you? (I think these are my favorite stories to read. Inspiration…. right from the source. )

Paleo Challenge Day 31

Today marks a full month into the challenge. I’m feeling so good at this point. I wake up between 6:00-6:30 every morning including weekends, and I have enough energy to work or play all day. People everywhere have been asking me how the “paleo thing” is going, and I love it!  That’s exactly what I was hoping for by blogging my way through the challenge. I know how the power of a community can change you and keep you accountable everywhere you go.  So thank you to everyone who has been reading and asking me about it!

For the most part, I’m not missing many of the old foods I used to eat, except for all of the delicious cold summer treats like ice cream. But I think I have to give more credit to the community I’m part of than my own will power. Not only has social media & the blogosphere helped keep me motivated, but the community at CrossFit Ktown is unlike any other. Every time I step into the gym, I’m greeted with happy, smiling faces and encouraging words. I workout with coaches who not only teach this lifestyle, but live it themselves. I’m taking advice on how to eat better paleo meals from someone (rather, a group) who is eating that way too.  It doesn’t feel weird inside the walls of CFKT like it does sometimes when I get that lovely “you’re crazy” look quickly followed by, “What?? You don’t eat any bread?”

I think I’ve heard the phrases, “Oh, I could never do that,” or “There’s no way I could give up bread, cheese, or sugar,” about 100 times. Then today I hopped on over to Mark’s Daily Apple blog. The post is about “The Blame Game” and how easily we opt ourselves out of changing because it’d be too hard. The post starts with an insightful quote,

“The best years of your life are the ones in which you decide your problems are your own. You do not blame them on your mother, the ecology, or the president. You realize that you control your own destiny.”

Albert Ellis, psychologist

I found this post particularly inspiring today because I’ve used every excuse in the book to talk my way out of making a real change at different points in my life.  I’m sure I’ve missed out on many really good things because the cost of changing was too high. But I realize now that when you’ve got a community of people behind you who care about you, it makes a world of difference. It doesn’t seem so difficult anymore.

East TN’s Best Awards are out – I’ve been nominated?

The annual Knoxville News Sentinel’s “Best of East TN” nominations are out. I’ve always loved this call for Knoxvillians and surrounding neighbors to come vote for their favorite places in town. Tomato Head has been a place where I’ve cast my vote for years. They really do have the “Best Pizza.” As I was perusing the categories this morning, I noticed something funny. Under the Entertainment category as “Best Local Tweeter” there’s a name I recognize – Lynsay Caylor.  I did a figurative “double-take” of my computer screen.  I’ve been nominated? Holy cow, definitely didn’t expect that one!  There’s my name next to others in town who seem to visit everything possible that Knoxville could offer, and then tweet about it on what seems a 24/7 basis. Whereas I on the other hand find myself tweeting here and there when something piques my interest or is something I find really, really funny. As shocked as I am, I feel honored to be nominated because that means at least one person finds my tweets interesting enough. So thank you to whoever in the Twitterverse actually threw my name in the hat. Your kindness is pretty cool.  And to anyone who may actually vote for me, you’re pretty cool too. You can vote here for all of the great categories in “East TN’s Best.” And if you want to see what all the hoop-la is about, check out @lynsaycaylor on Twitter – guess I better step up my game now.

WUOT 91.9FM – Why I’m a loyal public radio listener

The first time I ever heard the University of Tennessee public radio station WUOT on 91.9FM, was as a college undergrad. College was an endless sea of paper writing.   I imagine that every student has his or her own routine for studying or writing a paper. I quickly found out that the only way I could focus was to have the classical music playing in the background.  I don’t know what it is about classical music. I think studies show it increases brain function or something – don’t quote me on that.  Frustrated from wearing out “The Pianist” soundtrack (and boy did I wear that album out), I began trolling radio stations.  To my surprise, I stumbled upon WUOT which had the most beautiful classical music piece emitting from the speakers. I stood there amazed as my frustration lifted, and I was overcome with desperate determination to finish this 20 billion page paper. It was like magic or something. I immediately had brilliant thoughts that I began typing furiously on my enormous Dell laptop. Yes, it weighed about a hundred pounds. You remember the ones I’m talking about.  Well, turns out I was listening to Afternoon Concert. After that, WUOT became my “study station.” I quickly found many other programs that I fell in love with: Morning Edition, All Things Considered, Improvisations, and of course, Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me.  Becoming a regular listener took no effort on my part because I was just drawn to the stories, the humor, and of course, the magical music that helped me study.  Still to this day, I have the station lightly playing in the background in my office all day.

