General Question

DeanV's avatar

How do you organize yourself?

Asked by DeanV (14198points) June 4th, 2009

I was just wondering this after reading a post on a different thread by somebody that organizes himself by using a word document. I was a little suprised you could do that, but whatever works for you.

So out of curiosity, do you use pen and paper, a computer application, nothing? Do you use GTD?

I guess I don’t know what i’d do without some of my organization apps…

And I’m sure this has been asked before, but whatever.

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27 Answers

wundayatta's avatar

Hmmm. Sometimes I keep it in my head. Sometimes I use an online calendar that texts my cellphone when I have an appointment. Sometimes I build elaborate to do lists that are linked to the necessary documents and plans for each task.

I don’t and never had a filofax like people used to. I don’t have a paper calendar. I tried one once, but I never looked at it, so it didn’t help. I don’t use a palm pilot. I have no idea what organization apps do.

You might imagine that I am chronically late, and am always missing deadlines. But that doesn’t happen very often. Then again, I have a job which has few, if any, deadlines.

cak's avatar

I have an intricate system of different colored post-it notes. you think I’m kidding?

I do use post-its, for very short term items; however, I have a written day planner (my trusty Franklin Covey) that I’ve had for years. I write everything in it and look at it, daily.

My short term memory was really damaged by chemotherapy, I must write all things down. I used to remember everything – in exact detail. Not anymore. It’s very frustrating.

Oh…I do use the reminders on my phones for a few things. For instance…pick son up at bus stop at 2:50p. I am kidding about that one…my husband picks him up. He’s afraid I’ll forget! ;~)

whatthefluther's avatar

I’ve gotten good at this thing called retirement…I really have nothing to organise. When I worked, I had a ton of responsibilities (no complaints, I had authority and excellent compensation) and had to multi-task big time. I used one of those daily/monthly/annual planners with great success (“late” was not in my boss’s vocabulary). Once you commit to a system, you have to keep it current or it will quickly lose effectiveness. See ya…wtf

sailor's avatar

I generally make To Do lists when I’m serious about completing the tasks. I’m a pen and paper person. I’ve tried keeping reminders on my phone and whatnot, but that’s never really worked for me.

whatthefluther's avatar

@cak…Mine was a Franklin Covey as well. The company I worked for provided an organization seminar, the binder and annual refills. It was quite a good system. See ya…wtf

DeanV's avatar

I wish I had nothing to organize, but I’m a student…

When I do keep up with my organization, I use Apple’s iCal and a program called Taskpaper for keeping up with my work. It’s really the only GTD app I have ever used that helped me spend more time on my projects rather than spending time tracking them.
I guess I like to use my computer for this type of things because it’s the only thing that’s with me at all times, rather than a notebook that I have tendencies to lose.

But for my schoolwork, I like to keep any work that I still write in a huge notebook. I guess I’m not a very organized person outside of my computer.

But whatever. It all works for me.

Fred931's avatar

That is a good question that I cannot answer.
catch my drift?

DeanV's avatar

@Fred931: You could write a note reminding you to do it later…

evelyns_pet_zebra's avatar

I am pretty good at writing notes with pen and paper, unfortunately, I have a lousy filing system and usually lose the notes. I tried to organize my 500Gb external HD, and of course, I gave up on it as fruitless. Now when I need to find something on that external HD, I simply use XP’s search function.

A well ordered mind is the hallmark of mediocrity.

Fred931's avatar

@ the zebra,
Well that sure makes sense. I’m the least mediocre person there is.

hungryhungryhortence's avatar

Mini (deck of cards) sized notebook for thoughts and lists on the go.
Book sized notebook for household budget, bills, lists.

whatthefluther's avatar

@evelyns_pet_zebra,...Yes and:
Busy clutter is better than tidy idleness
Well, at least that works for me (my desk and my mind).

augustlan's avatar

I have notebooks on my desk and in my car to quickly write things down. Anything with a definite deadline then gets transferred into my phone’s calendar, with reminders set accordingly. Other than that, I’m a disorganized clutter magnet! I try and try to keep my desk neat, and have used several different approaches to do so, but it’s always a mess. Fluther knows me well. ;)

bea2345's avatar

Since I retired, I have less to remember, and a notebook in my handbag does very well – when I remember to write it it.

Darwin's avatar

Organize myself? Are you kidding? I thrive in chaos.

Actually, when I still worked for someone else I put everything on my computer and set it up to send me reminders about things such as weekly staff meetings. Now I put everything on my cell phone, or a make labeled manila envelopes that I keep next to the computer to stuff receipts in. I keep my business records in Excel and periodically do the @sums to keep track of money going in and out.

arturodiaz's avatar

I really dont, just go with the flow :)

benseven's avatar

I don’t use the exact GTD system, but certainly for e-mail I break it down into multiple inboxes like Backburners, To Follow Up (or awaiting reply from other party), and To-do. GMail is a really important part of my productivity – labelling and searching really suits my rolling workflow.

