The firm I work for has been experimenting with a variety of client management software, collaborative software, and all sorts of other collaborative technology.
Today we were debating the merits of another new program, and we both agreed that while organization is key, some programs merely duplicate the organization of another program. Effectively, this can force you to spend time managing the various ways you stay organized.
There is no perfect method
Unless you have a photographic memory, the internet has not caused some form of ADD, and you can always stay on task, there is no perfect method of organization. Just like lawyers know that everything cannot get done in one day, whatever method you use will not be perfect.
If there is a perfect system/program out there, I would love to hear about it. That said, one person’s system may not be perfect for anyone else, which is why . . .
Choose the system/method/program that works for you
I use my brain, my anal-retentiveness, and Google Calendar to make sure everything gets done. If I need to work on something, I put it on my calendar. If I really need to work on something, I close everything else and just do it. That is what works for me.
For many people, that method sounds ridiculous. Some people want reminder emails, or need to schedule everything. Other people do not like schedules, because then they cannot focus on the task at hand. One problem that both Sam and I have with some task-management programs is that the effort involved to use them is not worth the effort—some are simply more trouble than they are worth. If you find yourself spending excessive time organizing, then it might be time to switch your system or method.
If sticking post-its all over your monitor works, do it. If you like a clipboard with a checklist—more power to you. If you remember everything in your head, I am jealous.
Bottom line: there is no right way, except the method that works for you.