Sync or Swim: 201 Organizing Tips You Need to Survive the Currents of Change


Sync or Swim: 201 Organizing Tips You Need to Survive the Currents of Change are the next-generation organizing tips for getting things done and controlling clutter without falling into a sea of complexity. Seventy organizing and productivity specialists share 201 of their best tips and 100 most valuable resources in home management, information organization, and organizing every basic area of life. It is a 93-page ebook written by award-winning professional organizer, Judith Kolberg, and certified professional organizer, Allison Carter.  I am one of the contributors!


“New Organizing Tasks”: 20 years ago we didn’t have to deal with syncing calendars, avoiding spam, scanning, defragging, or managing the overload of information that comes our way every day. Our tips help you to survive the day to day chores of this generation.

“Tech Lite” Resources: This ebook contains 140 unique resources for syncing, reminding, tracking, reducing, organizing, scheduling, balancing, and so much more! But it’s not scary high tech. It’s easy to access organizingtools you can use today.

“New School” Tips: New ways to do old tasks: Filing, cleaning up, setting reminders, viewing photos, even changing the oil.

Purchase your copy at

Reminders: Task Management, Technology and More


reminders and organizing

Sometimes we need reminders to help us get our tasks done, be on time, and honor our priorities.  Here are some systems to use!



Technology reminders

Daily Nudge helps you remember the important things in life. Setup regular, free electronic reminders, or “nudges”, to arrive in your inbox or cell-phone.

Forgot to feed the fish again? Need a little help keeping your New Year’s resolutions?
Tell us what to hassle you about, and we’ll nag you via email at semi-unpredictable intervals.
HassleMe is unique because you never quite know when your reminder will come along.


Remember The Milk (or RTM for short)

Managing tasks is generally not a fun way to spend your time. We created Remember The Milk so that you no longer have to write your to-do lists on sticky notes, whiteboards, random scraps of paper, or the back of your hand. Remember The Milk makes managing tasks an enjoyable experience.

Cozi is a free online organizer that helps families manage crazy schedules, track shopping lists and to do lists, organize household chores, stay in communication and share memories—all in one place.



Other reminders



  • Large, colored post it notes.  Using the 5 by 7 size post it notes, keep your 3 Most Important Tasks in front of you at home, work or in the car.  This is the one that works for me!


  • Getting Things Done (GTD) list with quadrants for each category, such as @computer, @home, @anywhere/errands, or @meetings/agendas.


  • Small, very adorable, spiral notebook with sections for mind sweep and categories such as kids, home, work, other. Date the top of your page each time you start a new day with new tasks to do.





Great Wall Street Journal article on making lists!




What other systems do you use for your reminders?

Organizing your new gadgets

In holidays past we were all about assembling toys and reading instruction manuals.  Now it is setting up your wireless and using your new smart phone!  We each have a different way of getting started on our new technology.  Some of us like to read on the internet, some of us like to play with the technology, others like our friends to talk us through the set up.  Let me offer a few hints with baby steps to get organized.

New Kindle or Nook

New mobile device like a smart phone

  • Verizon offers a class for their customers with blackberries, droids or other new phones. It is well worth the time to attend! I did! After struggling for 2 weeks with a new phone, it was great to get specific instructions on common tasks and shortcuts. 
  • Google instructions for your specific smart phone. There are an incredible number of online resources to suggest how to get started.
  • Just do it! It may be painful for the first 2 weeks, but the transition is worth it.  Remember when you travel to a new country how quickly you learn the language? When you “just do it,” it is the same immersion process. 

New computer, laptop or other hardware

  • Find a reliable, knowledgeable and trustworthy source to help with installation.  If you work with technology regularly, you know the shortcuts.  Consistently rely on the same source for set up for all your devices.
  • Before you transition, think about backing up all your data. I use and it has been a great resource.

New ipod,  ipad, itouch or iphone

  • Online resources will be a great help here.  Of course Apple offers a great resource here.
  • The Apple Store offers one on one, workshops and other training.
  • There is always the old fashioned way: by phone at 1-800-MYAPPLE. 

