Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Getting my organizing on

I am hopelessly disorganized. I'm the type of person to have Post-It notes on every flat surface to remind me to do everything from buy the groceries to scratch my own nose... Except I'm not organized enough to buy the darn Post-Its. So I had high hopes when the Parent Bloggers Network asked me to review Cozi Central, free (Free!) organizational software that you download to your home computer.

The download itself was ridiculously easy. The interface is pleasing to the eye and simple to navigate (note: if the younger members of your family can work a computer, they can access Cozi Central) and once you have Cozi installed you can use your main computer as the home base of organization operations or you or the rest of your family can access everything online when you're on the road or at work.

The calendar is simple but effective. Every family member can be entered by name and by color code, and everyone is represented at a glance at the top of the calendar. The color coding feature really stood out for me, Miss Disorganized herself. Let's say my daughter is purple (In the calendar. If she were purple in real life I'd probably have a bigger problem on my hands.). With the each family member represented by a different color I don't have to search for my daughter's appointments among the other things entered in the calendar, I just look for the purple dots. Easy peasy, rice and beansy.

Speaking of beans(ies), the shopping list function of Cozi Central was an interesting addition. Cozi has added almost every food that you could imagine so all you need to do to prepare your weekly grocery list is point and click on the items you need. Ketchup? Check. Asparagus? Check. Celery salt, chicken noodle soup, and refried beans? Check, check and triple check. And if Cozi doesn't have what you need you can easily type it in yourself. And it doesn't have to be just groceries, you can add any shopping list. School supplies, Christmas lists, if you have a list of things to purchase you can add it to Cozi. And the best part? You can either print it out or you can send it to your cell phone. Or your husband's cell phone. Hint hint.

I liked that I could send email notifications - or as I like to call them, Honey Do lists - to everyone I had entered on my email list (also a feature of Cozi, email lists for your entire family) as well as the calendar and the grocery lists, but what I felt was lacking from Cozi was pre-dated notifications. I had really hoped that I could schedule pre-dated reminders to be sent to myself, because for someone as hopeless as I am it's not enough to have the calendar. No, I need to be reminded to look at it. So notifications, either pop-up alerts or email reminders, about important appointments would be a feature I would love to see added to Cozi.

*(I just noticed that if you have Microsoft Office Outlook installed on your computer - which I don't - you can sync Cozi and Outlook and some of those things can be done. Like letting your family know if a meeting is going to run late. This feature is still in beta at time of writing.)

Strangely enough, the best part about Cozi had nothing to do with organization, but everything to do with family. The photo collage screensaver was fantastic. There were times when my laptop would be sitting open next to me on the couch while I was watching television and once the screensaver kicked in I became more enthralled with what was going on on my screen than what I was watching on TV. Great feature, Cozi!

Cozi Central lived up to its end of our bargain. It provided me with one tool where I could save important dates, meetings and appointments, as well as my shopping lists, and allows my husband to easily access everything, too. Now, if only it would hold my hand and remind me to actually enter the important dates and shopping lists it would be perfect. And I would finally stop forgetting to buy milk and arriving at appointments ten minutes late. But I'm not expecting miracles to happen any time soon.

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Blogger Avalon said...

If I could only remember to download those helpful programs...........

3:02 PM  
Blogger Jess Riley said...

Hmmmm....I should look into this. I could always use help in the organizational department.

10:45 PM  
Blogger Amie Adams said...

I read about this software some time ago. Thing is that most of those features are available between Outlook (color-coding, task lists) and Windows XP (the screen saver slide show setting). Now if you're not an MS user I can see how this would be great.

12:52 AM  
Blogger Amie Adams said...

Of course I have all of those tools and I'm still not organized. UGH!!

12:53 AM  
Blogger Fairly Odd Mother said...

OMG, you just reminded me that we have a Cozi account that I've been ignoring. I'm just not sure I'll be good at keeping it updated after years and years of 'pen/paper' calendars.

7:43 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This sounds like something I could use. I'm still using Outlook as my calendar.

11:56 AM  
Blogger Kevin Charnas said...

Hey, if you hear or know of anyone who pays disorganized procrastinators, will you let me know? I have no doubt that I would be EXTREMELY successful at it.

I like to throw lit firecrackers at people too, so if you know of anyone willing to pay me for that as well, that'd be cool. thanks, baby.

4:47 PM  
Blogger Binky said...

Violet, you're turning violet!

That's all I could think of when I envisioned the purple Chicky.

As for the Cozi: You had me at free.

7:57 PM  
Blogger Her Bad Mother said...

I was curious about this, but I'm a total technotard... sounds not too difficult, though... hmm...

9:54 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Does a maid come with it? :-)

6:57 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hmmm... unless they can send me a cyber-someone to sort all my husband's socks, I'm afraid this one is still going to fall short for me. I'm BEYOND hopeless when it comes to organization.

5:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am the most disorganized person on the planet, and no software could ever help me ... I'm that hopeless.

9:11 PM  
Blogger Dana a/k/a Sunshine said...

First of all, I almost peed my pants laughing at Kevin Charnas comment. Hilarious. I will have to try that software!

2:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

May I recommend the BusyBodyBook Family Organizer? http://www.busybodybook.com

I am a huge fan of a phsyical, binded organizer that I can put in my purse... and I love BusyBodyBook.....

8:06 PM  
Blogger Kelly said...

Just the thought of trying to become organized gives me a migraine. Anyone who embarks on self-organization is my personal hero.

9:03 PM  
Blogger FENICLE said...

I love Post-It-Notes!!!!!! All over the place. I tried on of those Palm Pilot's several years ago and prefer the type of date book you carry and write in.

9:24 PM  

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