Asking the readers: what’s your dream productivity tool?

I’ve got a slightly odd question for you, dear readers. I’m specifically talking to you work at home moms, either with a separate business or solely with your household.

Photo by Chelsea Otakan

What would your ultimate “productivity system” for managing your home look like?

There’s stuff like Getting Things Done, there’s Zen to Done, there’s Fly Lady, there’s Seven Habits. All have their pros and cons, and I definitely have my opinion on each.

But if you were to have your very own productivity system for your household delivered to your doorstep one morning, what would it look like when you lifted the blanket from the basket?

• Would it be an all-in-one gadget so that you never have to touch paper again?

• Would it be a binder with pre-arranged dividers and forms for you to fill?

• Would it be a journal and pen, its lined pages needing your signature touch?

• Would it be a daily or weekly e-mail newsletter with an agenda for you?

• Would it be an ID and password for a website where you manage all your necessities online?

• What would it do for you?

• Would it involve telling you what to do, when?

• Or would it provide a checklist of everything you need to do, and you get to decide the how and the when?

• Would it tell you how to write a to-do list, like the quirky yet brilliant Todoodlist?

• Would it preplan your menus?

• Would it help you maintain a budget?

• Would it tell you how to clean your house?

• Would it provide the perfect amount of blank space for your personal customization?

Ultimately, how would it make your life simpler, so that as you manage your home, you are more productive?

I’m looking for any type of answer. Tell me if you’ve had a vision and know down to the color of each of your dividers, or tell me that you’d promptly lift any system out of its basket and hurl it into the gutter.

Tsh Oxenreider

Tsh is the founder of this blog and just finished traveling around the world with her husband and 3 kids. Her latest book is Notes From a Blue Bike, and believes a passport is one of the world's greatest textbooks.

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  1. I’lltake a chef, nanny & housekeeper please, kthnxbai.

    Alli {Mrs. Fussypants}s last blog post..Life Lessons

  2. The less interaction the better. I like having a check list of things to do or that are already done for each day. Blog posts to write- each topic goes on a day of the calendar. Events get entered in advance, with directions or specifics in that same place or at the very least, a note telling me where to find them. I love my moleskin agenda and my Yahoo calendar that is attached to my email.
    Any more specific than that and I don’t use it.

    Sounds like you have something exciting in the works, however. I can’t wait to find out what!

    Kelly from Almost Frugals last blog post..Your Own Seaside Resort

  3. I think my big problem is that I know I need something, but I don’t know what I’m looking for.

    I know I want something computer based, since I’m on the computer so much. Web based would be ideal, but if I could put it on a jump drive that would be OK.

    I think I really need something that will clearly help me organize my time, set some goals, and break down my goals into manageable pieces. Keeping track of different business/blogging related projects/advertising deals in an organized manner is a must. And if it helps me with my email, even better (that may be asking a lot though).

    I need something with reminders…email or twitter.

    If it helps me organize my menu planning and cleaning, that’s great, but I’m actually pretty good at managing the house, so it’s a plus, but not necessary.

    How am I doing so far? And if you find (or make) a good system, let me know. I’m looking for one. 🙂

    Lynnaes last blog post..My Homemade Tub Cleaner…In Action!

  4. I wish I had something that would remind me of ideas that I have during the day, especially when I don’t have something to write them on!

  5. Ron – Try I would do that all the time – have an idea and then forget it promptly when I returned home. Now I call the toll-free Jott number and “jott myself.” When I get home, it’s sitting right there in my inbox. Love it!

    As for the productivity tool, my Palm Z22 comes very close. It has a task list, calendar, notepad, shopping list tool, etc. which syncs with my laptop. The only thing is that it doesn’t have is Internet access. When I bought it a couple of years ago, I didn’t need it. Now that I have my own biz and will be out and about town more, I wish it did. On the other hand my iPod Touch does, so for now it’s okay to use both. Guess, I would go for the all-in-one gadget.

