View Full Version : Need help organizing....AHH


dololly
05-07-09, 11:14 PM
I am having a hard time on how to keep up with all the to dos, appointments, etc. I know that there are like a million things out there to help in organizing, but how do you know what works for you? I have looked at different websites, products, etc, but so far, all the sites do is tell you what that paricular website will provides. The websites that I know of, only have what their site does, it does not get into how to tell if that tool will help you and how to help you from the start to the finish. Anyone have suggestions? All I need is for some sort of website or other means to give me tools instead if just here is a website, here is what we offer, now you figure out the rest.

APSJ
05-08-09, 12:41 AM
I'm not sure I understand exactly what you're looking for, but I've been eying Google's calendar feature for a while.

Its free, it lets you view your monthly, weekly, four day, and single day schedule, has an agenda view that lists upcoming events, and lets you set up to five e-mail reminders for each event you schedule. Of course, you never really know how well something like this works until you try it.

The only thing stopping me from using it is that I already bring my PDA with me everywhere, and can sync it to a program on my computer, so I don't really need a separate online calendar.

outnumbered
05-08-09, 01:08 AM
I tend to do a combination of three things:
- enter appointments onto the calendar on my cell phone with a reminder set to go off 10 min before I need to leave, lol
- write it down on a post-it and stick that on my desk on a place I'll see it often, like my cup of pens
- tell my kids. Between the three of them plus myself, ONE of us is bound to remember. Or at least, there's a 70% chance, which is better than the 20% or so chance I have on my own.

Anything more complicated than that, I don't tend to stick with. I used to write things on a whiteboard attached to my front door, but I started ignoring everything written on it somehow...just like I manage to ignore the sign with PILLS! written in bright blue marker taped to the miniblinds on my kitchen door so that when we leave in the morning I will remember to give the boys their medication. It never fails--four days out of the week, I walk out the door, lock it, and get to the car before I remember.

dololly
05-09-09, 07:59 AM
I guess I need to know what type of organizer/planner I am. I have been using google calander, but it doesnt give you tools to help you figure out what helps you the best. I have used a PDA, but I dont use it because all my activites, etc look so cluttered or that there id too much on the PDA. Anyway, I just did not know if there was a website or something to tell what type of planner/organizer you are or if you have to try different things until you find what works for you.

ADHD Hunter
05-09-09, 08:28 AM
I'd be happy to help if I can.

- What kind of information/activities are you tracking?

- What do you do?

- Do you have any kind of PDA or smartphone now?

- What have you tried that didn't work for you and why?

- How often do you need to refer to this?

- Do you mind carrying something around?

- Is money an issue/how much is reasonable to spend?

If you can give me an idea on the above questions, I will make some suggestions for solutions.

- Chris

dololly
05-10-09, 09:14 AM
- What kind of information/activities are you tracking? I need something to help me with to-dos, my activities, my kids' activities, etc.

- What do you do? I am a legal clerk

- Do you have any kind of PDA or smartphone now? I have a PDA, but I feel overwhelmed because of all the activities in it. I am also worried that because of my ADD I will loose it.

- What have you tried that didn't work for you and why? I have a big eraser calendar in my kitchen (which I love), I have used PDA, multiple calendars, and am in the process of Google Calendar.

- How often do you need to refer to this? I try to look at it every other day.

- Do you mind carrying something around? I do not mind carrying something around, as long as it is small.

- Is money an issue/how much is reasonable to spend? I am willing to spend up to $100.

There are so many things out there to helps you as far as organizing, but none of them teach you any tools.I would appreciate any input.

FinallyAnswered
05-10-09, 10:47 AM
- tell my kids. Between the three of them plus myself, ONE of us is bound to remember. Or at least, there's a 70% chance, which is better than the 20% or so chance I have on my own.

One important note dololly......if you do enlist the help of others to assist you in reminding you of things, don't hold them accountable if they happen to forget. I'm only saying this because my ex was famous for "don't forget to remind me".....and when I'd forget, she would put all the blame on me....lol.

There are a few fairly low-tech tools you can use.....like leaving yourself voice mail messages and sending yourself email reminders.

Good luck!

ADHD Hunter
05-10-09, 12:30 PM
I think I may be seeing a couple of different issues here.

