The Art of Efficiency – 10 Ways to Organise Your Life

Without organisation there is chaos. A sheet of paper becomes a pile of paper. A single rubber band snowballs into a tangled nugget of desk gold. A lone file on your computer’s desktop multiplies into an infinite number of faceless icons, blocking out the pretty wallpaper of your cat. Here are 10 popular ways of getting organised, with additional comments from my productivity-obsessed friend and co-worker, Ken.

Plus! Find out why this subject is, now more than ever, so significant to me personally…at the end of the article…

Written by Jon

1) Be Tidy

The complete antithesis of my own desk

Those who know me and have seen my desk will likely have read that, scoffed, then fallen off their chair laughing and pounding the floor. However, whilst my physical desk at work is a cacophony of Nintendo toys, business cards and metrosexual accouterments such as lip balm and anti-oil blotting paper, my computer desktop is slightly more organised. The point of being tidy is not for the sheer obsessive-compulsive satisfaction; workspace tidyness (whether physical or on the computer) should be an on-going self-adjustment of making important things easily accessible and filing less-important things away.

Ken says: All my desktop clutter is meticulously stored away in alphabetised file folders. So whenever I need say, a pencil, all I have to do is reach into my filing cabinet and search under ‘P’…

2) Monitor Post-it Notes

Pretty colours help you to prioritise and sort your tasks

The low-tech solution that everyone loves to hate. In terms of organisational darwinism, sticking notes all over your computer screen is only a couple of rungs up the evolutionary ladder from frantically scribbling things all over your hand. However, for some perverse reason…it works. Especially for those who sit in front of a computer all day, your screen is a convenient and constantly-accessible area for you to keep important to-dos.

Looks a bit untidy though, doesn’t it? I wonder if that is half the reason this solution is so popular – the visual chaos it creates helps permeate the idea that you are super, incredibly busy and sends waves of admiration and awe across co-workers and friends. The ideological Japanese equivalent of this would be something called a “hachimaki”.


A rainbow of stuff to do…

A Japanese hachimaki that reads “Success” – something a student in the past might have worn whilst studying or taking an exam.
from goodsfromjapan

This is a tradition in Japan that has sadly been replaced by other things (like post-it notes on monitors) but in its heyday the hachimaki was a headband that office workers would wear during times of zen-like concentration and busyness. More than just a physical aid (it is said that the tightness of the headband helped you to concentrate), it was a symbol to co-workers to show your unwavering perseverance during adversity and as a non-verbal message saying “back the hell away before you delegate me more work!”.

Ken says: Very useful. Try different colours for different priorities or contexts, and keep a separate note with a legend handy.. for when you forget what blue means.

3) The Hipster PDA

caption1

The Hipster PDA is an “invention” from the kings of web productivity, 43folders. 43folders liken their invention to infinitely more expensive personal digital assistants such as the Palm V and they describe The Hipster PDA as…

“…a fully extensible system for coordinating incoming and outgoing data for any aspect of your life and work. It scales brilliantly, degrades gracefully, supports optional categories and “beaming,” and is configurable to an unlimited number of options.”

…and it takes the form of a bunch of cards fastened together with a clip.

It’s a tongue-in-cheek solution that actually works very well, and has a clever name to boot. It has inspired a mini revolution in the way people organise themselves on the go, and The Hipster PDA now has something of a community surrounding it, with fans developing templates to print out and even creating their own variations on the theme from duct tape.

Ken says: A bunch of cards and a binder clip. Genius!

4) A Notepad

The Moleskine

Moving on to something a little more professional, an attractive, sturdy notepad can be both a life-saving organisational aid and an elegant, visual statement on the kind of person you are. Creative-types have for a long time sworn by the Moleskine variety of notebook (made from real mole) which comes in a variety of different paper styles and weights.


Blank paper is good for writing…

…and sketching

This year I bought my inaugural first Moleskine and I’m very pleased with it. It has replaced my previously employed method of organising on the go (scribbling on hands, scraps of paper, post-it notes attached to my face) in a most satisfying manner. I liken the Moleskine to an analogue version of the Apple Mac; looks good, gets the job done well and fills me with a smug sense of superiority when I see other people with lesser notepads.