    Karens last blog post..La oruga muy hambrienta – food and days of the week

  6. Thanks, guys – these are excellent answers! Just the kind of stuff I’m looking for.

    Keep it coming!

  7. I’m with Fussy. I’m pretty organized, it’s the time crunch–one of me and so much to do! (and the yuckiness of all that stuff I’ve gotta do) that gets to me. Indentured servants, please!

    Alicias last blog post..Finally!

  8. I’m with Alli!! Send in Mary Poppins and Jeeves!

  9. Hi! New here – came over from Twitter.
    I think a live in maid sounds wonderful.
    The only system you mentioned that I’m familiar with is Fly Lady. I use some of her principles, but still do my own thing.
    I try to limit my computer time so web based would not be my first choice.
    Daily to do lists are working for me right now. Then I like to do certain things on certain days. So the checklist sounds good.
    The kids are usually the monkey wrench in my plans, but I wouldn’t trade them for anything.
    I like to make everything my own so if it wasn’t personizable (is that a word?) I wouldn’t use it.

    Jendis last blog post..23 Seconds of Silly Me

  10. Stephanie says:

    Well, I’ve tried several different things, but the bottom line is that I need something flexible. 5 kids 8 and under puts “rolling with the punches” at the top of any “to-do” list. Between teaching them how to do chores, which just takes time, to sickness that pops up and then just taking the time to enjoy them…

    I have a list written down that I check off, but I NEVER get to everything on the list. I don’t have the first idea what kind of system would work well for me.

  11. If I can’t have the aforementioned servants (y’all forgot the hot Brazilian pool boy!), I would love to have some sort of program on the computer with easy to print lists. Something web-based would be great, I would probably tend to sign up for that than actually drive myself to a store to purchase a program. I’m lazy like that 🙂
    Lately, I have been taking your suggestions for Google Calendar and running with them. I plan menus, appointments, and have gone so far as to map out my son’s entire day down to when he needs a diaper change. It would be great to be able to connect the calendar to to-do lists and my yet to be created budget. I try not to go on the computer unless weebit is asleep, so a printed list for the week or day would be great.

    Now, to make it easier to hook the laptop up to the printer….

    Katharines last blog post..FAIL!

  12. My vote would be for an ID and password where I managed everything online. But I guess I’m kind of left wondering why you only wanted input from SAHM & WAHM’s . Us working moms still have to manage our homes, even though we’re away from them for a lot of the time during the week. I could definately use some guidance and tools to better help me get it all done.

    (although Alli’s idea is VERY appealing….hmmm, must ask for significant raise)

    Procrastamoms last blog post..Summer is for Reruns – Anniversary Edition

  13. well, I just started my “home management notebook” based on your guidelines, Toblerone, and I’m loving it. something web-based might be cool too, although I do like being able to take notes with pen & paper, so maybe some kind of hybrid.
    side note, did you make that cute “follow me on twitter” button or can I find one somewhere?
    did I mention that your blog is my favorite right now? 🙂 So thanks!

    nicoles last blog post..Who is Gidget, anyway?

  14. I used to be a HUGE GTD fan, but I started to feel like my life was one big productivity mission. I didn’t like that. I say the simpler the better for me. I personally like using the notes function in my email system. I recently found The Printable CEO by David Seah, and I’ve enjoyed filling in the bubbles this week to see if what I’m doing is actually worth doing (a lot of it ISN’T!).

    Sarah Brays last blog post..The mystery of creativity

  15. @Procrastimom – My apologies if I sounded exclusive. I guess what I’ve got tinkering in my brain has to do with those who juggle the ups and downs of dealing with kids all day while still having to be productive at home in one form or another.

  16. I don’t really use a system.

    Laundry is done everyday. Same with dishes and picking up the house. Once a week we do deep cleaning as quickly as we can and that’s about it (we have a small home).

    I write my blog posts on the calendar along with every other event. I use a calendar with big squares that I picked up at Wal-Mart.

