You may recognize this image from my review of Productivity 2.0. I used it again as a reminder that planning is the foundation for being organized.
Let’s pull back from the Home Management Binder project to a wide angle view of how we handle our lives and families as chief organizer and planner. If there is no fundamental system in place for managing our lives then the Home Management Binder is a waste of paper. The core task in managing my life is stopping once a week to process and think ahead.
Planning is a 2-step process. First, I constantly capture ideas and tasks. My brain does a terrible job remembering stuff. Paper and electronic files do not. For me, doing this digitally as much as possible is the way to go. I keep it as simple as possible after taking the time to set up my tools. I can also access my digital files at all times – on the iPad, laptop, or iPhone.
Second, I spend 30 to 45 minutes a week going through various parts of my system. As long as I use both steps in my planning process, I am better prepared to handle whatever happens during the week. As you know, there’s the plan, and then there’s life with its bouts of flu, forgetting lunch for school, husbands working late, the car getting a flat tire….
Capturing Ideas and Tasks
Because Evernote is my digital filing system, every time I capture ideas, they need to feed into Evernote. On the web, I use the Evernote web clipper. The Chrome Evernote web clipper is more sophisticated than the Firefox or Internet Explorer one. I can select individual notebooks and tags, include a comment in whatever I’m clipping, plus edit the title of the clipped note.
When I’m reading, I keep a note open in Evernote on the iPad and save the note in my brain dump notebook, !Inbox. I review the notes as part of my weekly review, breaking them down into separate notes if necessary, tagging them and moving them to the appropriate notebook.
Anytime I have an email to archive, I send it to Evernote for later review. I could save myself a step by including the notebook and appropriate tags in the subject line of the email.
I use Evernote on my Smartphone to capture images when I’m out. If I have time, I write notes on the images using Skitch. When I’m working on a recipe, I take notes using Dragon Dictation and email Evernote my recipe.
Since I need deadlines to get things done and I have deadlines imposed on me like tax day, I use Nozbe, a Getting Things Done electronic planner, to keep track of dated activities. I also use Nozbe for project planning since there’s always something I want to do when I have time like update my About page or learn more about a particular aspect of real food. (If you click on the Nozbe link and sign up, I get a small commission as an affiliate.)
Evernote and Nozbe go hand in hand. My Evernote tags are the names of Projects in Nozbe. Each time I look at a Project in Nozbe like my son’s First Communion Album, I can quickly reference notes in Evernote about the project while in Nozbe. If I need to take photos at Kindergarten graduation, the dated reminder will be in the First Communion Album Project in Nozbe with a list of shots to take in Evernote tagged with “First Communion Album.”
Because paper is still part of life, I have my Tickler files set up for the school year organized by month and week. I keep the monthly calendars from school and other monthly items at the front of each month. Invitations, school event reminders, museum calendars all go into the weekly files.
Next Week – Making Sense of What I’m Doing aka My Weekly Review
My Home Management Binder
How do you capture ideas and tasks?
Are you a digital gal, paper gal, or a combination of the two?
Disclosure: To help pay for running this blog, I am a Nozbe Affiliate and The Mom Writes eBooks Affiliate.