When you have everything from homeworks, projects and exams to rent and fee payment dates, registration deadlines, meetings, teleconferences and a mountain of other things to keep track of, it's almost impossible to remember everything unless you put it all down somewhere. Outlook has been my central hub for this purpose for several years now, but I've found that there are a couple of ways to complement it that can help to keep things more organized, easier to manage, and always readily available.
Outlook allows you to create calendar items and tasks, and it displays all of the information for the week on the main Outlook Today pane in a simple, at-a-glance format. But I tend to keep Outlook minimized and running in the background most of the time, so I found it was handy to use an app that could pull data from Outlook's store and display it right on my desktop. I was using Rainlendar
for this purpose for a long time, and I recently switched to using a widget for Yahoo! Widget Engine,
just because I like to change things around sometimes. DeskTask
is another standalone app that performs the same function.
This setup works great when I'm around the desktop, but how do I keep track of all the new stuff that I need to add to my calendar or todo list when I'm on campus for most of the day? Pulling out the laptop and turning it on just to do that is not very practical, and synchronization of data is another issue that you have to keep in mind, but that's a topic for another post. Instead, I took the old-fashioned pen-and-paper route and recently started using the handy little PocketMod
to jot down quick notes to myself. It's a single sheet of paper, cleverly folded to give you an eight-page notepad that's small and thin enough to fit in your wallet or pocket. At the end of the week, just discard it and fold up a new one. No need to worry about drained PDA batteries or anything of the sort, and it's definitely more starving-student-budget-friendly. :) Everything that goes into the PocketMod during the day goes into Outlook in the evenings. The process takes less than a minute each day.
I find that this works well for me, but I always enjoy hearing people's ideas, especially from fellow-students. So how do you go about keeping track of the multitude of things that you need to do?