Managing Regular Financial, Personal, and Social Tasks

One of my worst traits in the past was a lack of organization, and more than once it cost me severely in the form of late fees, weakened friendships, and so on. The biggest problem was that so many of these things need regular maintenance, but I am terrible about doing these things on my own. It used to be that if I didn’t pay a bill as soon as I saw it, it would inevitably incur a late fee because I would simply forget about it.

Here’s what I do to keep my regular financial tasks in line, and it’s easily expandable to fit other regular tasks.

First, I keep a large paper calendar with huge spaces for each date. For personal use, this is more than enough; it gives me room to write several tasks that need to be done in each square.

At the start of a year, I write down all important dates, and I also write in a notice a week or two in advance for all the ones I need reminders about. So, let’s say my father’s birthday is on May 1 – I write in a reminder note on about April 20 that I need to get a birthday gift taken care of.

At the start of a month, I copy all of the regular things from the previous month down. I have two bill paying days (the 8th and the 22nd), I mark when I expect to be paid with regular checks, and I indicate several personal tasks as well. When I have a house, I will be adding a lot of routine and preventative maintenance items to the calendar.

Then, each day all I have to do is check the calendar and see what needs done today. For now, some of the days are empty, while others have two or three things on them; when we move, I anticipate filling up a lot more squares.

It seems simple, but it really works for me. I use it as a complement to my getting things done philosophy, which handles all of the irregular stuff in my life. It also is very effective at keeping those late fees and such at bay.

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  1. Andamom says:

    Hey Trent — First, I hope you’ve got a lovely Memorial Day weekend ahead…

    One other thing that I think is quite beneficial is using Outlook (or another calendar program) with reminders. We list all birthdays, holidays, events, etc. on our main community (household) calendar. Then, for each appointment or event, we’ll get a reminder notice of action. If using tasks and mail attached to something like Outlook, it is also possible to integrate reminder for things that need to be done. Many events are recurring too — and it save time and is invariably more accurate for us to track systematically. And — we save on not having to buy a big appointment book. Of course, with so much going on in our household, we do print out a calendar that we attach to our white board of information that is attached to our kitchen wall.

  2. I too use Outlook, but since I upgraded to Windows Vista, I’ve just been using the Notepad sidebar widget. I have several all over my desktop to remind me of things I need to do. It’s nice because it’s a personal computer, but I would use my method if it were a shared environment.

  3. Lisa says:

    I concur. Since switching to a mac, I use Entourage (part of MS Office) to do the things Trent described. I use my computer nearly everyday so this works for me. On a few occassions I have printed out pages. I love the ability to label things as family, work, school, and so on.

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