This is a little thought bubble that I’m having as I sit here. Andy and I are planning a wedding 3,000 miles away. To get there, we use a lot of planes, trains, automobiles, and these days we do it all with the help of internet tools like yelp, etsy, weddingchannel, google docs, you name it! And guess what! We are even doing our pre-marital counseling over Skype! That’s right! Pastor Tom is conducting our first counseling session tomorrow morning at 7am (PDT) over skype! How amazing is that?! We live in an age where planning a wedding and preparing for marriage can be done mostly from the comfort of our own homes. Crazy! My mind is just a little blown by this so I wanted to get it out there in the universe. Any thoughts?
Last week I got a plea for help: I have a lot to do and need to keep it all organized, do you know of a good system?
This got me thinking about how I manage and maintain all of my daily, weekly, and monthly lists of To-Do’s. I realized just how much a well-thought out to-do management system can make me more effective and productive – and even help me find time to relax!
So how do you do your to-do? Some people use scratch pads or commercial To-Do notepads (I used to love these, pictured left). Others use lots of post it notes stuck to the inside of their glasses case (you know who you are!). Some write email reminders to themselves. Still others go whole-hog and use comprehensive life-organizing systems like David Allen’s “Getting Things Done.”
Over the years, my own organizational system has changed and evolved. As my own methods change, I’ve found that the important thing is finding something that works for you. Something that you know you can stick to. For example, if you write emails to yourself but constantly disregard them, that’s probably a sign your current system is not working for you.
One easy solution for those on-the-go is using spreadsheets from Google Docs. You can create separate tabs for the different areas where you have things to do (work, home, school, bills, car, etc…). Because Google Docs are “cloud-computing” based, you can get to your To Do lists from anywhere that has internet access, including your smartphone. So if I suddenly remember I’ve got an errand to run while I’m heading to work, I can take a second and add that to my to-do list, wherever I am (and not risk being Forgetful Jones).
Other electronic-based solutions include apps like Remember the Milk or Simplenote. The CEO of Twitter also recently tweeted his solution du jour: if you’ve got a camera-phone, take a picture of what you need to remember and save it as your phone’s wallpaper. I’m a bit dubious of this one, but he at least gets points for creativity!
More traditional folks may prefer a planner, a big calendar or even color-coded index cards.
If you’ve found a solution that works for you, please do share!
Feeling social? Check out LivingSocial.com and sign up for their daily deals.
You don’t have to be an official socialite to join, you just have to like saving money and enjoying things around your city. Sound like fun? Yes it does.
Living Social provides you with a daily deal, offered through their site by a local business establishment. Living Social deals are offered in just about every city we live in (Chicago, Charlotte, Pittsburgh, San Francisco, and Washington DC… San Jose coming soon!). Usually the deal has to do with something social, but the specific deal or event in your city varies from day to day.
The deals cover the whole gamut, ranging from restaurants, salons and spas, to pottery-making, photography, golf lessons, and even horseback riding! It’s a great resource to find a good deal and to learn about what’s going on in your own city!
I used it to get 55% off of pilates lessons at Mighty Pilates in San Francisco. I had never taken a machine-based pilates class before, and had never heard of this pilates studio that recently opened. But thanks to Living Social I am on my way to becoming an “intermediate” on the tower and the Allegro machine. Sweet!
It’s also a great tool to learn about what’s going on in other people’s cities… and wonderful for gift ideas!
For example, Living Social told me about a cute little wine bar in Washington DC called Vinoteca. I checked it out online and saw that they offered wine tasting classes. When I realized that it was just a few blocks from Elizabeth & Adam’s place, voila! Birthday present for Elizabeth!
So, sign up for the daily deal and get social!
If you have a pair of Nikes and you run or walk, I highly recommend getting yourself a Nike+ sport kit. I just got one and am using it to track my runs. It’s got a little transmitter that lives in your shoe. The transmitter sends your running info to a little receiver that can be plugged into just about any iPod (or if you’ve got an iPhone, it syncs right to it!)
After your run, you plug your device into the computer and it shows your whole run! All your data is kept on your own personal space on Nike’s website, where you can keep a little running diary. The run-tracker shows your pace and distance as well as your slowest and fastest points. Today I took it for a test run and I ran 30 minutes and 4.3 miles (yes folks that’s a 7:05/mi. pace).
My favorite thing about this is that it takes the memory guessing-game out of my runs. I like to run several times a week but by the time I get home I don’t really feel like writing down exactly how far I ran in exactly how much time. This will make it much easier to keep track of my progress. The site offers a lot more that I’m still in the process of checking out (maps, challenges, goal setting, running coaches etc…) But after today’s test-run, I give Nike plus the thumbs up!
Check out this site: Earth Aid. They are a company that rewards individuals and companies for their reduction of energy and water use. For blog readers, they’ve got a very active blog with daily posts, you will surely never be bored waiting for a new post!
All you have to do is create an account, link it to your utility bills (which requires your utility account numbers) and watch your household usage of electricity, gas, and water (if you have the accounts for all of them) go up and down. It is pretty cool really. To create incentives for people to reduce their energy usage, they collaborate with corporations and local businesses to provide discounts and other rewards. Each time your energy usage goes down, you earn points. These points can then be used towards the rewards offered. While it is hard to see how one person, one family, or one household can do to contribute to a healthier planet, this is a great way to have a tangible result of going green. Plus you see your usage go up and down on a nice pretty graph.
You can also make teams to collaborate on saving energy to get even more rewards! What do we think about a team Forney? I think we’d kick some ass.
Team Forney is welcome to all Forneys and nonForneys, must be 18 or older to participate, participation not valid in Puerto Rico. To participate click here.
For anyone planning travel in the coming months – and that’s a lot of us! – I recommend you check out Bing Travel: http://www.bing.com/travel/
This website includes a 7 day price predictor that aggregates data from millions of round-trip, priced flight itineraries and countless combinations of origins and destinations. Like Kayak.com, Bing Travel aggregates & compiles the best travel prices and deals for the flights your searching.*
What really makes Bing great though, is that it makes airfare price predictions. Based on rate trends and patterns, Bing will tell you whether you should wait, hold, or buy and will tell you the percentage chance that the price of the flight you’d like is going to go up, down, or remain unchanged.
For example, I’m searching for my flights home for Christmas & Bing is telling me to wait – there is a 76% chance that the fares for the flights I’m looking at will drop by more than $50. Sweet!
* Note: I don’t think Bing searches some discount airlines like JetBlue and Southwest.
I found this website called pingg.com which is an amazing upgrade to evite. I love the interface and the invitation options!
It’s also got great “administrator tools” to help you manage the guest list – and even automatically saves invitation lists for you. All of your planning is consolidated for you in one place that is both easy to navigate and simple to use!
Perhaps even easier than creating this blog!