Back to School! …must be time to make some lists.

So, it’s nearly that time again… the start of the new academic year! It’s around this time that I always get in My Desk!a big panic about not having enough time to get everything done, and decide that I need to be more organised. This tends to manifest itself in a spot of desk-tidying – indeed, see how tidy it is! – pencil-sharpening, and copious list-making.  To the point that this academic year hasn’t even started yet, and I’ve already got a list called To Do List Academic Year 2014-15.

Earlier this year I had a bit of a shock when my To Do List manager of choice, Astrid, departed this electronic coil, and I’ve been fussing ever since with a replacement, much to the detriment of the state of my inbox (which is now back on screen again, mercifully).  I asked my Twitter followers what they thought and got a lot of suggestions; Wunderlist was mentioned a lot, as was Todoist, and I was intrigued by KanbanFlow, a visual organiser designed with Lean project management in mind.

I also came across a brilliant way of making organizational notes using a notepad and paper – if I wasn’t so afraid of a) losing it and b) adding yet another lead weight to my enormous handbag, I’d be all over the Bullet Journal method.  I’ve had the tab open in my browser for a week now so I’ve still not quite let it go!

However, none of these were quite right for me, so I decided to stop fussing and wasting time reorganising the deck chairs, as it were, and have gone back to my old love: Evernote.  I usually use it as a repository: if I want to be able to remember or find something later, I make a note in Evernote, tag it up, and off I go.  For instance, I often take photos of handwritten notes so I can throw the original away and not have to keep tons of paper I may never look at again.

I’m currently using its checkbox functions just to make one big long list, but soon I’ll split that list into smaller parts for each thing I’m working on, and then I’m going to start playing with their big innovation: reminders. You can now add an alarm to a note, as well as checklists, to keep yourself up-to-date.

So here’s a reminder for you, too – Rowena put together a great Guide to Evernote for our staff and students, and the Evernote Blog is a great source of ideas on how you can use it to up your productivity.  The Office Tools bi of the Social Media Subject Guide also has other software and websites that you might use to get organised… have a go!

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