Ken says: The Moleskine®. An indispensable companion. But if you have more than one, telling them apart can be problem. So buy only one.

5) A Whiteboard

Google’s very busy whiteboard

Getting (very) slightly more high-tech, the personal or group whiteboard is a useful tool for scribbling down quick thoughts or brainstorming with – an activity that requires constant correcting and re-arranging of thought processes. Most tech or creative companies swear by the whiteboard as a method of encouraging interactive discussions within development or creative teams. Careful of letting trade secrets slip out into the public though

Ken says: Be careful not to draw over the edges. Whiteboard marker is tricky to remove from wallpaper and rubbing only makes it worse…

6) A Physical Inbox

An elegant and simple document tray, from Muji

The ubiquitous inbox – butt of the joke of countless business-oriented newspaper cartoons, showing an inbox full of papers piled miles into the sky – and now near-defunct thanks to our new-fangled paperless offices with their interwebs and electronic mails and whatnot.

However! The physical inbox still has a place in our lives. Whereas our offices tend to be paperless, our homes do not. Sadly I still get most of my bills via snail mail – a physical inbox allows you to separate the bills from the melee of food delivery service spam that no-doubt makes up the other 70% of your post box, put the bills safely into the inbox and attend to them at your convenience in order.

Ken says: The ultimate capture device! Doesn’t have to be fancy. An empty shoe box works fine.

7) Desktop Software

Midnight Inbox

Making a giant leap for mankind, we move onto electronic solutions. There is a vast, spectrum of excellent software out there a mere google-search away, that can help you organise your life. For the mac, some popular solutions are Omni Group’s OmniPlan and newcomer Midnight Inbox (currently in free beta) which adheres strongly to the popular GTD organisational methodology.

Ken says: Quicksilver in combination with kGTD is a great way to save and organise those ideas. Only available for OS X.

8) Online Software

Online solutions to organisation are extremely popular, one reason being that you aren’t tied to a single device / computer. This makes all your organisational goodness available wherever you are as long as you have access to the internet.

37signals has made a name for themselves providing excellent, online solutions to organisation and productivity problems. Other popular examples include a Japanese to-do list app called checkpad.jp which also allows you to access your lists via your mobile phone, and relative newcomer and strangely-named Monkey On Your Back which is a web app that allows you to delegate tasks to other people.

Ken says: Online…software…?

9) A Phone That Is Cleverer Than You

Softbank’s new X01HT Smart Phone

Smart phones running powerful operating systems are becoming more and more popular as technology allows them to weigh less than a sack full of broken hammers. In the West, the ever-popular Blackberry is fast-becoming a symbol of mobile business. In Japan, a fresh crop of sexy new smart phones from Softbank and Willcom ensures that smart phone technology is still reaching a fresh audience.

Smart phones have all kinds of useful functionality for organising yourself, providing 24-hour access to your mailbox, compatibility with PIM software, desktop syncing – in addition to all the vanilla features of a regular phone.

Ken says: A fantastic way to stay organised whilst on the move, unless you forget to bring it that is. So when at home, keep it with your shoes and never leave home without it again!

10) Personal Butler

Danger Will Robinson! – The B9 Robot from Lost In Space

Ok, so we aren’t quite there yet. But soon! I can’t go out and buy my very own B9 Robot yet, but research and development is and has been underway to create robots for more domestic, personal-oriented uses. Take for example NEC’s experimental “sommelier” robot, which can taste food items or wine and give you information on them (when researchers put their hand under the sensor, the robot – rather unnervingly – said that human hand tastes like bacon…).

Other exciting developments include robot actors and the creepy-yet-fascinating “Kokoro” fembot (below):

Ken says: I recommend the iRobot Roomba® Vacuuming Robot. Also a great place to put those post-it notes when there’s no longer any space around your monitor.

So Why Is All This Important To You, Jon?

