How to: get organized + maintain sanity (Part 1)

With the introduction of 2015, New Year’s resolutions are happenstance and the School of Kinesiology is dutifully following in line. While the act of creating a resolution is somewhat simple and painless, the realization of such can be challenging. We recently worked with School staff through a special edition of Kickstart Open Lab to assist in achieving work-based resolutions.

Kickstart Open Lab: Staff Edition provided an opportunity for staff members to enhance workflow and processes by incorporating a new technology. Kickstart Open Lab provides the space, motivation, and training to transition from idea generation to project implementation. Day 1’s theme centered on how to complete “to-dos”, get organized, and increase efficiency all while simultaneously maintaining sanity. Several easily accessible tools were identified to aid in this movement toward organization.

Three tools are integrated in our U of MN Google Apps suites, such as Google Calendar, Google Tasks available through both calendar and Gmail, and Google Keep. Google’s free online calendar is helpful in organizing your deadlines and schedule as it grants the ability to share your schedule, sync to a mobile device, and set notifications to prevent ever forgetting to complete a task or a late arrival to a meeting. Operating through Google Calendar, Google Tasks works when you create a task and assign a due date. Due dates endorse for task organization, can be modified as needed, and upon completion the task can be checked off. Also a function of Gmail, Google Tasks allows for tasks and sub tasks to be generated either manually or with a series of keyboard shortcuts. The tasks can be rearranged by simply dragging them at your convenience, can be printed as a list, and deleted as you see fit. A bit lesser known, yet a still highly useful and free device available is Google Keep. A notepad that connects to Google Drive supporting photo notes, voice notes, and checklists (with the incredibly satisfying capability to cross a task off the checklist), Keep’s friendly colorful interface is fast, easy to use, and stores all your information in one location.

TeuxDeux, with a tagline of “simply designy to-do app”, was created with master to-do list makers in mind. As simple as paper, TeuxDeux functions as a list in which tasks are typed and crossed off and, if you don’t manage to finish everything, unfinished to-dos will automatically be transferred to the next day. Costing $24 a year or $2 dollars a month, TeuxDeux may just be the solution to your “get organized” resolution. Another option for a web-based to-do list system is Todoist. Todoist lets you access tasks anywhere, collaborate tasks and provides options for setting notifications or reminders and create sub tasks. Another feature of this mechanism allows for tracking productivity because your accomplishments, even the little ones, deserve recognition and are worthy of celebration.

All of these tools have the potential to be helpful, however, it is important to keep in mind that a habit is not established overnight. In a soon-to-be coming follow-up post, the necessity of discipline in organizing to-dos will be addressed.

In the meantime …

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