I’m over organized and it’s an absolute mess!

I’m over organized and it’s an absolute mess!

It’s a sight to behold the documentation, notes, task lists and todos that I’m maintaining. I might have more methods of documenting things to do then I’ll have number of things to do in any one week.

I think it comes down to availability. Wherever I’m at at the moment is where I’m adding tasks, adding notes, adding and marketing off todos.

I’m not even sure I want a unified place to do this, but I think what I’m doing now can’t be right.

I have a larger number of services that I use then purposes for them (see: What I’m using this for)

The list of services is ranked in roughly the order in which I make use of them.

I’m starting to notice that the most used is the oldest, most universal, and most recognized. Scrumy is an online service but it’s still just post-its, wiki i might say is relatively new and harnesses the power of the internet, but everything else in my top 7 services, at least to me is a much older concept.

Looking at the section “What I’m using this for” I think I could conceivably filter them down to:

  • todos, project tasks, hours
  • project notes and info
  • interesting items and documentation

Maybe there is a way out, but it’s going to take some time, and decision and commitment, and a lot of porting over information (which I’ll never do).

One of the things I want is searchability. Funny thing is that I’m keeping every little piece of information and I keep that for years. However, I find that going back and looking for something that isn’t an actual client or project name, or login credential, is something that I won’t do 99% of the time. In other words, all these things I’m documenting, I never go back to. I usually just search for the information in Google or am content with having it go down the memory hole.

The most useful organzing tool is what I’m using “right now”. Only simple administrative stuff is worth holding onto. Everything else I either forget (and that’s fine) or I just re-find by searching it.

Maybe what I’m telling myself is to find one unified project management and time tracking tool, document client information there in a wiki style page, and then if I want search-ability, just add all my documentation and cool links to my blog.

Services I’m Using

  • Email (mail tasks to myself, tasks from clients, interesting reading)
  • Google Calendar (time tracking and todos)
  • Scrumy (hours and tasks, love the interactivity)
  • Notepad + Folders (client notes, documentation)
  • Notes on my Server (notes, documentation, manifest)
  • Google Sites (wiki, client information)
  • Yellow Notepad and Pen (old fashioned notes)
  • Evernote (i think i love but haven’t fully committed to)
  • Trello (ideas, interacting with contractors, this blog)
  • Freshbooks (documenting hours, scrumy, google calendar)
  • My Blog (documentation that can be of use to others)
  • Phone (voice notes, notepad)
  • Bookmarks (which I forgot was an option for 2 years)
  • BitBucket Tracker (using on certain projects – in lieu of email)
  • BitBucket Wiki (just starting to use)
  • Read It Later (love the concept, started, but never bought in)

What I’m using this for

  • todos and project tasks
  • hours (documenting hours I’ve spent on projects and tasks)
  • project notes (notes, information, lists, documenting howto)
  • project info (urls, accounts, contacts, project summary, etc.)
  • interesting items (links to self, usually orgnizable by subject)
  • general documentation (howtos, same as above but text, etc.)

Well, that’s it and it’s a mess. This post is mainly a thinking exercise and I’m already looking into managing things a bit differently since I first scratched out this post. I’m moving towards a Trello/Freshbooks combination for my daily todos and time tracking so far, and I’m hoping to consolidate a bunch more for my other needs.

Post written by Ed Reckers

Founder and lead web development consultant at Red Bridge Internet : San Francisco WordPress Developers and Consultants.

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