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How do you stay organized?

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7,649
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29
I am just kind of curious. I am having one of those days where I feel like I am "accomplishing NOTHING". My 'to do' list runs to about 3 pages. Having a "to do" list has helped me to make more productive use of my time. But the sheer length of my 'to do' list also sometimes just makes me feel like I am falling further and further behind.

Anyway, I was just wondering what other folks do to keep life on track. This afternoon, I feel completely derailed. So it seemed like a good question. :-D
 

Gedunker

Moderating
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Moderator
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11,486
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41
I might as well be the first: What is this "on track" of which you speak?

I've tried all sorts of things, but mostly I have a mental list of what has to be done immediately (or that is already late); things that are soon to be due; things that can be put off; things I probably will delegate. What has worked best is getting our months into routines and then dealing with the things that pop up out of the ordinary.
 
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Gedunker said:
I might as well be the first: What is this "on track" of which you speak?
Thanks, Gedunker. That was good for a laugh and makes me feel better.

I know that one issue for me right now is that I am overhauling my homeschooling website and it is kind of a big job. I have a file of ideas and material that has accumulated and each time it grows by very much, I seem to make some changes to how it is navigated and organized (if only to the web architecture, which can be invisible to the viewing public) -- and that means making changes to all existing pages before I can add any of the new material. It seems like no matter how much I do on that site, it is "never enough". There is always more that I wish I could get to. If it only paid money, I would have "life time security". :-D (I know: whine, whine, whine. :p )
 

michaelskis

Cyburbian
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20,173
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51
For me, I put things in three groups, the must do, the need to do, and the when I get to them. I also make sure that things are broken into groups such as sign permits, plot plans, code enforcement, GIS, and Zoning. It also helps me to make a physical list, and cross out things when I finish them. This allows me to see some sort of progress, even if it is small. The psychological benefit of this alone can be the difference between a good day and a bad day.
 

Zoning Goddess

Cyburbian
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13,852
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I have a lot of lists, and I actually use them. At least I get small tasks accomplished. The best is the master X-mas list, which is in my planner and starts evolving about August.

Elsewhere.... (sigh). My house is just not physically organized. No filing system, kid's toys in multiple rooms, etc. As an example, I am sitting in a 10x10 room that contains a computer desk, bookcase, toy chest, two chairs, and an air hockey table. Oh, and litter boxes in the closet. And a file cabinet (holding only piles of my son's school papers). And a set of tray tables. Too much stuff!

Then I watch Mission Organization on HGTV and feel superior to the really, really unorganized people of the world.
 

NHPlanner

A shadow of my former self
Staff member
Moderator
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9,945
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40
I don't do lists.....never have......but somehow I still manage to keep relatively organized and get things done.
 

biscuit

Cyburbian
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Organization is not one of my stronger traits. The wife refers to my brand of organization as my "paper mess," which drives her completely nuts as she is uber organized. This is probably one of the reasons we're a good match for each other. Being that I have a propensity to be ... shall we say a bit scatter-brained at times (natural blond :-D ), I have found that making a list of the things that have to be accomplished, both at home and at work, is a major aid in keeping me "on track," as it were.
 
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Big Easy King

Cyburbian
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1,361
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I am fairly organized at work because I hate falling behind. I seldom keep a "to do" list, but when I do it's usually a short list. In order to prevent myself from falling behind, I try to knock out the minor tasks quickly before having to place them on a list. This allows me to utilize the bulk of my time for evaluating projects.
 

otterpop

Cyburbian
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6,655
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28
I have a list I fill out on Friday afternoon or Monday morning outlining the things I need to get done for the week. That helps some. I have a desk calendar where I scope out in 90 minutes intervals what should be working on.

I also have a copy of the Procrastinator's Creed above my desk to remind me of my worse work habit - postponing until the last possible moment those tasks I don't want to do. For example, I have a transmittal memo due this afternoon and instead of doing that I am typing this message.
 

Repo Man

Cyburbian
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Though my office is always in a state somewhere between organized and messy, i manage to keep track of everything. Every friday at the end of the day I make a checklist of stuff that I need to take care of the following week. I find that I tend to forget things over the course of a weekend.
 
