sunday adverbs, vol. 18

Today we’re going to do an all-app Sunday Adverbs. So get your iPhone out and ready to download some awesomeness. Here we go!


Along with blogging every day, there are a few other things I try to do on a daily basis. To help me keep track of each of these, I’ve been using an app called Lift.


As you can see, I’ve put together a list of activities I want to do every day. Lift is, like everything else these days, a social app. So when you add a task you can choose from lists of popular tasks such as Exercise, Read or Pray, trending tasks such as Read Bible, Make Bed, Eat Vegetables, and lists of easy tasks, health & wellness tasks…all sorts of things. Or you can create your own tasks.

My tasks run the gamut from things I want to improve upon, such as playing the banjo, to things I just need a reminder to do, such as checking the litter pads.(1) When I complete one, I check it off the list. But beyond the regular to-do list, Lift shows you how many times you’ve completed that task.


I find this aspect encouraging. I can see, for example, that I’ve now blogged every single day for forty-one days in a row. Not breaking a streak is, for me anyway, a huge motivation to continue doing it.(2) As I mentioned, Lift is a social app, so, for example, I can see other people who are trying to practice the banjo every day. When they check in, I can see how many times they’ve done it. I can comment upon their check-in and I can give props. It’s easy to see that the social aspect would be helpful for some people, but I don’t pay a lot of attention to it. Just having the list has proven helpful.

So if you’re looking to improve some aspect of your life, your routine, or your relationships,(3) I recommend giving Lift a try. You can look me up and we can even be friends, if you like. I’ll make a reminder to give you props every day.


IMG_2750There are a fair number of tasks I do at work that are done without having to interact with other people, such as hunting down misplaced books in the stacks.(4) I used to listen to music while doing these things, but since last summer I’ve turned to listening to podcasts. Here are some I recommend.


If you love short stories of the horror variety, you should be listening to Pseudopod. They post a story every week, and most of them are really good. And Alasdair Stuart, the host, is awesome. Sometimes I’m way more interested in his considered follow-up to each story than the story itself.

Escape Pod

Escape Pod is like Pseudopod, but they focus on science-fiction stories. These are more hit-and-miss for me, but I’ve listened to some really great stories here.

This American Life

If you’re not listening to Ira Glass over at This American Life, you need to reconsider your priorities. Every single week I come across something in this podcast that I find amazing, interesting, or amazingly interesting. It’s about the best way to spend thirty to sixty minutes that I can think of.

Planet Money

One of the signs that you’re getting older is a willingness to listen to NPR. And I am definitely getting older. I used to listen to quite a few NPR podcasts, but Planet Money is the only one I keep up with.(5) I was sold on Planet Money when they managed to explain the Greek financial crisis – and why it matters a great deal to the rest of the world – to me, and all I have under my belt is one community-college economics course. I love it when people who really know what they’re talking about can explain it to those of us who are clueless. The folks over at Planet Money do that very, very well.


Speaking of explaining things to the clueless, RadioLab has helped me understand things from the general theory of relativity to why doctors would rather not be given CPR.(6) The hosts are really good at explaining both the matter at hand and why science is awesome. And you can tell they have a lot of fun doing their podcast, which is always a plus.


I’ve been resisting the Evernote bandwagon for a few years now, but recently I’ve had a change of heart for two reasons.

Firstly, when I got my stand-up desk at work I had to reorganize how I do things. Since the new desk doesn’t have drawers,(7) I can’t just dump stuff in them and forget about it. This caused me to realize that, despite efforts to the contrary, my method for taking notes in meetings is to grab whichever notepad I see first and take it to the meeting. So I have notes from last week’s tech meeting in the same pad as notes about a social event like four years ago. I’m never going to defragment that mess, so first I got a filing cabinet and dumped all the notepads in there. Then I downloaded Evernote so I can just take notes on my iPad or my iPhone and then save the notes in appropriate folders on my work computer. Since this system both gives me a reason to use my iPad and a way to store things digitally, it’s a system I’ll keep up with.

Secondly, for years I’ve kept lists of words I happen across but, like the notepads at work, I keep these on folded sheets of paper I use as bookmarks and so all I have are a bunch of squares of paper with words all over them. Evernote helps me keep these word-notes in way that is convenient and easy to organize.


I’d like to go on about more apps that I use, but one of the kittens simply will not let me continue typing much longer without organizing a coup to replace the current regime with one that’s more pet-on-demand. So you enjoy your Sunday and I’ll go give in to the will of a kitten.

  1. Due to Ashley’s lung transplant, we don’t use regular litter but instead use Tidy Cats’ Breeze Litter Box system. The system uses both pellets – which are larger than standard litter pellets and create like zero dust – and pads for urine. While most people wouldn’t have trouble remembering to change the pads, I don’t get that olfactory-based reminder. So I use Lift to remind myself.
  2. Probably missed the point at which I should have told you, in case you were wondering, that ‘Read for MAR’ refers to the literary magazine I’ve been helping with. There are so many stories to read, and I try to read at least one each day, usually striving for three.
  3. I like to look at the popular list. It’s like a huge wish list of things the average joe want to improve, which is interesting by itself. But it’s also helpful to see that a lot of people strive to read for at least 30 minutes per day, which is something I’ve done naturally since maybe fifth grade. Also, a lot of men seem to need a daily reminder to tell their wives that they love them. In this, happily, I am also above average.
  4. And let me just say that I am unskilled at many things, but I can find a mis-shelved book about 90% of time. And yes, I keep track.
  5. I recently dropped All Songs Considered simply because the podcast makes me want to spend loads of money on new music and I don’t have loads of money to spend.
  6. Totally true. A study found out that something 80% (I don’t remember the exact number, but it’s at least that high) of doctors would refuse any kind of life-saving treatment and would much, much rather simply be given something to manage the pain.
  7. Meaning both the traditional compact storage compartments on tracks and underwear.

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