Thursday, March 19, 2009

go digital...get organized part 4

Do you have a home computer? What about a cell phone, digital camera, PDA, etc? Did you know that along with their intended purposes, these devices can actually help you get more organized too? This week, I wanted to talk a little bit about how you can use digital technology to get more organized. Check back for the rest of the week for more ideas.

Information Storage:

How many times have you thought, ‘I wish I could remember________” or “I wish I could remember where I put_________”. Well now you can remember if you take a little bit of time to create some basic lists in an Excel spreadsheet. Excel is a basic program that is usually installed on every computer. If you don’t have Excel, you can use Word instead.


Here are some ideas of lists you can create:

  • Holiday gift list: You will always remember what you got your mother-in-law for her birthday last year and you can document your Christmas ideas for your grandma. You can also keep track of how much you are spending on each gift so you can stick to your budget.
  • Home inventory list: Go through your home and put all of your valuable possessions on your inventory list. Be sure to include important information like serial numbers and warranty information. As you purchase new items, you can add them to your inventory list, and vice versa, if you get rid of items, you can delete them from the list. Don't forget to make a back up of your list and make sure your insurance agent has a copy. Also make sure a copy is kept in your safe deposit box.
  • Pantry list: Keep track of what food you are eating and need to buy with this list. Simply take notice of the food you usually buy and type it out as a list in Excel. Then print off several copies and tape it to the inside of your pantry or cupboard. When you run out of an item, circle it…and when it comes time to get groceries, simply take the list and purchase the circled items.
  • Contact list: Storing contact information on your computer will keep your office neater and is one step closer to the paperless office. Searching on the computer is more efficient than rummaging through a file of paper cards. In seconds, you can run a sort and locate contacts by company, name, etc. Storing information electronically is also effective for building mailing lists and printing labels. There are numerous programs on the market to organize contact information, such as Act, Outlook or Access. You can even store in a simple spreadsheet in Excel.
  • Other helpful lists: If you travel frequently, create a checklist containing all the steps you need to take to get organized for traveling, including what to pack. If you need to plan an event, create a checklist of all the tasks that need to be done. Create a household maintenance checklist of things to do around the house each season. Developing checklists and keeping them on your computer can go a long way in reducing stress. Having a list will also make it easier to delegate tasks to other people in your household.

The best part about creating all these lists in a digital format is that they are easily changed and/or updated at a moments notice. Also you can easily send them to another member of the family or print them off...what ever you need to do. It is a little bit of work to create the lists but once that is done, you will be able to benefit from them over and over again saving you lots of time in the long run!!


For more organizing ideas, visit my website: www.andreadekker.com

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