Me doing “The Businessman”…

Well sadly folks, you just read my last PingMag article. I’m leaving IMG SRC and the PingMag team to embark on a new adventure. Ken and I (aha…that’s why he was in the article…) are about to create our own little startup, called jonkenpon and we’ll be busy thinking up and creating simple, useful and fun web tools for everyone to use – I’m really excited about it! We’ll also be launching a blog about the web industry in Asia and other stuff we find interesting, at the same address as above (if you like the sound of that, do leave your email at jonkenpon so we can inform you when the blog launches!).

I’d like to thank everyone at PingMag and IMG SRC for the excellent time I’ve had here. IMG SRC is a phenomenally cool place to work at, and the PingMag team are great fun to be around. I’ve learnt so much at IMG SRC simply from being surrounded and motivated by the best talent in our industry. In the last year we’ve seen PingMag go from strength to strength – and I’m confident it’s only going to get better and better.

A big THANK YOU to to all of PingMag’s readers and I wish PingMag continuing success in the future!

Bye for now,
Jon

  • http://none Brandon

    Great article guys!

  • MUNCHY

    gOODBYE, TAKE CARE.. yOU ARE HANDSOME!!

  • http://www.ephramzerb.com Ephram Zerb

    Really really enjoyed the article. I typically ignore productivity articles for fear that the time I spend reading them could have been used in a more productive fasion elsewhere. If there is one thing I will follow up on from this article, it’ll be buying the Moleskin. Not for the productivity but solely for the smugness. Thanks for providing me with new ways to condescend and best of luck to you in you future endeavors.

  • http://www.ianlynam.com Ian

    Great article and good luck!

  • http://www.marinheirobrasil.com.br Eriksen

    Good luck and have fun!

  • Lime

    Can’t stand the Moleskine personally. Twee, overrated and not modernist enough.

  • http://weekeat.com Wee Keat

    Very good points! I personally have a cluttered desktop but it’s’ what I called ‘organised chaos’. :)

  • http://www.bentong.net Ben Tong

    Excellent Article!

  • http://methinksreally.blogspot.com ced

    This article is great for obssessive compulsive people. lol Thanks for helping us organize our work place. Good luck on your plans!

  • mike

    Love the article! so here is a link to one of my favourite ways to stay organised: http://www.pocketmod.com/
    I am such a luddite!

  • Administrator

    Nice one Mike! I had come across pocketmod before but forgot about it until now – I’ll give it a try.

  • lucas

    thanks, mike. :)

  • http://titanoasis.com/blog keanu zhang

    good luck.
    looking forward to your new articles.

  • http://www.taskanyone.com Peter

    Take a look at http://www.taskanyone.com it is a brand new online tool that allows you to manage your own tasks but also so send tasks to other people via email and then nag them if they don’t complete them on time.

  • Pingback: Movie Night + Desktop at Design-mate

  • Badger

    I need to tidy my desk. :(

  • Pingback: » Blog Archive » links for 2006-10-29

  • Noogz

    good article. nothing motivates more than a few pics of the organised life – wooooooo!

    (the 43 folders link above has a space in the name — url won’t function as is.. cheers)

  • http://www,paracity.co.uk daisy

    try diyplanner.com. lots of really brilliant and free organising templates to download!

  • Pingback: soulsoup » » Get Organized e-learning blog, elearning blog, knowledge management, e-learning strategy, learning experience design, usability

  • Pingback: rifie.com| In The Middle of Something Beautiful » Blog Archive » The Art of Efficiency - 10 Ways to Organise Your Life

  • a@fsaasd.com

    Metrosexual? I think not.

    It’s called faggot.

  • Rina

    Good luck and have a nice way ahead! :)
    Thank you for your excelent articles!

  • http://pabloescribanoterra.es Pablo Escribano

    Fantastic Article

  • Jafa

    Be carefull though not to loose your notebook… I prefer a single sheet folded in 4 that I can then leave in a box when done with.

  • http://ww.pendorwright.com Elf Sternberg

    I liked Moleskins but ultimately I prefer the Miquelrius notebooks better– the paper is nicer and the cover is thinner and lighter, making it all around a better buy.

