Are you overwhelmed by all of the paper, appointments, bills, school work, and all of the other STUFF that you as the mom are responsible for keeping track of in your home? Are the paper piles getting you down? You know the schoolwork pile, the bills pile, the “where the heck did this paper come from” pile, and the oh so elusive tasks or “Post-it Notes” pile.
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Well, take a deep breath, this Evernote Review System for Busy Moms is going to help you clear your mind and get organized. You’ll be able to easily tackle your to-do list and have time to focus on what’s most important to you rather than constantly worrying about what you haven’t done.
This series will teach you how to create a digital review system to keep track of all of your family’s stuff using Evernote. There are 7 Steps in this Evernote series.
After reading through each step, you will be given assignments to complete before moving on to the next step.
Once your system is up and running, you’ll be amazed at how much time you are saving. This newfound time can be used to focus on the things that align with your core values.
Let’s Get Started With Evernote
Evernote is the best resource I’ve found to organize and plan your personal, family, and work life activities.
Now don’t get me wrong, I still love pen and paper. In fact, I called myself a pen and paper gal for many years and relied heavily on my tried and true Franklin Covey Day Planner.
But then I had kids. Having kids means carrying around a lot more stuff. Easily finding my bulky planner amidst diapers, wipes and all of the other things kids “need” proved impossible.
And “mommy brain” prevented me from remembering to do simple tasks, like brushing my teeth, so I knew I couldn’t rely on it to remember more important ones, like doctor’s appointments.
Finally, I caved in and started using a digital system for organizing my appointments and tasks.
I started simply with Google Calendar and the notes app on my iPhone. But what I soon realized is that not only did I need to keep track of what was happening in the weeks or months ahead, I needed to intentionally plan for what was going to happen in the weeks and months ahead.
You see, as a mom, you are not only responsible for keeping track of every family member’s appointments. You’re also responsible for planning birthday parties, scheduling annual doctor’s appointments and biannual dentist appointments, making sure homework is completed on time and turned in, grocery shopping, meal planning, vacation planning, financial planning, home maintenance and the list goes on and on.
I haven’t completely done away with paper. In fact, I use my Daily Inspiration Planner every day.
But for big picture tracking and planning, I recommend switching to a digital system. It just makes the most sense in today’s fast-paced digital world to have a system that is practical, efficient, and reliable.
Evernote is the single best resource for keeping track of your family’s life.
Two of my favorite resources on getting organized, productivity and setting up review systems are Getting Things Done by David Allen and The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People by Steven R. Covey.
I recommend checking these books if you’re an organization and productivity junkie like me.
But the best practical resource I’ve found for keeping my review system in one place is Evernote.
I can’t emphasize how much I love Evernote and the simple way it allows you to keep track of everything in one place. This app allows you to seamlessly sync across multiple devices so no matter where you are you have your notes in one place.
I have it set up on my MacBook, my iPad and my iPhone. Plus, I have the ability to access it online at any time no matter where I am.
And best of all, it’s free (there’s a premium version but the freemium version is great for getting started).
The Evernote Basics – Notes, Notebooks, Notebook Stacks, and Tags.
Evernote allows you to create notes, notebooks, notebook stacks, and tags.
A note is the most basic element and the place where you are going to store information. Each note has a title and content. The content can be text or a spreadsheet, but it can also include links to documents, Web pages, images, PDF files, and audio recordings.
A notebook is simply a collection of notes. Think of a notebook as a drawer of related files.
A notebook stack is a stack of notebooks that you want to be organized together. Think of the stack as a filing cabinet.
You can also use tags in your notes to help keep you organized and to easily retrieve items with a specific tag. I don’t utilize tags very much, at least not right now, since I prefer the visualization of the notebook stacks.
So that’s the gist of how Evernote works.
We’ll get into the specific details of how you can put together your review system in just a bit.
For today, here’s an introduction to An Evernote Review System for Busy Moms.