Calendar technology

  • Choose a calendar that will work well with your smart phone or find an app that will add your existing technology. With my smart phone, I added nitrodesk to be able to view my Outlook calendar.  You can use Google calendar automatically with your gmail accounts on Verizon products.  If you have an iphone, you can also sync with the google calendar.  Every phone is different, so check your provider for  more information. 
  • Set aside an hour to add as much current or upcoming information as possible.  Add dates from school, church, Boy Scouts, and any other events between now and June.
  • Begin adding in dates for birthday and anniversaries as recurring events.
  • Remember, each time a new date comes up, check your calendar, and enter the date.

Getting started with your new gadgets may take a few extra minutes but it will be well worth it! Remember, there are always a few glitches so be sure to persevere.  If you get stuck, talk with friends, google or call.  

What are your ways of organizing your new gadgets? 

Lifehacker’s link for shiny new gadgets

Technology and You! Calendars, Addresses and More!

It used to be we relied on paper and pencil.  Now there are many outstanding ways to stay on top of dates and details.  The best tool for this?  Here are some options!

Never forget a date again with google and the google calendar.   Input your info from your phone or from your computer.   Its with you all the time so you can consult your calendar and then make a plan.  Add dates right away while at the doctor or at school.  And you can keep track of all your family on this calendar.   Share your schedule with Dad, mom and kids.  Everyone can enter information so right away you know when your kids’ soccer games are, their test dates and more.  Enter birthdays, anniversaries and other special events and mark them as recurring events.  You will be alerted for these.  And this is all free!

Never lose track of someone’s address or phone number again.  Using Outlook makes keeping it all together so easy.  Upload information right away from email and add phone and address too!   I also suggest adding your own signature line to your email.  This is a way to share your contact information right away. (Here are some instructions for adding this.  If your phone synchronizes with Outlook you are totally set!

I love having lists ready to go! So why reinvent them?  A great service has lists for every possible need.  With over 500 lists to choose from,  you will have them at your fingertips.  Check it out and see what you think at

Have technology that works for you?  Share that tool here!

Email Overload

email overload

Overwhelmed by email? Experiencing email overload? Who isn’t? Basex Research recently estimated that businesses lose $650 billion annually in productivity due to unnecessary e-mail interruptions. According to Ross Mayfield of, the average number of corporate e-mails sent and received per person per day is expected to reach over 228 by 2010.  Defining your email style with systems and routines makes all the difference.


  •  A good spam filter is a must. Anti spam technology is available at a reasonable cost so be sure you are all set. Remember to review the “spam” email just in case the filter has removed mail that you need. You can redirect this into the inbox with minor adjustment. Do not open emails, reply back or “unsubscribe” to junk email as this could place you on more spam email lists. It is best to delete all of these at the beginning of y our email session.  Be sure your virus protection is up to date as well. 


  •  Eliminate as many email lists as you can. This is just like stopping subscriptions to magazines you don’t have time to read!  Be sure you are subscribing ONLY to necessary information, not the “just in case” information.   If you are receiving jokes or chain messages from friends, kindly remind them you are not interested.   If you must include email newsletters, move these into a “read” folder.   Add an additional email address for just shopping and coupons.  This way they are separate and not clogging your inbox.


  • Decide the function of your email inbox.  An inbox is not for filing, it is for active use.  If your inbox is cluttered, it is often because of indecision.  Because email floods in like a tsunami, be decisive on your email processing.  Being committed to using your inbox as a temporary home for action items, it is easier to work with the clutter there. 


  • Create a subfolder named “Processed” or “Done” to eliminate delaying email filing.  Often “filing” your email is put off because it is more complicated than your needs. When you need information in this subfolder, it can be sorted by arranging the subject line or sender to find it. 


  • Limit the times you check your email.  Schedule two or three consistent time periods each day to go through your email inbox. Turn off your audio alarm so that incoming email is not a distraction. Plan to spend an hour at that time answering your email and truly focusing on this task.  The first hour of work can be most productive by focusing on a major project and by checking your email the second hour. You will find increased productivity and a sense of accomplishment by conquering a task first thing in the day?


  • Email is best used for short messages with direct subject lines.  Need to explain a lengthy topic? Using the phone can make a difference.  


  • Organize your email with tech tools.   With, your subscriptions are organized into a list for you to read but not interfere with your work. Using Mailstrom you can group related mail and act on it as a group.  If you use gmail, there’s Boomerang to help you respond to email.  Check out one of these tech tools to get through your email overload.


What are your secrets to email success?