Earlier in the year I wrote about Cozi and gushed about how fabulous I though the site was for creating lists. I’ve long been a fan of their clean, simple design and layout, their useful and relevant ideas and “how-did-I-live-without-that” tips.

Amazingly, the site just keeps getting better. They have added more content, including an online magazine (Live Simply) and menu planning (Nourish), but have still managed to do so in a way that is easy to navigate.

Two other new features:

Still not convinced if you should try it?

From the site:

Wish you had some help organizing your busy family life? Cozi is a FREE online family organizer that helps you manage the family calendar, organize your shopping list and to do list, share favorite memories in a family journal, and enjoy family photos—all in one spot. With Cozi’s mobile access, your information is not only available from any computer with an Internet connection, but also from any mobile phone. All you need to get started is a Cozi account and signing up is quick and easy with no downloads required.

Using Cozi has really helped me stay organized and keep track of my children’s busy schedules. Having it all in one place, without the mess of scratch paper, crumpled notes shoved in my purse has saved my sanity many times.

Let me know if you’ve used Cozi and how it’s changed how you organize your time and family.

photo credit

Work From Home Productively AND Keep Your Sanity

I came home to be a stay-at-home mom as soon as my first child was born and I stayed utterly and completely satisfied for the first 2.5 years. Around that time, I started looking for a creative outlet. I took a [very] part time job at a print and sign shop and within a couple of months, I was already planning out how to start my own business doing the same thing from my own home.

It was slow going at first. There were many stops and starts along the way. But eventually, I was online and selling my goods and services. Managing it with 2 small kids was one thing. Since then, I’ve had two more children and my organizational skills have been put to the test on a daily basis.

When you work from home there is still laundry to deal with. Meals to prepare. Diapers to change. Faces to wipe. And (because the main reason I’m at home is to be available for my kids) kids to teach and play with.

For years I’ve struggled with how to balance it so that most of the time, my home and work are tended to by me. They both deserve my attention. Additionally, I have to fight my tendency to be a procrastinator and disorganized.

Perhaps you are in that same spot. Maybe you are just now thinking about working from home and the details involved. Perhaps you already have it figured out (hello! care to help me write this series then?)

Each day during this series, I am going to be highlighting tips from people who were kind enough to share with me their ideas on how they make it work. They run the gamut – some are very opposite ideas, but they each work for the people implementing them. Hopefully, you will be able to gather enough information to organize your life so that you can work from home productively AND keep your sanity.

Be sure to subscribe to the site feed. There are some great giveaways that you won’t want to miss: a FranklinCovey Organizing System Kit, copies of Simple Mom’s ebook “Spring Cleaning for Normal People” and Mary Byer’s “Making Work From Home Work” and several other goodies.

Shine Your Sink with the FlyLady

While she won’t come to your home and do the cleaning for you (I know… bummer), the FlyLady has a proven track record of helping women (and men) cut through the clutter that has taken over many many a home.

I started on the program 8 years ago, after my daughter was born. I came across the site and was immediately drawn to the idea of having my home in order. At the time, I printed out all of the information and placed it in a 3-ring binder.

I received my daily email reminder for that days step.
I cleaned my sink daily. And got dressed from head to toe (though I didn’t put on shoes – we don’t wear our shoes indoors)

Then one day, I just quit. Flat out quit.
(But I did continue to shine my sink!)

I think I just got overwhelmed with all of the information. Between that and a new baby, I was destined to have a head explosion.

But I’ve thought about the FlyLady a lot and I’ve seen many others have success with her program, so I decided to take another look.

And guess what?! The FlyLady has gone high tech! She’s got a radio program, videos and she’s even on Twitter.

Some links for getting started:

Where to Start
Beginner BabySteps

I admit that I still find the site really really overwhelming to look at (and dare I say, unattractive… but that’s a hang up with the artist in me). There is just so much information.

So go in with blinders – start with the links above and move from there.

In no time, you too will be living clutter-free and doing the Super Fling Boogie.

Family Management Tools – Using Cozi

If you are anything like me, you’ve got lists all over the place. Lists for groceries, lists of activities on a calendar, lists of memories that you may one day (but probably will never) scrapbook… And they probably are covering your fridge.

It’s hard keeping track of everything that goes on around a home – field trips, meetings, sports practices.

Cozi is a site where you can manage your family’s calendar, make lists (groceries, to do) and even post photos and journal.

And it is super simple to figure out. Better yet – it’s free!

Your home page will look something like this (but not with that super cute baby – he’s mine):

(click photos to enlarge for more detail)

cozi home screenshot

You will immediately have access to your journal, calendar and shopping lists.

When you choose your calendar and set it up, you can assign a different color for each family member. Then when you view your calendar, choose to view all members or individuals:

family calendar screen shot

Access your lists – create new ones, print them, even search for recipes (!):

Cozi grocery list screenshot

And be sure to use the journal to jot down things you don’t want to forget, such as cute babies in a vest and tie:

family journal screenshot

See – simple. You are sure to find something about Cozi that will help you manage your family better, and allow you to see your fridge again.

photo: striatic; screenshots: mine

Learn From the People You Follow on Twitter

photo: williamli1983

Like anything else online, Twitter can be just another distraction or it can be a very useful tool.

Looking for ideas on growing a business?
Trying to think of a way to organize your coupons?
Want to know the latest online news or sales?

A well-rounded list of people you follow will give you access to this information right at your fingertips. Seek out people who have similar interests or people who are experts in areas you want to learn about.

Following your friends on Twitter is fun. Following established Tweets and learning from them is smart.

Here are two lists to get you started:

Twitter Grader Elite – Top Users