1) Is it possible that in ADHD fashion, you are jumping from one "silver bullet" solution to the next, instead of taking one concept and staying with it until it becomes as normal as breathing? Any system for staying organized is going to need consistent application over a period of time. I have made it a part of my daily routine to review all of my notes, lists, and calendars first thing in the morning. Anything that can be cleaned up, like scraps of paper with individual notes, are re-written in one place. If I don't stay on top of this daily, I find my stress levels go up with a creeping sensation that I might be missing something.

2) Is it possible that you are trying to maintain so many notes and to-do's that it just feels overwhelming? We can get so obsessed with not dropping anything, that we hold in our to-do lists things that will never get done, yet we stress over them anyway. Periodically, I'll review my list for the old stragglers. If I've been juggling the same thought or piece of paper too many times, at some point I'll decide that it is a distraction without immediate merit. Those things I will toss out or file away for the distant future.

3) Is it possible that you are committing to too many things in your life? In an effort to be everything to everyone in our lives, it is possible to commit to too much. We don't want to tell family, friends or the office "no" and we keep juggling more and more, until the balls come crashing down a few at a time. There is nothing wrong with saying "I am sorry, but I can't - next time?" once in a while.

All of that being said, I would make some general suggestions:
You might want to try using a large screened smart phone (a PDA with phone functions) like a Blackberry. The phone can be set up to send and recieve e-mail from multiple accounts and can be set up to synchronize a computer desktop's organizer, such as Outlook. You do your normal maintenance on the desktop and then all of your info (calendar w/ alarms, notes, to-do's, contacts) are all displayed on your phone. A good sized screen is critical here to ensure that you can easily read your info.

If you are not already using Outlook, I would strongly recommend that you spend some time getting to know all of it's features. I have used many systems over the years, but have found none as useful as this. It has the ability to coordinate e-mail for multiple accounts, multiple calendars, to-do lists, note pads, contact lists and more.

You had suggested that you had more of an interest in how to organize than just a "system". I would suggest reading the 80/20 Principle (http://basecamphome.wordpress.com/2009/03/23/the-8020-principle/). The link will take you to a piece I wrote that briefly summarizes the concept. In a nutshell, we need to decide which things really should be done in order to make the most of our time. Much of our gains/progress (the 80%) come from a few things that we do (the 20%). the opposite of this is that 80% of what we normally do produces very little benefit. Determine which things are truly important in what we want to accomplish and avoid the time wasters.

You mentioned google's calendar. I have always been leary of trusting my data to a third party. I decided to start experimenting with google docs. In the past few months, I was locked out of docs for weeks, when google was having trouble with their systems. After that experience, it will be a long time before I trust any service like this with the only copy of my data.

Lastly, you initially asked for a website that would walk through getting things done, from start to fininsh - nice and easy. There are no such websites - what you are describing is either a consultant, at hundreds of dollars an hour, or a strong administrative assistant, at $40,000-100,000/year. I don't mean to sound like a wise guy, but the answers you are looking for will largely be found in reading and educating yourself as to what has worked for others, doing an honest analysis of your current routines and then consistently applying a solution for an extended period of time.

I hope this is helpful to you and please feel free to contact me with any questions.

- Chris

dololly
05-13-09, 10:04 PM
Thanks Hunter!!

I will print this off and use these tools. This is the kind of stuff I needed to help me..I really appreciate it!!

Retromancer
05-14-09, 01:12 AM
I will put a plug in for Google's Calendar. Intuitive, sharable and multi-platform. One simple but useful option is the 'daily agenda': a list of the day's appointments, tasks etc. delivered to your e-mail's inbox every day at 5 am.

I understand Chris concern about relying on on-line applications. (Google Docs remain one of the more 'beta' Google apps...) The good news is there is now a version that is accessible off-line. It syncs up with the on-line calendar when ever an internet connection is available. Just the ticket for laptops -- or poor boys still using dial-up.

Start here:

Official Gmail Blog: View Google Calendar offline (http://gmailblog.blogspot.com/2009/03/view-google-calendar-offline.html)

You mentioned google's calendar. I have always been leary of trusting my data to a third party. I decided to start experimenting with google docs. In the past few months, I was locked out of docs for weeks, when google was having trouble with their systems. After that experience, it will be a long time before I trust any service like this with the only copy of my data.