So this year marks the 60th anniversary of the radio station and boy do they have it packed with some amazing great events – many are FREE.  Already, Carl Kasell, longtime NPR news anchor and currently on Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me,  and Senator Howard Baker have stopped by the Howard Baker Center for Public Policy for a wonderful evening. They talked about public radio as a true service to communities, a place to hear about real issues and real people, and give back to the listeners.  I was squirming in my seat toward the end of the evening.  I just wanted to have my picture taken with Carl as I’ve been a long time listener of Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me. Luckily, I was granted that wish!

Carl Kasell and I

I got to help out a little at this year’s Spring Fund Drive.  WUOT is a listener supported station with no paid advertisements.  So I got to help out manning the phones for taking listeners’ pledges.  Everyone kept telling me how much fun it was to volunteer, but I kept thinking, “Uh, you’re just manning a phone. How fun can it be?”  Well, I was wrong because I ended up having a blast!  My 3 hour time slot went by in what seemed like 30 minutes.  In between phone calls we got to chat with each other and nibble on some rockin food from Tomato Head and Nama.  During our chat one guy was telling us he had just moved to Knoxville from Dallas, Texas a little over a week prior to the Spring Fund Drive. He was listening one day decided to volunteer when he heard the call on WUOT. Our jaws dropped when we heard this realizing he had been in Knoxville about 10 days and was already volunteering for the station.  The loyalty of public radio listeners really runs deep.

One wall of the vinyl jazz collection at the station

So back to the party. There are some amazing events scheduled for this anniversary year including a FREE concert with David Northington at the Clayton Center for the Arts – Monday, May 24th at 8:00pm and even more surprises to come which I can’t share just yet. Wink, wink. I encourage you to check back on the WUOT website as it is updated regularly with sponsored events.  You can even listen to the station from your iPhone or iPod with the new application on the App Store. I actually tested this out today when I took my lunch down to Sequoyah Hills Park.  I was listening to the interview with journalists Lisa Ling and Laura Ling about Laura’s capture in North Korea when I arrived to my destination. Rather than just sitting in the car, I took my phone with me and listened while having my lunch by the water. Couldn’t have been more perfect. You’ll really enjoy this app the next time you find yourself sitting in your car in the driveway to finish listening to an interview or news story (admit it, we’ve all done it). Now you can take it with you!

Old poster up in the station

So if you’re a WUOT listener, what’s your favorite program?

Privacy on Facebook – Let’s talk about it

The hot button issue right now is certainly the discussion of privacy on Facebook, the most popular social network.  With over 400 million users, Facebook owns personal data on a group that equals the size of the third largest country in the world.  Facebook has become a regular part of many of our lives. I use Facebook and many other social networks on a daily basis as this is often my primary connection to many business partners.  My very large family that is spread all over the United States keeps up with each other by posting photos of family events, holidays, graduations, engagements, weddings, you name it, on a regular basis. We don’t get to see each other much throughout the year, and this has become a way for us to not feel so distant.  And there are countless other stories just like this where Facebook has become a fantastic tool at bringing us closer together.  Now it seems as though it’s dividing us on a very important issue: privacy.

Privacy is by far one of the most important privileges we own the individual right to.  Our entire governmental system is founded on the basis of individual rights of human beings, and one that we cling to is the right to privacy.  We reserve the right to protect ourselves and our families from harmful situations by dishing out personal information.  But how far are we willing to go when we get something back – like a great networking tool – by giving up a little of that privacy? Furthermore, are we really giving up a lot of personal information to use these sites? An email address and birth date is requested by Facebook to sign up, but do you really have to divulge any other personal info? It’s certainly not required.

The divide on this debate seems to fall along the age line. A new report by YouGov BrandIndexex shows consumer perception of Facebook over the last 4 months broken down into two age groups: Adults 18-34 and Adults 35+. The question was posed, “If you’ve heard anything about the brand [Facebook] in the last two weeks, was it positive or negative?” The accompanying graph shows a distinct positive trend for the 18-34 group and distinct negative for the 35+ group.  I recently had a discussion with a group of people of varying genders and ages on this exact topic.  I myself as a member of the 18-34 group view Facebook very positively. I’ve had a Facebook profile since I was a freshman in college, and many of my original friends were from high school.  I’ve been keeping up with them for years now. I couldn’t survive college group work without Facebook.  It quickly became a way of life.  However, another person in the group voiced how surreal it is when you get on Facebook for the first time 20 years removed from high school, and all of a sudden you start getting friend requests from people you don’t even remember.  Instantly you feel a bit of your privacy has been sacrificed.  Furthermore, the media stresses the downfalls of social media on the lives of very young people by constantly covering stories on sexting, cyberbullying, and students not thinking of the consequences before posting something online.

I’m curious to know what you think. Do you think age has a lot to do with the privacy issues with Facebook? Do you feel as though your privacy is at stake by using social networking sites? Let me know in the comments section below.