Skip to main content

ABC Orange radio interview with Kristy Reading 6 February 2019


Kristy: Today on slow and steady, we’re continuing our conversation around getting organised, simplifying our lives and getting 2019 off to the best start possible. I wonder if, and how you use technology to help you be organised. What apps do you use? I’d be keen to hear 0467 922 684. That’s the number to text. Jo Burgess is an organisational expert, app founder, and she’s a busy mum as well. She wears so many different hats and technology helps her manage her life and get the job done. She joins us now. Good morning to you, Jo.

Jo: Good morning Kristy.

Kristy: Thanks for your time today. Now, technology – a big part of your life. When did you first start using it to help you get organised?

Jo: Oh, it’s a huge part of my life. I actually fell into the tech world about 25 years ago, believe it or not, as a hairdressing salon owner, I got involved in the development of software for my hair salon to organise my business. So, that’s where it really all started, a long time ago.

Kristy: Okay. All right. So that’s kind of, you mentioned there started with a business that you had, you were using it to help you there, but you’ve taken it a bit further. You’ve, you’ve been developing or developed an app to help you stay organised as well. When did it go from just being an interest to something that you wanted to do yourself?

Jo: It was about 4 years ago, when my life was particularly crazy, I had two kids, with a gazillion activities. I was working, traveling for work, you know, all of that sort of stuff. I’ve got to the pinnacle where it was just mental and keeping a track of everybody’s things and where they had to be. So, I went looking for a solution to solve my problem because up until that point I’d been managing it with the trustee paper diary. But, what I realised is that I was the guardian of the diary and everybody looked at me to manage stuff. So that’s when I thought I needed a technology solution. I went looking and I couldn’t really find anything, I tried a bunch of different apps. I tried a bunch of different spreadsheets on the fridge and various different things, but nothing really solved my problems. It took a couple of years of this idea just burning away in my brain before I decided I’m just going to create this because nobody has done it and I need it. And if I need it, then I think a lot of other busy mums out there, will need it too.

Kristy: Fantastic! What’s this app called that you’ve developed Jo?

Jo: It’s called Life Sorted.

Kristy: Life Sorted, Okay.

Jo: Yeah. And the idea is that it’s essentially a shared family organiser app, so it looks after a shared family calendar so that everybody’s events are all in the ones place. It’s a to-do list, a shopping list. It takes care of birthdays and anybody in the family with devices can access and update the app. So the idea is you put all of those things that would normally be in your head or in your diary into an app, which sends notifications and updates, etc to everybody else in the family when things change. So yeah, that’s essentially what it is.

Kristy: Fantastic. So, I mean, are you able to have your own personal and private information as part of this that the family can’t access or is this more of a free for all?

Jo: No, absolutely you can integrate. It was very important to me to be able to integrate my work and personal events with the family. I feel that there’s those three aspects to everybody’s lives. And so, when we built Life Sorted, (which is why it’s not called Family Sorted) you can integrate your work calendars. So, if you’ve got a Google calendar, an Apple calendar, or an Outlook calendar – you can integrate it and you can choose to make that private so that only you can see your work and your family stuff together or you can choose to make it public. You can also make individual events private from the rest of the family as well. So you can choose when you’re creating events, which ones are for everybody to see and which ones are just for you.

Kristy: Does it take a bit to get the hang of Jo, using this kind of technology to put everything into, like you mentioned, you know, traditionally you were writing in a in a hard copy diary? Does it take a bit of getting used to and a bit of practice?

Jo: Absolutely. There’s definitely a change process that needs to come. And you know, I always say, it takes, a few days or even a couple of weeks to form a new habit. You need to commit to it and you absolutely need to get the rest of the family onboard. So you need to have a conversation about “We’re going to try this new tool”. We have a saying in our house, if somebody says, “oh, I’m doing this!” or, “can you add this to the shopping list?” We’re like, put it in Life Sorted, because we don’t want to talk about that stuff any more. But there are absolutely acknowledge that it was probably easier for me because I love technology and I love using it for good. But, I definitely had to nag my kids often to say, no, this is what we’re using and this is how we’re managing it. So it’s definitely a change process you’ve got to go through.

Kristy: Yeah. Okay. We’re talking to Jo Burgess today who’s an organisational expert, app founder and a busy mum. We’re talking to Jo as part of our Wednesday, slow and steady. And this week we’re continuing our conversation around getting organised and simplifying our lives, getting 2019 off to the best possible start. Jo, what other apps are you using to help you simplify your life?