    If there are bills to be paid, calls to be made, errands to be run, I write them on paper and try to do it in the morning when the kiddos are at their best.

    I have pen/paper just about everywhere so if I think of something I can write it down. At the end of the day I transfer it into my regular journal.

    tabithas last blog post..Art Sculpture with the Kids

  17. My gadget will be a “mini-me”.

    I’ll just tell him about all the stuff I have to remember to do, and he’ll have to figure out how to remember it, and remind me at the right time.

    So I suppose now you should speak to my mini me to find out what he will use. 🙂

    Francoiss last blog post..Financial Freedom Quick Tip #15: Balance

  18. Julie D says:

    I want something online that can allow me to manage every facet, but be printable in several formats to go into different sections of a binder. I want to be able to plan my menus and print them as a calendar and click on the food items in the menu to send them to a printable shopping list. I want to make a big to do list, but be able to click on different items in that list and bring up another something to help me work on that. For instance, the list might include taking care of the dead tree in the front yard. When I’m ready to work on that, I want to click on it and have it open a project sheet where I can put phone #’s I’ve called for estimates, record the estimates, and put other pertinent info. I want sheets already formatted for these and other specific home caring tasks. I want a section in my binder to print and store these sheets for later reference (we have several sketchy looking trees). I’m big on color coding and I want to be able to use multiple fonts and sizes. I also want a section of daily dockets and something that I haven’t come up with yet that is more like a weekly agenda. If you can also get it to clean the bathtub (I really hate cleaning a bathtub) I’d just go nuts.

  19. Talk about perfect timing! I just graduated from college have 2 kidos a hubby and a home to manage while trying to freelance (graphic designer) and plan a move. My college time management system isn’t working for me with all of this going on. I am trying to mesh several systems into one that fits me and designing forms to accommodate all of that. Oh, your help would be greatly appreciated!

  20. I think the thing that helped me was having all of my daily things on my momME planner page – to do’s; work tasks; errands; grocery shopping list; ME time; dinner planning…This isn’t shamelss self-promotion – I needed it ALL on one sheet – not a million different sticky notes and the computer. I think the key is to use whatever system works for you but to schedule ME-Time in…Set an alarm for when you are supposed to run; type in a running date with a friend into your palm or google calendar…whatever IT is make it work for you and don’t forget to schedule time in to take care of yourself!!

    LobotoMEs last blog post..{ NO spend month redux }

  21. Good question! I think I’m at a point that I need a basket whose purpose is to tell what I need to organize! My ideal organizer would definitely not be computer based. It would have to be pretty, portable and completely customized to my needs. (I hate using planners that have portions that I don’t use, I feel wasteful!) Menu planning would be essential, meal somehow tied to seasonal produce and current sales in my area (hey-you said ideal!) with a variety of meals that tasted different but could use same ingredients, i.e. using celery in different ways, versus buying it for one meal and wasting the other 10 stalks. A room by room breakdown of daily, weekly and quarterly cleaning jobs and birthday reminders. Daily or weekly bible verses to memorize/reflect on would be a definite must. My girls aren’t old enough to have scheduled activities, but a daily idea list of creative things to do with a 1 and 3 year old would be great. Garden advice and timelines for my zone would also be helpful. Oh, and (new) tips to keep things interesting and exciting between my husband and I.

  22. I’d love something that I could plug in two ingredients and it would spit out menus. GOOD menus that can be made with things I might actually have. Also, something to keep me off the internet every spare moment would be nice too 😉 .

  23. I would love something web-based, with option to print out lists for checking off things. I like have a list of what needs to be done each day. I would also like to have the stuff that doesn’t need to be done daily or even weekly listed. For example, one day a month would have change ac filters. One day every three months would have check batteries in fire alarms. That type of thing. I love being able to check stuff off, makes me feel like I have accomplished things for the day.

