Monday, February 25, 2008

Choosing a PDA

To answer Amy's question on my last post, there are many electronic options for staying organized. I happen to use the TREO. I know other who like the Blackberry. There are other options now like the iPhone which seem very cool. You could research options for weeks, I'm sure. With that said, I'll give you some specific information based on my own experience with my TREO and then you can start to look at specific options that will work for your needs and price range.
Before I converted from paper and pencil planners to a handheld PDA (I was absolutely convinced at one time that paper and pencil was the only way to keep my life organized), I had spent some time using an organizing software program called AnyTime Organizer. Looking back I realize that this computer program is what eased me into planning with a computer and taught me that I could, in fact, keep of track of my life in this computerized format. Big step! I really loved the AnyTime Organizer. It was simple and easy to use. I could type in and check off my to do items. It even had this option where you could post little "sticky notes" on your desktop as reminders which was fun. I loved being able to copy and paste information from emails (directions to places, times, event details etc.). It was great. However, before long I realized I had to actually be sitting in front of my computer for maximum benefit. Not so great. Soon it started to irritate me that I could not take it with me when I left the house because it made scheduling very difficult. I tried printing out pages to take with me places but it just did not make any sense to have to go to all that trouble to keep everything current. So at that point I started to really want to have my AnyTime Organizer capabilities with me all the time, especially when I left the house.
That Christmas I got my TREO and things changed dramatically in this aspect of my planning my life. I got the TREO 700P Smartphone (about $600 now--ours came with a $200 rebate which helped) because my husband had one and we could "beam" (share) contacts and calendaring information in seconds--very cool! I chose the Palm software to go with it because we were both familiar with Palm Desktop software from having used a Palm Pilot "back in the day" when PDA choices were more limited. With the TREO I now had my phone, calendar, to-do list, agenda, memo pad for note taking, contacts, camera (good enough for basic use), music (fun!) and the option of getting online all in the palm of my hand. I even uploaded books, like the scriptures onto my memory card. It was amazing to have it all in one place and with me whenever I needed it! I can't tell you what a difference it made for me.
Now that I have raved about the TREO I would encourage any of you who are interested in buying a PDA to research your options and make your decisions based on your own personal circumstances. Like me, you might have a family member who already uses one type of PDA and you might want to get the same kind to make communication and use easier and even to shorten the learning curve. You may want something more lightweight--the TREO is a little thicker than other choices, I believe. You may base your decision on price or software/application familiarity. With all the choices out there to consider I would advise you to go to a store and actually look at, hold and play around with the ones you're interested in. I chose the TREO because I like the way it felt in my hand and because there there was an individual button to push for each letter. I didn't have to learn any new languages to use it! :) You will also want to base your decision on the types of applications the PDA comes with (to do list and calendar for sure!). See the above list for the ones on the TREO that I think a useful PDA should have. And above all use common sense. Think about what you want out of a PDA and ask others who use them for their input. And just to be clear, it's well worth the extra time, effort and money to transition from paper to a PDA to have everything you need to plan your life at your fingertips.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Shopping for a Planner?

In the last issue of Organize Magazine there was an ad for this planner created by professional organizer Julie Morgenstern and sold through Franklin Covey. Julie Morgenstern wrote the book Organizing from the Inside Out. Many of the people I work with already use or have need of planners and are just not interested in using a PDA. As a result, I am always on the lookout for a planner that fits the bill for an easy to use yet comprehensive planning tool. This planner has a clean-cut, sophisticated layout and looks very user friendly. It's daily pages have just what you need to organize your day. There's a nice two page spread with space for you to write your appointments in for the day and a whole page for daily tasks (a.k.a to do list). If your planner's just not cutting it or you're sick of all the separate lists you have going and you have no central place to keep track of your life, you really should check out this planner or take a look at this fantastic selection. I have to admitt--if I wasn't in love with my Treo I would get one of these cool planners. Once I saw all these cute planners I was actually tempted to go back to paper for a brief moment!


Take a look at some of my organizing success! (Photos and text used with permission.)


Cluttered Desk


Clean and Clear of Clutter

Chaotic Shelf

Neat and Tidy Home Office

Client Feedback

I work out of a home office without any administrative support. I worked with Melissa to organize both my personal and professional effects as I prepared to relocate. I wish I had done it years ago. While organizing my office and paperwork Melissa identified my natural tendencies and created an organizational structure that was easy for me to maintain. When I began looking for a personal organizer, I mostly wanted someone else to come in and take care of the mess I had allowed to build up over the years. Working with an “uninterested” party during the purging process helped me lighten my load considerably. During the process Melissa provided me with simple intuitive skills that have not only allowed me to maintain my newly found order but help friends and family organize as well. I can honestly say hiring Melissa is one of the best things I have ever done for myself. Kelsi Reeves