As time goes on, I find that I am getting busier, more forgetful or lazy. Most likely, it’s a combination of all three!
In managing life so far, I’ve come up with various methods to organize personal, family and household information. These methods involve 8 file cabinet drawers and hundreds of folders. Since I’m always connected to either a computer, tablet or smartphone I decided to virtual-ize my paper horde and go digital!
The key areas of my new system are using a family email account, online cloud storage and Evernote.
Family Email Account
I set up a family email account with a provider like Microsoft or Google that offers email, calendars and online storage. Each family member adds the family account to their devices to integrate shared information, files and calendar events. Now we all know when soccer practice is, when someone has a work shift or when we have dinner out plans. Anytime you can manage expectations and reduce potential conflict, life becomes easier. This solution is way better than a giant calendar on a fridge door.
Online Cloud Storage
Online cloud storage is great for shared photos or to archive information like health card, SIN card, license, passport in case the originals go missing. When we travel, I create a folder for that vacation and store all pertinent information like reservations, itineraries and insurance and travel documents. So in case we leave all that on the plane after we get into Cancun (like we did!) we still have a chance to have a vacation! Often, one of my kids would forget a paper at home and text me from school that they need it. I’d scan or photograph it, then, depending on its size, either email it or upload it to the cloud, and they would download it at school and print it. Understand the security risks of posting sensitive data to the cloud before accidentally uploading your tax return to a public folder somewhere!
This app came installed on my phone and I wondered what I could possibly use it for. I was keeping notes in a huge text file: how much better can note taking get? I started creating notebooks, tags and a system to make Evernote a virtual replacement of my file cabinets. Evernote is cross-platform and works well on a variety of devices. It integrates with my Windows PC web browser, my Windows tablet and my Android phone. I track mundane things like which light bulbs I use for different fixtures: take a photo of the package, enter some details, tag it and file it! I have a work notebook to keep commands, ideas and code snippets. After a long winter, I forget my neighbors’ names: Evernote to the rescue! Enter their names when I remember and file it for next year. Evernote integrates with Twitter, email and web browsers so if you want to save something you see online, you can easily clip it to Evernote. Evernote isn’t the only app of its kind, but it’s one of the best.
Find some time and do some reading about personal productivity, time management and online security. Get the tools, most are free, and take some baby steps to get in control of your life stuff!
– Robert Kulig
Computer Systems Technology ‘98