The thing I love most about organizing is that there are literally hundreds of various ways to organize your time, space and life. Being organized is not a one size fits all routine for everyone. What works for one may not necessarily work for another and that’s the beauty of it. Now I’m an old fashion pen and paper girl when it comes to calendar planning as that is what works for my family at this time, however others love technology and find it really works for them. Whatever way you are able to manage your time so that you aren’t missing appointments or arriving late then I say go for it. It’s all about what works for you! So today, to give you some perspective from the technology side, I’ve asked Amber from Amber’s Organizing to share some of her tips on how she transitioned from paper to paperless for managing her time using her iPhone.
I never thought a little electronic device could would simplify and organize my life even more than it is! I was a skeptic but the iPhone has left a permanent change on this organizer. I think Apple should sit up and pay attention when an organizer claims their product has made her more organized! Maybe I should get the new iPhone 5 for free. Ok, enough of the kidding. They have done a great job creating a device than can keep us so organized. I know some of you may have the Android or a different device that competes with the iPhone but for today, I’m going to stick with the iPhone.
Almost a year ago now, I finally turned to what the industry calls a “smart phone”. I was tired of carrying around a calendar in my purse so I wanted a phone to take care of that aspect. I had wanted to make the switch for some time but alas, we were caught in an old phone plan and not until last year were we able to change our plan. I finally chose the I Phone instead of the Blackberry after the salesmen said if I don’t like it, just bring it back within thirty days. That gave me some peace of mind, but don’t get me wrong, I was still terrified. I had always carried around a pen and calendar around in my purse. Each year I’d carefully search for next year’s planner. Eventually, I figured that if I’m encouraging my clients to go paperless, I better model what it looks like. So enough was enough, I dove into the electronic world cold turkey.
Needless to say, I’m NEVER turning back! Everything I need is in my iPhone. No more paper calendars for me! It’s so liberating. Here’s how I did it.
1. Pick a clean cut off date. I chose the last day of the month I was in, when I bought my phone. There’s no turning back. Once you pick the date, stick to it.
2. Finish carrying around your paper calendar for that month, but from that day forward each time you get a new appointment, enter it into your phone or your computer based calendar. For me that is Outlook. Let me explain a little further too. If I’m at the dentists office, I put the next appointment into my phone which I’ll later sync with my computer. If I’m in my home office sitting in front of my computer, and I’m on the phone with the dentist, I’ll plug the appointment into my Outlook. Later it will sync with my phone and the appointment will show up in my phone. They always marry each other next time I sync them together.
3. As you may have guessed, my third point is that it is crucial you sync your phone up with your computer every day. Unfortunately, I’ve learned the hard way. Once your get into the routine, you won’t forget.
4. Color code your calendar. I cannot stress this enough. It will make a world of difference. My organizing appointments are pink. My husband is green. Our social functions are blue and if I had kids, I’d give them each a color. These colors won’t show up in your phone but they do on your computer. At a glance, your eye can skim for a certain color so it’s super helpful.
5. Some of you may be used to making hand written notes to yourself next to an appointment in your date books. Don’t worry. You can do that in the phone too right within the appointment or you can go to the Notes app and write to your hearts content about anything and everything.
The neat part of this whole experience was the fact that not only did the phone eliminate a calendar in my purse, but it also eliminated other things in my organizing bag. A camera, map, calculator, and address book have also been cut. Here’s how:
- The camera on the phone posts instantly to my facebook, blog, or computer for later use.
- The map app guides me right to my client’s front door or a local store if I’m in a neighborhood I’m not familiar with.
- The calculator app calculates my invoices on the spot when I’m writing them up at the end of an appointment.
- Email is just a click away. No more unplanned surprises or cancellations because I’m notified in an instant.
- Finally, my contacts are organized, all in one place, and with me wherever I go.
Phones have really shaped our culture, communication, and productivity more than we’ll ever realize. If you’re ready to simply how you keep track of data and want more organization in your purse, dive in like I did. I know you’ll like it too!
Do you use technology to manage your time?
Amber Kostelny-Cussen is a Certified Professional Organizer in Chicago, IL. She started Amber’s Organizing, LLC in 2004, through which she provides hands-on home organizing services. In her free time, Amber loves to blog and post on Facebook about anything related to organizing.