Sunday, November 30, 2008

How to Choose a Planner

As December rolls in and we switch over to the final month of the year, now is a great time to begin thinking about your planner for 2009. Personal planners can also make great holiday gifts, as long as you can outline some specifications so that you receive one that works for you. Here are some considerations as you research and select the right planner for you. Planners come in all types of styles, sizes, and layouts - and it's important to find one that works with your style, rather than trying to force yourself to use one that isn't appropriate for your needs.

  • Are you an electronically inclined person? Do you prefer to track appointments in Outlook and manage your tasks on the computer? In that case, a Palm or Treo device is probably more appropriate than a paper planner. But you may find you need to supplement with a paper-based system, even one that is fairly basic, to coordinate with other family appointments or on the go.
  • How compact/mobile does your planner need to be? Will you be carrying it in a purse or briefcase, or only using it at home? This will impact what sizes you should consider.
  • What types of appointments/commitments do you need to track? Do you have many meetings in a given day? The volume of appointments will dictate whether you need to view a page at a time, a week, or a month. For those who like to track tasks via written to-do lists, I often advocate a style that features a two-page layout for each day, with a monthly calendar behind. This way, you can add detail to your day while maintaining visibility on your monthly schedule at the same time. Travel to office supply stores and look at sample pages to see what appeals to you.
  • Are you a visual or hands-on learner? If so, choose an attractive planner that appeals to your senses. You'll be more likely to enjoy using it (and therefore more consistent with your entries.)
  • What is your budget to spend? Planners can range from very expensive to very inexpensive. In fact, you can even create your own by printing out calendars (monthly, daily, or weekly) and keeping them in a binder.
  • Do you need space for business cards or frequently called numbers? Many planners offer accessory pages with various compartments and add-ons that may or may not be helpful to you.
For great online resources for planners, visit:

Sunday, November 9, 2008

A Creative Solution for Cords & Wires

Anyone who has computer equipment, electronics, or cameras knows all too well that managing cables and cords is a real production. For most people, a simple solution of cable ties and labels can make taming the cords behind your TV or computer a breeze. Once again, I'll reference The Container Store as a source, though you can get cable ties and labels just about anywhere.

But I love the Cable ID product from The Container Store. Color-coded flexible ties wrap around your cords and can be labeled with any marker or pen.

I have one client who is a technophile and has her own publishing business. She has a number of gadgets including still cameras, video cameras, computer peripherals, GPS systems, etc. She wanted to get all of her extra cables organized and hung up somewhere, so that they'd be off the floor.

We obtained a wall-mount kitchen pantry grid system and grouped her cables by type before hanging them with hooks and caribiners. We were able to hang this in a closet area, so though it doesn't look pretty, it's out of main sight and gives her highly functional access to the cables that she needs - when she needs them. And the cables are hung safely so that they don't get damaged or tangled up with each other.

We also used clear shoeboxes and stored all of her extra equipment together by category, and labeled everything. Now, when she's ready to access her equipment, it's accessible and easy to find.