    I work at home, online and I am busier at the beginning of the month so I need to get my system timed to where I do the heaviest stuff at the end of the month.

    Loving your blog…

    Cecelias last blog post..Work, house, crafting……hmmmmmm

  24. Hi, Right now I am on a kick -out -any -stress -do -what -you -can life because I have already had a few major breakdowns from my unfortunate marriage, etc. So I don’t take kindly to living up to timetables although they would probably be good for me. What seems to benefit me right now are all the gentle and forceful reminders from other bloggers about make home happy and clean. Thanks for your gentle ones. Cherrie

    cherries last blog post..Schmarm ~ or what to do with left over pancakes!

  25. Mine would be similar to Julie D’s and Erin’s. One thing mine would have to be, that I don’t think anyone has mentioned yet, is pretty. Is that goofy to say? I am *so* much a creative type, that I would love something with different cool fonts, instead of just arial/tnr maybe with little graphic touches here & there. Something that would *inspire* me. I really like the feel of something tangible & portable like paper & pen, which is what I use now. I dig your “daily docket” & plan to customize it for me. I *need* a monthly at a glance calendar & a daily task list. Right now, everything is separated, so something that combines everything would be great. I don’t know if this is too specific or not, but I’d love something where the printables would be 1/2 sheet sized for the portability factor.

    P.S. Your blog is my fave right now too. Love, love, love it!

    Rebeccas last blog post..A Simple Solution

  26. As a law student, I fall somewhere between a stay at home mom and a working mother. My typical schedule: home, school, home, work at home (I am on two law journals so I have to be able to write a lot at home, including class assignments).

    Needless to say I am in DIRE need of a home organizational system. So far I am using Simple Mom’s home management tips – the daily docket and the MITs have really been working well for me. For me, something online simply wouldn’t work. I like to have something in front of me, preferably something that is lovely to look at. I would like a binder with tabs (which is actually what I am putting together now, I use the eco friendly binders from Target that come in all those great prints). In this binder I would like LOTS and LOTS of typed personalized forms that I can fill in as I go. As for menu planning I would actually like to be able to pre-select recipes to rotate since I am not the best cook.

    As far as the forms go, I want something that lends itself to general organizing/daily planning, long term planning, and recording ideas as opposed to a micro-managed schedule. Like most parents, I have to keep things somewhat flexible.

    And a magic wand included inside, in a little holder usually reserved for a pen, would be awesome.

    Lucie Smalls last blog post..Magnetize Me

  27. Oooh, this is so interesting and relevant for me. Like a lot of you, I know I need something, but I’m not quite sure *what*… (apart from the obvious – housekeeper!) I have tried Getting Things Done and FlyLady, to an extent. What I took from FlyLady was mostly – the importance of having that control journal or some place where you keep it all together. And similarly, the best thing I took from GTD was how crucial it is to NOT attempt to keep reminders in your head. Get EVERYTHING down on paper, or into your computer – just don’t be using up mental and emotional energy trying to remember a zillion things.

    I agree with a lot of the above comments about wanting a physical, paper-based, pretty system, not online. Part of me would love to have my own laptop and an iPhone, and be able to ‘run my life’ from those two things… but that’s really not my reality. Also, I still love the feel of paper, and being able to truly cross off a task with a really great pen!

    When trying to implement GTD, I put together a small binder (not sure of the exact dimensions, but I think that it holds paper that’s 5.5 x 8.5 in) with a few dividers… I was trying to simplify an essentially business/professional system down to something more appropriate for home-use – so my dividers were just “Phone/Mail/Online” (that was all on one divider), “Errands/Shopping lists,” and “Projects.” So on the pages in the “Phone, etc” section, I divided each page into four quadrants, and called them Notes to Write/Send, Phone Calls to Make, Online Stuff to Do/Research, and E-mails to write. That way, while offline, I could be compiling a list of all the stuff I’d been meaning to read up on while online, etc. Anyway, this system obviously didn’t incorporate a meal planning section, or anything about housekeeping/cleaning. And I’m not successfully using it!

