Three Reasons to Try Things 3

family, mom life, Organization, productivity, Technology, to do list

I’m not the most organized person. To look at me you’d never guess it, but I am a disorganized mess. So when something comes along which helps me categorize my life and prioritize my responsibilities it deserves a bit of praise. Enter Things 3.

Things has been around for awhile. I’m assuming somewhere along the way there was a Things 1 & 2 although I couldn’t swear to it. Things 3 is a task manager. Ok, it’s a to do list but it’s like the Chanel of to do lists: Elegant in its classic features, useful, and dependable. Here are the top three reasons I think you should check out Things 3 (three reasons, Things 3, get it?)

1. You Can Turn Emails Into Actions:

This is a must for me. You can take items from your inbox and send them to your Things list, add tags, give them due dates and even add sub tasks. This is probably the feature which is most important to me. For example my SAG-AFTRA dues are up for renewal. I know I have to take care of that this weekend but in the event that it was going to slip my mind, I’ll get a friendly reminder along with the original email and all the information I need to take care of that online. My Dad sent an email weeks ago regarding his Christmas card order (can’t be too early with that) which I safely filed away for a more reasonable date in November.

2. Calendar Integration:

I’m obsessed with planners. I have one app I use for my monthly view and one I use for a daily agenda and a paper agenda. It’s extra. But seeing my schedule one more place doesn’t hurt.

3. Project Completion Circle:

Ok, not sure that’s the technical term, but that’s pretty much what it is. You can create a project with a sub list. As you complete each step necessary to achieve your overall goal, a part of the circle closes. I can’t tell you how much this motivates me.

A Few Issues:

  • Things 3 does come at a cost, so if you’re only into free apps, this one isn’t recommended. Try Wunderlist.

You also have to purchase apps for each of your devices. Apple devices specifically, Androids you’re out of luck. In my defense, I did call this the Chanel of apps, and Chanel does not come cheap and it is not for everyone.

  • Things 3 can’t support photos. Sometimes I need to take a photo, usually a handout from a staff meeting (yeah, they still use paper). Or, I’d like to attach a screenshot for reference. I recently picked up three freelance jobs (well, two, one ended before it started and was one of the oddest experiences) and screenshots would’ve helped.

If you’re serious about managing your time and you’re willing to spend some money to make your life easier, try Things 3.

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Why You Should Think Twice Before Paying for MyFitnessPal Premium

Fitness, productivity, Technology

MyFitnessPal (owned by parent company Under Armour) is a calorie counting and fitness application designed to help people manage their caloric intake in either an effort to lose, maintain, or gain weight. The service is free with an option to go add free for $49.99 a year. I chose the paid option, and based on my experience, I caution you not to make the same mistake. Here’s my story:

There are two ways you can go about using the service. You can stay completely quiet and count your calories or you can participate in the “community” and , like all social media, post and communicate with others from around the world. For some reason, I decided to participate in the forums.

On Sunday morning I found my account blocked. Blocked means completely unusable. My $50 gone. I couldn’t get on to the site at all, even to log things I had kept private. Why? According to the pop up, I had violated their policy. Specifically their policy on eating disorders. The problem? I didn’t. I’ve read the policy several times, I know what I posted and in no way, shape, or form did I violate their policy. The bigger problem? There’s no way for me to prove my case. The company has zero customer support or series of checks and balances. I realize it sounds crazy, this is a company that trades on the stock market how do they not have a customer service department? I don’t know, all I know is that I reached out via the “contact us” portal on the website (twice!) because I wanted to see a quote of the post they claimed violated their rules (I was convinced it had to be a mistake). No response. Check out my Twitter (@CarolynNicole) I tried reaching them through social media with at least 5 tweets in an attempt to solve my problem. No response. Facebook messenger. No response. Instagram. No response. So how did my account become blocked if no one appears to actually work there? According to the website they rely on community members to monitor the forums. I’m not sure what that means exactly (and of course there’s no way to ask, because there is no customer service) but I believe that means that other members have the ability to suspend your account (even paid) if they feel offended by your posts. Now things make sense.

So what did I post that could have set someone running to their safe space:

– I am a recovered anorexic. I’ve been healthy since 1995.

– I am technically underweight. I DID NOT post my weight, measurements, clothing size, or BMI which I thought might trigger someone. But I am large enough to get pregnant and have a child (so, not unhealthy underweight).

