So, if you’re a regular reader, you know that I review for Divine Magazine and for this blog. Well, I’ve found myself getting tangled up in knots trying to keep myself organised. I joined Netgalley mid-2016 and became addicted so quickly that I got in over my head. I had at least 2 pages of books for Netgalley, a page for Divine and a few books for my own blog to get reviewed and I had no real way of keeping myself organised other than to make countless spreadsheets for each division and print that list, so that I had that satisfaction of scoring out the book when I’d finished.
Problem? – I find that when I make a list of things to be done, I don’t do it. It’s one of those mental blocks that says to me ‘just looking at this list is exhausting’. Then I end up with a paranoia about updating it every time I score off a half dozen books. I was printing 3-4 copies of all my lists every month, as I worked through my lists. It was a waste of time, energy and printing paper/ink.
So I looked for another solution. I’m terrible at keeping a diary or journal and have pain in my hands if I write too long, so keeping a written list in a notebook was out of the question. I tried and it was a disaster of both pain and frustration. So I thought that Windows, with all of their technology would have a handy calendar on my laptop that I could use. Well, they do and it even brings up a reminder when you log in, of what is on your daily agenda. Problem? It only reminded you first thing in the morning or when you logged off/shut down. I need constant reminders.
I found this free app a long time ago – Simple Sticky Notes – and it’s been great for keeping all of my important notes on my laptop desktop screen, always accessible, able to minimised when not in need and so much more. For instance, there’s a handy button down by the volume control that if you right click, you can make various ‘notebooks’, so I have one set of important post-its on my main screen. But if I right click and choose the ‘publishing schedule’ notebook, it makes the important stuff go off screen and switches it with my chosen notebook. None of the notes ‘disappear’ in the sense that you can’t get them back, they’re just not visible at the moment. So I can have a random set up like this on my screen for one notebook, then arrange them in different spots for another notebook, without either clashing or messing up – You can see that I’ve divided the notes into various factions, so that I can keep some open and others closed but easily on hand. You can edit the font, colour of text, colour and transparency of the post-it and the title of each post-it. It’s sooo easy to use and lets me keep my sanity. (These are blue, with 70% transparency)
You can find this handy treasure tool here : http://www.simplestickynotes.com
The problem with this was that I’d find myself minimising, getting mixed up, not having the important stuff on view and having to keep switching between ‘notebooks’ to view my review list and it would mean typing it all out in a list, which is not visually stimulating or easy on the tired eyes. Plus, it meant I’d have to input all the info myself – who I was reviewing for, book title, book length, what date it needed to be completed on – and it would just get complicated.
I kept looking.
Then I found this and, let me tell you, it’s just as amazing as Simple Sticky Notes! It’s simple to use, just as customisable as the post-its and it’s called Desktop Calendar, so in the same vein as the notes, you get what you’re asking for.
Here’s how mine looked for December 2016. Because of the format I’ve chosen, each month is spaced differently, so I do have to move my icons and notes every month, but it literally takes 2 minutes to do.
January shifts to look like this:
Cool, huh? And how do you use it? Easy. You double click on the desktop icon to customise or use the handy drop down menu at the top. Then, to insert something into the date, you just double click the box and start typing. Voila! As you can see, the blank dates between months means that I can space out my notes and icons in various methods, which is great because my notes-needs change each month!
And know what’s even better? You can sync it with your cloud, it’s free and in various languages, you can make one day a different coloured box to the others to make it stick out or to colour-code your activities, it shows holidays and can be printed! All for free. What more could you ask for? Plus, you get to keep your swanky desktop wallpaper on view at all times!
So, there you go. This is my new organisational tool and I hope that if you decide to use them, you find them as useful as I have. I still get the satisfaction of deleting the entries for each day, once I’ve completed my task, but I have no mess, I don’t need to print (unless I choose to) and I can change, copy/paste and edit to my hearts content, without freaking out over stupid mistakes that need to be scored out, corrected or deleted entirely. No re-printing, no nasty scores or arrows to re-arrange items on a written page and it provides a spell-check. Awesome!