Jo: I love the app called Calm. It is a relaxation and meditation app. So, it’s awesome when you just need to relax. I sort of tend to use it top and tail end of the day. When you open up the app, it instantly starts with calming sounds so you can swipe through whether you want to listen to rain or crickets or water. And honestly, the minute you open up the app, you instantly feel calmer. And then, within the app it has a bunch of meditations, series of meditations or one-off meditations and they’re really just something you could just sit there, put your headphones in, or lie down and just listen to for five to 10 minutes. They’re not very long and they just help you get that reset, you know, the mindset reset. And, they have things like, deep sleep meditations, or just a body scan if you’re feeling tense, or if you have a fear of flying there’s a meditation that you can listen to whilst you’re on the plane. I just find it’s just a great way to just get little 10 minute snippets to yourself and to declutter all of the things that’s happening in your conscious brain and take you just a little bit towards the subconscious. Yeah, it’s really great.

Kristy: So, do you use the Calm app every day?

Jo: I use it every day.

Kristy: Yeah, Okay.

Jo: I particularly like it in the evenings. They have a section which is called storytelling or I think it’s called sleep, but their storytelling. So authors are reading stories, our brains love stories and you can just listen to these beautiful stories as you drift off to sleep. So since I’ve been using the app, which has been about four months now, my sleep is just incredible and I wake up in the morning feeling a lot more recharged than I did. I’d much rather listen to something like this and be scrolling Instagram until I fall asleep.

Kristy: Yeah, I’m a bit guilty of that too Jo, scrolling through social media – last thing you do before you go to bed. Yeah, I need to get out of that habit. We’re talking to Jo today, app founder and a busy mum. She’s giving us some tips on what apps help her simplify and organise her busy life. Now Jo, for those of us that are quite avid on social media, you use a particular app called PLANN to help you with your posting as well. Tell us a bit about PLANN.

Jo: It’s a gorgeous app. I do love Instagram and I am guilty as everybody else is by spending far too much time on it. So what I use PLANN for is to design my grid for the Life Sorted Instagram page into the future, so that I’m not scrambling at the last minute to try and find an image and a caption and hashtags and all of that sort of stuff. You can design what your feed is going to look like into the future. And we all know that Instagram needs to look beautiful. You can schedule the posts and it gives you analytics around when’s the best time to post based on when your audience normally interacts with you. You can also store all of the hashtag sets. So, we know that to get found on Instagram these days is through hashtags. So you can see all of those up and choose different sets as you’re posting. And yeah, what I love about it is I’m always at least a week or so ahead with what I’m doing with my Instagram and social media. I don’t have to be scrambling at the last minute, which causes stress.

Kristy: Yeah, absolutely. Okay, so it’s doing the work for you. You don’t have to think, “geez, what am I going to post today?”

Jo: Yeah, absolutely.

Kristy: Fantastic. Look, Jo before we let you go this morning, I mean any tips around getting started? I know we’ve mentioned before that it does take a bit of practice to kind of start using apps to help us organise our lives. Any tips on kick-starting this process?

Jo: My tip would be just pick one app, pick one problem that you have in your life that you want to solve. Pick an app that you’re going to use to do that with and commit to it and turn ON the notifications and turn OFF the notifications for all the other things that are going to cause distraction during the day. I’m very mindful about what apps I use and when I use them and what apps I allow to give me notifications. I don’t have my text messages on to pushing me notifications. I can see the little icon and when I’ve got time I go in and have a look at those. But for Life Sorted, for example, I have those notifications ON because if someone changes on event, I want to know about it straight away, so that it avoids all of the texts backwards and forwards. Back to your question, pick one app, commit to it, give it a really good shot to see if it does help you solve your problems every day.

Kristy: Okay. I have to ask you, Jo, do you still have a paper diary of any form?

Jo: I have no paper diary. No. I do often use postit notes or a notebook for the day just to remind me of some of the things I’m doing, but that is it. I have nothing that’s outside of today. I feel that our brains become this massive inbox and if you just keep throwing more and more stuff into it and don’t put it somewhere like in an app, that’s where the overwhelm comes. That’s when you forget things and you miss appointments and all of that sort of stuff. So anything that’s not happening today, goes into my app.

Kristy: Okay. All right. So free paper. Wow. Okay. Good on you Jo. Look, thank you so much for being part of our slow and steady segment today. Really appreciate it. I think you’ve inspired me to get a bit more technologically savvy, I suppose. Very important to have a charger nearby though, I imagine getting low on battery is not negotiable when your life and your to-do list revolves around your smartphone or your tablet.

Jo: Absolutely, power and internet – that’s what we need.

Kristy: Good on you Jo. Thank you very much for your time today. Appreciate it.

Jo: Thank you. Bye.

Kristy: That’s Jo Burgess there, an organisational expert, app founder and a busy mum. Some great tips there for slow and steady to help streamline and simplify your life are those apps again that we ran through was the family organisation app, which Joe has helped develop called Life Sorted so you can head onto where you get your apps from, whether it’s on your tablet or your smartphone. The other one was around relaxation and productivity and it was called Calm. So it helps Jo calm down and prepare for sleep and start her day in a quiet and calm way as well. And the other one now that she mentioned there was around social media posting and it’s called PLANN. So a few that we ran through there – Life Sorted, Calm and PLANN.