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Tools for Better Organization

What does “getting organized” mean to you? Is it cleaning up that messy workspace? Being able to more easily find your keys? Time management? Managing your daily to-dos?

Regardless of your organization challenge, finding a system to help you manage your approach is key. From the tried-and-true stickies, to more cutting edge technologies, here’s a list of some of my favorite digital tools for getting organized. While commonly known to many, these apps are still doing what they do best, even years after they first became available.

To start, I should note that these suggestions meet a few criteria for a web-enabled world:

  • They’re available across devices and platforms
  • They’re web-based and sync with the cloud (so your data is available anywhere you are)
  • They’re free to get started with (at least at the time of writing this)

Organizing Your Data/Files

  1. Dropbox
  2. Google Drive
  3. Box

Organizing Your Thoughts/Notes

  1. Evernote
  2. Google Keep
  3. Simplenote

Organizing Everyday Tasks

  1. Wunderlist
  2. Asana
  3. DO

Organizing Your Schedule/Time

  1. Google Calendar
  2. 1Calendar

There are so many other options out there. But for some individuals, it’s hard to go wrong with more tech-distant sticky notes and/or a small notebook. If you’re looking for more of a low-tech solution to your organization (or maybe you just like to doodle as you fill in your calendar), take a look at a few more ideas to help you better organize your life:

Whiteboard: A whiteboard is a great way to organize lists, tasks or thoughts while being able to keep a fluid priority list and add new information as it comes to you. In addition, we’ve heard of some pretty interesting hacks for creating a less-than-white whiteboard so that your space doesn’t look too much like an office building. (http://www.instructables.com/id/DIY-Glass-Dry-Erase-Board/) . In addition, if you’re feeling like a list of goals you see every day will help your organization needs, consider using dry erase markers to write on your bedroom or bathroom mirror.

Bullet Journal: This is less of a product and more of a way of organizing information. The idea is that you can use any paper journal and learn this analog method of note-taking to customize an organization system to apply to any part of your life. It can be your to-do list, a sketchbook, a journal, and much more. It may take some brain power to get started with this system, but we’ve heard that many people find it a wonderful break from digital task lists. Learn more about the bullet journal process in this article (https://www.buzzfeed.com/rachelwmiller/how-to-start-a-bullet-journal?utm_term=.wt8RE3jxj#.nemaqRV1V or  http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2016/01/14/what-is-a-bullet-journal_n_8979644.html) or on the official bullet journal page here (http://bulletjournal.com/). If you’re looking for examples, scour Instagram or Facebook for #bulletjounral and prepare yourself for some great list-making and pen-and-paper organization inspiration.

Minimalism: Sometimes wanting to get more organized means getting rid of the physical things that aren’t needed or are taking up space to make areas feel or appear less organized than they actually are. Your office could be perfectly organized with a place for everything, but if your magazine rack is overflowing, your pen collection is about to topple across your desk and rubber band ball is threatening to engulf your office chair, you’re not going to feel very organized. For an introduction to this topic, check out these two TED talks below:

Less Stuff, More Happy (https://www.ted.com/talks/graham_hill_less_stuff_more_happiness?language=en)

A Rich Life with Less Stuff (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GgBpyNsS-jU)