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organizational tools

nomadjanet

Contributor
Aug 28, 2007
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I need some help becoming more organized. Do you guys have any special organizational tools you use? Any programs or schedules?
Janet
 

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JScott

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I try to keep it simple...

For scheduling, I use Outlook...

For tasks, I keep a "checklist" notebook. Everything I need to do gets written down with a little square next to it. As I do things, I check them off. When I finish a page, I rip it out.

When I have more than two pages worth of stuff, it's generally because there are one or two things that I've been procrastinating on for a long time, and if I ever want to rip those pages out, I better do them.
 

wildambitions

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Aug 29, 2007
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You may have to find or develop a system that will work best for you. I suggest going to the library and or bookstore and start researching different methods. As you learn about different methods, decide which will fit YOUR needs at the time. Do you want to carry something around with you? Are you into electronic technology? Do you like checklists? Maybe just a pad and pen will work.

I have used many systems and I find that one system may work great for me but as soon as I try to add my family's information, which directly relates to my planning, the system falls short. I usually make my own and it is a hybrid of all the systems that I have used. I use the parts that work and get rid of what doesn't. My system is constantly changing too.

Here is a list of some of the systems that I have used. Franklin Day Planner has a great system and it comes with a detailed book of how to use their system. Palm pilots, Computer calendars and even telephones now-a-days offer scheduling options. You can even send yourself e-mails to keep yourself up to date and on time - as long as you access your e-mail often.
 

randallg99

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Aug 9, 2007
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my PDA handles all appointments... it is synchronized with my computer at work and home.

I alo have a endless supply of legal yellow pads which my to-do list fills the pages... I always and I mean always keep it handy. Sometimes I think I look like a freak, but I have no choice... in the middle of conversation with someone, I will jot something down that popped into mind, on the phone, in meetings, wherever... they could be phone numbers, someone I have to call, an idea to act on... I cross off the items as they are finished.

even in meetings, I take loads of notes on the same pad so I can review them at night and I usually have already made a decision during that meeting to act on something, so I will rewrite just what I have to do...

Uncompleted items after a couple of days get rewritten on the top of a new page so I can throw away old pages.

I go through a few pages a day, but I write big.
 

Sid23

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Aug 9, 2007
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I have a small notebook that I carry around with me for tasks. I used to use yellow pads, but now that I am managing development projects, I often need to refer to a conversation with someone that I may have had 3 months ago. Hence the switch to notebooks. I date the front of the notebook from the day I started using it and then date it again when I've filled all the pages. I then file it away and keep it in case I need to reference something.

I used Outlook for my calendar. I'm thinking of getting a PDA, but I'm big on pens and paper so we'll see...

There is a good book by David Allen called "Getting Things Done" that gives many ideas about personal organization.
 

Rawr

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I have used the sticky desktop notes on my computer and it helped me remember stuff since I am on the computer quite a bit.

you can get them here:

http://www.sticky-notes.net/windows-sticky-notes-free.html


I also have my desktop arranged in two columns, one on each side on the screen. The stuff that is due I move to the dead middle (papers, projects) so I remember that I have to do them.

Cheers
 

Allthingznew

Contributor
Aug 26, 2007
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I've found I prefer the Franklin Day Planner system. All of your life in one place personal and professional. I still use the planner with pages, but I think they have an electronic version although I haven't looked at it.

Calendaring, task lists, contacts, expenditures, event results, key information, notes, everything all in one place. Don't lose your planner though! :smxE:
 
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nomadjanet

nomadjanet

Contributor
Aug 28, 2007
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I think I am leaning toward an on line version. I travel allot and I would like to be able to log in from any computer I happen to be near. I usually take my lap top for extended trips but when we are only going for a week or few days, I don't so still thinking what is best. :)
Janet
 

JesseO

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Jul 25, 2007
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I've found that a simple daily planner is the best tool to use. It gives you an idea of how hard you have to work in order to over-achieve :p
 

AroundTheWorld

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somewhere - Perhaps a Covey book??? - I ran across a sort of checklist to help you figure out if a paper planner or electronic planner (either on PC or blackberry or PDA) is a better fit for you.

