What sort of organizer/planner works for you?

What should you do when you want to do everything? If you're fascinated by everything, and you've been called dabbler, dilettante, undisciplined, indecisive etc., this forum is for you.

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Re: What sort of organizer/planner works for you?

Postby Ilah » Wed Sep 08, 2010 5:44 am

If I wrote down every thing in my mind, I would never stop writing. :lol: I have a hyperactive mind.

I am not sure about the not urgent, not important list. That is generally stuff I am doing because I enjoy doing it. Or does enjoyment count as important? :?: :?:

I spent most of my life surrounded by people who didn't "get" the things I enjoyed. :( For example, they thought it was a waste of time to make a loaf of bread when it is cheap and easy to buy a loaf of bread.

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Re: What sort of organizer/planner works for you?

Postby kashtanka » Wed Sep 08, 2010 10:23 pm

I can so relate to what Ilah said about people not getting the reason behind making something if it's cheaper to buy it already made. For me, it's hard to understand their point of view! From a very young age I was constantly designing and making things, from dollhouses made out of cardboard, clothes for dolls, sweaters and scarves, etc. etc. So many people don't get it!

About organizing and planning, I found out that I'm much more relaxed if I don't do it at all! (except for the obvious like appointments and events) I'm not saying that I don't ever make lists, but I decided recently that it causes me to fret if I think too much about everything that's on my plate. Instead, I map out the day when I wake up, and I'm much happier that way.
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Re: What sort of organizer/planner works for you?

Postby SquarePeg » Thu Sep 30, 2010 12:15 pm

I have no one system, or it's so scatterbrained that's it's indistinguishable from chaos.

So I'd like to recommend something that totally works for someone else. Sacha Chua uses Org-mode on Emacs. For someone who has never used Emacs (an extensible open source text editor that can run on many operating systems), this is a very daunting proposition. But otherwise, it's an amazing thing.

My take on Barbara Sher's multiple loose leaf binder system (which I think is the Scanner Day Pages) is that it allows a scanner to focus well on Project A. And when ideas for tangential projects B, C, 3D, B-prime, B-prime-new-and-improved pop-up every half hour or so, you jot down enough notes to fulfill the craving of exploring them, and then return to Project A. I write this because I read that someone is disappointed about not reading his or her binders. Don't worry -- they've already fulfilled their purpose.

In case you're morbidly curious about my non-system (for work):
1. Handwritten tasks on a note pad.
2. Flagged e-mails in Outlook.
3. Outlook calendar.
4. Huge paper filing system for historic notes.
5. Computer directories of old work that I base new work on.
6. Memory.
7. Respond immediately to high priority verbal requests.

At home:
1. Quicken 1998 with "bill-pay" reminder to maintain checkbook and finances.
2. Calendar on refrigerator for appointments.
3. Various piles of paper & mail. How deeply a page is in the pile correlates to how old it is.
4. Large paper filing system for bank statements, insurance EOBs, income tax returns.
5. Lists of tasks written on backs of junk mail envelopes.
6. MS Word file of names and addresses for Christmas cards, which I update as I mail them.
7. Verbal reminders from Family Members.
8. Respond immediately to situations.
9. Memory.

That's the gist of it, anyway.
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Re: What sort of organizer/planner works for you?

Postby Keechick » Wed May 11, 2011 10:31 am

I'm brand new; just came across Refuse to Choose a week ago. But just found something that's working really well for me.

When I started writing in my Daybook, I found lots of ideas could be categorized. So I highlighted the ideas with different coloured felt pens (markers), and made a key at the bottom -- things to research; places to go; projects; things I want to learn how to do, etc. Then it's really easy to go back over my writing and pick those things out. This part is probably nothing new to anyone.

But! What I found on my Mac is a great way of keeping that all together. If you have Word for Mac, go to "Notebook Layout" in the View menu. It gives you a notebook with an infinite number of section tabs, that you can name and colour-code. I make these correspond to my Daybook colours, and now I'm a very happy Scanner. All my ideas get filed in there, and nothing gets lost.
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Re: What sort of organizer/planner works for you?

Postby BoFlexson » Mon Aug 01, 2011 8:47 am

I'm new here, so Hi Everyone.

I just got the book by Barbara, and am half way through. My biggest weakness has been project management of all of my ideas and projects. It drives my wife crazy that I start so many things, and then never "finish" them.

I've gotten a bit better at this recently though. Here's some things that I use/do that I find helpful:


Email, we use outlook, I make every effort to keep my inbox clean. Once an issue is dealt with I move any emails about it into an Archive folder. I find it's quicker to search for it later, instead of wasting time trying to sort them out. So, I just dump everything into the one archive folder.

Bigger Projects: I've started using MS project, Project is great since it uses a nice hierarchical listing. You can break down the project into many areas, and add as many detailed steps under each one. Even sub steps if need be. I don't really use the scheduling and resource management part of it, but use it more like a master task list for each large project.

Small Todos: I keep a list of todo's that need todo-ing on a small notepad. These are just odd ball items that don't fit into a bigger project.

Post Its / Notebooks. I have a couple of small size notebooks handy at my desk, if the phone rings or someone stops over I automatically grab it and a pen now. Previously I would try to keep everything in my head, and we all know that didn't work. I try to go through my stack of notes/papers etc. each day or so and clean out stuff that is no longer relevant, and then compress anything else into a project or my odd ball todo list.

Reference stuff: Any notes / papers etc. on a topic that I need to keep around for future reference, I throw into a manilla envelope labeled with the topic. Nothing fancy here, just so I can find it later if need be.

Home Life:

I still need help in this area.

Todos/projects: I've started to use Action Method on my iPad. It lets you make groups of projects, and for each project you can add Action items. But not much more than that. It does keep it simple. If I think of something I need to do, such as change the oil in the car, I grab the iPad and jot in it.

Email: i use gmail, and here as well I try to keep my inbox clean. If an email is something that I need to act on, but not immediately, I tag it as ToDo, and then archive it. I can then bring up all of my ToDo emails, without them clogging up my inbox. Everything else gets archived as well.

Bills: I've got 99% of my monthly bills and payments automated. Either my bank bill pay sends out a check automatically, or the vendor charges my debit card automatically. This automation has drastically reduced the amount of stress I used to go through worrying about whether or not I paid all my bills on time. I just check over the list and transactions a couple of times a month.

I do need to finish reading the book of course, but I still struggle with todo/interest overload, where I so much that I could do, that I don't do any of it. When I do get a little manic, and attack my todos and interests, it feels great. But I often find myself doing nothing, getting bored, and then resorting to watching T.V.

I really look forward to learning more about how everyone manages while being a scanner. When you get stuck with picking something to act on, how do you get unstuck?
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Re: What sort of organizer/planner works for you?

Postby SquarePeg » Mon Aug 01, 2011 1:35 pm

I usually do not have time to get stuck. By the time I realize I'm stuck, I then have to plunge the toilet, or my wife will have made plans for the family and will be waiting for me to get my butt in gear and leave with her.
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