Category Archives: Organizing

The organizing category will consist of online organizing as well as traditional organization of the “stuff” we accumulate.

Volunteering: Are You Working “Harder” or “Smarter”?

If you’re a regular follower of our postings here at Sagepointers, you’ll recognize Scarlet as one of our most consistent contributing bloggers (and if you’re a newcomer, welcome – we hope you’ll find this blog useful). Scarlet has written about a variety of topics, and she’s very active in her community, volunteering in a number of different causes – some related to family (especially her children) and some that are important to her for the same reasons that motivate many of us to “give back” whatever we can, to try and help make our world a little bit better place. Also like many of us, Scarlet has discovered that sometimes the commitments made with the best of intentions – responsibilities that were willingly accepted and diligently performed – take far more time and effort than anticipated. We’ve all been there – the project or event that suddenly took on a life of its own, and monopolized our time to the point of making serious inroads on other responsibilities (or the much-needed “down time” that is so crucial to keeping us going!). We can all accept the premise that busy people need to work smarter, not harder, in order to meet the myriad demands on their time. That’s true whether you’re the Chairman of the Board, or a Soccer Mom trying to juggle the hundreds of tasks that crowd your calendar every single day. The problem is finding an easy, affordable solution that makes “smarter, not harder” possible. Take a moment to read Scarlet’s story, and don’t be surprised if you see yourself somewhere between the lines:

Scarlet writes:

In our family, we celebrate Easter. When looking at all the pictures of dressed up Easter bunnies, I thought back to the days when the kids were little. I was always involved in school parties and fundraising, and I can remember dressing up in any kind of costume to bring a smile to a child’s face, or to raise some money for a good cause. There were days where I baked, created and sweated for what would equate to about 10 cents an hour. I remember one day telling the kids I couldn’t help with homework, because I was baking cupcakes for a grade-level party.

Somehow, I think I missed the boat on volunteering for the kids. By Whitney’s senior year I was booster club president for the drill team, and in charge of the senior gala and homecoming dance. By the end of her senior year, I was checking things off as they were done. Don’t get me wrong – I enjoyed every minute, but I could have enjoyed it with a lot less work. When Eric transferred to a new school his senior year, I was devastated. I had to give up my position on the baseball booster club board and the media guide. When we got to the new school, I knew no one, and they had no idea how “wonderful” I was at volunteering. For the first time, I got to go to games, and not worry about people showing up for their assigned volunteer duties. I got to actually enjoy being “just” a mom. There is something to be said for that.

Just remember, when volunteering starts to take time from your kids, it really isn’t benefitting them. It took me way too long to figure that out. Luckily, college doesn’t ask for a lot of volunteers, ha ha!

Sound familiar? It’s a very common story. Many volunteers – dedicated individuals who are active in their communities – discover that their commitments have cost them far more than they originally anticipated, and not just in time or financial resources. Missing out on those once-in-a-lifetime personal or family moments – the stuff of which cherished memories are built – shouldn’t have to be the cost of helping to build a and maintain a healthy, caring, vibrant community.

That’s where we can help. Sagepoint was built by volunteers, for volunteers, based on the simple premise that busy people need the right tools in order to make the transition from “working harder” to “working smarter”. Whether you’re organizing a homeroom potluck or a major community event, we can give you the tools to make your life easier. It doesn’t cost anything to use Sagepoint’s organizational tools, and we can help you leverage the very latest Social Media Marketing and Social Networking platforms to enhance your fundraising efforts. Visit us at www.sagepoint.com and see for yourself – we think you’ll be glad you did!

Using Sagepoint to Organize My (Insane) Year

My life can be like an unbridled mustang; it’s a wild ride.  I’ll bet you can relate.   I recently overheard a conversation in the library where a mother actually said she didn’t need to use a calendar;  she only had one volunteer duty per week…same day and time every week.  I thought she seemed too relaxed as she casually and carefully replaced returned library books on their shelves.  I pondered for a moment, wondering what that type of life would be like.  Not the volunteering once per week part, but the simplicity of not having your life literally revolve around a little grid with numbers. 

In the past, I didn’t just use a calendar.  I used a BOOK – a family time planner & home management guide, to be exact. This spiral-bound BOOK of over 100 pages was my life.  Each week it provided a two-page layout leaving plenty of room for appointments, cancelled appointments crossed out and rewritten in bright pink ink, practices, games, birthdays, “don’t-forgets”,  to-dos, and to-buys.   I would have to look at this BOOK several times per day because my short memory with overcrowded thoughts tended to mix up the different day’s agendas.   And, what if I left my BOOK at home?  This happened all the time.  I would find myself setting up new appointments BLINDLY.  This led to a small sticky note or paper scrap which I had to put in a place where I would remember it.  I then had to transfer my scrap note information into my BOOK at home, and inevitably had to contact someone to change the appointment because of what was already in my BOOK.   C’mon BOOK, don’t do this to me!