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At work - I generally keep on top of things, and if my plate gets a little too full, well, that's the joy of government, it will get done when it gets done. However, my office is pretty messy.

At home - We're actually pretty organized at home too. Granted, with the new baby, birthday cards rarely arrive on time, and the toilet hasn't been scrubbed in two weeks, but still.... Granted though, we do have a lot of help with the baby.
 
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I'm the disorderly organized type. Things can be scattered all over the place, but I'll know exactly where specific items are in that pile of mess. I always restore order to my desk at the end of the day, because I can't stand being greeted by a messy desk when I arrive at work.
 

martini

Cyburbian
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678
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I'll another one to the 'list' batch. If I don't have lists, I get get lost easily. I get distracted by bright shiney objects...er more interesting things to do, and the stuff that NEEDS to get done don't. That just can't happen. I've tried a PDA style thingy, and it worked well to keep me organized, but it was borrowed and needed to be returned. Now I need to get one. It was great since I was able to keep a rolling list going where ever I went. Anyone got aspare $250 laying around they can cough up? :)
 

plankton

Cyburbian
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750
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21
Monthly calendars, yearly calendars, hot stacks, cool stacks, in-boxes, out boxes, vertical files, stack files, files by address, files by subject matter, :5

It's a continual work in progress for me. I'm very self conscious about the level of disorder in my office. I try to keep it reasonable looking but often struggle in doing so. I'll get it all straightened out once things slow down..... ;-)
 
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plankton said:
Monthly calendars, yearly calendars, hot stacks, cool stacks, in-boxes, out boxes, vertical files, stack files, files by address, files by subject matter, :5

It's a continual work in progress for me. I'm very self conscious about the level of disorder in my office. I try to keep it reasonable looking but often struggle in doing so. I'll get it all straightened out once things slow down..... ;-)
Somehow that reminds me of a conversation I had with my husband a few years ago. I was telling him I wanted his help moving furniture and he was being a grump about it. And I complained about his complaining and how he was never very supportive. And he told me it was because I always brought this stuff up when he was tired or (insert a few other excuses). I went "You are ALWAYS tired or busy or (insert the rest of his excuses). WHEN is going to be a good time to ask? After you RETIRE from the army???" He gives me a lot less hassle about such things these days.

Good luck waiting for "when things slow down". B-) :-D :p
 

The Irish One

Member
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2,267
Points
25
Today was a succes because I finished off a to do list from 6 months ago. I have many lists, they keep my life in something that resembles organization. My brain works so well with many lists.
 

Doitnow

Cyburbian
Messages
496
Points
16
If my to do list gets menacing and long then I just focus my mind, shrug off whats bothering me( mostly its something silly)and just get on with the first point on the list. Normally I put the easiest/smaller things to do first on that list.
Unless the bigger task is really urgent Id ont keep it number one on the list.

Gist of the message:
Start ACTING on that LIST!!
 

Bear Up North

Cyburbian Emeritus
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9,329
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Opening An Old Thread

This Bear is re-opening an old MZ thread, perhaps thinking about this topic for a couple reasons.....

Reason 1 - In the "Calendar" thread a number of folks indicated they use Franklin Planners (or similiar) as their primary calendar.

Reason 2 - I finally head back to the office (after 3 months) and I have been thinking about the things that I have to look at and get caught-up with when I first walk into that place. :-c

In the workplace the calendar on my wall is for scenic reasons only.....lighthouses. I also have a small daily desk calendar that I will flip over daily. On that calendar I will write something that is HOT and must be done. (Nothing else on that calendar.)

I use a Franklin Planner, classic size, classic look. Every day I go through the list, ala "Franklin" method, and attack those important "A" items. The best organization plus I get from the Franklin is on the beginning-of-the-month items, mostly related to sales dollars, numbers, productivity, safety, quality, etc. As I tackle the projects involved with each topic I can write in the same project for the first day of the next month. Hey, it works for me.