    As for telling them apart, that’s easy. Go buy yourself one of those silver paint artmarkers and label the cover. The date is usually sufficient. Also, save the last three pages for a “table of contents,” number each page as you come to it, and when you have an important page you need to track, write it down in the back. I use bookdarts (hammered copper bookmarks, very thin and light) to track other details: darts on the top indicate pages with unfinished tasks, darts on the side indicate long-term project organization pages. And as an ultimate geek step, along with the page number I draw two small checkboxes in the upper right hand corner. The bottom checkbox indicates that everything on this page has been catalogued, completed, or otherwise dealt with; the top checkbox indicates that all pages prior to the one you’re reading have no unfinished business on them. Makes finding your pending work a breeze.

  • Pingback: Bricolog » Blog Archive » Organize Your Life

  • a guy

    ur h4wt

  • http://www.inci-lay.com resimler

    good article.Very good points.

  • http://www.arabavideolari.net Arabalar videolar

    Nice Mike! I had come across pocketmod before but forgot about it until now – I’ll give it a try.

  • http://www.coktatin.com Komik

    good luck.
    looking forward to your new articles.

  • http://www.mybilgi.net üniversiteler liseler

    Very good points! I personally have a cluttered desktop but it’s’ what I called

  • http://www.incilay.net Programlar

    good article

  • http://www.resimcim.net resim

    thanks for the article…

  • http://www.enstantane.net Sözlük

    Good article thanks.
    Good works.

  • http://www.heboyapi.com kabin

    its very nice project.

  • http://www.loadtr.com resimler

    Thanks for good posting.

  • http://www.hareketliresimler.net hareketli resimler

    Thanks pingmag keep it ;)

  • Adel

    Hi, it’s the first time 4 me here, and i really enjoyed reading this article, very good one, and god luck in ur new business :)

  • http://www.mobilhat.com mobil

    Thanks in Advance!

  • http://www.alperaktas.com kisisel gelisim

    thank you :)

  • http://www.copkonteyner.com Çöp Konteyner

    Can not find something to say thank you.

  • http://www.bibergazisprey.com Biber Gazı

    Was really good work thanks

  • http://avsaadasiotelleri.blogcu.com Avşa Adası Otelleri

    Nice job on your hands healthy for

  • http://www.copkonteyner.com konteyner

    good, konteyner fiyatları

  • http://www.hekimyapi.com Dış Cephe Kaplama

    thank you..

  • http://www.haberbilgi.net/ Online Haber

    nice share, thanx.

  • http://kabin41.blogcu.com kabin

    goog, tesekkurler.

  • http://guvenlikkabini.blogcu.com güvenlik kabini

    good, thanks.

  • http://multimanyak.com albüm indir

    I am grateful to you for this great content:)

  • http://www.turkcellcepkontor.com Aydın Boydak

    its very nice project and article

    Turkcell kontor

  • http://guzelkizlar.biz/ güzel kızlar

    nice thanx.

  • http://www.gencturkhaber.com haber

    its very nice and amazing.

  • http://www.bluelara.com blue lara

    its very nice project and article

  • http://www.kabin.info kabin

    Site sahipleri için alexa sıralaması çok önemlidir. Çünkü bir çok reklamveren bu sıralamayı dikkate alır ve sitenizi ona göre değerlendirir. Alexa sıralamanızı yükseltmek için yapmanız gereken 8 temel şeyi aşağıda sıralıyoruz.

    1.Buradan Alexa Toolbarı indiriyoruz ücretsizdir. Eğer Mozilla firefox kullanıyorsanız, bunu kullanın.

    2.Buradan sitenize özel Alexa widget edinin ve bu kodu sitenizin istediğiniz

  • http://www.houstonshredding.com shredding Houston

    Contrary to what others may think, we can be productive both at home or work even if we do not have a lot of things or materials available to our disposal. If we do have a lot of resources, we should be able to organize them properly and apply practicality so that we will not waste our items most especially paper.

  • http://www.spletnapot.com Izdelava Strani

    Good pointers. Most of us probably already go along with most of these.

  • http://www.maurersal.com maurers

    Maurers only weaken, belly, waist and hip area also gets rid of fat in areas such as the still.

