Thursday, February 1, 2007

List Makers


Anyone that knows me knows what an obsessive list maker I am. I have lists for anything and everything. I hardly ever forget a thing. I actually enjoy making lists, if you can believe that. I love the feel of a fresh, clean sheet of paper and a new pencil or pen. I write out lists for groceries, errands, appointments or things to do around the house. The highlight of my day is to scratch things off those lists after each task is accomplished.

Going through my daily read of blogs, I read something about list making that made me wonder about the state of our culture and its reliability on some of the most unreliable things.

The Simple Dollar came out with an article a couple days ago about an online list making program called Remember The Milk.

"January 30, 2007 @ 3:03 pm - Written by Trent

I usually don’t wax ecstatic over nifty websites, but this one has become not only a tremendous timesaver for me, but has also managed to help me save a good deal of money. It’s called Remember the Milk and it’s basically just an online list manager - but it does that list management so well that it’s simply wormed its way into becoming a part of my life. I’ve found seemingly endless uses for the fact that you can keep any number of lists you wish and combine them together in views however you want, and you can also set due dates for particular items and thus have a constant to-do list. Even better, it’s still in beta so it’s completely free to use, so click over there and give it a whirl.

Here are five examples of how I use it to manage personal finance and lifestyle tasks." Read on...

Ok....wait.....manage personal finances and lifestyle tasks????........On the computer???? What is wrong with everyone?? What ever happened to the basic idea of just writing it down on paper?? What ever happened to keeping your most important stuff in a physical file?
And how much money and time do you really save when you have to use a $100 cellphone or a $1500 computer or a $300 PDA to organize it all on?

I don't get it. I don't get all the hulabaloo about organizing your entire life, and sometimes we're talking very personal stuff here guys, on something as unreliable as a computer or as small as a cell phone. Both can be lost in a flash and then what are you left with? I've seen people literally get sick over losing a cellphone that had all their family and friends phone numbers on it. I've heard stories of people paying big rewards to get back their lost Blackberries or PDAs that had very personal information stored on them. Heck, I've even gone berserk over losing a few family pictures and saved emails when my computer hard drive was zapped by lightning. Lord help you if you own a business and had all your work contacts and information stored on these sometimes teeny tiny, easy to lose, fragile devices. I can't hardly believe some of the most important and personal information some people have stored on these things. Are cellphones and PDAs becoming the new wallets and pocketbooks of the future?

With the subject of breakage and losing these things aside, what about not even having access to them because of some other unforeseen event such as loss of power, theft or inability to gain access to the internet for whatever reason.

Online list making programs like RTM can be great, IF...you can remember to go to the website to check your lists. I guess a person could set it up as a homepage to pop up as soon as you open your browser but if you're anything like me, I have several homepages popping up already. But if I had to use one of these list making programs on my computer, I think I would prefer a downloadable program to an online one because I could have access to it even if I couldn't get connected online. Even then, I would be taking a risk by having it stored on my computer at all. I've been in the situation before of loading a bunch of my info, ideas and to-do lists online only to have my hard drive blow up and have to drive to my sisters to access the internet until I could get another computer set up. And just recently we went through a major ice storm with no power for two weeks. So even if I had a list online that I needed to gain access to, I would just be out of luck. With my list written on paper, I never have to worry about not being able to easily get to it and updating it is a breeze. Of course, losing a list is a concern but that hardly ever happens because I don't have to carry the list around with me to use for other reasons like I do my cellphone.

I've been using a small program on my computer desktop called Art Plus Wallpaper Calendar LE 5.0 for a little over a year now. I started out using it for the beautiful background images to spruce up my desktop. I ended up using the calendar part of it to keep track of minor things like to-do lists, tv shows and Girl Scout meetings, mainly for my daughter who was beginning to read. It was easier for her to read the list on the computer than try to read my handwriting. I still use it to this day. But it in no way replaces the paper calendar I have sitting on my desk that I write the most important things down on like doctors appointments. Just in case something happens to my computer, I still have a hard copy to refer to. I also have on that same desk an address book with phone numbers of family and friends. This address book makes all that information attainable should I lose my cellphone. Anything I need to keep track of, goes on paper first, gadgets second. I actually prefer a pencil and paper list to all other kinds of list making......period. Doing it all on the computer can be such a waste of time for some things. Because by the time I get online, type it all in, move it all around, and tag it all, I could have written it out three times with the pen and paper sitting here next to my mouse. And there's just no replacing a paper calendar for all its quick, at-a-glance glory.

Stick with the basics, people. Get yourself a pen, paper and a calender and organize your life and manage your finances on it. Cut out the middle men and quit relying soley on your computer, your phone company and your electric company to keep you up-to-date and organized.

All that said, I have a new program for you to try. It's called Remember The Pen. It's so much easier, attainable and accessible.

Side note: I mean nothing against Trent or The Simple Dollar with this post......it's a great, informative site. Just this particular article got me to thinking this morning and I elaborated on it in text. Check out The Simple Dollar and learn a thing or two.

1 comment:

Bocelot said...

Salve !

Well, part of your point about getting eyes away from the screen (all screens as a matter of fact) is well taken.

But when it comes to losing data - backup backup backup !

As simple web search will let you find ways to organize yourself so that backing up is painless and automatic without you having to even remember it.