I used to be one of those people who kept everything in their head. I prided myself on my ability to memorize phone numbers and birthdays, and knew my schedule without writing anything in a calendar.
Then I became a mom.
I am now one of most forgetful people on planet. I don't know if it's due to fact that I am no longer responsible for just myself (keeping track of my schedule, my daughter's schedule, school's schedule, play dates, after school lessons and more)... or if I lost brain cells during pregnancy ... but my short term memory has turned to mush. These days, I need to write everything down... more than ever, now that I have a business of my own.
I made but one resolution last year: To do a better job of tracking my family's schedule and recording my business expenses. I started out great - I bought a spanking new organizer with custom pages and pouches for receipts, stamps and business cards. I kept a schedule for me and my family, wrote down all my mileage (a must for tax purposes!) and tracked my biz expenses...
...for about two months. The book was too big to fit in my bag, it was heavy to carry - and I began leaving it at home more often than not, which kind of defeated purpose of having an organizer at all. Then, I lost it and all information it contained.
So I bought another one. This time, I decided to go deluxe route. I headed to my local Franklin Covey store and purchased a beautiful butternut leather book and pretty organizer pages, which included Stephen Covey's system on becoming more effective. The whole package cost me about $100 - I figured if I invested this much into it, I would be less apt to lose it.
I started writing down goals and tracking all of my business tasks, and was feeling quite on top of things...
...for about two months. Once again, biggest obstacle to using system was that it was too bulky and heavy to carry with me everywhere. I looked with envy at friends who had invested in electronic PDA (Personal Digital Assistant) organizers - small, light-weight devices that sync up with your computer and fit easily into a purse. That, I thought, would be a solution - if only they were not so expensive.
Well, PDA's are not so expensive any longer. With entry-level Palm model retailing at just $99, and Handspring Visors available at similar cost, almost everyone can afford to carry one now.
What to Look for in a PDA
There is a dizzying array of PDA models with various features, so deciding which one you buy can be a confusing process. Since a PDA is really just a small, hand-held computer, your buying decision should be based on some of same considerations you make when purchasing a desktop system:
1. RAM 2. Speed 3. Expandability 4. Price
There are two major competing operating systems in PDA world. The most popular uses system developed by Palm - these include Handspring Visor, Sony Clie and of course, Palm Pilot. The other major OS is called PocketPC - this is a Windows-based environment developed by Microsoft to compete with Palm. It is somewhat easier to exchange information between PocketPC handhelds and Windows based software - but at a price. PocketPC requires more system resources - popular Compaq iPaq H3650 features a minimum of 32 MB of RAM, which makes these devices slightly heavier and more expensive than ones that run Palm OS.