Are you busy?
Is time on your side, or are you always in competition with each other? In order to balance the demands of a 21st-century life, you might need the assistance of some 21st-century tools. Here’s a list of eight ideas to help with organization so you can love your job again and carve out more time for the things that matter most….
1. Color your world
Using colors to organize your digital life may help when you searching for important resources. Did you know you can color code your desktop folders, Google Drive folders, email folders, and more? I have found the more I color-code my life, the easier it is to find things quickly when I need them. I use the same colors across devices, apps, and tools: red for family, purple for school, green for money (ha!), etc. The more vigilant I am about filing items using specific colors, the less time I waste looking for them later.
2. New wallpaper
A great idea I learned from my friend Charity Preston at the Organized Classroom Blog, is to create wallpaper for your desktop to help organize your folders. Get creative! You might want to take her idea one step further and create wallpaper for your mobile devices to help organize your rows of phone icons and folders.
Though we find emojis and symbols fun to use in text and emails, they can be organizational helpers as well. You can use icons to label folders on phones and desktops and to name group chats to keep them all straight. In addition, you can use icons as bookmarks in your toolbar so they take up less space and are easily recognizable.
4. The E-mail monster
Email has become a necessity, but we can easily be overrun by the sheer volume of correspondence coming into our Inbox. There are many ways to tame the email monster, including separate accounts, filters, folders, tabs, and color. One suggestion is to create a separate account (or revisit an old one) to handle only your online shopping needs. Use it for all of your coupon offers, order confirmations, and customer-service correspondence. I don’t mind if there are 10,000 notifications because it is all searchable and it does not clog up my daily email.
For my work and personal email accounts, I turn off all social-media notifications.. I use the filter tools in my email client to auto-direct certain emails to particular folders so I can refer to them when need be.
5. Get alarmed
Though the idea of an alarm clock waking you up in the morning might not make you smile, there are other reasons to set an alarm. Essentially, an alarm is a reminder to do something. You can set an alarm reminder to take out the trash every Monday morning, to water the plants every other week, or to buy milk and bread when you are near the grocery store. You can choose alarm reminders based on time or intervals or location so you don’t have to remember it all! There are many apps and tools available to help with these tasks, but I like using Alarmed with reminders, checklists, timers, categories, and sounds to choose from.
6. Just browsing
Another way to streamline your online life is to use separate browsers for different purposes. I keep all of my school accounts and activity on Chrome, my personal browsing on Firefox, and I use Safari for my kids when they use my laptop. Although I could have separate user accounts in one browser, I find it much easier to flip between the three throughout the day.
7. If This, Then That
If This, Then That is a website that allows users to create applets that make life easier. IFTTT can do anything from controlling the lights when you arrive home to reminding you to bring an umbrella tomorrow when the forecast calls for rain. Many folks are juggling multiple social media accounts, and IFTTT helps them work together seamlessly. I can have the program post automatically to Facebook when I tweet, or have it post to Twitter when I upload a photo to Instagram. Depending on your needs, IFTTT can help to cut down on the number of steps you take to broadcast your brand.
While it may seem impossible to carve out hours from your schedule, these small suggestions can add up to many minutes saved. You can then “spend” minutes on something other than forgetting your to-do list or looking for lost items. If these ideas work for you, share with your students so they can learn to organize their lives as well!
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