Eating an Elephant

I’ve been invited to participate in BlogHer’s Life Well Lived program by answering the following question:
What are your favorite resources (Products, Apps, Books, Websites, etc.) to help you get organized?


Now that’s right up my alley!

I’m an organization addict; I love making lists, drawing charts, sorting, labeling, color-coding… I get goosebumps just thinking about it!


Last summer Teacher and I discovered a book that has helped us get more organized: “Getting Things Done” by David Allen. You may remember that I mentioned it in a previous Life Well Lived post: Organizing Paper Clutter.

The basic premise of the book is what I call the “Elephant Principle” You know, that old joke: “How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.” If you try to eat the whole elephant at once you’ll be overwhelmed, not know where to start, get sick, and maybe even explode. But if you just start at one end and take it one bite at a time, eventually you’ll get the job done.

You can look at life is the same way. If you look at everything you need to do all at once you’ll get overwhelmed, not know where to start, get sick and your head might explode. Figuratively speaking, of course. But if you start in one place and take things one “bite” at a time, eventually you’ll get the jobs done.



This is where the OmniFocus app comes in. I realize it’s rather pricey, but it’s absolutely amazing! You can type in individual actions “Write organization blog post” and assign each a context “computer” and a project “To Do List”.

For instance, if you’re out running errands you can pull up your “errands” context to see all the things you need to do when you’re out of the house. Or if you want to make aluminum plant markers you can pull up your “Plant Marker” project and see everything you need to make it a success. Find directions – “computer” context. Buy aluminum tape – “errands” context, etc.

You can access actions up by context or project, or you can see all available actions at once. You can also create folders to help organize your projects you know I love this!

The only two drawbacks that I’ve found to the OnmiFocus app are:

  1. You can’t sync your Omni with someone else’s, so when Teacher and I want to list the same projects in our Omnis we each need to type them in.
  2. I don’t always remember to use it, or don’t want to take time to type an action in. OK, that’s not really an app problem; it’s user error. Anyone got an app for that?


Getting Things Done and the Omni app work great for Teacher and me, but there are tons of other apps, books products and websites to help you get organized. Look for more resources to help you get organized at, and join in the conversation!

While you’re there, be sure to enter the current Life Well Lived Sweepstakes; you could win an iPod Touch!

Amy Sue

Photo credit: Thimindu on Flickr


  1. I thought at first that you were serious in talking about eating elephants.. haha… but you are indeed right. If you take it slow, you’ll get farther than rushing it

    • Andie,

      Sorry for alarming you – I’ve never eaten a real elephant in my life, and have no plans to. I wonder if it tastes like chicken?

      Thanks for commenting!
      ~Amy Sue

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