How to Organize Your Life – And Stay on Task

Life is busy. Busy, busy, busy. And once you add children to your routines and schedules, it gets even busier!

Can you rely on your memory to remember play dates, meetings, things to pick up at the store, birthdays, bills? It is often the same for men as it is for women – no, we can’t remember absolutely everything, so don’t even try. Some of us have used the old-fashion pen and paper or even the fancier leather-bound planner/journal. But for some, we need something small that is with us all the time.

Wait, what about our smart phones?

We can download this app or that, we can set up notifications and we can embrace technology for all that it is worth, understanding full well that disconnecting from devices is also part of the process.

How can a busy dad, or mom with one or more kids, stay focused on life and work?

Here is a bit of technology to save the day:

Google Calendar – a cloud-based system that allows you to access your life across all of your devices. Use it to plan out your schedule daily, or even hourly, and input details about work (and vacation time), doctor’s appointments, gym workouts, dinners, etc.  If you import events, you can choose to receive a pop-up reminder before they start, that way you will never miss the theatre, or the birthday party down the street, provided that you buy a gift ahead of time. You can even sync family calendars together, so that you know what time your loved ones will be home for dinner.

Technology is a wonderful aid, always there when you need it, but you need to understand how it works if it is truly going to help you out.

Evernote – it will quickly become your “digital brain” if you let it. Take notes on the go with this app and allow inspiration to flow while you are out sipping a cup of coffee at the café, or shopping at the farmer’s market. You can even type in simple details, as to where you parked your car at the airport or the zoo. Because trying to rely on your brain to keep track of these details involves way more RAM then any parent has . Keep a list of your favorite restaurants,
the blogs you love to read, your parents’ address, make a list of anything and everything that you might ever find useful. If you write all of this stuff on paper, it inevitably ends up getting lost, or you have to flip through so many pages to find that one thing you were looking
With Evernote it’s easy. Use tags and notebooks to retrieve information from any of your devices. You can even save snapshots of webpages in different formats, scan your receipts for tax purposes. Napkin drawings? Yes, you can now save those too.

Mindfulness Apps – an organized life takes an organized mind. Relax, even if you need to be reminded to take a deep breath every once in a while.

And if you are going old-school:

Post-its – in different colors and sizes you can leave little reminders for yourself or others. You need to pick up more coffee from the store, or diapers, or flowers? Leave a post-it on the door, so that you can grab it on the way out. Just remember to look up and take it, don’t be so focused on the destination that you fail to see the details along the way.

You can always take notes on index cards and file them away. It is actually a great way to save inspirational quotes about productivity and happiness.

“The place we live should be for the person we are becoming now – not for the person we have been in the past.” Marie Kondo

“The trouble with organizing a thing is that pretty soon folks get to paying more attention to the organization than to what they’re organized for.” Laura Ingalls Wilder

When you have had your fill of technology, make sure to take time to unwind, discover a deeper meaning to life and take a digital detox. It isn’t a must for your phone or laptop to be a lifeline, it is the life that happens outside of clicking and scrolling that is most important, so engage in the real world as much and as often as you can.

A long walk in nature will help you focus on any task, often providing clarity at the same time.

In the end, use technology wisely and have fun playing hide and seek with it whenever you have the chance.

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