Guest post from Mystie Winckler
Whether you stay at home full time, work full time or part time, are a student, homeschool, or have projects or volunteer opportunities to manage, you have a home to run and a life (or multiple peoples’ lives) to manage on top of everything else. Part of a homemaker’s job is information management, project management, and people management. Having one central place to collect the information and lists you need is key to minimizing stress and having to think through the same scenarios over and over again.
A home management binder is a way to gather and organize all the information, ideas, and tasks that otherwise would roll around untamed in your head or uncontrolled in lists spread across the house and car. Contacts, calendars, lists, ideas, and information all need to be corralled and maintained, and a home management binder is a great way to bring it all together and stay on top of life. If you know where it is, you can find the information you need when you need it. That’s what a home management binder is all about.
But, binders can become bulky, heavy, and cluttered.
There are numerous lovely ladies out there with pictures of their beautiful paper binders. Certainly a paper-based binder can be prettier than digital version – for some people. None of the binders I ever put together looked half so nice as those I’ve seen on Pinterest. What the digital version lacks in cuteness, however, it makes up for in accessibility and versatility. Moreover, the digital version is the frugal option if you already have the tools. If you have a smartphone, a tablet, or a laptop, why not use them to their full potential? You can keep many more lists, much more information, have it all be easier to find, all while taking up less space than if you kept those papers, much less if you continued printing more and more.
Making a digital management system won’t make a crafty mess and, by the end of the project, will reduce or eliminate your paper clutter instead of merely containing it.
Enter Evernote. Instead of papers piled on the counter, shoved onto a desk in a back room, and crumpled in your purse, you can contain them in one easy-to-reference space. Or, even better, shred those paper piles after digitizing the information quickly and easily. Evernote is a versatile note-taking program and app. However, it is so versatile that it can be bewildering to tinker with and figure out.
Think of Evernote like a digital version of a binder, tabbed dividers, and paper. What would you do with those? What could you do with those?
Anything you wanted.
Whatever you might keep in a binder, or in a manila folder, you can keep in Evernote digitally and shred the papers. Whatever printable or form you might copy and print and fill out, you can simply keep that information in Evernote. It might not be as cute and colorful, but it will stay put, not get water spilled on it, and you can use the search feature and find whatever you’re looking for without having to remember where you “filed” it.
A paperless home management system allows you:
- the ability to find the information you need by searching for it.
- to expand the amount of information you save and generate without taking up any more space.
- to shrink your paper files by digitizing and then shredding them.
- to easily share information with your husband, grandparents, or friends.
Evernote is really like a big blank canvas, waiting for you to use it however you want. Sometimes, however, the sheer possibilities are paralyzing. Sometimes it’s easier to begin with training wheels, with a set of short instructions on how to set up the bare bones and then how to flesh it out to fit your circumstances.
That’s precisely what I did in Paperless Home Organization. I walk you through setting up an Evernote account and show you how you can use it as the basis for your home management “binder,” keeping your information literally at your fingertips. The best thing about Evernote is that it is a web-based app, a desktop program, a phone app, and a tablet app, and you can use one or some or all of them, and whatever you use – on any operating system – will sync. Paperless Home Organization will take you step by step through getting all your lists and information into Evernote, and also show you how to use a task management app (RememberTheMilk) and how to better utilize the features of Gmail & Google Calendar.
But, there is no “right” way to use Evernote. It is free and it is there to be used however it best serves your needs. Do you use it? What do you use it for? Have you gone paperless in your planning? I’d love to hear your stories in the comments!
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