I'm organizationally challenged. How to keep track of it all?

30 replies
I just found articles on my computer I wrote a year ago that I didn't even remember. I have notebooks, sticky notes, random pieces of paper all over my desk, email folders, computer folders.... But if I want to locate something specific, I'm lost.
A few questions to help me do things like a sane person:

What do you do when you read a post somewhere that you think might come in handy later? Where do you put it? Do you keep a general folder, a specific topic folder...? If so, do you have a plan for checking those from time to time?

How do you keep track of the places you want to participate and/or contribute? RSS for blogs, but what about sites and forums?

How to determine whether to keep something in a folder on your email account or on your computer?

And the to-do list, between today, this week, this month and this year, how do you work on it?

I'm going to save the question I have about having locked myself out of my WordPress blog for another time when the frustration has subsided.

For now, thank you for any tips and strategies you can offer for having some control and order when there is so much information to be kept.
#challenged #keep track #organization #organizationally #track
  • Profile picture of the author Chris Cole
    Lynn,

    For the online stuff I use the firefox bookmarks, I actually have a sidebar visible to me when online. Within this I have my folder structure all organised with sub folders within. It has took me dedication and time to set this up, but boy does this help me when online. It acts just like my PC folder structure and if organised, you can navigate quickly to a website from there.

    If I see something of interest, then it gets bookmarked and added into the relevant folder within my browser sidebar. I always take the time to organise this as It now has become an essential part of my work online. What I also love about this is that I can back this up and import it into another PC. I do actually do this often and keep both my main PC and laptop updated with the same bookmarks.

    For managing a to-do list ... let me consult my sidebar for link ...

    Todo.ly Simple Todo List

    You can also take the time and organise your folders on your PC. Taking the time and organising both your PC and browser bookmarks like this will increase your productivity by amazing amounts.
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    • Profile picture of the author dshipman
      I keep pretty much everything on an excel spreadsheet. If you don't have excel, you could use other tools like spreadsheets on Google Docs.
      I add tabs to my spreadsheet for different categories like article links, various accounts, etc.
      Google docs is good to use because you can also view your spreadsheets on your smartphone.

      I also bookmark important sites.
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    • Profile picture of the author LynnLewis
      I didn't know that Firefox bookmarks had that kind of functionality. I will be getting familiar with how to use that today, it seems like a solution for me when it can run right on my sidebar. I like the way todo.ly looks too.

      Procrastination is also and issue that I work on daily.
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  • Profile picture of the author funkynassau
    I have an email folder called Dont Delete This! I put in stuff I may need down the road. If it's something that I have to take care of soon, like a bill, I print it out and tape it to the desk wall. I also have a calendar printed out and taped up, with notes of when bills are due, appointments etc. I have a notepad I write on for things to buy when I go out. I am organized but sometimes I forget things! I try to clean off my desk once a month, it does get messy!
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  • Profile picture of the author ProfessorSeo
    Banned
    I have recently started using open office spreadsheet to keep organized.....being unorganized can really slow down your productivity. That's why I am trying any and everything to stop being unorganized and stop procrastination.
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    • Profile picture of the author Jenny Dunham
      I have to be honest and say that I don't have it down to a science at all. I'm always changing and fine tuning my approach.

      I use browser bookmarks and try to organize things by topic. I don't always remember to look in the bookmark folders but, by doing this, I have the information if I decide to look for it.

      In my email, I have multiple folders but, again, I don't always take the time to check all of them. When I look through my email, I usually put things that I don't want to forget about in a folder called, "Take Care of Today." That way I don't lose them even though I never take care of everything the same day.

      I keep some things in my email, ie. logins, download links, things I may want to find again. I also download many files to my computer and use Sugar Sync to automatically back them up so I don't lose them in case of computer problems.

      Even though I have many things organized online, I still use pen and paper a lot, especially for logins and that type of thing. I've found that it makes me feel better to know that I can access information offline if I have to use a different computer for some reason. Also, if someone else needs to help me do something, it's easier for them to check my index card filing system than to look online, particularly if they are computer challenged like my husband is.