Infinity
07-12-09, 01:46 PM
Hi Dololly

One system that has worked for me with bills is to pay with a credit card . As soon as its out of the mail box I clip it to my visor in my truck .

That way its there as a visual reminder every day so I won't forget to pay card on time. .

I have yet to be able to write things down on a calender or in one book . things are still eveywhere . I have alot of what feels like resistance.

For work I have gotten a nice slim cordura folding file that I can keep with me in my truck . This gives me a place for each client to slip notes /ideas and bills and purchases .

I have trouble staying with one type of system. I keep going back to the old in the moment drop and fling . I feel discoutaged .alot.

Infinity~

AddaptAbilities
08-29-09, 04:15 PM
I'm also a huge HUGE fan of google calendar. You can create different sub-calendars and color code them. For instance, your "chore" calendar might be blue, your "appointments" might be red, "work" might be green. All of them show up on the master calendar.

My favorite thing about google calendar is that you can set it to send you reminders via e-mail, SMS, or pop-ups.

tash11
10-02-09, 11:17 AM
...
The only thing stopping me from using it is that I already bring my PDA with me everywhere, and can sync it to a program on my computer, so I don't really need a separate online calendar.
which pda do you have? what program do you sync it with? I have been looking into something like that. It sounds like it would help..

APSJ
10-02-09, 11:44 AM
which pda do you have? what program do you sync it with? I have been looking into something like that. It sounds like it would help..

I have a Palm Tungsten E2. I use datebook 6 to organize things, and sync it with iCal using Missing Sync (which basically lets it work with a mac). It's old technology now, but I'm sure you could find one used or refurbished on an online auction site, for example (that's where I got mine). For me, the key thing was to have a hard drive that didn't wipe itself out when the batteries died, and this was the most affordable option that did what I needed where that was true.

However, I'm sure there are much better options out there now, and wouldn't necessarily recommend this one over a newer model.

magpie1970
10-03-09, 12:35 AM
I have a Palm T/X and have had it for several years. I have always used the calendar function to keep track of appts, garbage day, birthdays, etc... You can set alarms and reminders for the appts. There is also a place to make to do lists.

However, I have to agree with what was said in a previous post. Maybe you are so overwhelmed because you are just trying to write down too much of what needs to be done. Have you tried scaling back on what you actually write down to do? Can you limit it to appts and kids activities?

I have always had ADD, but only recently diagnosed (much to my surprise) and have used a calendar for as long as I can remember. Even though you have ADD, it is not the sole reason for organizational issues. Have you talked to your doctor about how to change habits so that you can improve your organization? That may benefit you more than a new calendar system.

MamaMeka
10-08-09, 09:59 PM
I am having a hard time on how to keep up with all the to dos, appointments, etc. I know that there are like a million things out there to help in organizing, but how do you know what works for you? I have looked at different websites, products, etc, but so far, all the sites do is tell you what that paricular website will provides. The websites that I know of, only have what their site does, it does not get into how to tell if that tool will help you and how to help you from the start to the finish. Anyone have suggestions? All I need is for some sort of website or other means to give me tools instead if just here is a website, here is what we offer, now you figure out the rest.


Don't know how your budget runs, but my blackberry pearl has been the number one BEST way for me to stay organized...it has a calendar that lists all of my appointments and responsibilities in several formats (calendar, agenda, daily, monthly, weekly, etc.) and it alarms me when it's 15 min before my appointment (i can set it to alarm me however early i need it to) it's AMAZING!

Don't knock all the websites people give you...i've found some great study helps for my ADHD-focus/attention side 5th grade daughter and my ADHD-behavioural side 2nd grade son...he doesn't need the study/organization aids as much as she. those websites have really helped her to get better grades and retain info...it was like her brain was a collander...information would go in and then just run right back out! wish my mom had known what was going on with me back when i was going through school hearing the teachers say,"she's got so much potential, if she would just apply herself"...even in my young mind then, i knew something was wrong and that they were the ones who should have been attempting to help me...crazy...glad i know!
Glad i found this forum!