– I am happy with my body. (That makes at least 50% of the female population hate you right away. Everyone’s for body positivity, as long as you aren’t happy with your own body)

– At the time I received help I weighed 72lbs. I had a wonderful counselor, had a positive experience, and encouraged anyone in my position to get help.

– I am a Christian, prayer helps me retain my health and guides my life.

– I’ve modeled in the past.

– I eat to live. I don’t enjoy eating and count calories to make sure I am getting enough food and nutrition every day.

– I sometimes pack my own food if I’m afraid I’ll freak myself out and choose to not eat in social situations. Eating is very important and you should never skip meals.

None of the above mentioned information violated any of their rules or guidelines. BUT, if you’re a random person, unhappy with your life, I may have posted something you found offensive. Maybe it was another person who has struggled with an eating disorder and doesn’t want to hear about help. Or possibly someone who suffers from a binge eating disorder and hates underweight women. Heck, it could’ve been someone who was anti-Christian. The point is, I’ll never know, and the company itself will never step in to figure it out. If I were a vindictive person (or just crazy) I could creat a fake account and randomly report people because I didn’t like their profile photo, or so it appears.

Consequently, until there is a better method of regulating how posts are flagged and accounts suspended, I highly suggest you stick to the free version of this app. Thankfully, since I purchased the subscription through the Apple App Store, Apple stepped in and within 24 hours my $50 was refunded. I would still love to hear from the company and be vindicated but I seriously doubt that will happen. I moved back to LoseIt! and am quite happy. I’ll make sure to write a review after using the service for a longer period of time.

You Have to Know What You’re Looking For. 

fashion, Technology

The saga continues…First of all, I want to say that TheRealReal did reach out to me today and it appears someone is paying attention. Furthermore, just remember that every time you deal with a customer service representative, you’re dealing with someone totally unrelated to the problem. They’re just doing their job. So be nice to them. Today I spoke with Stacy who help ease my worry. It turns out that the company is NOT stopping their investigation, which is what I want. I want to find this bag. End goal. I kinda feel as though the money is already lost, but I want that bag found. It’s a personal pride issue. And I remember a time when I was home on maternity leave that this money would have made a huge difference, so I want to make sure that it doesn’t happen to anyone else. 

Here is what I learned today:

– First, the offer of $200 was based on them looking for the wrong bag. Yep. Not even looking for the correct bag. They were looking for a Speedy 30. Mine is a Speedy 35b. That’s a significant price difference. And now I have them trying to find the correct bag. For the record Speedys range in size from nano to 40. 40 is like luggage. I’d originally thought I’d use the 35 as a diaper bag, but it was just too large and cumbersome for my 5’2” 95 pound frame. I actually got tangled in it once. The “b” stands for BANDOULIERE. What it really comes down to is the “b” has a crossbody strap where the classic Speedy does not. The current retail price of this bag is $1,410. The retail price of the bag they thought they were looking for is $970. 

– Second, according to them, the monitory offer is not a settlement. It does not mean that they stop looking for the bag. I did not get this impression from the original email, but…maybe that was just the way I interpreted it. 

– Finally, although camera footage was requested, it was never obtained. Interesting. It was requested again at the time I was on the phone. 

So…we shall see. The fact that the company is willing to work with me says a lot. And now we’re looking for the correct bag, which makes a huge difference. Again, I shall keep you posted as the saga continues. 

Top Three Social Networks to Connect With Your Students 

Education, Technology

The top three social networks teens use and how you can connect with your students: 
1. Twitter:

Twitter is a great resource for teachers because you can connect with teachers and students at the same time and not just teachers from your own district but from all around the world. Students can follow you but you don’t have to follow them back which saves you from exposing yourself to information about their lives outside of school which you might rather not know about. 

– Find interesting articles and share them with your students. 

– Get a hashtag started to promote school spirit.

– Connect with other educators to share ideas and inspiration.

– Tweet out extra credit assignments or reminders for students to check your teacher website.

– Openly communicate with students when you have a sub without the exchange of any personal information. 
2. Instagram: 

The popular photo sharing app is another great way to keep conversations going outside of the school day. Again, students can follow you without you having to follow them. Parents can also follow you and see what has been going on in your classroom. Just remember to have parent and administrative permission before you post any photos of students. I even cut student names off of any assignments I post. 