      I use printed worksheets for my to do lists and I also have a white board where I write the things I want to get done that day. Since my schedule changes so much, I've found that this works for me since it is more flexible.

      Hope this gives you some ideas. As with everything else, just because something works for one person doesn't mean it is the best approach for you. I'm a strong believer in learning styles. Once you find something that resonates with you, you'll be able to keep on top of things better.

      Good luck!
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      • Profile picture of the author LynnLewis
        Originally Posted by Jenny Dunham View Post

        Hope this gives you some ideas. As with everything else, just because something works for one person doesn't mean it is the best approach for you. I'm a strong believer in learning styles. Once you find something that resonates with you, you'll be able to keep on top of things better.
        Yes, that's why it helps to hear what others are doing. I can get an idea of what would work for me.
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        • Profile picture of the author athenistic
          I'm also seriously organizationally challenged, but I've learned to try to keep all of my web assets separated in a folder system by site/project, and then broken down further from there into image, posted articles, link building, etc. I use spreadsheets to track everything and would be completely lost with out them.

          Otherwise, my favorite tool is Roboform Anywhere. I use it to track all of my passwords and book marks. It has different profiles too, so when I'm working on a specific site/project, I just flip to that profile. Frikkin awesome for research and link building. Also very handy because you can keep crazy strong random passwords for everything, and you can sync it all to your phone or other computers.
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          • Profile picture of the author LynnLewis
            Originally Posted by athenistic View Post

            Otherwise, my favorite tool is Roboform Anywhere. I use it to track all of my passwords and book marks. It has different profiles too, so when I'm working on a specific site/project, I just flip to that profile. Frikkin awesome for research and link building. Also very handy because you can keep crazy strong random passwords for everything, and you can sync it all to your phone or other computers.
            I'll be checking out Roboform, thanks.
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            • Profile picture of the author John Morrod
              Hi Lynn

              Checkout Backpackit.com

              It has:

              Newsroom

              Where everyone reports what they have been doing

              Pages

              Allows you to combine Checkbox list, text,images,files with sharing facilities

              Writeboards

              Writeboards are text documents that save a new version each time you make a change. You can jump back to any version or compare two versions.

              Journal

              where you can set your status to indicate where you are on what you're doing. Add entries to log work, personal milestones etc

              Reminders

              Never forget. Reminders go to your cell phone or email and they take only seconds to create.

              Calendar

              Color-coded group calendar to keep everyone's schedules coordinated

              Plus much more

              Or you could you Google Docs which you can access from any PC or Mac using your Gmail account. You can even set permissions if you want other people to have access to it from anywhere in the world.

              Lastpass.com is brilliant for remembering url's and passwords I prefer it because it works on a Mac aswell as a PC.

              All the best
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      • Profile picture of the author Rose Anderson
        Originally Posted by Jenny Dunham View Post



        I use printed worksheets for my to do lists and I also have a white board where I write the things I want to get done that day. Since my schedule changes so much, I've found that this works for me since it is more flexible.
        I've found that a white board with the names of the articles I need to write works best for me. Despite all the other stuff I have on my computer, I needed the offline visual for my "Need to do this" list. And it feels so good to erase them when I'm done.
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  • Profile picture of the author cma01
    Lynn,

    I use a lot of file folders. For my niche sites, I have a folder for each and then further break it down (articles, images, creative, etc.)

    A lot of times for article ideas, I'll just create a post in Wordpress with the keyword as the title and save it as a draft. Then if I'm getting ready to write, I just look back over the titles to pick something to write.

    For article writing and promotion, I use Excel a lot. I have a spreadsheet that has a column for the keyword and article details, then a column for each of the main directories that I submit to manually, along with a column for each of the other actions I take per round of article promotion. When I finish the activity, I list the date.

    In my article tracking workbook, I have a tab for each niche so I can look back over time at what promotion has been done.

    I personally love Steve Hawkin's SEO Link Dominator. It was originally designed for creating forum profiles, but I use it for other things. For example, I have a group of sites I'll create backlinks on when I launch a site. Another group of document sharing sites. The program will let you create multiple profiles for your sites and then you can have multiple groups of links. As you create links on the sites within the group, the program will track that for you.

