When my desk gets too cluttered, I have to stop and straighten it. For some reason, chaos creeps in when I'm writing. And I have to be able to find things. Here are some tips to help organize your writing life.
Calendars - Pick a calendar and use it regularly. I maintain the blog rotation for a couple of writing blogs. It's like herding cats sometimes when lots of folks are involved. My friend Tina Glasneck suggested Google Calendar, and it's been a lifesaver. I loaded up our blogging schedule and gave everyone access to it. It's a great way to keep us organized.
Keeping Your Plot in Order - I plot my novels chapter by chapter on paper. I use a Word table, but you can use index cards, paper/pen, Excel, or any number of mind-mapping or drawing tools. I color code the parts that have romance, comedy, clues, and action. This helps me see where they're located throughout the story and allows me to spread them out. It also is incredibly useful later when you're editing.
Keeping up with the Details - I write a short biography of each main character and important location in my novels. I use a Word table. Then I add to it as I revise the work. I use this to keep up with hair color, eye color, favorite foods, cars, pets, and any other little detail that I could forget. I have a separate column for each book in the series, and I can track which characters appear in which book. It definitely helps with the details when you're revising.
Idea File - I keep a notebook with me to jot down ideas (e.g. ideas, names, funny phrases, and interesting stories). I used to keep a manila folder with pictures and ideas. I keep these on my computer now. I also use Pinterest to save ideas, recipes, and photos of great locations.
Contacts - I put all of my contacts in Outlook. I add a note to help me remember where I met the person. Also, when people give me a business card, I write the location on the back to help me remember later.
One Location - Have one location where you keep all of one thing (e.g. keys, papers, ideas, photos, etc.). It sounds simple, but with every-day life, things get misplaced too easily. And you waste a lot of time hunting for them.
By keeping the minutia under control, you have more time for writing. Best wishes for your writing projects!