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Juggling life with technology

I wanted to share a few secrets I have for managing such a complicated life.  Some of them may help you manage the chaos that comes with birth related work.  But as with any technology, choose wisely.  What seems like a blessing may really become a curse.

My first secret is a Google calendar. Not very secret I know, but it does some fabulous things that keep me organized. For starters, it allows me to add things to one calendar no matter where I am. So if I am in class and get a text about a meeting, I can add it on my laptop.  But even better, my Google calendar is integrated with my Android phone.  So if I am in the midst of a shopping trip or at the library with the kids when I get that text, I can still add it to my calendar and know nothing will get lost.

My second secret is that Google calendar again. Google calendars, and probably other calendar programs, lets me share my calendar with my husband.  So we actually have three calendars – mine, his and ours. We put all the children’s activities and family events in ours.  I can turn his on or off as needed, so I know when he is gone but don’t have his appointments blocking my calendar.

Another secret on that phone is an application called Our Groceries.  This program lets us keep track of what we need on both phones in real time.  If he picks up milk, it is crossed off my list.  This makes it ridiculously easy to stop at the store and pick up a few things on the way home – if you remember to put them on the list. I am sure there is something similar for other brands of smartphones.

I need to travel a lot, and I don’t want to waste my time in the car.  So I use that time to listen and learn.  I download interesting and relevant lectures from iTunes U, record some of the lectures for my classes and even have been known to record myself reading a chapter or two of a text book.  By connecting the iPod in the car (or the Android depending on where I recorded), I can make the best use of the long drives to Savannah.

And my biggest secret is the ability of the internet to delay publication.  I write almost all blog posts for the week over the weekend and schedule them to post on different days.  I recently discovered HootSuite, which allows me to do the same thing with Twitter and Facebook.  This helps keeps the fans and readers happy with lots of new ideas to share, while keeping time demands within almost reasonable limits for me.

So now you have a few ideas of ways to make your life easier.  Hope one of them works for you!

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Jennifer Vanderlaan CNM MPH is the author of the BirthingNaturally.net website. She has been working with expectant families since 2000, training doulas, childbirth educators, and midwives. She has worked with midwives in Central America and Sub-Saharan Africa. Her interest in public health grew in 2010, and she is now a PhD student learning to become a producer of knowledge.

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