Question of the Day: How Do You Use Technology to Get Organized?

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Palm Pre Plus Picture

I’m sorry this wasn’t up yesterday. We moved servers in the morning and then the day got away from me! We’ll finish up our bathroom series next week.

I’ve been reviewing the Palm Pre Plus over at Deal Seeking Mom for the past couple of weeks, and it’s got me thinking…

How do you use technology to get organized?

Do you use online tools such as Evernote, Google Calendar or Springpad?

Do you have a smartphone or PDA?

Do you ever feel scattered by having your calendar here, your budget there, your address book way over this way and your your notes and reminders someplace else?

What are the benefits of technology you see in your own life? The drawbacks?

Mandi Ehman at Organizing Your Way

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About the Author

Mandi Ehman

Hi. My name is Mandi and I’m an organizing junkie. I’m also a wife, and Momma to four little girls (5, 3.5, 2 and a new baby!). I've worked at home since our oldest was a baby, and like a lot of other moms, my life is a constant balancing act of caring for my family and my home, meeting my obligations and finding time for hobbies in there somewhere. Oh, yeah, in the interest of full disclosure, I’m somewhat of a kitchen dunce and I only like to pretend that I’m crafty. Read more here!

18 Responses to “ Question of the Day: How Do You Use Technology to Get Organized? ”

  1. I cannot live without my Tugnsten T5 by Palm. It is my calendar and to do list. If I lose it I think my world will collapse because it keeps me so organized. However, I am looking for something that I can use as a phone, calendar, to do list, address book, etc. I’m looking forward to what you have to say about the Palm Pre Plus, because the commercials make me think it would be comparable to my Tungsten. And I would stop lugging around my PDA and phone. I could just use the one. My Tungsten has phone capabilities, but I never learned how to use it years ago.


  2. My husband gave me an iphone for my birthday last year. And when I opened it, I was thinking this is overkill! I mean I carried my phone in case the school called and was notorious for not hearing it ring or it out or running out of battery life. Well, now I think differently. I have a mac and have used ical for a long time (love it) and that syncs to the iphone so my family’s schedule is always with me when I am making new appointments. I have apps for grocery lists, keeping tracking of my exercise goals and progress, I can make notes & lists on it, etc…..I mean there is an app for that! ; ) I find I have everything I need in a very easily carried package. I can also check social media which is where the problem comes in! : )


  3. I could not live without google (still kicking myself for not buying stock at the IPO). I use:
    *gmail as a feeder for all of our family e-mail (sorted into folders for school, family, shopping deals, etc)
    *google reader for all of my feeds (love you)
    *picasa for photos (best part is I can e-mail camera phone pics right to it)
    *gcalendar for my LIFE! I have seperate calendars for: birthday (also one for facebook birthdays/events), my work calendar, kids school calendars, local bookstore storytime calendar, sports team calendars, my extended family has a massive family calendar too. I just click on whatever one, two, three I want to look at and they pop up (or go away) quickly.

    I use evernote for planning too. It’s great for craft ideas I stumble across online (just send an e-mail of the blog from my reader to evernote. And I couldn’t have planned our family trip to Disney this month without it.

    I have a Palm Centro now which is OK. I got it to stop having a PDA and seperate phone (Heather), but I am dreaming of a Pre. I don’t have internet on my phone (hubby won’t approve of hte $). So I can’t take advantage of the instant csync of alendars, evernote access, etc. I hear with the Pre you can view multiple calendars at once which is my DREAM family organizing on the go system. And internet is required by verizon for it so hubby would just have to deal. ;)


  4. I use Google calendar for events and stuff that my husband also needs to be able to see. And Todoist my daily chores, as well as to keep track of projects. That´s it.
    Eternal*Voyageur @ Venusian*Glow´s last blog ..Choosing A Deodorant That´s Good For You My ComLuv Profile


  5. My husband convinced me to finally go ahead and get an iPhone last year. Now I am totally addicted to it. I even call it my brain. I use it for my calendar, to do, reminders to take my vitamins and such, grocery lists, printing coupons, reading free books (thanks Amazon), Facebook, Twitter and so forth. I have even used it to entertain my daughter (watching videos and playing games) I would be completely lost if anything happened to my phone.
    Buffie´s last blog ..To Do: Getting Back on Track My ComLuv Profile


  6. I just got a Motorola Droid about three weeks ago. I’m canceling our cable to pay for it! But, my husband was rather annoyed that I went ahead and got something with a recurring fee (I would have gotten an iPhone, but my family is all on Verizon, not AT&T, and my father works for Motorola. Gotta support the team…). Anyhow, I’m trying my best to use apps like Grocery King, Astrid (lists/deadlines – love this one), and calendars. I get a little freaked out having my grocery list on my phone, though, for some reason! Still working on it. It HAS only been three weeks. Really like the MyDays app (this is a women’s app – but really, I was always forgetting what time of the month it was!).

    I keep telling my husband that the money is worth it to me if I can be more efficient and more organized. I’m not sure that I am yet. But, I think the potential is there for sure. Did you know they even have EEBA (easy envelope budget aid) – so you can manage your “envelopes” of money? I think this is a great idea, but I haven’t tried it out yet.
    sarah´s last blog ..Check Out: Epiphanie Camera Bags My ComLuv Profile


  7. I really depend on Google Calendar. It’s a great way share multiple calendars in one spot.


  8. I use Gmail to pull all my emails from different accounts together, Google Reader for my feeds, and Google Calendar for my bills and other recurring items since it sends you an email (like reminders to backup my computer!).

