Thursday, January 8, 2009

Time to Get Organized!

Ask anyone who knows me well and they'll tell you the same thing: I'm organizationally challenged.

I WANT to be more organized and I know that it will help me achieve my goals without as much chaos and drama as is generally involved (case in point: my almost-daily key hunt). Now that I've admitted that I have a problem, I'm ready to face it and tackle it! (I'll try to ignore the fact that my husband is currently reading over my shoulder, mocking my idea that I even THINK I can get organized.)

Now, I'm not quite as disorganized as my mom (I love you, Mom, but you KNOW you have a problem!), but that doesn't excuse me from facing my own flaws and doing something to build some skills. So, what can I do to improve my organizational skills?

I was recently encouraged by the insightful folks at MomCentral to see if the organizational tool Cozi could help me become less scattered (HELP being the operative word here. I do not think any one thing can SOLVE my problem completely - that would take a MIRACLE . . . and some reverse genetic engineering, I fear.). I've spent my usual blogging time this week getting to know the tool and what it has to offer and here are some of the problems/solutions that Cozi addresses:

PROBLEM: I have 4 calendars going at any given time - but none of them match each other. They get lost, chewed on (thank you, Little Sister), used for art or slide under the fridge. The planner I got last Christmas was helpful for a short time . . . but . . . hey, has anyone seen that thing, by the way? Hmmmm . . . me neither . . .

COZI SOLUTION: One electronic calendar in an easy-to-read and easy-to-update format. Each appointment that I list can be color-coded to identify which family members are involved in the entry. There is even a handy-dandy drop down to mark an appointment's regular frequency (weekly, monthly, annually, etc. - great for marking workouts at the gym, volunteer days at school, birthdays and other important occasions!). I'm not likely to misplace my computer, so this is perfect.

PROBLEM: I forget to tell my husband about things that we're doing. Even if they DO make the calendar, he doesn't know about them because he doesn't know WHICH calendar to trust, if he can even find it!
COZI SOLUTION: We can share the Cozi account and both have the ability to add/change things on the calendar. Our family calendar can also sync with Outlook and we can even send our calendar and shopping lists to our mobile phones with text messages. For those who have iPhones and Windows Mobile phones, Cozi now has a mobile version that enables you to sign-in and access your Cozi account using their mobile web browsers.

PROBLEM: I'm not a scrapbooker. Tried it a few times, but it never took. I enjoy looking at our old photos (as do my kids!), but I just am not a scrapbookin' gal. Thus, the photos stay safely tucked in the "fancy" folders on my computer (darn things don't even have names!), rarely to be shared or even viewed by me.

COZI SOLUTION: The Cozi Collage Screen Saver! Cozi can automatically create small groups of your photos and display them like a slide show in place of your screen saver. You can even send your favorite collages to others. Sounds like something my mom and mother-in-law would enjoy to get from us from time to time - and without any effort on my part!

PROBLEM: My grocery list from week to week looks the same, even when there are OTHER items we likely need or for new recipes I've been meaning to try. I'm trying to limit my grocery shopping to a weekly adventure, but more often than not I find myself making "little stops" at the store to pick up forgotten items . . . or even calling my husband to grab those missing ingredients on his way home from work (NOT his favorite thing to do - I think he'd rather loose a toe than stand in line with all of the other husbands).

COZI SOLUTION: The Cozi Shopping List. Quickly enter/delete the items as you need/buy them. There are 3 handy lists - grocery, wholesale, and other. I already have running lists on each of those. The process of creating the list in advance helped me remember what items to get when I went to the store WITHOUT the list last night. See? I'm still learning. The lists are also displayed on my Cozi Home page, so every time I log on, I can see the list as a reminder. Handy.

PROBLEM: I like to have my questions/problems solved quickly. Hey, who doesn't?

COZI SOLUTION: A well-designed, easy-to-navigate, thorough Help page. I wish every site was so easy to use.

My overall impression of Cozi? I like it. I like that it is f*ree to use (really!). I'm going to use it (stop laughing, Honey, I really am!). I think it will be even more helpful as my kids get older and our schedules swell with more adventures. I do wish they had a version that would link directly to my brain to sort out my thinking as well as the site sorts out my calendar and shopping troubles.

And maybe, just maybe, in a month's time maybe my husband won't laugh quite so loudly if I dare utter the words "I'm" and "organized" in the same sentence. Hey, I can try! And it is nice to have some help along the way.

And YOU? What things do YOU do to get/stay/strive to be organized?


Nadja Vol said...

Here, Here for Cozi! Small world! Did you know I spent last year working from home for Cozi? I worked on their mobile phone ap so you can access your shopping lists while shopping. Very handy. And then The Family Journal on Facebook project.

What an awesome product and an awesome company!

Brianna said...

I had no idea that technology stuff was part of your very long list of talents, Nadja. Thanks for your work to make such a cool product.

Seriously though, how did I not know this about you??

J~Mom said...

I can't encourage you enough on the one calender for the whole family! I have a giant calender that hangs in our study and everything goes on there. I did the separate calenders for years and it was a disaster as the kids got older. I have finally trained my husband to look at it to see what is going on for any certain day. Now my older kids even look at it. I will check out the Cozi though because having it on the computer would be even better!