What is it about the first day back from an extended break? Well, I say break, but it's very hard to switch off completely when one's office rig, that big, fat, one-eyed toad that passes for the nerve center of one's operation, is squatting in one's sitting room, winking malevolently at one as one studiously ignores the fucker. Ooh, I sound like Prince Charles there—thank God we don't look similar, or I really would be up the creek with nothing but a pair of jug ears to paddle me to safety.
Anyhoo, Sunday night I was all excited to get back in the saddle, my mind whirring with new ideas and a big fat list of things to do. Monday, however, found me jaded, miserable, squinting at the glare from my screen and laboring like a warthog with emphysema (only with better teeth and better breath) over my keyboard. All I could think about were my ten New Year's resolutions—for both work and pleasure. Let's face it, my homies, our houses are where we play, as well as toil. Which means we've got to get out on a regular basis—in both the physical and mental sense.
First up—and this is the peg that this week's column hangs on—is to replace my crappy old Sony Ericsson dumbphone for something a little smarter. An iPhone, for instance, since I am not a fan of BlackBerries, and those Android phones, kinda nice though they are, are merely that. Kinda. And nice. And now, with my shiny, not-so-new iPhone (it's a hand-me-down from my brother, who's getting the new 3GS at the end of the month) I can come up with the apps I need to turn 2010 into a more successful year than 2009, and me into a better person (although, as Nurse Jackie would say, "but not yet.") So, here are the other nine resolutions.
2. Move my accounts online
Each year, I have to hand my accounts over to my accountant, the lovely Barrie. And each year I am late. This year I resolve to move everything online, rather than stuffing anything work-related into the shoebox it currently resides in, and then leaving it, only to fall on it three days before it's due. That means scanning in receipts, invoices, and all the paperwork it entails. So for that, I'm going to use the JotNot scanner, which allows me to scan those fiddly little scraps straight into my iPhone rather than losing them for good in the bottom of my bag. $4.99 from the Apple Store.
3. Start using my phone to work away from home
For all the iPhone's wondrousness, texting on it is not the easiest of things, but there's a great app called Dragon Dictation, which uses voice recognition to allow you to convert speech into texts or emails. Let's just hope it recognizes limey accents. Free from the Apple Store.
4. Move my desk up into a spare room
Much as I love having my work in the sitting room, the school holidays—my boyfriend has two kids—and working at night don't make it easy. iLayout will help me move my furniture around without too much sweat. What I really want, however, is an app that will take out all the items I don't need and remove them to the tip. For free. $1.99 from the Apple Store.
5. Improve my Tweeting.
I'm utterly pathetic at this at the moment, and need to do it on the move. (This is partly to do with the fact that I'm a great believer in my labors staying in the office—and out of the rest of my life—but I accept that work-life is becoming more mixed up, and for that I have to change. Or die skinny and desiccated.) Tweetie 2 is fast, lets you work multiple Twitter accounts, and doesn't lose what you've done if you have to take a call. $2.99 from the Apple Store.
6. Improve my Bridge
I've just picked this game up again after about a decade. But I need to practice—and I need to get to a level that makes my Bridge partner look at me with admiration and wow-ness, rather than just flaring his nostrils at me (translation: I can't believe you just led with that.) Despite the fact that it costs a whopping $20, Bridge Baron looks like the app that will see my No Bid Useless and raise me Three No Trumps Fabulous. $19.99 from the Apple Store.
7. Be tougher with my employers
The run-up to Christmas was an exhausting week of tying up 2009's loose ends, doing (unpaid) admin for them, waiting on emails that shoulda come but didn't. Boy, was I stressed by the time I left London on Christmas Eve. If I get deadlines, surely the rule is that I should be allowed to issue them as well. When no means no, and all that. And if they still don't get the message, I'm going to use my iGun on them. $0.99 from the Apple Store.
8. Stop smoking
Sporadically. I vow I'm going to kick my five-roll ups-a-day habit. And I do it, two years being the longest I've gone without a rolly and a cup in the evenings, but I always end up back on the fags. Cold Turkey is, I think, the only way to do it, but perhaps I need some help from an App. The only one with decent reviews is Quit Smoking Now with Max Kirsten, so I'll have to keep you posted. $7.99 from the Apple Store.
9. Run a half marathon.
I can just about do five miles before I need a sit-down and a ciggie, but I want to get this up to at least ten miles. I figure that another three miles on top of that can't be that difficult. (Famous last words.) What I don't want is anything too complicated or snazzy. A simple app that calculates my pace and speed will do, so for that, Runmeter GPS stopwatch will do. It uses Google maps to let you record your routes, distances and speeds, and allows you to use start and stop using your earphone remote, rather than fiddling around with the iPhone itself. $4.99 from the Apple Store.
10. Earn more money
For that, I'm going to have to come up with an App of my own. Suggestions in the comments, please! $99.99 from the Addle Store. Checks, cash, and government bonds all welcome.