Get Organized

Written by Steve Ngai on 24 October 2006
Edited: 4 November 2006

PDA! PDA! PDA! Now a days, owning a PDA has become as common as owning a handphone. Everyone seems to has it. Okay, stupid question, why they own it? or why they want to own it? Because they want to get organized. Next question, can PDA helps you effectively and efficiently? Is there any other tools to replace PDA? Yes, you can try out my way.

handy_drive (2K) For me, I use a combination of these 3: notepad (the one in your computer) which stored in handy drive, pen & paper, and handphone (Nokia 6800). I use notepad when I have a computer / laptop in front of me. Otherwise, I use pen & paper or handphone. Let's jump right in to analyze a little why I prefer handy drive over PDA.

Handy Drive PDA Remarks
Price Cheap Expensive Try to compare the cheapest Handy Drive with the cheapest PDA. Handy Drive is around RM30. PDA is around RM1000.
Portability Lighter Heavier Most people already carry a handphone in their pocket. So, where still got place to put another PDA?
Risk Lower Higher Because Handy Drive is cheaper, so even if lost or damage, just get another one which cost only RM30 while a PDA is lost or damage or stolen, cost RM1000. Also what if you meet a robber? Will he take your tiny Handy Drive? Most unlikely. But, he will surely take your PDA. With Handy Drive, you still afford to drop it but not PDA.
Efficiency Computer keyboard speed Maximum qwerty keyboard speed This comparison is more about data-entry. Handy Drive is given a computer keyboard. Majority PDA uses stylus speed is much slower than qwerty one I think.
Battery No need Need Even the most high-tech PDA can't do anything without it. And you need to re-charge it all the time. Otherwise, your data will be gone.
Data Transfer Need cable Cableless because use USB

Notepad for to-do-list
This is how I organized my to-do-list using notepad. The file name I put "to do list - daily.txt". Inside, I have go by days sequentially start from Sunday - Saturday like below.

- budgetting.
- Kok Meng: RM10.

- *** bring blank cdr.

- bryan: RM5 [ sensitive ]

Wed Church
- rehearse song.

Thu. Cut hair.
- tidy room.
- update lcs.

- send email to David. [ sent. no reply from him yet. ]

Sat. 3.30 song practice klp.

Here, if there is something involve people, I will put the name of that person first. Why? For efficiency purpose. Example, I want to remind myself to return Kok Meng RM10, I can put "- return to Kok Meng RM10.". But, I change it to "Kok Meng: RM10", I save up some characters. Even though not many, but the quantity is a lot for long term. I also use keyword. Back to the same example, "Kok Meng: RM10" can mean he own me RM10 or I own him RM10 but because it is a recent case, I will remember it is me who own him RM10.

Then. next to the day, I will put a special reminder of the day. Example, on Thu, the special reminder is "cut hair."

Next is status. Let's say the you need to send an email about this thing and you have done it, what do to do to update this? For me, I will put the status inside [ ]. Example on Friday. Using this way, I see better what I suppose to do and what I have done. Thus, able to follow up it better.

Sometimes, I will use [ ] to remind myself the purpose of doing it. It can be also some kind of self-talk. Example, on Wed, I was reminded to collect RM5 from Bryan and the word sensitive reminds me to do with sensitivity.

When I have really a lot of to-do-list in a day, I will sort them out, for better readability. I also use asterisk (*) for priority. Example on Tuesday. The more the asterisk, the higher the priority. But, only maximum 5 asterisk, normally.

This is my way of doing to-do-list and how I organize it. You can have your own way. Use your creativity and yet make it as simple as possible.

Handphone (Nokia 6800)
I think that's enough about handy drive is beauty. Now, we move on to handphone. Handy drive is awesome but you can't type to add/update your (to-do-list, reminder, ideas etc) on the spot without a computer keyboard. So, here comes the beauty of handphone. I first discover this 'tricks' around a year plus ago. I thought if I can save my sms, then I can do the same, to save my text (as a to-to-list, reminder and etc). The beautiful thing about handphone is you carry it all the time.

But, my limited Nokia 3310 and 2100 can only save a limited text. 2100 can only keep 10 reminders. So, I thought of getting a better handphone which can store more text and perhaps some organizer features in it. I also thought about speed, data-entry speed. The rotation of alphabetic within that 12 button isn't fast. So, I thought about external keyboard but it is too expensive, which is around RM300!

So, here comes the best solution (at the moment), which is qwerty handphone. Tried to find one but so hard to get because it is not popular. But at the end, I manage to get this old 6800 for RM310. And I'm amazed by the speed of qwerty keyboard. If you are familiar with it, the speed is around 10x compare to normal handphone keyboard.

hp (19K)

I also like the calendar system in this 6800. I uses shortcut for both sms and to the calendar. Pushing the joystick to the left will go to type new sms while to the right is to the monthly view calendar.

It's ok if you don't have a handphone qwerty keyboard. If this case, I would recommend Nokia 2600 or other handphone using save sms as a way to save your to-do-list.

Pen and Paper
pen_paper (4K) Last but not least is this traditional pen and paper. I use this when I need my to-do-list. If I have a long list of to-do-list, I will print it out. Otherwise, I will just write them down on a piece of pocket size paper. Why this small pocket-size paper? So that, you can easily throw them once you are done with it. Also light to carry in your shirt pocket. Normally, I will always carry with me a pen in my shirt pocket, together with a few small papars. So that, when I thought of something to do or some ideas, I can immediately write them down. Additionally, I will have another small notebook (black color on your right image) in my bag.

    PDA owner
    I realize that writing this can discourage the PDA owners or even offend them. Please don't beat me. I'm sorry for my insensitivity. Since you have bought it, you fully utilize in the way your feel the most effective and efficient.