Getting Organized: Organizing for Today, Tomorrow, and the Next Day

Getting organized is hard. If it weren't, we wouldn't put it off until it got even harder. There are hundreds of books out there on how to get organized; they have ideas on how to work in your garage, in your living room, in your mind, in your job. They offer every sort of idea for every sort of situation... but you know what happens to most of those books? They end up in the middle of some pile on our disorganized tables and desks. What we need is some simple, applicable ideas and systems that we can start applying today. Here are my suggestions that I've come up with after working with all different sorts of clients and situations. First of all, get an 'information assistant' (IA) that you can carry with you throughout your day. A paper-based daily planner, a personal digital assistant (PDA) like a Palm Pilot, or even a simple notebook where you keep everything written down (those are harder to keep organized, but don't think you need to spend a bunch of money on this tool). Once you have that IA, use it. Have it be your calendar, your address book, your notebook, your reference page, your task list. Use it every day, and keep it up to date. I now always recommend a digital solution (like a Palm) if you already have a computer as these are much easier to keep updated, and are generally easier to carry around. I love that I can carry mine in the breast pocket of my sports coat. I used to have a paper planner, but I'd never take it with me in the evenings. Kind of hard to 'hit the town' with a notebook under your arm. More importantly, more and more of our lives are connected to the internet, and this flood of information will only grow. In addition, the data on a PDA can be backed up almost instantly, so if you lose it, there's no loss of information. It takes a bit of time to get used to these tools, and of course you run into problems setting them up. It's a bit like a computer