– Post classroom charts for later reflection.

– Promote upcoming school events.

– Take photos of spirit events. 

– Post examples of upcoming assignments. 
3. Snapchat:

This one gets a little more complicated. I currently have a student trying to convince me she used Snapchat to turn in late work before the deadline despite the fact that I don’t friend students. So, students will try to play on that misconception that they know more about technology than you do. I’m in for an interesting conversation tomorrow but there are still ways you can use Snapchat by making your story public.

– Send out photos of trips or events you are chaperoning.

– Send out play by play updates from sporting events. 

– Use Snapchat to send out photos of your daily agenda on the whiteboard. 

– Visit a local college and take your students on a virtual tour. 

Tips for Using Social Media as a Teacher with a Life. 

Education, Technology

And why I believe your social media accounts shouldn’t just be about teaching.  

 
I moved to California to pursue an acting career. I actual had a modicum of success. Matter of fact, I found a company selling some of my old headshots online. I doubt that they have many buyers…maybe my parents. I did make $37.58 in residuals last year which was enough for one grad school textbook and a protein bar. Score! But acting wasn’t really for me; it didn’t sit well with my Christian value system, it stressed me out, and I’m not even sure I was very good at it, hence the movement into education (captive audience for daily shows playing 180 days a year). I’m married. I’m having a baby, first and only. I’ve worked as a fitness instructor, a fitness model, a freelance writer. I’ve given several seminars on technology in the classroom and have just applied for a doctorate program. I have the world’s cutest cat. I am a teacher but I am also a person and it’s important that my students are able to see this. 

Kids need role models and even if they will never (ever) admit it, teachers fall into that category. We’re not in league with the likes of Miley, Taylor, Kim, or Jennifer but we are examples of adulthood and we have a responsibility to show our students what a well rounded, successful, grownup looks like which is why I believe your social media accounts shouldn’t be 100% teacher talk. 

Social media has changed the playing field making teacher’s personal lives more accessible to students. So why do I strongly believe your social media accounts shouldn’t be all about teaching? Because hopefully, as a teacher, you are a well rounded individual and well rounded individuals lead complexed lives. It’s a huge responsibility when you think about it. You’ve been given the task to show students what it’s like to be a responsible adult. Here are some things I keep in mind as I post to my many social media accounts:

1. When interacting with students I always keep things public. Twitter & Instagram are fine, but I won’t friend students on Facebook. I want their parents & my admin to be able to see any out of school conversations I have with kids (sophomores, in my case). 

2. No cursing. No slang. No misspelling of words because somewhere along the line it became cool to say “tho” and not “though”. I am an adult. I speak like an adult. I’m not trying to be a teenager. 

3. Stay positive. It’s ok to be frustrated or to have a bad day. It’s even ok to post that, but I always try to have a positive underlying tone. Times are tough, today is bad, but tomorrow will be better. 

4. Don’t post bikini photos. Trust me. Even if you’re at the beach. Even if you live at the beach. Even if you’re a fitness model…probably especially if you’re a fitness model. Don’t do it. What appears harmless to you because you know you’re goofy and awkward in real life and there is nothing sexy about you may not translate that way to parents or members of the community. If you’ve got it, you’ve got it. No need to flaunt it. 

5. This one goes without saying but no drunk photos and no drug references…or even things that could be construed as drug references. That goes for friend’s photos as well. For me, it may be easier to avoid situations where it’s even an issue becuase I’m just not into partying. But I know plenty of people who are and it is possible to keep that stuff off the internet. 

6. Stay away from online drama. That is what we tell our students, I try to practice what I preach. Yes, even if I’m “offended” by someone’s stance I tend to stay quiet. If it’s a personal friend, I’ll call or text them privately. If it’s someone I don’t know…I don’t know them and I probably don’t want to. Block, unfollow, but don’t engage. 

7. If I offend someone I try to apologize quickly. It’s happened. I used the word “chunky” on Facebook once and was accused of being responsible for single handedly causing eating disorders across America (ironic since I’ve struggled from anorexia). I thought it was a total overreaction! But I apologized because right or wrong, I hurt someone’s feelings and I felt horrible. I was sorry my words had such a negative impact on someone’s life, not that I’d used the word chunky. 

8. Remeber social media may be the only interaction some parents have with you even if you don’t know it. You are in the public eye and it’s an honor.