Thing 8 is Google Calendar. I’m already a pretty big Google fan, as far as it goes. Their alterations to their search results made me feel a bit sad though, but that’s another story! I have an android phone at the moment so a lot of Google things sync pretty well with it, including the calendar. However, I tried using Google calendar back in September when I first started a professional post. Keeping track of meetings/appointments/teaching sessions was essential and I figured Google Calendar might just do the trick. However! I found it really hard to get to grips with – I ended up with a physical diary that I took *everywhere* instead – I used it all of the time and it was perfect. There is a college-wide calendar system that can be used through either emails or Moodle, I put meetings on these mostly but my actual physical copy was certainly the most accurate. We also have a library diary which I’d update with meetings I’d be attending just so desk cover could be arranged easily. This diary is definitely used most by the library staff, indeed a significant chunk would not consider checking an online calendar for my whereabouts – so whilst it can be an effective way to communicate where you are, that’s only the case if everyone is using it. I definitely find a physical diary much easier and appropriate to use in my day-to-day life though, and find it quite difficult using an online one. On the other hand, prior to gaining the professional post when things I’d want to put in a diary were more infrequent (library assistants don’t tend to have a changing schedule that often! It was generally assignment hand-in dates etc.) I’d happily use the calendar on my phone. So perhaps it’s about the amount of information needed and the simplicity of opening a page and instantly knowing what’s to do and the ability to make lists and scribble notes, rather than feeling constrained by the format of the calendar. I think ultimately that’s the reason my use of Google Calendar faltered when it needed to be used day-to-day, it seemed much too restricted. Perhaps in the same way that I struggle to edit assignments from a computer screen, I like to print them out!
Thing 9! Evernote. Again, something I’ve already played around with but not found much of a way to integrate it in to my day to day life. I first tried it when I started my Masters as I thought it could come in useful, but didn’t really end up using it. I suspect this is more forgetting it was there to be used rather than it being useless, however. I suspect that when my dissertation comes around, and even the research methods before that, that I’ll find enormous uses for it indeed. One fairly significant problem is that I am not allowed to download programs on to work pcs, and I tend to do a lot of browsing online at work (work-related things only, obviously!) so I don’t get in the habit, and then to use it at home would mean having things in separate places which ultimately feels more time consuming and ineffective. I should perhaps have a conversation with IT services about installing it at work, although as I use all sorts of different machines it’s not that straightforward. I’ll certainly keep hold of it on my new macbook though, as I really can see how it’s useful – I just haven’t been making use of it!