Three Ways to Stay Organized

This has been one of those weeks, where I have reminders for my reminders, and I’m constantly looking at my calendar to make sure I haven’t forgotten an appointment.It seems like the older I get, the harder it is to keep track of everything. It seems to be a typical affliction for women juggling multiple responsibilities on multiple fronts.

Over the past few months I’ve gotten better at keeping track of things, so I thought I’d share what works for me, and if you’d be so kind, PLEASE share what works for you! Once upon a time, I was a pen and paper kind of gal. The trouble is that now, I have a tendency to misplace either the pen, the pencil or both. So I’ve turned to my iPhone.

1) I have become an avid Google calendar user. Right now, I have about 5 calendars, each with their own color. I set reminders so that an alert pops up on my phone. Appointments, kids’ activities and social events all go in the calendar, and then the calendar helps me to remember.

2) Reminders: Reminders is a default app on the iPhone 4. For non-time sensitive tasks, I just enter them as a reminder. It’s a good way to keep random things I’ve been meaning to do all in one place.

3) ZipList: I’ve tried a few list apps, and ZipList has become my favorite. It holds stores, the aisle layout of the stores, and so much more. The meal planning service that I’ve been using for about a month syncs with ZipList, so that when I pick my recipes for the week, the ingredients are automatically sent to the grocery list. It’s kind of amazing.

And that’s pretty much my bag of tricks. How do you stay organized?

8 replies on “Three Ways to Stay Organized”

Grocery list apps are one of my favorite things ever. I’ve used Kitchen Monki (free) with great success. It builds a shopping list from recipes you enter or select from shared recipes in the community (and there are many). I also tried out Well Vegan (not free), which just launched earlier this year, because it sends out a week’s worth of recipes and a shopping list every week, so I don’t even have to decide what to cook. (Probably best for a 2-adult household.) And finally, according to Lifehacker, Food on the Table is giving free premium memberships all March, so I’m probably going to switch to it now if I can get the signup to work. It looks like a good one.

I love an app called Week Cal. It is so much better than the default iPhone calendar. For one thing, it has a weekly view in addition to the daily and monthly views. For another, the layout is much more intuitive. I have it synched to my Outlook work calendar, and my Google personal calendar. Instead of entering information on the computer, I find myself entering it on the phone. I’ll add detail by editing on the computer, but setting a schedule is so much easier with the app. Best $1.99 I’ve spent in a long time.

I’ll have to try ZipList, although I can’t quite picture it being easier than the magnetic notepad I keep on the refrigerator door.

I have to have my reminder written out. If I write it down, I won’t forget it. But it also means that because I will then remember it, I forget to drink my dayplanner with me… So it’s a bad cycle. But putting things online or on my phone is not an option for me. It just doesn’t feel right and doesn’t seem as efficient as just writing it down. For me, at any rate. I’m an historian though, so I like paper. A lot.

Writing things out definitely helps me organize my thoughts better than putting them into my phone or computer, for some reason.  I never put appointment reminders into my phone, but maybe I should.

I like to use Out of Milk for organizing my shopping and ToDos. It doesn’t give reminders (I don’t think) but it’s so easy to use, which is really my criteria.

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