Techie Trick for Getting Your Act Together

In my ideal world, I would have a cozy little office all to myself with inspiring pictures on the wall, roomy bookshelves, and a private corkboard for posting goals and reminders. It might look something like this:


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But, I don’t have space for my own office yet, so I need to borrow a corner of the living room, next to the drum set and our bulging family bookshelves. It’s hard to feel like it’s really my own space, so in the past, I confined all my thoughts and inspiration to various notebooks and planners. The problem was . . . I felt scattered. It seemed like all the bits I needed were spread out, and easily forgotten. I’ve also been trying to get away from a big heavy planner because it usually doesn’t meet my needs and I end up wasting paper.

So, a few months ago, I had an inspiration, and have been very pleased with my solution: Google. Again. I know I must sound like a paid spokesman for Google, but I’m just really excited about what I’ve learned. Now that I know what is possible with a few free applications, I can’t stop thinking of new ways to use them.

So here’s what I did. I made my own personal Google web site that is only visible to me. For info on how to do this, check out the following video:

On the home page, I posted my daily routines for different days of the week. I had figured these out earlier as a way to accomplish all the things I needed to do during the week, but kept forgetting where I had written them. I also posted my affirmations and a short list of the habits I’m trying to develop. I also added a few Google gadgets to automatically rotate inspirational quotes and display a photo slideshow from one of my Picasa albums.

On another page, I posted my goals broken down into: 10 years, 5 years, 1 year, and 90 days. It really is helpful to look at this every day and remember where I’m going.

I also use Google Calendar for all my scheduling now. I have a calendar for home, one for work, one for planned blog posts, and one for tasks. It’s easy to turn these calendars on or off as necessary to see what is coming. I can also share specific calendars with other people if I want to.

I use the task list to jot down random to-do items that pop into my head but I don’t know yet when I will do them. For bigger tasks, with deadlines, I schedule them in my “Task” calendar.

So every morning, I take five minutes to review my affirmations, habits, goals and the daily routine in my private Google site. Then I check my calendars to see what must be done for the day. All the lists I used to keep in my planner such as books to read, stuff to research, household info, etc. are now in Google docs inside a folder called “Organizing Me.” So whenever I come across a book that begs to be read, I jot it down quickly on the appropriate list. The nice thing about Google is that I can reach it anywhere I have an Internet connection and don’t have to worry about synching my laptop with my desktop with my iPhone, etc. It’s kind of like unlimited planner space without having to pack around a big heavy book.

Having said that, I still believe in notebooks and journals for creative thinking. When I am brainstorming, mind-mapping, or journaling, I still like to use an old fashioned spiral and journal notebook. It’s much easier to scribble, draw, and be expressive with just a pen and paper than a keyboard. But for things I want to refer to again and again, I like having it consolidated in one place.

I’m very happy with how this is all working for my personal organization. I don’t have much need to organize homeschool plans these days, but in my next posts I’ll show you some of the ways I kept that organized over my many years of homeschooling.

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