What is your method of organization? Have you made the digital jump yet? Growing up and even into college, I carried around a “planner” writing down meetings, assignments, tasks, to-dos, etc. I was lost without it.
Today things are different. I recently had to get a new computer and I realized my entire life is now on the computer and increasingly online. My life is organized by digital tools. In this post, I would like to share some of the tools I use to organize my life that would be a great asset to any teacher.
I use the following online tools daily to organize my life:
• Gmail (for personal email)
• Microsoft Outlook (for work email)
• Google Calendar
• Google Tasks
• Google Reader
Note that these tools do not include the way I organize my social networks, personal finances, or the technology I use to teach. Using technology to teach is another topic entirely – this post is focused on organization.
7422 MB. That is a lot of space. I have been using Gmail for years and I’m only using 13% of the quota that Google will allow me to have. This means that I always have access to thousands of emails and with a quick search I can find exactly the correspondence I am looking to recall. They provide the option to label and organize the way you would like. Gmail also integrates very well with Google Calendar, G-Chat, Google Tasks, and Google Reader.
Yes, I continue to stay loyal to Outlook for work purposes. I recently had to switch from Outlook 2007 to 2003 and I can’t believe how difficult it is to find emails without search bar. It is frustrating and wastes time. I’m interested to see what the 2010 version has to offer. Some of you Gmail fanatics have your work email forwarded to your Gmail account – not a bad idea.
I love Google Calendar because I can easily enter meetings, assignments, events, travel, etc. and categorize each event in personal, work, school, etc. It also works well with Google Tasks.
I started using Google Tasks and loved it. It shows up on my Google Calendar so I can sort them by day. Compared to Outlook Tasks, Google’s version is much more user-friendly. When I check-off tasks in Outlook, they still stress me out. In Google Tasks, once I clear them I don’t have to worry about them again.
This is a true gem. Half of the subscribers reading this are getting it by e-mail. This is a perfectly fine way of organizing the web, but Google Reader is an excellent way to aggregate all news services, blogs, and other websites that you visit often. Rather than bookmarking this blog (I’m not trying to stop you) try subscribing by clicking the RSS button. Subscribe to other blogs about religious education and choose some other hobbies to follow. I currently have 218 subscriptions organized by folders (Religious Education, Catholic Education, Education and Technology, Catholic Blogs, Family Blogs, Personal Finance, Social Media, Blog experts, and more). I don’t read all of them, but they are good resources to fall back on when I am doing some research. I also use Google Reader to track key words like “catechesis,” “catholic schools,” and “jared dees.” This deserves an entire post or even an inservice. Try it – you’ll be addicted before you know it.
Delicious is a social bookmarking site. I use it less for the social aspect and more for the organizational aspect. I save the sites I go to daily in my Internet Explorer favorites, but I bookmark things in Delicious and tag them according to certain categories. Depending on the subject you teach, this could be a great way to keep track of sites you find but won’t be able to use until later in the year. Just beware, the tags can get out of control! If you’re interested in what I am bookmarking go to http://delicious.com/jareddees.
I’m new to Evernote, but I love it already. Evernote trumps Delicious in that you can save websites, emails, word documents, pdfs, pictures, or just random thoughts that you have. I use Evernote for what I formerly used Delicious, Google Docs, and Microsoft OneNote to do. You can access your notes anywhere. It is especially useful for those of you who have different computers at home and at work. If you’re an iPhone junkie, then there’s an app for that. Evernote is still new to me and deserves a post all to itself as well, but for ideas on how to use it as a teacher/catechist, I created this public notebook that I might have created if I was teaching a course on the New Testament: http://www.evernote.com/pub/jareddees/newtestamentcourse.
What’s missing? I don’t have a hi-tech mobile device that some of you may use to organize your life. IPhones, Blackberries, etc. are certainly essential organizational tools for a growing population of users.
Let’s hear from you – what tools do you use to stay organized?