If you haven't read 7 Habits - I highly recommend the read... I just picked up recently "Put First Things First" and it is more specifically about time management. I am ony about 1/3 of my way through it - but is helpful.... time management has been a hot button in our household lately.

We have a "bin" system for all our paperwork/deskwork. When ever a piece of mail or paper comes into the house - it gets sorted immediately. Either in a filing cabinet or if it requires action - it goes into the approprate file and bin. We have a bin for each company or area. Then, in each bin there are a few folders, "bills to be paid" etc.

I start off my work day with a bin. I *do* a bin a day. Once I have done that, I can get on with the fun stuff... the bigger *to do* stuff.

We are big chart users in our house too... do you have kids?

We've got them on a weekly chore chart and also a daily game board hangs on the fridge. They each have a magnet w/ a picture of them on it. Each day they move around the board according to what time zone they are in: chore time, learning time, dinner, etc.
 

Allthingznew

Contributor
Aug 26, 2007
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I think I am leaning toward an on line version. I travel allot and I would like to be able to log in from any computer I happen to be near. I usually take my lap top for extended trips but when we are only going for a week or few days, I don't so still thinking what is best. :)
Janet
Looks like Franklin is online too. http://www.planplusonline.com/

All the best
 

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Russ H

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Janet-

Funny, I just spent last week looking at the different Franklin systems. I've used them before, and need to get back to this given the sheer load of things we're doing.

So here's the current line up:

-Treo cell phone w/palm OS. I use the alarms all the time for reminders of what to get done, when.

-Franklin PlanPlus software. I looked at the Outlook version, and also the online version, and neither were nearly as good as this one. Having a Mac, I even had to buy parallels to get it to work (b/c Franklin doesn't do anything for the Mac, incl the outlook version of their planner!).

-Stephanie Morgenstern "Organizing from the Inside Out". Wow-- did this book ever change how I did things. Hard to read, since it advocates doing some things in reverse order (first clean up, THEN figure out what containers you need to buy-- what a concept!). Very, very good stuff.

-Steven Covey's books are fantastic, but hard for me to read. Seven Habits is superb (I just bought "The 8th Habit"), and Sonya is right, First Things First is excellent.

Jefferey Mayer also wrote a book called "If you haven't got the time to do it right, when will you find the time to do it over?"

[ame="http://www.amazon.com/Havent-Time-Right-When-Will/dp/0671733648/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1/102-9728392-5144162?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1191605946&sr=8-1"]Amazon.com: If You Haven't Got the Time to Do It Right, When Will You Find the Time to Do It: Books: Jeffrey J. Mayer[/ame]

Great stuff in there, too.

I must have 3 dozen books on organization. The ones I listed above are the best, for me.

-Russ H.
 

yellowpad

PARKED
Oct 3, 2007
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Everything is on my lap top synchronize to my external hard drive for safety. In addition, I have a golf bag that has many pockets for practically anything. lol
 

AroundTheWorld

Be in the Moment
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I'm revisiting scheduling stuff. Bump for some good info
 

Jonleehacker

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Here's a system of mine that I wrote about on my blog:

My To-Do List System

It was featured on Lifehacker and I was even interviewed by Newsweek for this system.

I still use a variation of it, but now I include importance as one of the factors, not just urgency.
 

AlwaysCurious

Contributor
Jan 16, 2008
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My tool of choice is Tiddlywiki - a simple but incredible flexible locally stored Wiki. It is self containing, just one html file to backup and synchronize, and it is extensible with hundreds of useful plug-ins. There are several mods of this Wiki to use it as a GTD Tool and I myself have written several productivity plugins by myself. I use it as a notebook, diary, collection of to do lists, address book, bookmark collection, scheduler etc etc simply a full blown PIM. I collect everything in this one place on an encrypted drive. One tool to rule them all :smug2:
Don't get repelled by the standard style and lack of visible functionality. If you're really interested, I can post the whole list of absolute necessary plug-ins...
 

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