Anyone who talks to me regularly knows that my memory is about five minutes long. Between owning a business, running multiple websites, parenting a teenager, maintaining a home, taking care of four dogs, and occasionally sleeping, it’s a wonder I haven’t forgotten who I am yet.
I keep several systems in place to help me remember things, but it seems inevitable that I forget (or completely screw up) at least a few tasks from time to time. If I don’t have access to my preferred method(s) for keeping track of my life at the time I receive new information, it’s as good as gone. Which is kind of pathetic if you think about it, but unfortunately it’s just the way things go around here.
I make heavy use of technology to stay organized. Without my phone, iPad, and computers, I honestly don’t know what I’d do. While paper and a pen are still part of my repertoire, I find myself using them less and less as my devices become more capable of managing my life.
My finances are actually one of the easier systems to manage. Thanks to the wonder of PNC Virtual Wallet, my savings and most of my bills are automated. I always know when my bills are due and that PNC will take care of them according to the schedule I’ve set up. Other than checking my balance daily to make sure there are no surprises, I don’t have to do much where money is concerned.
iCal and Google Calendar save my life when it comes to managing my work life. When I schedule design work or a consultation for a client, I enter it into iCal immediately. It then syncs to all my various devices so I know what I’m supposed to be doing every day. I also keep a notebook where I scribble hex codes, CSS snippets, and random notes for each project. Projects are given a subfolder within my “work” folder, which syncs to both computers, and I make backups obsessively. I also label emails with the month, year, and name of the project in case I need to refer to them later.
I’ve gotten really good at shopping from a grocery list now that I’m cooking regularly. I tend to keep a written list, adding things as I think of them throughout the week, then taking pictures of the list with my phone so I don’t have to carry the paper with me. (I was always really bad about leaving the list in the car or at home.) I find myself making fewer trips and forgetting things less often now that I have a system in place.
I’ve been trying (unsuccessfully for the most part) to implement a schedule for household chores. I do use the Reminders app for things like replacing the filter in my heating and cooling unit, oil changes, and making/attending appointments, but I haven’t been able to make it work for more frequent tasks like cleaning out my fridge (which needs to happen SOON). Here’s what happens – the reminder goes off, usually when I’m in the middle of something super important. I hit snooze. The reminder goes off again and I turn it off, fully intending to take care of it right then, and then something random happens. A dog pukes, or the doorbell or phone rings, or I realize it’s 2 PM and I haven’t eaten yet… Still working on this one.
What Works For You?
Those are just a few examples of the methods I use to remember things. As I said, they aren’t perfect, but I trust them much more than I trust my ability to remember on my own.
How do you keep track of your life? Anything you wouldn’t recommend doing? Any amazing organizational tools that might help me with the household stuff?