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Organizational problems....NEED HELP!!! and suggestions.

For years now I have been searching for the perfect organizational tool.

 

I have tried notebooks, binders, index card, Ipods, PDA's Planners and so on and so on. II truly believe that I have spent several thousand dollars on gadgets and gizmo's.

 

Yeah it is geeky. My wife calls it a stationary fetish, I call it a big problem!! Until recently I have written it off to trying to be the more productive but NO it is not. I have notes sprawled everywhere. I have to-do lists in my car, my desk, my Ipod that just crashed and I think in my back pocket.......

 

I am looking to hear from others on how they handle notes, reminders and to-do list.

 

I think there is hope for me yet....maybe!?!?......On the bright side I could probably open a used notebook and planner store and fund my next business venture (only 5 pages used/missing...;-)

 

 

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I would love to hear others feedback as well.  I have a similar problem.  I can't offer you a solution but can commiserate.  I use sticky notes, index cards, about 5 different notebooks, scraps of paper for when an idea hits and i don't have something else handy.

 

It seems every day I have to see what kind of mood I'm in..is it an index card day or a sticky note day?  

 

I have my Iphone which has been helpful for keeping my calendar.  

I recommend a book called "Organizing from the Inside Out" by Julie Morgenstern.   She starts the book addressing the psychological blockers to organization and then goes on to lay out a pretty basic system to help organize.

 

Personally for notes I have a tendency to do exactly what you do.  What I find to to be the biggest issue is not being consistent.  I mean I start putting some notes here and some notes there.  I think the key is to have a centralized place to have notes.  I think Microsoft One Note is a pretty sweet program for doing that. It's like a digital notebook that you can have different tabs and sections and to do check boxes and reminders. 

 

But the most important thing to do is to pick an easy to use system and stick to it. So if you prefer writing use and stick to a day planner.  If you are all about typing use the smart phone/pda/outlook method, but really as long as it's simple and you are consistent with the system you should be okay.

HAHAHAHAHA   sorry, I read this message and looked at all the notebooks I have spread around my house and couldn't help myself. Even though I am too cheap to buy organizers I do have at least a dozen notebooks in my house full of notes. Usually I can remember which note is in which notebook though. It is just finding the notebooks that I have a hard time with :)

I can relate!! Personally, I use something called the S.S.S.S. (I invented it, I think) - which stands for the Simple Skin Storage System. Basically, I just scrawl stuff all over my arms. The REALLY important stuff gets tattooed on.

 

Really, though, I've been putting a lot of effort into making sure all of my notes end up in the same place. In all honesty, I've realized that I've been looking for a 'magic bullet', a product that will fix this problem for me. But the products out there are just tools. I'M the one that's gotta change.

Today, I'm WAY better at this because I'm only allowing myself to use one journal/notebook. All others are packed away. It's taken me some time to get used to it, but I'm building a habit out of it. It's a simple solution. Simple - but definitely not easy at first.

 

- Josh

 

And yes, I was kidding re: SSSS. My wife would NEVER let me do that.

Josh....I like your idea. I have visited my local tattoo shop and had this worked out. The only problem that I have is the ink rubbing off on my face when it is hot out. Maybe a permanent maker would work better!!

 

OH...and I didn't think about the fact that I am left handed............

 

 

Greg

 

 

I am joking of course, but it is wild to see that people have actually tattooed notepads and their arms...Not a bad idea!?!?!?!

 

Hey Greg (and everyone else with notebook overload)

I have found David Allen's "Getting Things Done" book has been the most effective for me and some of my clients. For those who love reading get the book, for those who need to get the information on the go get the audio and for those who just need help NOW devote some quality time to doing both!!!!.

What has helped me is to take time with the book and the audio and study his process. This is something I think might help because he is tackling the issue from a point of view that whatever system works for you this is how to use it. What my client have found most helpful is his "tickler" idea and how to process all incoming information (ie emails, snail mail, ideas, etc.)

If you decide to try it let me know and I would love to help you understand and process the process - LOL!

 

Best of luck!!! There is hope for you!!!!

 

http://www.davidco.com/

Thanks Wendy!!! I have read GTD a couple times and hope that is will help. My problem is that the "tickler" file is scattered and that I don't have a "trustworthy" system that I stick with. I am working on it though with the use of Evernote.

The iPhone app Evernote has been a HUGE, HUGE, HUGE help for me staying organized.

Check it out https://www.evernote.com/

 

There is also a desktop app that goes along with it. It's AMAZING. I can have ongoing notes for sales calls, vendors, etc. Meeting notes, or just whatever. You can even photograph handwritten notes and search for the text later to find it. It's truly an amazing app. I eventually plan on writing a blog post on how to use it for business.

Aside from the app, I set reminders in my calendar and with the reminders app on the new iPhone O5. So, certain things I do weekly but can easily forget because I'm so scatter brained. I set alarms for the time of day I usually do that task so I don't forget.

 

But I can't say enough about the Evernote app. I used to just jot everything down in a journal. But I recently bought a new one and have yet to write anything in it because of Evernote. Give it a try for a week and you will be hooked!

Thanks Caleb!!! I have loaded Evernote on my laptop and Ipod Touch that I carry with me. I am also using a couple other apps. in the hopes to sick with them.

 

Greg

It took me about 3 days to get used to it, now I use it religiously. It has truly changed how I am doing busienss. I used to jot things down in a notebook all the time and would always have to flip around to find my notes and to-do lists. Now everything is easily searchable, which makes it a breeze.

 

And, as my company grows I can upgrade to premium for more storage space and have the ability for multiple people to edit note books. I have truly never been more impressed with an app before. Especially a productivity type app.

 

I hope it ends up working well for you too. 

Yup. Caleb suggested what I was going to suggest. Prior to Evernote I was a big sticky note guy. And emails to myself. I have a couple hundred in two email accounts.

Going forward I'll be using Evernote. Especially b/c sticky notes are hard to keep track of and I had the bad tendency to not put a subject line in my emails.

~Ivan

I am a GTD fan myself.  The things I've learned from that book and the rest of David Allen's work have been tremendous.  Here are a few things...

  1. There isn't one perfect tool or system that works for everybody.  Just like in weight loss, the one that works is the one that you will use.
  2. There isn't one perfect tool that works for everything.  You need various tools to be able to handle the different things to be organized.  Typically this would include a calendar, a list manager (paper or electronic), reference files and maybe the tickler if you have a need for papers reminders.
  3. Choose and stick with one system.  Using multiple systems means you can't fully trust any of them, making you less likely to use any of them. 
  4. Getting better using your system is a continuous process.  The important thing is not that you stay in control of everything all the time, but that you have the ability to get back in control. 

I could go on and on and on.... 

GOOD LUCK!!

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