September 7: Write Everything Down

Every Wednesday, I’ll (try) to post up a Simple Living Tip, with an emphasis on tips that can be done while living a more traditional 9-to-5 life. 

Every once in a while, I give organizational tips  because frankly the more disorganized I get, the more complicated life gets.

My big life-changing tip is to write everything down as soon as possible.  Yesterday while I was in the break area, a co-worker asked me to bring food for a potluck.  I went back to my desk and wrote this request down.  Any piece of paper or electronic method with reminder will do. Because if I don’t write it down somewhere, I will completely forget by the time I walk from the break area to my office.   This is not surprising or uncommon, unfortunately.  Recently I went to Target to pick up three items; If I had not checked my list before leaving, I would have forgotten one.  That’s right. Three items is  too taxing for my little brain.   

I don’t know when I became so forgetful.  Part of it has to do with aging; Most of it has to do with having so many things to do.  When I was in college, my to-do list consisted of going to class, studying, hanging with friends, and a few errands. If I forgot to buy an item, I’d just go another day.  Now if I forget to buy something, it is a big hassle to make another supermarket trip. Or worse yet, I forget something crucial, like diapers or wipes, and the baby has to sit in the same filthy diaper for days… (just kidding). 

I already write down everything for my job so it’s not too much of a bother to write down every seemingly insignificant task for my personal life.  While I do have several to-do lists, on my desk there’s always a post-it note with random things like expiring coupon codes, rebate submission dates, books I want to read, people to email or call, shopping lists, etc… 

I know there are fancy electronic versions out there where you keep your list on your smartphone and can update it anytime from your phone or computer AND even share this to-do list with others in your household.  However, I’m nowhere near that tech savvy yet!

Here’s a good primer about creating effective to-do lists from LifeHacker.

Do you swear by to-do lists? How do you keep organized? Do you keep everything in one place or do you also use the post-it “method”?

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3 responses to “September 7: Write Everything Down

  1. I keep shopping lists in the Notes app on my iPod Touch; at work I use Outlook to keep my To Do lists–but I find that the Tasks feature doesn’t really catch my attention, so I make an appointment called “To Do” for the start of the day, list everything there, and indicate that the time is available (because if someone really really wants an 8 a.m. meeting, that entry is not an actual time conflict). That way a reminder pops up for me in the morning and I can refer to the appointment for the things I have to do that day.

  2. Tragic – I also tend to ignore the task feature on my Outlook. I wish I could have only 1 calendar/notes system but I think I rely on a strange combo of post-its, paper calendar and electronic! I like the appointment “to do” idea.

  3. If I don’t write it down–no matter what “it” is–I will forget it. Considering my job is deadline driven and requires great attention to detail, this is problematic. So, I carry a little notebook in my purse and have a standing to-do list at work. Still, most days I wish I had a personal assistant. :\

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