Sunday, April 29, 2012

Old-school notebook for checklists and brainstorming

I don’t think I would survive without Google Calendar and Microsoft OneNote. My Smartphone syncs everything automatically including my “grown-up” email. But in addition to all the technology help, I am still old-fashioned: I write out everything. My DC friend may or may not have accused me of being OCD on account of my constantly writing down lists (I also kept a “Dental Notebook” to centralize all dental application material).

I always have one notebook- the notebook. My current one has animals and random French phrases: I picked this up at one of the many stationery stores in Korea (plus cute writing utensils). In the morning, I write down tasks that need to be completed today (if time-sensitive, these are also updated on Google Calendar and set to “notifications”). These are my Most Important Tasks.

Friday’s checklist: finish ESCI 101 TA-ing. Completed with a little help!organizeme

But my notebook serves another purpose- it is “reservoir” of sorts. Throughout the day, I jot down extra errands that pop up or thoughts/observations, so I can do instead of think. Because I am an awful multi-tasker, I cannot do one thing while thinking about another. This notebook lets me clear my head and only focus on the task at hand. At the end of the day, I complete the remaining checklist items and organize my brainstorm jot-downs.

(My friend Kathryn does the same "write and forget about it" thing! She answered a bunch of questions for me about organization and study tips, so that post will be up soon is now up!)

This year has truly been a lesson in information management. Because I have grown-up responsibilities in addition to my jobs-classes-applications triad, I needed a reliable system to remember (and complete) everything.

Sometimes I wonder if I am getting dumber because I write down everything. I hardly need to remember anything. But I don’t worry if I am forgetting something important, which can be the worst nagging feeling. This week I finally submitted the avalanche of international student paperwork. This is after I pressed “submit” and the page didn’t crash:


I love hearing about different ways people stay organized! I think it’s fascinating how different tips work for everyone- Getting Things Done is next on my reading list. Everyone talks about it- have you guys read this? What did you think?

My current “organization resolution” is to stop procrastinating. I tend to skip tasks I dread (even if they would take five minutes). When I see the tasks on my list the next day, I remember skipping over them (and the dread I felt) and feel even less like doing them. So certain items drag on.

Case in point: organizing my clothes. My clothes have exploded in my apartment. Every time I come home, I think my apartment has been trashed. Then I remember and think I should really organize my closet.

How do you stay organized?
Do you have an “organization resolution”?


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