For calendars I use Apple iCal, having used Google’s Calabration tool to use Google Calendars through iCal instead of a local calendar. That means my iCal at work syncs through to my iCal at home over the web, automatically.

Further to this I use Nuevasync which is a free service that gives you an MS exchange server for your Google calendar.

This means you can then sync over the air to the iPhone using exchange settings. Because within GCal I’m subscribed to my Fiance’s calendar, and her to mine, any time one of us adds an event to GCal or the iPhone it syncs over the air to the other’s calendar next time they open it. I can’t stress enough how useful that is.

So if I add an event in GCal, iCal or iPhoneCal it gets sync’d to the others with no further action from me, and further still to my Fiance’s GCal and iPhoneCal.

For Project management and to-do lists, I like to seperate out day-to-day tasks and favours with actual projects. I use To-Do’s [sic] on the iPhone, which is a great wee app for the daily to-do list and has three priority levels. I then use Toodledo, with folders for each project, which syncs from iPhone to webapp over the air. Sweet.

Believe it or not I also use a notebook (moleskine) and pen from time to time!

augustlan's avatar

Bows down to @benseven, master of organization. :)

benseven's avatar

@augustlan – Haha – just sharing what works for me. May have gone on a geek tangent!

augustlan's avatar

Lurve for geekdom.

wundayatta's avatar

Hmmm. I may have misunderstood the question. I thought it only referred to time management.

Oddly (given my first comment), my life has been about organizing things. I’m a librarian, albeit without formal training. My job is about organizing things. The first thing I did, upon getting this job, was to catalog and reorganize the collection.

My organizing, however, has been going on all my life. It’s just that the things I’ve been organizing are paper things, conceptual things (finances, digital items), or physical things (letters, bills, photos, etc.), not time.

My visual media are organized by date, which isn’t too clever. But I haven’t had time to review them and add subject. Besides which, I’d rather digitize them first, and then add subjects.

I have files that include every letter I wrote or received since 1973, and every bill or statement I got since 1978 or so. My books are organized by cover type, genre and author. My electronic files are organized by subject, but this tends to get a bit fuzzy, because of the things that can fit in more than one subject. I have every email I ever received, except the spam and junk. The are all organized by who sent them, or the purpose they were sent. My music (at least, that which is digital) is automatically organized by the music software. My finances—I have a digital record of every expense and income item since 1987 although some of it is in a format that no longer exists, and is probably unrecoverable.

Ok, so now I’m scaring myself.

As noted above, I have never had formal training as a librarian, but now I can see that I’ve been one all my life. I’ve almost always been able to find what I’m looking for within minutes, if not sooner.

It’s only my schedule that I was less organized about, although now, with the advent of digital computer-based calendars that can message my cell phone, I’m better about that. I just don’t use the small, dedicated organizers found on phones and palm pilots, mostly because I find them too tedious to enter information into.

Is anyone else this compulsive about keeping and being able to find stuff?

mattbrowne's avatar

Classify all todos:

1) urgent & important -> focus and do your best
1) not urgent & important -> store in your personal log (which you check regularly)
1) urgent & not important -> be pragmatic, i.e. 20% of your time gets you 80% results already
1) not urgent & not important -> ignore

benseven's avatar

@daloon – I think it’s the kind of compulsion that grows – it’s great to be able to file and deal with everything you receive, and it’s great to be able to find anything you go looking for. I particularly like your assertion about having been a librarian all your life – very poetic!

Darwin's avatar

@daloon – I used to be very organized. My fiction books were alpha by author and my non-fiction alpha by subject. My bank statements and my returned checks were filed in date order. My closet was sorted by clothing type and within that by color. My spices were stored in alpha ooder also.

However, then I got married, and then I got children.

Now I’m lucky to find something clean to wear and know where my stamps are so I can mail my payments.

wundayatta's avatar

@Darwin When I was sick, I stopped organizing anything. I didn’t reconcile my accounts (although I was able to pay bills), and I never would have done the taxes without my wife’s help. The only reason my book collection didn’t get unorganized is that I didn’t read any books for over a year. In fact, I’m reading the first one in over a year now (yay).

My spices are organized by…. topic? Sweet spices here, hot/Indian/Mexian spices there, herbs in this corner, and stuff I don’t use much way in the back. They are all in a drawer beneath the stove. I’ve only organized clothes in a closet by type of clothes. Of course, women probably think I’m a disaster when it comes to dressing, but I can’t be bothered.

Darwin's avatar

@daloon – Well, depression and a breakdown came along, too, but I am getting better and even cleaning the house some now, but still not as fast as my son uncleans, though.

A_Beaverhausen's avatar

i make lists. it helps the thought process.

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