Our company uses Lotus Notes, tied in to more than seventy (70) PC's. Lotus is great for picking a meeting site, reserving the conference room of choice, sending out the e-mailed invitiations, poring over the responses from those invites, sending "preliminary" agendas to attendees. I use it religiously. Lotus is also good for passing general information to select (or "all") users. Our programmers have also tied-in Lotus with a home-grown program that allows us to introduce artwork and packing changes to a customer's general file, minus what used to be a long stack of papers going physically through multiple desks and work centers.

I believe that being organized is an important part of the work environment. If done right it is productive (cost-effective), strengthens the quality of your work, and presents a professional image.....especially to those that report to you.

Bear
 

Floridays

Cyburbian
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769
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21
How do I stay organized?

I don't.

I can GET organized, but keeping it that way....well, that's another story!
 

Tranplanner

maudit anglais
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Floridays said:
How do I stay organized?

I don't.

I can GET organized, but keeping it that way....well, that's another story!
You tell'em sister! That's me to a tee... :-D
 

Trail Nazi

Cyburbian
Messages
2,779
Points
24
When I write something down in my Franklin Covey, it gets done. If it is on a random piece of paper, I have a hard time remembering where I put the list. If my husband gives me a "to do" list, I am obligated to do it even though I do it begrudgingly. I hate his lists because they are not my priorities.
 

JNA

Cyburbian Plus
Messages
25,790
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61
What is this "stay organized" that you speak of ?

Mighty big presumption that I was organized to begin with. :-x :-$
 

Queen B

Cyburbian
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3,178
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25
I agree with Budgie, occassional bonfires at the home or office. Things willremain relatively unorganized but I seem to know where things are. The problem I have with things are those that probably are not important but you just never know so I use the stash it method. I set it aside for a period of time until I am certain that I won't need it any more. Then I go through everything and pitch and throw. The problem with that method is that sometimes I end up sorting that same item three or four times before I can pitch it and I know that is not the way that really organized people do it. I think they tend to be tossers. Just get rid of it and see what happens.
 

boiker

Cyburbian
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3,889
Points
26
Trail Nazi said:
If my husband gives me a "to do" list, I am obligated to do it even though I do it begrudgingly. I hate his lists because they are not my priorities.
This is exactly the problem I have w/ Mrs B and something I need to get better at!!!
 

Jaxspra

Cyburbian
Messages
3,516
Points
24
Queen B said:
I agree with Budgie, occassional bonfires at the home or office. Things willremain relatively unorganized but I seem to know where things are. The problem I have with things are those that probably are not important but you just never know so I use the stash it method. I set it aside for a period of time until I am certain that I won't need it any more. Then I go through everything and pitch and throw. The problem with that method is that sometimes I end up sorting that same item three or four times before I can pitch it and I know that is not the way that really organized people do it. I think they tend to be tossers. Just get rid of it and see what happens.
My organization strategy EXACTLY :-D
 

Trail Nazi

Cyburbian
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2,779
Points
24
While my boss was on a cruise for a week, we boxed up all of his personal belongigs and all of his work stuff in a very organized manner. However, a few weeks later and it is just back to the mess that it was before we reorganized him. We even changed his name plate on his office door because the big boss was so mad at my boss because he could not find anything while he was away. Hence, why we had to organize him. The only good thing that came about our reorganizing of his office was that he a photographer from our newspaper come to photograph him, so the boxes were great props.

Boiker , if you find out how to be better at the list problem, please let me know. I need to get better at doing the "to do" list.
 
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Funny that you should revive this thread, Bear. I still haven't transitioned my computerized version of a daily planner to my new computer. Using it has its problems but it is getting to a point where I have a long "to do" list and cannot remember it all again. Sigh. The problem with using it is that some stuff stays on the list and makes me feel guilty when I might have simply "forgotten" about it and it would have died a natural death without haunting me. Ugh. :( It also makes it harder for ideas to "morph" -- to be seeds of ideas that lead to a slightly different version of it. Once it is written down, it seems so Definite. I find that hampers my creative process.
 
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