It’s time to get organised.

I’ve been thinking lately that it’s time to organised. It seems as if the more I have to do, the more time I spend planning, creating lists and making timetables when I should be getting on and doing stuff.

At the age of 55 I’ve lived through several organisational epochs:
  • Note books
  • T-Cards
  • Filofax systems (and all of the spin offs)
  • The Psion Organiser
  • Laptop programs
  • Phones, and those bloody apps  

The earliest I remember was a T card system in the office on wall mounted ladders. Small cards with hand written tasks or headings were moved from left to right, indicating the progress of a project. The cards also moved up and down the ladders, depending on the urgency of the task it represented. This system was very visual, but not easily portable and hard to share with anyone who was not stood in front of the wall.

At this time, the early 1980’s, few of us carried laptops and only the very rich or famous had a “car phone”. The touch screen devices, the ones we take for granted today, were a thing of the future. We were told technology would set us free, perhaps the opposite has been true. But this was the time of Maggie Thatcher, we’d won the Falkland’s war, she’d taken on and beaten the miners, the economy was booming and privatisation was rife. Greed was good, red braces were a must in the city and red Porsches crowded the carparks; and they had to be a 911 twin turbo, the one with the big spoiler and even bigger tyres.

Now roll forward to the end of the decade.

You’d not go out in public without your Filofax, it bulged with a diary, address pages, notes and other stuff. There were pockets for business cards and you could get a London A to Z to clip in. As hard copy diaries go they are still the most versatile product. Have a look at their website if you’d like to know more I still have my original ‘fax and refer back to it from time to time.

We don’t need to list the vast number of online organisers I’ve looked at over the years, and they have only got more complex and costly as they became phone and laptop compatible. None of them have saved me. I’m still late for appointments, I can’t find documents and often forget to buy milk. It seems that the more complex the system the more I felt it would “fix” me. I’d spend hours planning work which would only take minutes to do. Surely this is the tail wagging the dog!

The world in your pocket

Around 2008 I met the iPhone, it was love at first sight. It could do everything and it was shiny. I knew I just had to have one. I’d had an Ipod touch for a while and I could see maps, photos and my diary on it, as well as listening to music. If I had the iPhone I knew I’d have arrived. 

It turns out I was wrong, if i it’s time to organised, and I really want to get there (wherever there is) I needed an iPad, and then the latest iPhone and finally the apple watch. To synchronize it all, and make sure I could access everything from everywhere all the time, I needed a new MacBook – the Pro of course, and a new IMac on my desk too. You can’t appreciate the clarity of retina display until you see it BIG.

And I’m still late, I still loose stuff and I spend hours running updates, installing new software and thinking of even more complex passwords. On top of this I now have to have superfast broadband at home, you can’t keep on top of this stuff with good old fashioned copper cabling. The fibre comes straight to my desk and is a thick as a python, one who’s just swallowed a pig – warning, do not  Google this if you want to sleep tonight.

What’s the answer?

So if it’s time to organised, what’s the answer, where have I got to after three and a half decades of hunting the one true system? Is there anything which will make me properly organised? What are the seven habits of highly effective people that I’m missing out on, and can I really enjoy a full time income whilst working just a four hour week.

No. Well actually yes and no. Yes I can be organised but no I don’t need all this stuff around me. I’ve gone back to using a book.

There’s a picture of it here, and I use a pen to write in it too. In the interest of full disclosure I must admit to using the software Evernote as well, I use it for a lot of stuff, and I make appointments in the calendar on my phone. But it all starts with the book. 

I carry my A5 hard back note book around with me and jot things down in it. I’m old enough and far enough from fashion to be comfortable in a coat with big pockets, big enough for my book anyway. I might transfer ideas to Evernote, make an entry in my diary or even use a hand written muse as the basis of a short story, but it all starts with paper and a pen. We’ve been writing on paper since about six hundred years BC. We seem to have got the hang of it and I don’t think I need to reinvent the wheel right now.


Thanks for reading today’s blog – It’s time to get organised. if you’d like to see what I’ve been reading you can go here for a look. What I’m reading