Saturday, 26 June 2010


Apparently, if you ask my friends, I come across as quite well-organized. I don't feel organized! I feel like someone who clings to some semblance of organization by writing everything down and making a lot of lists. But I've always had a problem with loose pieces of paper - often post-it notes - and no sensible filing system. Sticking them into my Filofax, or a small box with no other purpose, seemed for a while to do the trick, but all it actually did was to hide the information. Any time I needed to find something again, I had to search for it.

I've long wished for an electronic solution to the 'notebook' problem - somewhere to store drafts and scribblings until they prove they're worthy of a proper home. But nothing seemed to be working for me, and I just ended up with a proliferation of poorly-structured 'notes' files on my computer, as well as stacks of hand-scribbled notes. Then a friend told me about TiddlyWiki (see, a single file that acts like a wiki site.

The TiddlyWiki format has a number of advantages that appeal to me. It behaves a bit like a wiki to edit and to read: you can make individual 'Tiddlers' (like an article/page on Wikipedia) and link them together however you choose using user-friendly wiki syntax. This allows me to structure my data in whatever way seems most intuitive, hopefully helping me to find it again. But it's all stored in a single HTML file, making it easy to use (just open the file in any browser, no setup or installation required) and, importantly, very quick and straightforward to back-up (since there's only one file to copy across).

Of course it's not perfect. If I'm out of the house without my laptop, I still have to scribble on post-it notes, or save notes on my phone, or write on the back of my hand. But at least now I have a place to copy all that information to, once I get back to the computer.

How do you keep yourself organised? Do you, like me, find that you have to write things down regularly to stop your head exploding?

I'm in Greenland! I promise to catch up on comments, and come round and visit you all, just as soon as I get home. I'll try to keep in touch via Twitter and my Facebook page.


Kazzy said...

Great looking tool. I may have to look into it. :)

Elizabeth Braun said...

I have an on-line list of stuff to do/goals on my 'Fluff' blog, which I update almost daily on progress. That does for me for computer based stuff.

I think the idea of writing lists and notes will come across as very organised to many people as the majority just try to keep everything in their heads and then wonder why they keep forgetting stuff! Any sort of list is good. I've kept notebooks specially for 'to do' lists (one is even already printed in that format!) and I hope to have a whiteboard type of arrangement in my study/studio when we get re-settled that will serve as an on-going task list.

I will have a look at the software you mentioned too - sounds interesting, but then, as we both know too well, what *isn't* interesting???=)

L.C.T. said...

I'm organised by nature, but I need to write things down too, definitely!

Mademoiselle Poirot said...

A good old-fashioned wall calendar with all the bits written on it and some sticky notes stuck to very retro, I know, but it does work for me ;-) Love from London x

Red-haired hiker said...

I've tried TiddyWiki but I need something which I can use with my phone. After some experimentation, I use my HTC Desire handset with an application called GotToDo, which syncs with a website called ToodleDoo. The whole thing is underpinned the Getting Things Done (David Allen) method. It revolves around getting everything out of you head and into a system that will remind you of everything you want to do, freeing up your mind to concentrate on the thing you're actually doing right now, without trying to remember the other 15 things you also need to do today: the system will remind you of those when you've finished *this* thing.

Toni said...

Hi Rach; I'm back! And I promise you I'll be back on here on a regular basis now that I'm home and no gallivanting around South East Asia haha.
And to answer your question about organisation...I carry a tiny notebook in my handbag wherever I go so that I can always jot things to do and my thoughts down etc :)

Jeanne said...

I carry a Franklin planner everywhere--have for the past 20 years. I write and prioritize tasks on the left hand side and notes on the right-hand. There's even a page at the beginning of each month so I can keep an index.

Unfortunately, I'm not quite THAT organized.

The hardest part is training people NEVER to tell me anything if I don't have my geek-book (it was so christened by my old software team) with me.

Anonymous said...

I'm thoroughly disorganized. Luckily I have a fairly good memory and keep most things in my head. Otherwise, I have a calendar at home where I write down the kids' activities.

Have fun in Greenland!

Maureen @ TatterScoops said...

Thanks for sharing the link, will have to check it out. I always have to write things down either on my little notebook or on my blackberry. :D

A Cuban In London said...

I hope you have a fab time in Greenland. It's one of those countries that I never imagined I would visit and yet I don't know much about it. So, I'm looking forward to your posts about it.

Many thanks.

Greetings from London.

Kel said...

I have notes all over my house too! I try to keep everything organized in a notebook, but things usually get scattered.

Debbie said...

Most people say and think I'm organized too but I never feel like it. I think I'll look into this. Thanks!

alessandra said...

Organization, what's that? ;)
Thanks for your visit, a big hug!

Deirdre said...

I, too, have the post-it note syndrome. I began carrying a small little notebook in my purse for scribbles... and then I found that I could utilize the "Notebook" feature in my Gmail account to have electronic post-its.

I can recall them through my phone already sorted and alphabetized when I'm on the go so that I don't have to sift through sheets of paper in my notebook every time I need to look up information I've jotted down.

It's helping me to become more organized and I'm wasting less paper and ink! :) ... and losing less notes. ;)

ScoMan said...

I use the notes function in my iTouch to keep reminders for things.. but then I have to remember to check it.. and remember what I called it as I often don't stop long enough to write a meaningful title.

This site sounds like a good solution, but as you said you need to be near the computer.

But what I could do is use it to remind myself on blog ideas and different things I wanted to put in each post.. there's a cool idea.

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