If you are a nerdy list maker that loves organization and color coding – this post is for you. Non “organization nerds”…. Beware. It’s going to get weird.
I tend to be a pretty spontaneous person. I love doing spur of the moment things and going with the flow. BUT. As much as I want to say that I’m okay with that life all the time, the truth is… I am most efficient with a checklist and structure. We are creatures of habit and sometimes we need organization in our lives to actually get shit done.
For most of my life, I had an agenda with color coded categories and a check list of daily tasks. I attribute my success in school to this. After graduating, I saw no need to carry around a notebook. Written to do lists were so 2013.
Then things starting falling through the cracks. I would book flights last minute and oil changes would be forgotten. I was out of my element. Why all the sudden? I’m not sure. Regardless, I pretended that I was just being a spontaneous person. Being a little more… carefree.
But here’s some harsh truth: Being spontaneous is effing expensive and can be extremely stressful in many situations.
After a missed rent payment (is it the first of the month already?) and an annoyed text from my landlady, I started downloading apps to help get my life together. Hang on towards the end for my revolution. 😛
Outlook Calendar + Tasks
If you use Outlook for work, try the Tasks module. You can schedule tasks for days of the week & get the satisfaction of digitally crossing them off when you complete them. When you look at your calendar, there are tasks under each day, which is a HUGE motivator. A lot of apps can’t do this, so it’s harder to see when exactly things were done / need to be done.
Google Calendar is a good way to record birthdays and events. It’s not as good at task management. Tasks are not as readily visible as they are on Outlook.
This app is $7 and it syncs multiple calendars (i.e. Outlook, Google Calendars, etc.) But… looking at the app when you have a million things to do…. makes you want to explode. And this is the case with many of these applications. It has a lot of good functionality, but there’s definitely a learning curve. Does everyone have the time and patience for that? I’m not sure.
The benefit is that if you have Apple devices, you see your reminders across all of them. That doesn’t change the fact that the user interface is not easy to navigate through.
This is an application that is a 2 x 2 square that breaks down tasks based on importance and urgency. Guess what? The low importance tasks and low urgency tasks never get done. Also, I would still only do the tasks I WANTED to do.
Wunderlist is a web based app that you can get on all of your devices. I really like that you can create categories for lists. The only problem is that if you make too many categories, your to do list appears overwhelming. Also, it’s hard to associate your tasks to a calendar view (like in Outlook).
AND THEN IT HIT ME ONCE AGAIN……
I realized that (for me) an app would never be as good as a tangible agenda. It’s a pain in the butt to carry around, BUT there’s something novel about being able to cross off an item on your to do list with a real live pen. And being able to write as much or as little as you desire. To decorate or highlight or not. To organize it however you want. Yes… there is something to be said about the old school agenda.
So I’m going back to the basics. I recently bought a shiny new agenda (this one is similar to mine) and made my lists and checked them twice. The key with buying an agenda is (1) it has to be small enough to carry around (2) big enough to write in (3) durable enough to last the year. (No one wants to carry around a raggedy looking book.) Not too difficult to accomplish.
I am more excited about this change that a normal person should be. I’ll keep you posted on how things go. If you’re a calendaring nerd like me, what kind of apps do you use or are you a firm believer of the basic agenda?
What keeps you sane when it comes to organization?