  • http://www.caloriesforfood.com calories for food

    I like your website, also Knowing the calories in foods, will help you know how many calories you have consumed during the day. This will in turn, help you to maintain your calorie balance to reduce weight.

  • http://st-thomas-usvi.myexclusiveblog.com/ St. Thomas USVI.

    There is no place I love more in the World than St. Thomas USVI. Georgeous Aqua warm water, Crystal clear snorkeling. There is nothing more I would love to do than buy a vacation home there. I found this site and the more I visit this site, the more I want to return for St. Thomas.

  • http://world-of-warcraft.myexclusiveblog.com World of Warcraft

    Visit my World of Warcraft site, See great videos’s and articles about World of Warcraft

  • Anonymous

    Yeast Infection is something you dont knead to live with there is many cures

  • http://www.takingvitamins.mysolutionblog.net Taking Vitamins

    I have been searching all over the internet for something to give me the correct advice. This is not exactly what I was looking for but it helped a lot. You have a great site. Thanks.

  • http://buydoctor.info innovative healthcare

    I want to see the many development of this site.

  • http://www.thetruthaboutstomachfat.com/ tips on getting a 6 pack

    Great blog with interesting content. I have bookemarked and will return often. Have a Great Day!

  • http://www.yourpersonaldevelopmentandsuccess.com/ personal development

    I like your way of thinking. Personal development and its many forms are really close to my heart. I also believe in getting different points of view on this subject to really broaden my thinking.

  • http://www.quicksendsms.com QuickSendSMS

    Nice Website! You should promote it from the messaging console at QuickSendSMS.com. Easy to use, nice and quick and you can text friends about it for free.

  • http://buydoctor.info Counteract Southwest Strategy

    Great topic,I will post a link to this page on my blog.

  • http://bigbooster.com/7million/join.php?referrer=100907 Affiliate Marketing Reviews

    Your comments on the sunami were greatly appreciate and right on track. Keep up the good work

  • http://1handynman.jeffed77.hop.clickbank/.net Affiliate Marketing Reviews

    Your comments about the quake and resultant side show was on target. Thank you.

  • http://theinspirationalwomen.com Inspirational women

    What an interesting website that you’ve got! I like all of your articles! Keep up the good work :)

  • http://www.stepstoplayingsoccer.com Soccer

    This is the best soccer website ever!!!!!!!!!! And u can shop from the ads they r all right!!!!!

  • http://www.techwizpro.wordpress.com Soccer

    If u like soccer visit us!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • http://newhotproductshere.blogspot.com/ Free Facebook Like’s

    Here you find a way to promote your blog with facebook like’s

  • http://www.examplesviralmarketing.net/ Examples Viral Marketing

    I am a giant fan of foreign exchange and finance so I find this topic very interesting. I always like to undertsand a brand new method of looking at it. Thanks for the information.

  • http://www.busygolfer.com golf supplies

    Hi, I like your website. I’m currently looking for golf supplies in the UK & USA.

  • http://www.e-flucures.com Flu Cures

    I like your website,looking fora healther body.

  • http://mightysolos.info Get 125.000 visitors Free with Mighty Solos

    Owner Mighty Solos

  • Pingback: A List Will Make it So | Eccentric Eclectica @ ToddSuomela.com

  • http://perfectpitchrecognition.com Perfect Pitch Recognition

    I really would like to learn more information about your business, what is it and why is it important.

  • http://www.samsung1080phdtv.net/ samsung 1080p hdtv

    There’s so much great information in this article that I have to share it with my husband later. I have bookmarked it to show him. http://www.samsung1080phdtv.net/

  • Government Jobs

    EconomicTimes.indiatimes.com

  • http://paktvtalk.com/ Pakistan Political Talkshows

    Good to know 10 ways.

  • http://www.getfrogworks.com/services/it-network-consulting-outsourcing-services/ it consulting washington dc

    More people need to read this and understand this aspect of the story. I cant believe you’re not more popular.

  • http://www.fashionlouboutinsale.com/ christian louboutin

    Hey, I like your website, it is a wonderful site! I’m looking for some informations about sports betting to put in my page.

  • guitar lessons for beginners

    I added your article to my favorites so I can return to read more later. Your content is easy to read, intelligent and well written. I really enjoyed reading all the unique content you provided.

