Monday, September 28, 2015

Get it? Got it? Good.

The to-do list.  On a sticky note.  The back of an envelope (I'm looking at you, Mom.)  An index card.  Somehow we all gotta remember stuff. 

My sister and I have a firm belief.  It is this:

Never underestimate the power of a brain dump. 

It means, ok, yes, you've got a ton of stuff to do.  Maybe not even stuff to do, as much as things to remember.  And it's all swirling around in your head.  You just can't get past the swirling mental clutter.  That in and of itself can make you edgy and unfocused.  Add to that whining, potty accidents and trying to make breakfast.  Sounds like a mess, doesn't it? 

Get Evernote. 

Just go get it.  NOW.  And then, open it up and start typing in all that you have to remember.  All you have to do.  Take a deep breath and tackle one thing, the most important thing.  The brain dump (in Evernote) just worked for you.

It's a free app.  Most of us have some sort of device that we have with us.  Or, a device that we have available to us - a computer, a tablet in the closet our tech-loving husband gave us (I'm looking at you, friend. He he.)  Why not put your device to work for you? 

Evernote works for you. 

All my to-do lists are in Evernote.  All my notes are there.  All my ideas are there.  Christmas lists are there, always in progress. 

It's searchable!  So, rather than dumping my purse to find the elusive list related to grocery shopping, co-op or my Tractor Supply run (Yes, if you saw the purse I carry, you'd understand why dumping is necessary to find things), I click the search icon.  And I find it, with a huge sigh of relief and a heartfelt "Thank you, God."

You can have different notebooks.  For example, I help lead our local homeschool co-op.  I found myself with lots of different co-op related lists.  They all got jumbled in with my everyday life stuff, so I made co-op its own notebook.  Beautiful.  There's a note for ideas in the works for the Spring 2016 session, a note on who's participating this session, a note on how to thank the facility that hosts us and so much more.  No more stacks of folders and actual notebooks piling on my desk with information all jumbled together.

There are check boxes.  Check boxes rock.  It's no fun to just delete the line that you accomplished.  No way.  Check boxes are way better.  For each day I have tasks that happen on those same days each week.  Monday has certain cleaning chores, as do the rest of the days of the week.  I made a note for each day of the week with a space for the usual chores as well as whatever else needs to be done.  Sunday night, when I glance over what's upcoming, I go in to each note, right click and select "Uncheck All."  Voila!  My notes are fresh.  I then tweak them with what is specific to this week.  (This takes about 10 seconds, seriously, and is worth it for how much less I have to keep in my tangled brain.)  Monday, I can focus on Monday, knowing that I've brain dumped for Tuesday and forthcoming days already.  It certainly helps me live in the grace of the hour. 

Evernote syncs across devices!  So, when I'm listening to Blossom4 read and I remember that random, "I need to email _____ about _____." thought.  I drop it in Evernote and focus again on listening to reading.  My laptop has Evernote, as does my Kindle.  This helped immensely with the running to-do list I kept in the schoolroom and the brain-dump area I had in the kitchen.  Too many areas... too many places for info to get lost or forgotten. 

Evernote is portable.  At co-op, I'll be chatting with ladies and I'll want to share some info I have at home.  I pull out my Kindle, add that into Evernote.  Awesome!  Remembering to do stuff is way easier! 

There are plenty of other ways that Evernote can be used.  I've only scraped the surface.  I really use it in its simplest (and free) forms. 

I hope you can take the blessing of technology and make it work for you.  I'm certainly glad I discovered Evernote.