We all have too much in our heads at any given moment- appointments, daily to-dos, events to plan, birthdays to remember. Clients often ask us, “What is the best way to deal with all of it?” Our answer? Like most things in organizing, the best way to deal with it is the way that works best for you! Here are a few ideas that work for many people:
Old fashion notebook: Many of us still like to write out and see our tasks on paper. And we LOVE to physically check or cross things off our lists. Notebooks are great because you can use different sections for categories of to-dos and rip pages out when you are done or want to rewrite a list.
Digital task managers: There is no shortage of apps that can potentially help you organize your tasks. The key is finding one that fits your needs. Talk to friends and family members who have similar styles to you and see what they are using.
Paper or digital calendar: Some people like to have all their to-dos scheduled into a calendar. This can be done on a physical calendar (which can also have notes sections on the sides for additional information) or it can go directly into your digital calendar.
Audio recordings: We work with a client who brilliantly “downloads” her brain into voice memos on her phone. She then plays it back and transcribes all the information onto paper into categories that make sense for her. This works particularly well for folks who are auditory processors and/or people who are on the go much of their day.
Regardless of which method you decide to try, consider the following:
Keep everything in one place. Generally, we suggest trying to keep everything in one place. Of course, there are exceptions. At some point, you’ll need to jot down a thought/task on a scrap of paper; just make sure that you remember to transfer it as soon as possible to your “official” place. Or you may like to schedule appointments in your digital calendar and use a notebook for tasks. Be clear with yourself which method you are using for what.
Organize your tasks by timeline and/or categories. Decide if you work best with timelines (short/medium/long-term tasks) or by categories (errands, house projects, events). Many people use a combination of the two.
Think about your needs. If you like to bring your task list with you and enjoy using a notebook, find one that will fit easily in your bag. If technology is challenging for you, and you feel like you are constantly double-checking to make sure that appointments that you scheduled in your digital calendar are still there, consider using a physical planner.
There is no “right” way to organize all the information in your head. Your method needs to fit your personality and learning style. Don’t be afraid to try out a few different ways and tweak them to fit your needs. The goal is to get all the information out of your head and into (ideally) one place that you can access easily. From there, you can move on to accomplishing your tasks!