I remember my reluctance when my husband first announced we were eligible for a smart phone through our cellular plan.   “How much is it going to cost for the service upgrade?” I wondered.   He assured me, “It will be so worth it, you’ll see.”  Okay.   Oh, he was SO right, SO correct, SO brilliant!  We got our smart phones within a week and I immediately concurred…..it WAS worth it.  It was then that the BOOK I relied on started becoming less important.  Welcome to organizing online…with Sagepoint.  I can access everything from the smart phone – anywhere.    I LOVE things that are new and better and save me time.   🙂

HOW TO MOVE FROM PAPER TO ONLINE, IN-CONTROL TIME MANAGEMENT….WITH SAGEPOINT

Set aside a block of time now, and start reaping the time-saving benefits of what you are about to do…become organized.  You can follow the steps I took to move my life from paper to online.  Do it all in one sitting, or break it out by the sections detailed below. 

SET UP

  1. Gather last year’s calendar, and any school, sports, church, club or other event calendars that contain important dates.
  2. Turn on your computer and open up your favorite browser.
  3. Go to www.sagepoint.com and login.  If you don’t have a Sagepoint account, set up a free one  in just a few steps by clicking the orange “Join Today!” at the top right. 

START WITH YEARLY RECURRING EVENTS

Start by entering yearly recurring dates such as birthdays and anniversaries on your Sagepoint calendar.  You will only have to enter this information ONCE!  It will be on your calendar every year after this.   Think of all the time you will save!

There are many ways to add an event to your Sagepoint calendar.   One of the simplest is as follows:

  1. Click on the  ‘CALENDAR’  tab, and then click on the  New Event  icon.  A pop-up window will appear where you can enter the Event name, type, description and notes, and select corresponding dates and times.
  2. In the ‘Repeats’ field.  Use the dropdown box to select ‘Yearly‘.   Leave the ‘ENDS AFTER’ field marked ‘Never‘.  Now this event will be on your calendar every year, unless you delete it.
  3. Optionally set a ‘Reminder‘.  I use the Reminder option to set a reminder for 2 weeks before the event to have time to send a card or a gift.  The amount of time set for your reminder is flexible from 4 weeks to 0 minutes prior to the event.
  4. Click the orange SAVE & ADD ANOTHER button on the bottom right and add your next entry the same way.
  5. Repeat the above steps for all yearly recurring events from January – December. 

This exercise will help you get used to some of the basic options on Sagepoint.   Using Sagepoint to create sign-up sheets, schedules, and invitations with RSVP’s will be very similar.

ADD YOUR ACTIVITIES AND EVENTS FOR THE UPCOMING YEAR

Next, we will enter dates for the upcoming year.  Check all of your lists and calendars for special events like weddings, milestone birthdays, due dates, graduations, first and last days of school, vacations, field trips, early release / half days of school, recitals, competitions, deadlines, retreats, etc.  and for recurring events like practices, meetings, or classes.

  1. Enter your events as above, by clicking   New Event, entering your event info and selecting the date and time. 
  2. Skip the ‘Repeats’ field, or set to monthly, weekly, or daily as appropriate.
  3. Set ‘Reminders’ to be weeks, days, hours or just a few minutes prior depending on the event.
  4. To include ‘Location’ information, click on ‘More Options’, scroll down to the ‘Location’ field, click ‘Click Here’ and fill in the address fields.  Doing this will enable the system to provide you with maps and directions when you “View” the event.
  5. Click the orange SAVE EVENT or SAVE & ADD ANOTHER button on the bottom right and move on to your next entry.

 SCHEDULE YOUR HOUSEHOLD REMINDERS

This is a personal favorite of mine.  It’s a tap-on-the-shoulder reminder for all those little household tasks that can easily be forgotten.  (Note to self: add ‘Feed the Fish’ to Sagepoint reminders.)  To enter these event reminders, I use ‘Repeats’ because I do most of them on a regular basis.  Remember, it’s a little work to enter these in, but you only enter them once……..the reminders will be sent on an ongoing basis.

Here are just some of the tasks you can add to your Sagepoint calendar along with email reminders to complete them:

  • Setting up doctor’s appointments for well-visits and chronic conditions for yourself and those you care for
  • Setting up dental appointments and vision screenings
  • Setting up vet appointments and grooming appointments for your pet(s)
  • Back-washing the swimming pool
  • Lawn and garden reminders: fertilization schedule, watering schedule, planting schedule, etc.
  • Changing the clocks for daylight savings time (with reminders to change the car clocks, timers, watches, and that one clock in the back of the garage we always forget to change)
  • Changing the refrigerator water filters (every 6 months)

TIP: When I am setting up the schedule, I use the  ‘Description’ box to enter my filter brand, part number, and where I last got replacements for the best price online.  That way, even if I decide to purchase my filter at the home improvement store, I can access the filter info from my phone. 

  • Changing the air conditioning filters (we change ours every 6 months for the type of filters we use)

TIP: When I am setting up the schedule, I use the ‘description’ box to input the type and size filter, where we are storing the ‘extras’, and where to buy them when we need more.

  • Cleaning the refrigerator coils and dryer vent
  • Car maintenance
  • Setting up hair appointments

My advice is to enter all appointments right away, immediately if possible. 

The benefit of knowing you have everything entered in one place, with email reminders scheduled to be sent to you, leaves such a feeling of stress-relief.   You are free not to worry about forgetting anything because that reminder will come.  Sagepoint is like a personal assistant.

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So what do you think?  Do you  have other ideas or uses for the Calendar to share?  Remember, any idea you have is bound to help someone out. 

Happy Organizing!