For this post, I decided to talk about one tool that I’ve depended on pretty heavily for a few years now, a program with a very CLEAR purpose. That purpose? Keeping my mind clear. And that program? It’s called Clear.
Now let me be clear (ha ha ha, I’m sorry), that I depend heavily on the iPhone app, not the desktop version for Mac OS X. Clear is a most wonderful list-making app that I use for my to-dos, groceries, lists of things I always want to have handy (see Karaoke songz), and things I want to remember and know I will easily forget, or will forget where I end up putting them. I’m one of those types of people who has ten different handwritten lists for every slightly-distinct aspect of my life (school, home, cleaning, groceries, social, people to contact, mail, work, immediate, short-term, long-term, the list literally goes on) and Clear really allows me to maintain those distinctions in one handy app without needing a whole bunch of slips of paper (though admittedly, I still do that too). Can’t ever have enough lists! Here’s what my topical list page currently looks like (I rarely update/edit this):
As you can see, it’s a little all over the place. There isn’t much difference between To Do and Today, I don’t ever put my grocery lists on Shopping for some reason, currently there’s nothing I need to be doing for soccer (playing and coaching and that’s not reallllly accurate), and you can see there obviously isn’t any sort of organization or priority listing going on here. Honestly, I’m a little embarrassed by how disorganized this list is as an information professional! So it goes. It’s functional for me, and that’s what matters. If I tap into one of those lists, here’s what it looks like:
A little scattered and random, but all things I deemed important enough to want to remember. This includes a sculptor that has appeared in all locations I’ve lived (Alaska aside – I’ve come across his work at college in Bellingham, WA, on exchange in Bonn, Germany, and now in my current home of Washington, DC!), drinks I like, a plant my Grandpa repeatedly pointed out one trip to Oregon that I can hear his voice saying, memes were important to me once for some reason, and more music.
So why do I love this? It’s such a simple, user-friendly interface. For library school, I actually did a usability test on the app and it passed with flying colors. I love that when I complete a task, I just swipe right to mark it as complete, which then doesn’t actually delete the items, but ghosts them out in case I ever need to refer back. This is particularly handy for my grocery lists, since I can just swipe the other direction to make that action item live again, and can add to it if need-be. Perfect for the groceries I go through on a weekly basis! I can also customize it and change the colors if I want to. It’s also visually quite nice – simple, but as you can kind of tell from my images, the lists start lightening in color as you move towards the bottom. An additional benefit of this app is the ability to add in reminders for specific items. So say I knew I would be seeing Brian next Wednesday, I could make a reminder to get the CDs from him at 2pm Wednesday and would get an alert on my phone. I don’t use that feature much, but it’s nice to have from time to time. I need to look into the desktop version here eventually. Maybe I’ll make a reminder to do that tonight 😉