    That would be the key for me… something that will help me actually be self-disciplined enough to use it! Something easy and simple and compelling enough that it’s a joy to use. 🙂


  28. I really need a some type of notebook system. I currently use a momplanner, but it doesn’t give me everything I need. I just printed out your daily docket and like that there is room for everything. I have a need to cross things off my list. I like notebooks, but I’d prefer something that is not 8 1/2 by 11– something smaller. I can’t wait to see what you come up with!

    HobbyMommys last blog post..For Little Miss…

  29. For me, this box would contain a set of resources books, a binder with some dividers and clear plastic pocket things, a journal, a daybook, a wall calendar, and lots of black, rollerball micro tip pens. In my journey from having no clue how to run my household to now, where my husband will finally say, “Well, its okay if we don’t know when guests are comeing really far ahead, becuase the house is generally always ready”, I have had to research the systems that other people use (I read the Messies manual, The Speed Cleaning Book, Clean Like a Man, and Total Mom Makeover, surfed Fly Lady, Organized Home, This Messy House, and interviewed all my friends whose household keeping skills I admired for their top five tips and tricks), then journal about the ideas I found. Then I had to organize the information I needed in the binder (phone numbers, newsletters, etc so they don’t get lost and misplaced, weekly menus for future reference, receipts in the clear plastic pockets) as well as plan a basic household routine that worked around my schedule. Then I have to write down everything I need to do on the day I need to do it in the daybook (seriously, I’ve been vacuuming on Tuesdays for two years, but I still need to write it down). I have the wall calendar to look at when I need to plan something over the phone, and write little odds and ends on. I now use the journal to reflect on what I’m doing that I like / don’t like, keep my priorities straight and remind myself of why this is all important. The pens are just my favorite kind, and I feel happier about all that scribbling if I have a pen I like.
    All that being said, I think a lot of people are probably happier with just having a checklist handed to them, or daily emails telling them what to do. I just hate having anyone tell me what to do, so I have to reinvent the wheel.

    jills last blog post..Hi, You’ve Reached Life and Times of Jill

  30. I too really need a more productive system. What will be ideal for me is something portable that can help me voice record/playback my messages/ tots that I want to be noted down while at the same time help me plan which tasks to do based on the optimum amount of energy I have for the day 🙂

  31. You guys have no idea how helpful all your feedback has been! This is exactly the kind of stuff I was looking for, so thank you so much. You rock.

    Please know that I’m reading and digesting every word you’re all writing. No skimming done by me. 🙂

  32. I love to write lists and then cross items off, so definitely something that is on paper or could be printed out. Something that maybe had two components – something larger (a binder maybe) where you could hold lots of information and keep it at home and also something smaller that could fit in a diaper bag or purse to take on the go. The binder could hold things like grocery lists, menus, budget items, to-do lists, calendars, etc. Kind of like a home management binder, I guess. Cost would be a factor, too, I wouldn’t spend a lot on a system, but I’m cheap like that. 🙂

    Jenn’s last blog post…The Bloggest Loser Check In # 2

  33. I am rather too laid back, I believe in playing with the kids and worry about the mess later, sadly though I do this in my sewing and knitting and its not long before all my housework is just tidy up time so the cleaning gets a light surface clean once a week. So my ideal would be to start with a clean and tidy house, with only what I really need in it…I think then maybe I can have a better mind set to clean it in small bits, like you mentioned in the wipe it down as soon as it gets dirty…a meal planner is almost happening but I still buy when I can manage shopping depending on the children’s moods

    Suzie Sews’s last blog post…What’s in the box…

  34. There are so many great ideas here. For me, I stress over pristine clean paper. I hate marking up that first page. So I need the ability to print out however many copies I like, which is why I make my own planner. I also would like it to fit the half letter size (classic/junior agenda size), because if I don’t carry it with me at all times, I will not remember to jot down ideas as they come to me. I prefer to have an example for each form, but the ability to customize to my own needs. I am so excited to see what you come up with. I love the daily docket (Thank you!) which I customized to fit my day.