    It's great for organizing groups of sites to build links, tracking them, and speeding it up when you do it manually.

    I just recently started using Windows OneNote. It makes it really easy to organize large amounts of information, especially if you do a lot of online research.

    I use browser bookmarks a lot as well.

    For each niche site, I have a Wordpress doc that lists all the relevant details: domain name, pen name, the Google, Yahoo, and Bing account logins, anything that's relevant just to that. That stays in the root of that site's file folder on my hard drive.

    And then the last thing that I use is Netvibes. If there is a topic that I've found some good sources of information on, I'll create a new tab for it, add RSS feeds from sites or blogs I want to follow, add links to resources I want to remember, etc. Then I just go in and browse through them every so often to see what's new.
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    • Profile picture of the author LynnLewis
      Originally Posted by cma01 View Post

      Lynn,

      A lot of times for article ideas, I'll just create a post in Wordpress with the keyword as the title and save it as a draft. Then if I'm getting ready to write, I just look back over the titles to pick something to write.
      That's a great way to have articles right where I need them even if unfinished. I do that for one or two but for some reason it did not occur to me that I can have unlimited drafts.
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  • Profile picture of the author Bill_Z
    Check out some of programs available from here: 37signals: Web-based collaboration apps for small business

    I use the entire suite of programs. While I don't use all the features, it helps stay organized.
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  • Profile picture of the author Chris Mercer
    In addition to Google Docs (Spreadsheets mostly), I use Evernote to clip web content and store for later blog posts or other actions I need to take.

    I also use Freemind to keep track of what I need to do when AND use it as a checklist to make sure I have all my webpages in order when I'm building.

    All of these resources are free (making it even better)!

    Hope that helps!

    - Mercer
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  • Read Getting Things Done by David Allen and try bring some of his concepts into your day-to-day work. There's loads of GTD resources online too.
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    • Profile picture of the author Paul Fernandez
      Originally Posted by AMcDermott View Post

      Read Getting Things Done by David Allen and try bring some of his concepts into your day-to-day work. There's loads of GTD resources online too.
      This is the best response so far!!! Sorry to everyone who responded before but this book is exactly what you need to get organized. I can't say I've done everything the book recommends, but the 80% or so that I implemented several years ago have made a Huge impact on my personal and business organization!

      Highly recommended.
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  • Profile picture of the author AvJake
    I use open office 3.3 using the spread sheet and creating the categories for each niche. I then condense them to individual folders to keep track of them. Hope this helps!
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  • Profile picture of the author Mutiny
    For keeping track of what needs to be done when, I use Outlook calendar. I've also tried Total Organizer free edition, and it seems like it might help you keep track of tasks. Total Organizer : Store your contacts, tasks and notes - all in one, divided into categories
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  • Profile picture of the author Sherry Driedger
    Great tips from all. Personally, I use the free OpenOffice spreadsheet a lot, particularly for keeping track of signup and login information. Each tab represents a different area such as social logins, blog listings and logins, etc. This one spreadsheet has saved me over and over again and I back it up daily. I also use Total Organizer, as mentioned above, for reminders, and the bookmarks toolbar in Firefox to organize bookmarks. You are able to create folders and sub-folders there. So I have one folder for various email accounts, a Google folder with Adwords, Analytics etc, and so on. I also use a spreadsheet for keeping track of transactions for my business.

    While it may seem like a lot of additional work, I put the data in there first and then into my accounting program. I do my own bookkeeping and for me, it helps me to keep on top of things, reference transactions, and keep things balanced. Of course my accountant only wants to see the accounting program version :-) Old school I know, but it works for me.
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    • Profile picture of the author professorrosado
      Another option is to store these online. If you know a little html , have an html editor and a hosting account, you can store all your links and even documents on your hosting account. You can also secure it with password. Why?

      Becuase sometimes our PC can get infected or harddrives can go kaput and where will that leave you? All the sidebar links, browser favs, and anything on your hardrive is lost! You have to go and do it all over again. Ofcourse, back ups are always the thing to do, but when you least expect it and you forgot to back up in a few....well!

