Like many people I’ve talked to, my life organisational skills are half pen-and-paper, half something-that-will-ding-on-my-phone-and-remind-me.
I love handwriting things so I can see it all at a glance (plus I’m a stationery fiend) but nothing on any bit of paper ever will remind me when it’s actually time to do something. Bless you, phone alerts. I’m not sure I could function without you.
Once upon a time I was at uni (and doing very well with paper schedules thankyouverymuch), and I read my usual Betty Crocker email that landed in my inbox that week. I think I signed up sometime in 2002 and I still get it to this day although the recipes are either very meaty or very from a processed box and I don’t eat either. Nostalgia? Who knows. Probably laziness.
To cut a long story short, in one of those emails was a link to Cozi – a new website with calendars for you to keep track of all your family’s schedules. I didn’t have a family, but I like that sort of shit, so I signed up. And never used it. Oh wait – I did use the shopping list feature. You could have one massive master list and then create a smaller list from that. It was super-handy.
When I did end up with a family, I logged back in and poked around and it has become the greatest thing that has kept me sane in the last four years. When they came out with an iPhone app, I just about cried.
Allow me to explain how the hell this has been so useful (and this isn’t sponsored, just very, very handy!). Cozi is free, but some of the features require a membership payment of $20 a year. Which I paid. Gladly.
This is the home page – where you can see the day’s calendar, today’s to-do list, and the links along the sides for shopping lists, meal planning, and other to-do lists. I usually hang in the calendar section.
I put every event I need to keep track of in Cozi as soon as I get it or I know I’ll forget. I have the app on my phone and iPad too, so there’s always something handy. You can choose which person the activity or event belongs to (the coloured dot) as well as blocking out time in 15-minute increments. You can opt to have yourself (and the person who’s activity or event it is) sent a reminder via email and/or phone. You can set up to three reminders if you’re a Gold member (hehe Goldmember), and Cozi will also send you an email Sunday night with the schedule for your week ahead.
You can also sync it with Google calendars, iCal, or other calendars you are a part of. You can also opt to have your country’s public holiday calendar added. Very clever!
The list section is my second most-used section and it keeps track of everything, including a rough daily schedule. I assigned them all to me (the pink dot) but if there is a list of stuff I need Lunchbox to do, I’ll assign it to him. We have a family password and although he’s never logged in, he gets the email reminders and can access the list from wherever he needs to.
A while ago I had to come up with a game plan for daily life or nothing would get done. It was hairy for a while there and I was wasting what precious little time I did have. So now I have a Monday list, a Tuesday list, etc, to remind me what days I respond to email, what days I clean the bathroom, that sort of thing. It’s changeable and it sounds REALLY GOOD when you check something off your list. So productive. I put things on the list just so I can check it off and hear the little checked-off noise. So satisfying.
Each day I just uncheck the things that need doing and start again.
It’s super handy because I can have separate lists for separate jobs, all accessible in one place from all devices.
Super-handy feature number three (besides the birthday reminders which are awesome because I always forget everyone’s and I can also remind myself in advance/contact list where I can write every man and his dog and their address and birthday and kid’s birthday) is the dinner planner. You can write a meal a day and it shows up on your calendar so you know at a glance what you’re doing that day/week. It’s changeable so if you don’t feel like pasta that night (how could you) you can swap it for something else.
Et voila, a reminder every day what you’re having in case you have to defrost something, or have to get something from the shops. They even have another app called Dinner Decider, and it will plan you a week’s worth of meals without you having to do a thing. It will even print you a shopping list.
I don’t often use the journal function, nor the messages function because nobody reads it but me.
So there you have it – the mothership of VMHQ information, from whence all my organisation comes. I’ve used a few online organisational apps and this is the only one I really gelled with.
I’m curious though, what do you use? Something online? A trusty diary?