If you're one of those people that has sticky notes and index cards piled high on your desk or you have about a dozen different paper calendars but still don't know what day it is, you could benefit from software for staying organized. This software will help you eliminate the paper clutter and streamline your business and personal schedules.
Choosing Software for Staying Organized
There are a lot of different software programs out there designed to help with organization. It can make it hard to decide on the right one. Most of the programs available fit into one of three categories.
To-do list software is a simple organizational tool. Instead of making your notes on paper, you type them in to electronic lists. The software automatically formats them and lets you sort them into categories, such as "grocery list" and "work tasks."
Three examples of this type of software are:
Filing software lets you upload text files and images so that you can gain access to them from wherever you are, either over the Web or from a storage area on your machine. This way you can save project paperwork, memos and faxes and find what you're looking for easily. Three examples of this type of software are:
Online calendars are just that. They allow you to schedule meetings, organize tasks and contacts and send emails all from the same program. This keeps all of your schedule records in one convenient place and lets you send them to others who need to be in the know. Two examples of this type of software are:
Note that Lightning works in conjunction with Thunderbird, Mozilla's email client.
Sticky Note Software
If your computer has a Windows operating system you can also download StickyPad software. This is perfect for you if you love those yellow Post-Its. Essentially, you click on your computer screen and you can make a yellow electronic note appear. Then all you have to do is type in the task you need to remember and it stays on your desktop until you remove it. If you have Mac OSX, there is a similar program available. It is called Stick 'Em Up.
A Note about Software for Staying Organized
If you want to save money and install free software for staying organized, be careful that you download programs only from respected websites, such as Mozilla. Too often software that is labeled "freeware" contains spyware or viruses that can ruin your machine. Keep your virus protection software current, and if a warning pops up when you go to download software do not ignore it. Search elsewhere instead.
Another way to go to get rid of all of the papers is to purchase an electronic calendar, such as a Palm Pilot or to use the calendar programs built in to many modern cell phones.
Just remember to not keep your eggs in one basket if you go completely paperless with your organization. Always back up your software so you won't be tearing your hair out if your computer crashes. A good way to do this is to upload your calendar to an online storage area at the end of every day. This can also help if you need to travel last minute and you need to take your "life" with you without it taking up extra space in your carry-on bag.