The more constraints one imposes, the more one frees one’s self. And the arbitrariness of the constraint serves only to obtain precision of execution.
– Igor Stravinsky
The last 48 hours have been a reminder of the future in which we live.
Yesterday, when completing an assignment for one of my classes, I needed only to open a google doc to see the notes for the readings I hadn’t done.
Through e-mail, my reading group and I divided the readings for the week. I suggested we use a 3-2-1 reading strategy to capture the most important information. We added a section for “key words and phrase” and it was done.
Another member of my group e-mailed a draft Word document of what we’d decided on. I took the doc, fed it to Google Docs and shared it to the rest of the group.
Over 72 hours, the notes came rolling in – synchronously, across all of our computer screens, with no files or iterations of files to keep track of.
Where I had questions or comments, I got to add them in and my group members added their as well.
This morning, I created a Google Collection for all the files for the course. I created a file for next week’s readings and dropped my assignments so far in there as well. Collaboration, right?
This morning, I paid for my coffee and bagel with my phone – and I wasn’t at Starbucks.
Paying attention to my surroundings, I saw a decal on the window of my local coffee shop advertising LevelUp. A download later and I was outfitted with my own QR Code for paying at local businesses. Not unlike other apps designed to get patrons to visit businesses, LevelUp has a built-in savings plan and daily deals. The piece that sold me, no receipt. It gets emailed to me and sent to my phone. Later today, I’ll be setting up an inbox filter that channels my receipts out of my inbox and into a designated folder.
Speaking of designations, I got around to something I’ve been meaning to do for month – mint.com.
Now, more than any other time in my life, tracking my spending and keeping a budget are key constructs. In undergrad, my job at the paper supplemented my income and insured me a paycheck would be on the other end of each fortnight.
Though I’ve some contract work and a newly added research assistantship, I need some help making sure my finances are under tight control.
Shifting from a productive member of society to a straight-up consumer of goods, services and knowledge calls for a shift in thinking as well.
Mint is there to help. In about 10 minutes, I’d created a profile linked to my bank and credit card accounts as well as my student loans. Replete with budgets, savings analyses and comparisons of financial services, Mint is a financial advisor for those of us who can’t afford financial advisors. If I were a parent sending my kid to college, mint would be a requirement before I let the kid out the door.
Part of the joy of being a student that’s satisfying the curious portion of my brain has been developing new work and living flows. I’ve been working to leverage what’s free and available to me so the things I stress about are the things I care about.