Last week on Twitter a sort-of related discussion evolved into a discussion about how people keep their ideas, concepts, and projects organized. Everyone’s got their own system, of course. Here’s the issue: not everyone’s system works for everyone else.
Confession that I believe I’ve made before, both on the blog and on Twitter: I have failed pretty much every list-based organization system out there. Remember the Milk is great if you do to-do lists well. Same for Todoist. I failed Remember the Milk before it was even super-cool.
If you’re a bit like me and are frustrated that you can’t seem to get systems that work for everyone else to work, I have a helper for you. Carson Tate is a Very Smart Woman who identified productivity styles amongst people she coached, and she has a free on-line assessment. I took her assessment a couple of years ago and it was mostly helpful because it allowed me to stop wasting my time on organization systems that are more linear and structured; it turns out that I am a Visualizer, according to her descriptions. We won’t discuss those bits in there about “spontaneity and impulsiveness” and “hasn’t seen the surface of their desk in years.” What I do know is that identifying my visualizer tendencies, putting my projects on a Personal Kanban white board using color-coded Post-its for different domains, and keeping my somewhat notorious Case of Markers close by has been undeniably useful. I wouldn’t recommend it for everyone (especially not the “kill me now” section of the Kanban board!), but for me, it’s effective, and far moreso than any other system I’ve identified. And for day-to-day as a place to store almost any of my crazy ideas, either short or long term, I’ve become a huge fan of Bear– and I want to believe I’ve converted a few of my Apple-using friends to it as well. I mostly love that I can use it on my MacBook, my iPad, or my iPhone, and I keep both personal (list of things that need to be done in the new house prior to move-in) and work (notes for my upcoming talk at the Wyoming/ Montana/ Idaho ACS Chapter meeting) in it. I’m also in the process of a trial of Lifetick- stay tuned on that one. It may be a little too organized and linear for me, but time will tell.
I hope that those of you who have a successful organization system will share ideas, either here or on Twitter. Or if you’ve failed one or more systems, please share that too. I’m hopeful we can all learn a bit from each other to start our new year off.