A Review System for Life
This review system includes at least three types of reviews – a daily review, a weekly review, and a monthly review.
In Evernote, you’ll create 3 Notebooks for each of your reviews – a Daily Review notebook, a Weekly Review notebook, and a Monthly Review notebook.
You may want to add in a quarterly, semiannual and annual review later on as you start working o your review. For me, I haven’t found these additional notebooks necessary since I’ll just review these items in my monthly review as they come up.
But I know others that prefer these additional notebooks. You’ll just need to figure out what works best for you as we get your review set up.You will create an Evernote Review Stack to hold your review notebooks.
Here’s a brief introduction of how to organize each of the three reviews:
The Daily Review
The Daily Review is straightforward and doesn’t take but a few minutes each day. I like to complete my daily review at night before going to bed so I know what to expect the next day.
It’s simple, the review consists of 4 items:
- First, you’ll review a Note you will save in your Daily Review Notebook called the “Daily Review List,” which is just a checklist of everything you’ll need to review on a daily basis.
- Next, you’ll revise a Note you will save in your Daily Review Notebook, called the “Next Actions List.”
- Then, you’ll process any Notes that you may have saved in your Daily Review Notebook that day. These are generally things that have come up during the day but that you didn’t have time to process (e.g., respond to an email, file a note in the appropriate notebook, add an event or task to the calendar or add an item to your next actions list – I’ll explain more how this works later on!).
- Finally, you’ll review and update your daily calendar – I use Google calendar.
The Weekly Review
The Weekly Review takes a little more time. I tend to complete mine early on Saturday morning with a hot cup of coffee and a quiet house.
You’ll plan for the week ahead by:
- reviewing current and future projects
- planning the week’s meals
- creating a grocery list
- scanning items in the “To Scan” folder
- filing items in the “To File” folder
- putting away things from the declutter box (a box to collect miscellaneous items that are collected in the house throughout the week, including mail that needs to be processed)
- reviewing personal goals (I like to also review goals on a monthly basis).
Many of these items are notes in my weekly review notebook. During my review, you’ll move tasks to your next actions list and calendar new items as needed.
The Monthly Review
The Monthly Review is the most comprehensive review of all. This review is completed once a month. During this review, you can also move things to the calendar and your next actions list. This is also the time to review and revise your monthly review topics as needed.
Some things included in the monthly review are:
- party planning
- family financial planning
- car/home maintenance projects
- volunteer work
- hospitality planning
- date night planning
- kids’ classes/extracurricular activity planning
- health care planning.
Your monthly review may look different depending on the items you decide are best reviewed on a monthly basis. The monthly review notebook should include a note for each of these items so you can easily move through them as you do my review.
The monthly review notebook will include a note for each of these items so you can easily move through them as you do my review.
A Review System Will Make Your Life More Manageable.
Having a review system will make your life more manageable. It really will.
A review system allows you to break down your responsibilities into bite-sized chunks. You’ll no longer feel overwhelmed or panic that you’ve forgotten something.
It will take a bit of time and effort on your part to get it set up in the beginning but it’s totally worth it (and you don’t have to set it up in one sitting – take your time and revise it to fit your way of thinking about things).
Setting up an Evernote review system would be a great goal to set for yourself if your current system isn’t working, or if you don’t have one at all.
If I’ve convinced you that setting up an Evernote Review System is a worthy project, you are ready to move on to Step Two.
In Step Two, I will give you an action plan on how to create your weekly review system.
Your ASSIGNMENTS for Step One:
For now, all you need to do is:
- Download Evernote and set it up on your computer and your mobile devices.
- Create the 3 notebooks you’ll need for your system – a Daily Review notebook, a Monthly Review notebook and a Weekly Review notebook.
- Create a Review Stack — Once they’re created, you can stack them on top of each other to create a notebook stack called “Review Stack.”
Let me know if you get stuck on anything in the comments section below.
With Love and Joy,