      In either case, having a back up on your hosting account can make things easier. I use an html file to keep my links on - I can check my article publishing easily and have all those important links by category safe along with my websites. So at any given moment I have three places where my links are stored. Just another option....
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  • Profile picture of the author marios521
    If you have a lot of "favorites" in your firefox i suggest you a really cool add on.
    It is called "xMarks" and saves every link in there. You can load them on another computer if you want and you never lose your favorites again.

    Another one is "LastPass". Stores all of you passwords.

    These are my 2 best addons for Firefox.
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  • Profile picture of the author LynnLewis
    I'll be reading Getting Things Done today and I'm really interested in how to keep things on my hosting account. I don't know much html but I do know that I can easily find out how to do what I want.

    I'm glad I recently discovered LastPass because I need to start using much stronger passwords.
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  • Profile picture of the author Mark Andrews
    Banned
    Originally Posted by LynnLewis View Post

    What do you do when you read a post somewhere that you think might come in handy later? Where do you put it? Do you keep a general folder, a specific topic folder...? If so, do you have a plan for checking those from time to time?

    How do you keep track of the places you want to participate and/or contribute? RSS for blogs, but what about sites and forums?
    For forum threads or posts which you find highly interesting you can set up your own blog here on the Warrior Forum.

    Red navigation bar up top ^. Look towards the left hand side. Click on Blogs.

    There you can organize everything you want to keep and look at later in more detail in one easy to reference location.

    Anything not on this forum... just use Bookmarks. Organization of your data is key, putting everything into folders you'll instantly recognize for later referencing.

    And make sure you call everything something absolutely obvious to you too. If you cannot find a particular folder click on Start (bottom left), then Search, then All Files and Folders and wait for the info to appear.

    Actually, you've just given me an idea...
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    • Profile picture of the author CreativesLinda
      For the most part, I bookmark sites into different folders and for passwords and other documents I use Excel. But I recently got a new computer with Windows 7 and found this little feature called 'Sticky Notes'. It's just like little Post-it Notes but right on your desktop! You can't ever lose them like you can with notes you write with pen and paper. You can make as many as you want and you can even color code them. I have the blue ones for business and pink ones for personal. So if you think of something you need to remember while you're working, all you have to do is click down in your task bar and write yourself a new note, or add to an old one, and it only takes 2 seconds!
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  • Profile picture of the author Mark Andrews
    Banned
    Actually, I just found this for you Lynn which might help you out...

    ActionOutline - organize your bits of info in a tree outline form, like Explorer

    This looks similar too...

    Treepad Business Edition: All-in-one Organizer, PIM/database, Word Processor, notes manager, search engine, Web site generator and much more!

    However I cannot vouch for these websites since I've never used them.

    Some further useful tips on data organization might be found here...

    How to save and organize your marketing data accurately

    And some actual online tools / services you might want to checkout, take your pick...

    Zootool ? Visual Bookmarking

    Remember Everything | Evernote Corporation

    Trunk.ly | Home

    280daily - Sum up your day in 280 characters.

    Thoughtboxes

    I hope this helps.

    Best,


    Pete Walker
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  • Profile picture of the author Gary Ning Lo
    I store everything in evernote..

    Could not live without it

    Cheers,

    ~Gary
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    • Profile picture of the author LilBlackDress
      I keep folders online on different topics and store my information.
      I use excel spreadsheets to track my work.
      Also keep physical papers of info. I print out in organized file folders.
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  • Profile picture of the author txconx
    I highly recommend a mind map program. I use MindManager, but I believe there are free ones out there.
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    • Profile picture of the author Ansar Pasha
      Banned
      Lynn, I am also quite an unorganized person... my desktop gets crammed with stuff I forget about all the time

      However, I have found 1 simple, free solution which has saved me a LOT of wasted hours.

      It's called "Swift to do list lite".

      You can put in goals and things you need to finish and put in notes for stuff you have to do.

      Hope this helps,
      Ansar
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