What organizational aids work for you?

I have the usual (it seems) assortment of organizational problems that seem to come with the territory of a brain injury. Over the years, I've had all the usual advice about keeping notes, using calendars, etc but the NEVER seem to work for me for more than about a day - part of the problem being that I forget to use them or that they even exist or how to use them, which means I never habituate them. Another part of the problem with using them is the often tremendous amount of energy and concentration it takes, which means that my attention and motivation tend to go walkabout after a short while.

My question is what organizational aids work for you? Important (from my perspective) follow-on questions are how do you integrate them and how do you manage to keep doing them (eg, are they habituated and, if so, how did they become habits (eg, with assistance from somebody else))?

Thank you.



As I've mentioned in another post, I'm currently trying (in my usual haphazard fashion) to get something going using my Android smartphone. The major problems are (apart from the continual problem of remembering that the apps are there) that none of the apps I've found seem to be sufficiently well integrated in terms of tasks, diary and information collection, and that they all involve a lot of work to enter and organize information (eg, creating a subtask or, more commonly, group tasks/events together into a new "supertask". I rely heavily on my vision to provide an organizational framework and I quickly lose track of what's going on if I have to dive down through layers of dialogs to enter data; the small (5") screen doesn't help in this regard but has the major advantage of being more likely to be with me than anything else (you wouldn't believe the number of notebooks/diaries/pens I have or have lost or forgotten to take with me or forgotten to use ...)

10 Replies

  • I use planners and calendars and timers and phone alerts and reminder texts and prompts by other people. I still miss appoinments, double book myself, am late, in the wrong place etc

    I get lost and then the whole day goes to pot, I forget to go to bank, i get messed up for a month or more with my bills, i get the local garage to do reminders for the mot and the dvla are kind enough to write when i need tax, I've missed medicals and had benefits stopped because i didnt realise i'd missed it. I lose things at the drop of a hat.

    At the moment im having difficulty with passwords and things for the computers at work, for some reason they change monthly...

    I got all the lpanners and the reminders and the prompts etc but i still cant seem to be in the right place at the right time.

    If you find something magic, let me know!!!

  • Damn! I was hoping you'd have the something magic! :-)

    Talk about deja vu,though ...

    I've been caught out several times recently by forgetting to change the default entry date on calendar inputs and getting awfully confused by the number of things I've got to do "today" and then having no clue what I've done with the piece(s) of paper / emails / webpages that I got the dates from.

  • Its late now and I don't have the brain power left but I really do want to answer this...I have no short term memory and my life was a total chaotic mess...until I attended memory aids clinic. Afterwards, with the help of strategies and aids and some fine tuning along the way, I went from missing 99% of appointments to successfully managing/attending 80%

    I will happily share what worked for me..but not tonight because I am too tired and really should be in bed.

    If I fail to return with the promised response please poke me with a sharp stick ;)

  • I use the calendar on my phone which I change the reminder to suit. If I don't put it in straight away I forget. I have a folder for all my paper work, hospital appointments etc. So it works for me. Hope you get it sorted and well done for being back at work.

  • I use the iphone calendar and set alerts to remind me. I have also started creating folders for all my emails. One for a particular person or company. Still double check and triple check. Getting there most of the time.

  • Google is my answer

    i use Google calendar for all my appointment/medication/reminders

    google calender syncs across my laptop tablet and phone

    i have to input the remindaer as soon as i get it otherwise i forget to add it to calendar

    what i tend to do is set ,ultiple reminders, in google you can set reminders in day hours or minutes

    i tend to set it like this

    2 day

    1 day

    4 hours

    2 hours

    10 mins

    it will remind me of the appointment each time, it helps by keeping it on my mind and allows me to plan my days in advance better

    and when i search an address on my laptop, as my internet is synced with my phone to 'google now' will pop up a card allowing me to navigate, and reminding me

    so i would say the smartphone and google are my best organisational tools

  • Same as biker, I use Google calendar entering the details as soon as I get them.

    I check for appointments & other events last thing every night which has become as habitual as turning out the light.

    Good luck :-)

  • My daughter runs her life now between her IPad and IPhone, she struggles with short term memory from a TBI after a riding accident about 18 months ago. She spent 10 months in full time rehab and is now very disciplined about keeping herself organised, it's been a really rough time for her but she's managed to get back to work full time. Watching her struggle has been and can still sometimes be hell, loads of best wishes to all of you, xx

  • I managed to miss the doctors again today... I had it on the calender in the diary and phone reminders... so i though i had read it as 4.30. I was certain it was 4.30 well it turned out that it was 3.40 and i missed it, so i have to do the call in the morning thing. Which means i'm likely to miss it again because i never manage to ring at 8am.

    oh well best laid plans and all that.

  • Thank you for your replies. I'm trying (for the I-forget-how-many-th time) to get *some* kind of system, no matter how rudimentary, integrated into life, and I'm trying to do it base around my Android phone and desktop.

    (The bit in between the stars is just some background and you can skip it to the question at the end if you'd prefer.)


    However, I am finding the usual problems with getting it going. I forget it's there, I forget to use it, I forget I forget (yeah, I'll remember that, how could anybody forget something so simple in 10 seconds ... ooh, look. Shiny!), I've forgotten I've written it down, I forgot to set the right date, I can't attend to putting the information in and to simultaneously keeping track of what else is going on that I need to take note of, and the process of putting the information in creates sufficient cognitive overload that I forget the detail.

    Not to mention, that the short note that made sense at the time of input is absolutely meaningless when I read it later; consequently, I tend to be verbose to give myself additional context but then have the problem of trying to understand War and Peace

    Also, I'm poorly motivated, weak-willed, tired, usually have the attention span of a gnat and am terrified of forgetting something else whilst I devote my working brain cell to dealing with entering the information. All I want to do is put some data in, but I've also got to remember How To Do It each and every single time! *#!!?$! This isn't helped by my natural tendency to re-invent or modify the wheel to suit, which means I don't have an underlying system to work with. And just the thought of it saps my will and drains my energy.

    The years, nay decades, of trying have firmly convinced me that nothing is going to really stand a chance of being effective until I have something that gets habitualized - and I don't know how to do that.


    My additional question to those of you have got something to work, is How Did You Do It?

    Yours Desperately,


You may also like...