Ordering the Days :: Organizational Tools for the New Year

While August and September tend to bring about more changes in the school room,  it is often January that invokes our resolve to make the New Year better than the last. Frequently, for most of us, part of our resolutions revolve around trying to stay on top of things, and once and for all, stay organized.

While for the past 8 years I have been more of a pen and paper gal myself, there are a few organizational apps, (thanks to the urging of my tech-savvy husband),  that I have come to utilize which have revolutionized how our entire family stays connected and on top of things. The best part of them all, they are absolutely FREE! so there is no reason why you can not start the year off with your best efforts to obtain your New Year’s resolution!

With all the individual people in a family, each with their own set of appointments and activities, sometimes it can be hard to juggle everyone’s schedule all at once. It can all be a bit easier with the use of Cozi, a free online organizer and mobile app.

With Cozi, a central email account is utilized along with a shared password for all members of the family, (with each member designated by an individual color),  to coordinate calendars, grocery, meal, and to-do lists, along with a family journal to jot down all of those memories no one wants to forget. There is no more need for all of those sticky notes for appointments, individual calendars, and grocery lists on slips of paper laying around.

The beauty of Cozi for our family is that it allows for the entire family to be synced into one account, using any number of devices, ensuring that everyone sees all the same information. Each Sunday evening, an email with that week’s agenda is sent to each individual family member’s email ensuring that nothing is forgotten! And Cozi can also sync with Microsoft Outlook!

While calendars and lists are nice, sometimes the need to compile a lot of different types of information from text, photos, PDFs, and links, into one spot is needed–almost like filing away into a binder.

Enter Evernote.  A free online personal digital assistant of sorts, Evernote allows any number of notes with varying content to be compiled and saved to a notebook, each being categorized according to your wishes. Evernote automatically saves aanything you input into a note so there is no need to constantly hit the save button. It also allows through the use of the right click the ability to easily move content into a note or notebook– Adding a photo is as easy as clicking and dragging into a note, and to add a bit of text, just highlight, right click and add to a note. It’s that seamless and simple.

Evernote has been extremely handy when planning in our homeschool. The ability to compile information for lesson planning as well as for liturgical feast days into one easy to access spot has been very beneficial and a huge time saver! Evernote also allows the ability to share your notebooks with others. This has been fantastic among my fellow homeschool peers as we are able to share our findings easily with one another to aid each other in preparing lessons for our families.

And lastly, well, there is Pinterest, the virtual pin board tool that has been sweeping the internet lately. While you do need an invite to be able to start pinning, (haven’t been invited yet? Contact me and I’d be happy to help!), Pinterest is perhaps the easiest organizational tool to use.  Through the creation of your own pin boards, and with the installation of the Pin It bookmarklet, much like tearing pictures out of a magazine, you are able to collect virtual inspiration from anywhere on the web and pin it to a board for later use. Not only is the image saved, but so is the  link to the original website. This allows for very eye appealing organization of images!

It has also been great in our homeschool, since there is such a vast amount of information shared on the web. Instead of having to dig through saved links and bookmarked sites, Pinterest allows for an easy visualization of all things saved, which is fantastic for organizing all of those fun ideas, craft projects and printbables for my little ones.

So, there you have it. Three FREE tools to help you stay organized this New Year. Go ahead and download them all today, and don’t let that resolution slide away!


2 responses to “Ordering the Days :: Organizational Tools for the New Year

  1. I’ll have to check out these tool suggestions. Thanks for posting them!

    For those who use Microsoft Outlook email program, I have used Sally McGhee’s productivity methods from Take Back Your Life. I wrote about it a few years ago: http://cinhosa.wordpress.com/2008/10/01/tbyl/

    It is similar to David Allen’s Getting Things Done (GTD) – http://www.davidco.com/about-gtd

    Both work well for prioritizing things and ensuring they get scheduled. According to Sally and David – people are 70% more likely to do something that they scheduled time to do – e.g., on an electronic calendar.

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