Using Facebook to organise your life

Facebook is the second most visited website on the internet with 700,000,000 people using it every month. Personally, I’m probably on Facebook more than I’m not, so I wondered if there was an effective way to use Facebook as a bit of a To Do List / Project Management Tool / Life Organiser. I’ve used lots of different To Do List and Project Management Apps in the past, some really good, most that didn’t quite do what I needed. I didn’t expect Facebook to work particularly well for this purpose but I thought that as I use it so much already it makes a certain amount of sense to give it a try.

Create a Group

I started by creating a Group and giving it a name. I called mine ‘Life’. Even if you want to be the only person who sees this group you’ll still need to add a second person in order to create the group but you can remove them later like I did if you want. Of course, you might want to use it as a way to organise what your family is doing, or a group of friends or colleagues, in which case add whoever you want. Then select Secret so no one outside those you have invited can find your group.

create-facebook-group

Creating Events

Events are probably the main use of your group. If you are the only person in your group then Events are the best way to keep track of what’s going on in your life so you don’t forget that important hair appointment.

Creating them is easy, just go to the Events tab and click Create event.

group-events

Give your event a name and date, and whatever other information you want to add. If you want to invite all the members of the group, tick the corresponding box, if not you can add members after the event has been created.

group-create-event

Then go back to your events list to see all the events listed in chronological order with the next event at the top. All members of the group can add events, and their profile picture is displayed next to the event. It’s easy to see what everyone in the group/family/team/whatever is doing and when they are doing it.

Adding Documents

Groups are also able to create, and upload and store documents.  If a document relates to an event I paste a link to the document in the event posts to make it easy to find. If I want to create a to do list for a particular project, I create a document, title it something like ‘To Do – Project name’, and write a list of all the things I need to do.

group-doc

The good thing about these created documents it that they are editable and so easy to keep up to date. And the Documents section of your group is a easy to access place to keep a copy of files you might need later.

Documents can also be added by email. Just attach the document and send it to your group email address.

Set up Email Address

We can use standard posts to the group as reminders or notes, and to make them as easy to add as possible we’re going to set up an email address so that we can create posts simply by sending an email.

Go into the Group Settings (little spiky wheel ) and then Edit Group Settings. Click on Set Up Group Address:

group-email-setup

And then select the group name for the email address (it needs to be at least five characters long):

group-email-create

Click Set Address, give it a couple of minutes and then send a test email. It’ll show as a post in the group and any attached files will be listed in the Documents section.

Add to Favourites

Make your group easier to find by adding it to your Favourites. It reminds you to use it and check it regularly. Just click on the spiky wheel to drop the setting menu and click Add to favourites.

group-favourites

Clicking on the link to your Group takes you to the first section of your group which lists all your recent activity and makes it easy to see what is current.

So, does a Facebook Group work as a life organising tool? Well, actually it does pretty well. It has a few shortcomings, such as not being able to sort or search Documents, but it has some benefits too, such as when viewing all your events in Facebook, your group events will show up with all the public events and birthdays, making it easy to see if you have any clashes, or need to post a reminder to yourself to prepare for an upcoming event. It works for me, so I think I’ll be continuing to use it.

Entrepreneurial Schools

Heard a brief thing on the radio about encouraging students in schools to be more entrepreneurial by starting a business with £10. It started me thinking how they could do that.

If I were them I would leverage the community aspect of the school to provide stock to sell and as customers. I’d set up an Ebay shop that would be stocked with items donated by students, parents and teachers. However, to make better use of the school community and encourage people to keep providing stock (there needs to be a part of the strategy that considers sustainability), I’d award points to each of the donors based on how much the items they donated sell for, e.g. 1 point for 1 pound. These points can then be redeemed at the school for things like free tickets to school plays.

Of course, it would be promoted via the usual social media channels that kids love, ifttt’d from ebay to FB, TW, IG, etc. The points system could be run on Mailchimp so that everyone involved gets regular emails telling them how many points they have earned and what products are for sale this week.

So, what would the £10 be spent on? The postage of for the first round of items sold until you’ve got some profit to pay the delivery on more items.