Friday, October 3, 2008

Organizational Tools to Keep Me Motivated

So, I've been playing with a new online organizational tool today. I read an article over on The Simple Dollar about he keeps ideas organized and on track. It's a great read - I recommend checking it out. Anyway, what caught my eye was that he gave a couple of online resources he has used in the past for keeping track of "to-do" lists. I looked them both over and found I was partial to (Maybe it was the cute name.) Anyway, I have been thinking about something like this for a long time. In fact, I have a prescription that I have to take about every three weeks, I was just thinking this morning that I wished I had a good way to track it that didn't involve paper calendars.

Truth is, I like paper calendars. I get a free one each year, usually from my insurance agent (thanks Ryan!) or UPS. I have a whole cupful of multicolored Sharpies that I use to jot notes with - not only events, birthdays and my employee's anniversaries, but also tasks and other things that are due. As you can imagine, it gets pretty crowded, and pretty colorful. Other than the fact it is really hard to change something written in Sharpie, there are two problems with this system...

The first is that this calendar hangs at work. I'm at work a lot, even coming in during off hours sometimes, but I have had several occasions when I am away from the office asking questions like, "Wasn't I supposed to do something this weekend?", "When is Cordelia's birthday again?" and "Where is this meeting I am supposed to attend, anyways?" I have been trying to use a combination of my iCalendar at work and my nano, but that brings me to the second problem - I don't have a way to update the calendar when I am away from work.

RemembertheMilk is not a calendar website, it is for making to-do lists. I find though, that events pretty much require a task - whether it is sending out birthday cards, going grocery shopping or driving to a location. I spent an hour this afternoon putting all my tasks into the site. It has sections for Home, Work and Study, plus you can add your own. It has the ability to add notes (like copying down the driving directions to a meeting I am going to be attending next week) and it can send you reminders via email and phone and so forth (I don't think I'll be using that.)

I am hoping that this will be another spot I can get more organized. For one thing, organization makes me feel better. I love checking items off to-do lists, and it is already eliminating some of the clutter on my desk and in my email boxes. I hate clutter. I also plan on using it as an money saving tool - I already put in expiration dates on a couple of coupons that I want to make sure to use. That way I'm not constantly forgetting about them and being irritated at myself. (Speaking of which, did you guys see the TrueValue coupon advertisement on tv? If you are doing any home improvement projects soon you might want to check it out - $5 off a $25 purchase.)

Remember the Milk is free to set up and use. Putting together an account is easy. If you decide to check it out, take a tip from me and look at the keyboard tips - they make adding new tasks a lot easier.

Happy Organizing!

Photo by: karate_explosion

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