One of the biggest problems in today’s high-tech world is how to streamline the way we keep notes and reminders. Many of us rotate between sticky notes pasted to office walls and various online organization programs, computer calendars, and so on. The result? We often end up forgetting the things we wanted to remind ourselves about because everything is, quite simply, scattered. Determined to put an end to the craziness, we decided to test out some of the latest to-do and reminder services — and give the old-fashioned, low-tech system of just a plain ol’ notebook another go — to determine which method really is the best. — J.S.
|Product||How It Works||Success Rate||Where to Get It|
|Moleskine Large Ruled Notebook||Write down reminders, keep book with you, and look at it.||It didn't end our sticky-note dependence, but at least we had a place to keep them all. Best part: A notebook doesn't force you to enter the information in a particular way - so we weren't limited in what we could use it for. But on the day we left the notebook at home...oy.||Most stationery stores and bookstores ,including Strand Book Store (www.strandbooksaa.com)|
|Jott||Call the free service and leave yourself a reminder, and it will automatically send you a text message and an e-mail.||Pretty good. We still ended up adding the reminders to our calendar or in our notebook, but when we were standing in the supermarket remembering that we really, really had to pay a bill the next day, we were glad the reminder was just a cell-phone call away.||www.jott.com|
|Gootodo||E-mail your to-dos to the web-based service. It creates a single to-do list that includes just the tasks for the day at hand, thus reducing to-do clutter. Gootodo.com is part of a program that helps users increase productivity and reduce "information anxiety."||We liked the idea of a pared-down to-do list, but it felt a bit limiting. And while it could work for people who fight against clutter, we (sadly) thrive on some clutter.||Sign up for a free 30-day trial at www.gootodo.com. After the free trial, the service is $3 a month.|
|Memo to Me||Enter to-dos and other things you need to be reminded of into the web-based service. Then, when the time is right, it sends a reminder to your e-mail or, if you upgrade to the platinum edition, to your pager or mobile phone.||We suppose it's handy, but in the end we can't see it replacing our computer calendar, which also has a reminder service. And it's web-based, whereas with Jott you can call anytime, from anywhere - such as from the supermarket when you remember that bill.||www.memotome.com|
Final verdict: There wasn’t any one product or service that met all our needs, so, in the end, we’re going to keep on keeping on with a combo system — though we did manage to whittle our system down to just three elements: a Moleskine notebook, Jott, and the computer calendar. Not bad, if you ask us.
On an extra-organized note: If we really wanted to go overboard (and we do, we do!), we’d add in the SmartShopper Voice-Activated Grocery List. A test run proved fun (and helpful). Tell it what you need to buy, and when you’re ready to shop, press print — out pops a list divided up by supermarket department. Dandy. Why didn’t someone think of this earlier? $150. www.sharperimage.com