Finding an Organization System That Works for My Chaotic Mind

I have a LOT going on this quarter in grad school*—and, ya know, there’s a ton going on in the world that can make it hard to focus. I spent a long time my first week this quarter looking for a project management software system that would help me stay on top of things. (*And I saw my first client last week!!! I’m happy to report we both survived.)

This may be a random post, but I love productivity hacks and seeing other people’s systems of how they get shit done, so here’s how I’m doing it right now.


I’m a writer. I LOVE me a good notebook. I also live in a one-bedroom apartment, and I am beginning to have notebooks piling up, so my organization quest started with looking for a solution to this. But also, I am super old-school and I retain information way better when I physically write, so I was hoping for some sort of solution that involved some kind of writing magic.

I asked on Twitter, and a TON of people suggested Rocketbook. It’s a notebook that uses erasable pens with paper you can wipe down. Once you are done with your notes, you scan the QR code on the page with your phone and it automatically sends it to places including Evernote, email, etc. I am generally really liking it—except, I am left-handed, so the left-hand side of the page gets a little smudgy, but not so much so that I can’t read my notes. You win some, you lose some?


I tried out a few different project management software thingers, but integrating with the Rocketbook was pretty important to me. The two other features most important to me were: a place to store class/training documents (notes, syllabi, etc.) and a way to see all of my tasks at a glance on a calendar. Unfortunately, the calendar part wasn’t an option in Evernote, but the rest of it seemed easy enough. I used to use Asana when I was at my last job, and I looked pretty closely at it this time, but there was no direct integration with Rocketbook. (I could have emailed to myself and then put in Asana, but I’m trying to streamline things as much as possible, not add steps, sooo.) But if you’re looking for a project management software that can hold all your to-dos AND files for projects, I think it’s a pretty damn good one.

evernote project management software

Here’s a screenshot of my Evernote with a Rocketbook note so you can see how it all works together. As you can see, I have a LOT of notebooks because there’s a lot of stuff I’m juggling this quarter. (And then a few personal ones, and the Daily Burn one because I just couldn’t bear to delete it :)) Under Training and Workshops, you can see that there’s other notebooks—this is called stacking notebooks in Evernote, and once I’m done with this quarter, I’ll move it all into a Winter 2021 “stack.”


I wanted some kind of task manager where I could also set up projects for each class so I could see at a glance what was coming up and what was due. I put every single reading, e-mail, assignment, etc in here so that I don’t miss anything. I had really wanted a way to see a month’s calendar at a glance, and it doesn’t do that, which is kind of annoying.

todoist project management software

But it does also sync with Google Cal, so I can at least see there if I have any huge due dates coming up if I am trying to schedule some kind of appointment.

This is just the Todoist calendar, this isn’t my whole calendar.

There’s also an app, so I can get notifications.

Focus To-Do

The last piece in my productivity puzzle is Focus To-Do. The Pomodoro technique (25 minutes of focused work, 5 minutes off) is kind of the only way I can focus these days. Most of the time, I can work for twenty-five minutes if I know I get a five-minute break (or I take ten, sometimes) where I can check email/Twitter/etc. There’s also a feature for you to use it as a time-tracker, which I sometimes use to see how long a project is taking me. (Especially my paid writing work.)

Not many people read this blog any more, but I still wanted to use whatever small platform I have over here to talk just a little bit about current events and say that I, 1 million percent, condemn the white supremacist domestic terrorism attempt to overthrow an election/an entire branch of our government, incited by the president.

Also, I’d be remiss to say all of that and not mention Martin Luther King Jr. Day. May we one day see the justice he dreamed of—we have a long way to go. As a white person, I’m continuing to reflect on my role in society for this work beyond posting stuff online. In school, I am going deep on learning my role in white supremacy and how to be a culturally humble therapist. (As I’ve said before, a POC in a place to choose probably wouldn’t choose a white therapist like me, and I understand that!!! For those who can’t choose, I want to be there as best I can.) A cause important, related to that, is access to therapy—which is…not a good situation. I donate monthly to the Loveland Foundation, which provides scholarships for therapy to Black women and girls.

I don’t know how to end this now…so, be kind, rewind, and take care of yourself. Talk to me about social justice? or project management software? or tacos?

11 comments on “Finding an Organization System That Works for My Chaotic Mind

  1. Cindy

    I totally needed this post when I read it last night! I’ve ordered a Rocketbook and I am going to see if Todoist will help organise my work project as I am feeling VERY overwhelmed right now.

  2. Kayla

    1. I must’ve already known you were left handed because of course we’re both left handed

    2. I’m SO intrigued by rocketbook as a serial notebook user looking to be more of a minimalist in life (I’m failing miserably at that goal though)

  3. Lauren

    LOVE the mention of Pomodoro technique. It’s what’s getting me through these days too. Often times I find if I can use the Pomorodo to trick myself into getting started, I can flow way past the 25 minutes. I tend to ride it out as long as I can go when that happens, because who knows how long it will take to get back in the zone next time… Glad to hear it’s helping you too!

  4. V

    I used to read a ton of healthy living blogs, but they have waned a lot, so it’s nice that yours is still here to read. I find it infuriating that of the ones I still read (yours notwithstanding), only ONE even acknowledged insurrection in the government, one of the most notable events in the 21st Century. Literally one blog’s post the next day was about how she was so excited to use a coupon for free pizza. W.T.F. So it’s refreshing to hear people talk about it and not bury their heads in the sand.

    1. Theodora

      aw thank you <3 maybe it took me too long to start talking about these things, but better late than never, I hope. It was maybe an awkward transition, but I have no idea how TF I could write after that happened and not mention it at ALL. (But also I'd like a coupon for a free pizza too? :))

  5. Anne

    I, too, love seeing your presence in the blog world. Your voice is so important – and I appreciate you continuing to share.
    And, thank you for the overview of your organizational method!
    I have been a long-time Evernote user, although some of the most recent updates made me seriously reconsider. (Things like you can’t do a print preview anymore, and they made it so that you cannot change the default font in the titles and the body of the note…among other things.)
    Because of that I am now using a legacy version, and seriously considered shifting to another platform when my subscription to Evernote is up in the fall. Hopefully the issues that I cited don’t bother you, and I am also holding out hope that they fix them!
    Wow, that was a lot on Evernote. I had no idea I was so passionate about it. 😉
    Take care, and be safe.

    1. Theodora

      omg thank you so much <3 that means a lot!

      It sounds like you've been a long-time evernote subscriber so maybe you don't even know the difference, but what do you find worth it in the subscription? So far, I am finding it *good* but know I'm probs not using it to its potential.

  6. Anne

    You know, re: the subscription vs. the free version, I’d go with the free version for as long as it works for you. For me, I needed more storage space (I have thousands of notes, dating back to 2013, so that adds up!). There were other benefits, too – more uploads allowed per month, and the option to search the text in attached files (in addition to the notes themselves). But like I said, the free version is really good if it works for you. The only thing is if your notebook uploads start to exceed the free version’s limit… then you’d probably have to think about upgrading.

    And I do hope you realize how valuable your voice is! You really do make a difference.


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