    Martine’s last blog post…Menu Plan Monday

  35. For me, a SAHM, it would be a physical planner/binder/thingy. I currently use a page-a-day bound planner, because there’s plenty of space to write everything I need, but I’d also like an address/phone number book included, with a list for birthdays. Also a month (or week) at a glance, for things like writing down appointments and being able to see over large periods at a time.

    I write my menus for the week every Thursday, and then my shopping list under Friday (I shop on Friday), and that works find for me, but I wouldn’t mind a separate section devoted to this.

    I use a different planner every year (which is fine), and they’re always half-notebook size, so it’ll fit easily in a purse/diaper bag.

    What I don’t currently have: A place to record all the cleaning information for the house. Like I know that I need to do a maintainence task every three months, but I never translate this information into a place where every three months I look, and there it is on my to-do list. This goes for everything in the house that occurs less often than once a week.

    Also it would have a budget section, like the old-time account books with separate colors (red for debit, black for credit), because I like to keep a physical budget.

    Finally it would have a blank section for ideas, long term to-do lists, Christmas present ideas, etc. The page-a-day has enough physical space for all of this, but I end up putting things in on days that I left blank, so I’ll be searching for my budget somewhere in January, and my summer to-do list in June, and my birthday list that’s somewhere in there if only I could find it.

    Then ideally I’d also have a corresponding wall calendar with enough space to write out things for the family to know (appointments, birthdays, etc), because I know what the family’s doing, but my husband doesn’t, since he doesn’t look in my planner ever.

    I wouldn’t want anything online, because I struggle with spending too much time online, and when the computer is on, I feel tied to it; I need something I can carry around in the house and when I go places as well.

  36. My ideal productivity system would come in the form of a person, or robot – I’m not picky. I live in a small-ish home with only 1 child (at the moment) & can not figure out how to organize anything that doesn’t belong in the kitchen or on a bookshelf. Those are the easy things for me to figure out. What’s left over is PAPER – what do I keep, should I keep, for how long, & what in the world am I supposed to do with what I HAVE to keep. Then there’s the videotapes of my child, the PHOTOS, the baby mementos, etc. Then I have all the paperwork from previous homes that we’ve bought & sold, as well as the files & files of bills, things I need to get at in a moment’s notice 3 or 4 times a year, etc.

    But probably the thing a person (or robot!) would hopefully help me with most is helping me devise a system that would help me quickly & easily pick up at the end of the day, have a “home” for each item & be something I could easily get to the next morning. I don’t know what that looks like. I think the creative people have it a lot easier in that department – they see a blank wall & can say “Oh! Cubes would work great here, shelves here, blah blah” – I’m afraid to spend $$ on something I have no idea will actually work for me in the area of organization. I LOVE to be organized – I just need some direction on where to start & how to do that.

    I’ve looked into things like FlyLady & there is no way I need MORE emails coming at me when I feel so behind on the ones that continue to sit there. I long for simplicity & I’m encouraged by those who make it happen for them. I have no idea if any of this helps you but I’ve yet to see something in a store or online that I think would make my life “easier”.

    Vicki’s last blog post…Blog Giveaways

  37. I love checklists. I’ve started using the Daily Docket, but it doesn’t incorporate my shopping lists or long term projects (birthday party planning, etc.). I also utilize lists from other sources (pre-K book list, emergency box supply list, etc. So, I guess if something could incorporate everything I’m working on short term and long term that would be great!

