One thing that I’ve learned about personal finance management is that for me, a major key has been to keep things as organized and as simple as possible. I know what you’re thinking – my current account setup is not exactly simple. And while that may be true, the way I manage it is very simple. I have tried a number of systems. I have used Mint.com and Yodlee.com, Microsoft Money, and YNAB and other types of spreadsheets. And what I’ve found is that Microsoft Money works for me for tracking the long term goals and YNAB is great for my monthly budgeting. My accounts are organized and while I don’t always feel completely in control, I always know what’s going on.
That doesn’t quite work out so well for the rest of my life. There are a lot of time and productivity options out there. There are calendars and to-do lists and virtual assistants and methods such as Getting Things Done. There’s a lot to keep track of as well – e-mail (both work, blog, and personal), news, blogs, social networks (everything from Flickr to Twitter), fitness (both nutrition and workouts). And then, once you’ve figured how to keep track of everything, you have to figure out how to do all the things you need to do in the day!
I’m always ready to try the next new website that’s designed to keep me on track, whether it’s an aggregator that displays Twitter, Facebook, Flickr, and Gmail on one page or a To Do List that will integrate with my e-mail and send me reminders. My problem? I’m an early adopter who loses interest too fast.
I was just recently looking into some new e-mail aggregators highlighted by this article. Unfortunately, I would want to be able to use these at home and at work, and in the office, I’m stuck with IE 6, which is frequently not supported. I don’t have the option to upgrade or use Firefox, so I’m stuck. That said, I’m pretty happy with how GMail works.
I use my personal account as my main account and have it set up to retrieve my blog e-mail and an old personal e-mail that I haven’t used in about five years. I have GMail set up with a number of auto filters – blog e-mails get added to the “CMP” filter, certain mailing lists get automatically filtered so they skip the inbox, e-mails from a choice few automatically get starred so I don’t miss them. I also believe in a clean inbox – everything gets dealt with and deleted or filtered into a “To Do” folder.
As for online to do lists, I’ve tried a number of them. My favorite so far is Remember the Milk, but I always end up just using a notebook that I carry with me wherever I go.
Other sites I use to stay organized?
So far, nothing completely trumps my trusty notebook, but these are some great resources. What do you use to stay organized?