  • http://triplejonline.com Figurines

    Collecting figurines has become more popular lately and many people are turning to the internet to locate them.

  • http://drip.be/1rwj premature ejaculation cures

    What a fabulous find. I actually hoped I really could review each and every article, but i have to go back to work at this point.. .

  • http://c-35.com Canon Black Friday

    Thank You FYI.

  • http://www.panatweb.com Movies and TV Series

    wat a nice post

  • http://gktips.com/index.php?page=article&article_id=191494 hcg drops

    This is some of the best work I’ve read on the Internet. Your points are unique, valid and very well thought out and written. I appreciate your hard work and thank you for writing it!

  • http://watchestimex.com Watches Timex

    Timex Camper Watch

  • http://www.partaji.com Partaji.com – share the info …

    Thanks for share …

  • http://www.legalmp3.net/legalsounds/ legalsounds scam

    I wanted to thank you for this excellent read!! I definitely loved every little bit of it. I have you bookmarked your web site to check out the latest stuff you post.

  • http://www.abdominalmuscle.org Abdominal muscle

    I think this is all politics

  • http://www.smacktom.com microphone

    smacktom.com provides premium accessories for cell phones with free shipping

  • http://www.hotelsandtravelflights.com L.A Hotels

    Who does Christmas spirit better than New York? The famous poem ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas’ was inspired by a winter ride in downtown Manhattan in 1823, and the elf in the film Elf (with Will Ferrell) traded a spot in the North Pole for some Big Apple holiday time. Unsurprisingly, some of New York’s Christmas landmarks have turned into well-worn touristy ruts, and worth every second.

  • http://www.helpway-donations24.org/forum.php For free Advertising

    Free link, text and banner advertising.

  • http://www.buycheapvacuumcleanersonline.com buy cheap vacuum cleaners online

    Lorèm Ipsum dolor chita ame, anile reply. Ou tanpri e-dèy. Nou toujou, tankou plis plis plis isit la lide sou ide li yo, pa Teyorèm ou an oswa pi plis. Posted pous

  • dc tour

    Wish more people would write great blogs like this.

  • http://www.rollup-awnings.com roll up awnings

    Hey this is awesome blogs. Keep posted usefull information. Thank you

  • http://www.benimlezayifla.com zayifla

    Thank you. O like this post. I would like to share at my facebook account.

  • http://www.gametriot.com free girl games

    Hi Very informative page, I will be back to view more. Keep up the good work.Play free flash games at http://www.gametriot.com ,It is a place for one who cannot live without gaming.

  • http://illslickfc.blogspot.com illslick

    Thanks for this post. It is very useful. I hope you will write an article. This issue again.

  • http://www.1tradezone.my Malaysia’s Online Marketplace

    Welcome to 1tradezone.my your 100% free online classified marketplace. Our idea is simple, why pay when you can sell for free?

  • http://www.decorcraftservices.co.uk Painting and Decorating

    DecorCraft Services has the qualified, licensed and bonded professionals with years of excellent reviews on their side to offer your next painting or decorating project. As proud members of the Painting and Decorating Association, we have the distinction of offering the best services for your home improvement desires, no matter the total size of the project. Our professionals are on hand today to offer a free, competitive quote for our services. Trust the DecorCraft Services name for your next project.

  • http://www.hitbeats.de Polnische Band Live Musik Band Bundesweit buchbar f�r alle Feiern

    Die deutsch polnische Band Motet ist eine der angesagten deutsch polnischen Bands in Deutschland. http://www.motet.de Polnische Band Polnische Hochzeit Deutsch – YouTube

  • http://gunlukkiralikev.com.tr istanbul günlük kiralık

    Haftalık kiralık daire kampanyalarımızı takip ediniz, beş yıldızlı otel konforunda, SPA, türk hamamı, açık ve kapalı havuz ayrıcalığına 97 TL ye sahip olun

  • http://www.renover.se Målare Stockholm

    Another useful article again. Thanks.

  • http://www.stopitnow.gr ηλεκτρονικο τσιγαρο

    Interisting information