  38. I had to mull this one over for a couple of days. It hit me today when I walked past the days of the week magnets on the vent hood for our stove (don’t ask…) that Santa put in my husband’s stocking a couple of years ago. My tool allows me to think one week at a time, allows for plenty of customization and gives me a way to move tasks around easily if something comes up and I can’t get to things when I thought that I would. It would also have a way to include standing things that have to be done every week, so I wouldn’t ever forget to say, clean the bathroom or dust, vacuum and mop the house. And I think it would be in board form so I could hang it somewhere in the house. I’m all for keeping my calendar in a palm-type device, but I’ve never found that those things help me get the daily tasks of running the house hold done. I’m a work at/from home mom with two little ones. And I mean little, my oldest just turned two and my younger one is just 3 months. Hope this helps you; it’s forced me to really think about setting something up. If I do, I’ll post about it on my blog and send you a link.

    Jennifer’s last blog post…Down time

  39. meredith says:

    I was a household notebook junkie until I discovered the “momAgenda” a few years ago. Small enough to take everywhere (I have a large purse)…it is my LIFELINE!! I’m a pen & paper gal- writing it helps me remember it.
    momAgenda has both month-at-a-glance and week-at-a-glance calendars. Space for my schedule, my 3 kids, my husband’s travel and dinner ideas. There are seperate pages for books to read, movies, music, restaurants, wines to try (or never try again), gift ideas, party planing, vacation ideas, blank pages & more.
    The front has valuable web sites & phone numbers for airlines, hotels, car rentals, credit cards, gov’t & more (perfect for when your flight gets cancelled and you need to talk to someone ASAP!). The address book in the back also has pages for personal info: medical info, schools, dr’s, babysitters, neighbors, contractors, beauty salons, banks, vet, accountant, lawyer…even a page for websites, usernames & psswds.
    What the momAgenda lacks is decent space for my daily “To-Do” list & grocery list. This I solved with ‘Real Simple” magazine’s TO DO/TO BUY magnetic notepad that hangs on the frig. I tear it off and pop it in my momAgenda daily. This allows me to cross off the “To-Dos” as I go. I use the “To-Buy” side as a running grocery list.
    My now retired household notebook is used as a guide for the babysitters (they LOVE it). It holds the kids schedule, meal ideas, emergency numbers, favorite books and activities. The pocket folders hold magazine clips, articles, recipes and decorating ideas for me.
    I believe momAgenda has a professional agenda for the working gal as well. Get your hands on one…check it out!! I was always on the hunt for a better planner…no more.

  40. So I haven’t read all the comments. What the previous commenter mentioned about the mom agenda–I want something like that on Outlook. I LOVE Outlook, and it changed my life once I aquiesed (i know I didn’t spell that right) and started using it. I just wish it had some extra “gadgets ” that worked more with SAHM. So, added to this is I would like a phone that I can get my outlook on. I used to have a palm,but I didn’t like having to sync them up and remember to charge, and carry around an extra gadget, etc.

    THe thing I like the most about Outlook is how easy it is to update my husband’s calendar with mine. SO easy. Keeps us all on track.

  41. I just wanted to add one more thing… I’d love to see a binder- or notebook-based system, where the inside flap or cover is a place for inspiring quotes, Bible verses, photos, anything… basically I’m envisioning a mini-version of your inspiring bulletin board from The Creative Family post… just tucked inside the front of the home management notebook! I’d really love that kind of encouragement right in the place where I’m keeping all the work of the home together, you know? And it would be a wonderful way to personalize a system…


  42. wow, lots of really great suggestions!! i definitely need help in this area. i’m ashamed to admit my husband told me several months ago that as a mom, i get an A++, but as a housewife, not so much. but he’s right – i’m terrible at keeping up with the cleaning and meal planning and home organization. i used to blame it on working outside the home, but now i’ve been a sahm for 7 months since having my twins, so i can’t use that excuse anymore (although to have grace with myself, i am taking care of a 3 yr old and 7 mo old twins! :)).