    I have a Palm Centro and love that I can get all my emails on there as well. I have internet access too, so if I’m waiting somewhere it’s so each to catch up on feeds or Facebook! It syncs with the computer too so I have pictures and contacts easily updated in both places.

    I still have a paper planner for my day to day planning stuff and lists. Sometimes you just need to write it down!


  9. Hi Mandi! Full disclosure, I *do* work at Springpad (, but I certainly do use it myself to stay organized! I save all the cool things I come across online (recipes, books, articles etc.) into my Springpad account with the web clipper. I also keep to-do lists, important passwords and log-in information, and set alarm reminders to be sent to my phone right in my account as well.

    For anyone unfamiliar with Springpad, we are a free web application that helps people quickly save anything they want to remember, and access it from anywhere (ideas, notes, recipes, books, restaurants, wine, etc). Springpad saves users time and money by automatically organizing and enhancing their stored information with helpful links and offers.


  10. I love the looks of a smartphone and I used to be an all online Outlook calendar person when I worked in the corporate world, but mainly I use technology to stay organized by makine excel files and word documents of things to do, to know, ideas, budgets, etc. I also rely heavily on email. My main source of organization is a Franklin Covey Planner, I’ve done the Palm route and also recently got a netbook in order to be more organized, but I’ve also been on the receiving end of crashing devices and losing all my info. So I back up all my files and keep most in writing- I know not very techno savy!!!
    Stacy´s last blog ..Simple Prayer Egg Tree My ComLuv Profile


  11. One Word….I-Phone! LOL! I couldn’t live without mine! It has my whole life on it. ;)


  12. I think I’m going to buck the trend here. Pre kids I had a computer job and was very online. Email, calendering, etc. But since having kids I’m finding more and more that I am better mother when I do not have technology at my finger tips. It’s just too addicting and distracting. Last year I started leaving my computer off during the day (only turning it on at nap time and when they are in bed at night). This forced me to switch to a paper calendar, which I’m ok with. It’s easier for me to see the days/weeks/months in a glance on paper. I do have a Palm Treo and use it for email and Facebook (like I said, addicting!) during the day. I also use it for quick notes on the go and for my grocery list. Mostly I find that the more I need to use my computer for, the less attentive I am to my family. I am truly a techy person and would love to figure out how I can use all this cool stuff online AND still be the attentive present parent I want to be, but I haven’t figured it out yet. So, despite hubby’s laughing at me, I stick to my old fashioned calendar and shut the computer off when the kids are awake.
    Tessa´s last blog ..Crazy shirt dilemma My ComLuv Profile


    Camille Reply:

    I agree with Tessa. It seems the more I use technology the less time I spend with family. I went from electronic tools to paper tools and overall it works much better now that we have two boys under 6.


  13. I live by my ICal calendar and use it on my home office computer, my office computer, my laptop and my iPhone.

    Without iCal, I’d be lost. Literally!

    The drawback is the rare occasions when the ’sync’ functionality isn’t working. Then, everything grinds to a halt.
    Meredith from Penelope Loves Lists´s last blog ..One more chapter, please: great books to read aloud to your kids My ComLuv Profile


  14. I purchased a Blackberry a few months ago and it has been a godsend. I use it in conjunction with Google Calender. I also downloaded an application called “reQall” which really helps keep me on track.
    Marjorie´s last blog ..Olympic Lessons My ComLuv Profile


  15. I use the Google tools – calendar, gmail, reader, and I use Microsoft OneNote for all the little notes and lists I have. I also use Delicious for organizing all of my recipes – I tag them so I can search for crockpot/dinner/chicken when I want something like that. It’s wonderful!
    Sheena´s last blog ..Menu Plan – Week of Mar. 3 My ComLuv Profile


  16. I use some google stuff – gmail, google reader, picassa (it blows my mind that people don’t use picassa or a similar product!). I use gcal a bit for reminders for things like birthdays. For day-to-day calendars and to-do lists I stick to paper though. However, for my master to-do list, someday maybe list, gift ideas, books to read, etc. etc. I couldn’t live without Action Outline -
    A friend turned me on to it about a year ago, and I don’t know how I survived before it. It looks simple, but I haven’t found a program that does quite what it does – most hierarchical list type programs like this are for actual lists – as in one item per line, check off if they are done. I love the large notes pane to the side. For example – rather than have an actions “list” – I have an actions category – so when I click on it, my “list” is actually in the notes pane – so I can have short items, long items, some with starts, spaces between groups of items, etc. – just like you would on paper. Then I have a category for projects with my projects list being subcategories – so then for each project I can click on it and have whatever info I need to track in the notes pane – it’s great for projects that I haven’t really started yet and just want a place to keep track of odds and ends I come across that just might be relevant. I have separate categories for home and work – and within them actions, projects, someday/maybe (with various sub-categories). Then I use my main actions list to make my daily plan and write those to-dos in my planner (still can’t work off the big list as per GTD – too overwhelming for me). I also will sometimes make separate outlines for specific projects – great way to take structured notes for a writing project, etc. Right now I have an outline for ideas and links for things for my son’s birthday party.

    Sorry for the lengthy description, but it wasn’t until I got into using it regularly that I realized how useful it could be… and I’m constantly finding more uses for it, so I hope this description might help someone!


  17. Believe it or not, 4 out of the 5 members of my family have iPhones. We use the calendar function to sync a family calendar. That way we can keep track of two adults and two teens (we enter the pre-teen’s) calendar and then remind him when his reminders go off.

    Love the iPhone.
    Laura @ PARING DOWN´s last blog ..Paring Down the Hall Closet My ComLuv Profile


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