    i, too, think some sort of hybrid system would be best for me. while i love my laptop and am on it too much, i tend to be more organized with a paper, hands-on system. i love crafts, scrapbooking, etc, so something pretty and inspirational and fun, at the same time as being practical, would really help. i need something that helps me figure out every single task that needs to be done and how i’m going to work it into my schedule, and then that allows me to move tasks around as needed to be flexible. just thinking out loud – like maybe some sort of clear sleeve-sheet with task-cards that can be slid into the sheet for that day or that week, but can be moved around as needed?? like a task card for vacuuming the carpets, dusting the upstairs, dusting the downstairs, cleaning the bathrooms, dust mopping the tile floors, etc – you get the idea. same thing for meals – cards of some sort with meal ideas – either pre-printed or my own – that i can slide into a clear sleeve to organize the meals for the week. maybe with the meal layout and recipes on one side and the shopping list on the other side? i don’t know. if we could personalize the task and meal cards on the computer and print out multiple copies, so we could have the entire month set up (so, like if i vacuum weekly, i could have a card in a sleeve for whatever day each week). the great thing about this, too, is if i can’t get to a particular task on a certain day, it’s easy to take the card out and move it to another day.

    can’t wait to see what you come up with!! i just discovered your blog last week, and i love it already!!!

    Jennifer’s last blog post…Lots of good news!!! (and lots of pics)

  43. I’m a freak for forms – I used to check DIY Planner all the time. I think my ideal productivity tool would be the exact forms I need with a pretty binder (covered in cloth not shiny vinyl) with a pocket inside each cover and a loop for a pen tucked inside somewhere.

    I love the look of the forms you have designed by the way! They are clean, un-cluttered and attractive. The daily docket is my favorite – I started using it right away. There is plenty of room to write and I love the place to write a scripture along with everything else.

    Something that I have struggled with is integrating work (I work outside the home full time) with a personal calendar. I prefer to keep them separate but often forget when I have an early meeting esp. when it’s at a different facility than my office building. I *think* my smart phone is the answer for that – but that’s the only thing I use my Treo for … therefore I often forget to add a meeting. As I’m writing this, I’m realizing there are meetings this week that I forgot to put in my phone. Rats! Also – when my phone dies, I’ll get a laptop before I get another Treo. I don’t think a Blackberry is the answer either – not for me anyway.

    So I’d be interested to see if you have any ideas – what if you were notified about meetings away from home but had to remember them from home? A similar example is doctor’s appointments – I’m constantly forgetting them!

    Thanks for an inspiring blog –

  44. Electronically: I would love something with a drill down function. I like to see things on a monthly, weekly and daily basis. I’d love a base system where if I add something to the monthly page, it gets dropped into the appropriate weekly or daily page. If it could then set an automatic alarm rather than having to write the time down and then go and set an alarm on another system, it would be great. Then some way to organise clippings or things seen online (snapshots of pages with the link for trackback reference) also.

    Then again I love working in pen and paper. If you can create something that does that but in pen and paper – I’ll love you forever!

    At the moment I’m starting to use your daily docket ( making my own version) and have that in my A5 filofax with a weekly page on the left and the daily docket ( one for each day that week) on the right. Now I need to work a monthly and or annual page into that too.

    Thats for day to day organising but I also need a space to jot down notes and then file them into my main areas as I note them down. For example I am always thinking of house ideas, garden ideas, food ideas, shopping/gift ideas etc so I am always jotting down notes that then get lost. If I could file them straight away, I’d find them again and not end up writing it down several times. Again something to organise clippings is needed too.

    Writing this I realise I need 2 systems – a paper and an electronic one – but how to get the 2 to work together without ‘double handling’ tasks.

    • Oh and the meal planner list where as I place meals, it drops the ingredients into a shopping list and collates it ie if I drop 3 chicken recipes, I don’t have chicken on the list 3 times but just once with the total amount required. This would require inputting ingredients of course but if that could be done as the meal is added to the master list (A master list of meals that can be dragged and dropped onto the meal plan.), it wouldn’t be to onerous.

      Everything needs to be printable too.

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