Is your inbox filled with notes to yourself, maybe with books you want to read or songs you want to add to spotify? Does your counter have an old post-it note with the paint color you want to try? If you have information everywhere, from your inbox, to your dining room table, to your phone, it’s time to change all that so you can feel like you’re in control of your life (and actually find things you need). The secret to taming the slew of information is to use a system.
Why You Need A System
It’s always neat for you to hear what inspired my blog post.
Today’s topic was inspired because of Netflix. True story. I had a rare occasion where I had time to watch TV. This is very rare for me so I had no clue what to watch and was getting frustrated scrolling.
I did research online to find some good shows. I was looked at a site called Rotten Tomatoes which rates different Netflix shows. I had a tab for each show I wanted to consider watching, about 5 tabs.
Before being organized, like I’m about to teach you, these tabs would have stayed open for about 2 months.
Why? Because I’d probably have time to watch only one of the shows and then I’d want to remember the other 4 for next time. But of course, I don’t watch tv often so I’d just leave them there.
Does this sound familiar?
Of course. We do this a million times a day. We research something and we don’t want to forget.
We make a post-it note. We send ourselves an email. We put it in our planner if we’re organized.
But for the most part, it’s everywhere. Some stuff will be in your planner. Some stuff with your paperwork. Some stuff online. It’s a mess.
Your Solution: Online Database
What’s the solution to this mess? Because that’s what it is. It’s a nightmare. It makes you crazy. Stuff is everywhere and you feel “off” because you know things are messy.
And the answer is……you need a system, AKA a database.
Now, don’t get overwhelmed by the word database.
I’m purposely using this word because even if you have a system, you may not have thought of it this way before.
But essentially, that’s what you need.
You need an organized place to put everything by category so you can find it easily. And this system/database needs to be FUN.
I know the word database does not strike a FUN chord in you. But once we get into it, you’ll see it’s really fun and now that you’re thinking of it this way, you’ll use it for everything.
The Goal – Keep Everything Together
Here’s the goal. You’re going to take all the information from all areas of our life and keep it in ONE spot. You’ll have everything together in one place.
Forget about post-its and emails, google docs and all the places you have for your information now. No matter the topic, you’re going to have it in one place.
How does this sound to you?
I’m hoping it sounds exciting and also empowering. You’ll have your life together. And it doesn’t have to be hard and complicated.
The goal is to not have things scattered anymore.
You’re no longer wondering if you put that paint color in your notes app, your email, or a google doc. You know exactly where it is.
Examples of Software
1) Evernote. This app is probably the most widely known and used. It’s a great app. I used it for several years. I didn’t love it at the time, but I went in to research it for this episode and all the things I didn’t love about it years ago have now been fixed. This is a great one to use. It’s very popular and you can’t go wrong with it. I still have a ton of great information in here. Truthfully, I’m bummed they fixed it after I gave up on it. That’s life.
2) One Note. I absolutely love one-note. I use both the PC and the Mac version and this is so helpful. I actually keep all my notes from clients here because I can password protect it. I have templates that I use before each session. It’s just terrific and great to use.
3) Notion. If you haven’t heard of notion, this app is pretty incredible. Again, I used it when it first came out and didn’t love it. But a few months ago I saw it again and couldn’t believe how awesome it was.
It’s great for to-do lists, storing ideas, notes, everything. I highly recommend it.
4) Trello. I’d be lost without Trello. Seriously. I keep all my podcast episodes in Trello. Trello is very visual if that appeals to you. It puts information in visual lists so you can see what’s going on. I have my menu planner in here, too. I like the visual aspects of this.
I don’t like this for planning my to-do list. I know a lot of people use this for their to-do but for me, I like it because I can get to things quickly, not to track my daily to-do’s.
I also have my processes and systems written out in Trello. This is so great if you want to keep that kind of information.
5) Notes App. If you’re a Mac user, the notes app on your Mac also will work great. I have a Mac but I’ve never used this app, but I’ve glanced through it and tried it out and it seems great.
6) Bear. If you’re wondering what I’m currently using, it’s called BEAR and it’s for the Mac. This one I actually don’t recommend unless you write a lot. It’s beautiful for writing in.
There aren’t a lot of options in this app, for example, you can’t change your font color (for now). I like the limited functionality so I don’t get distracted when I’m using it. There’s something about the screen that’s so crisp and beautiful. I can’t describe it. I just love it and want to use it as much as possible.
You know why I chose it even though it doesn’t have all the things I need?
It’s fun. It makes me happy.
And if I actually WANT to go in and use it, I’ll organize my life a whole lot more and better, and that’s the whole point.
Also, thankfully, they’re working on some updates so in the future, I know it’ll have more of what I need.
How to Choose Your Software
When you choose your software, whether you LIKE it is the most important aspect.
This is not a situation where you want to be practical and weigh the different options. Go with your gut.
Because you want to actually USE it. That’s the most important. And if you like it and feels fun and it’s easy to organize, then you’ll be in it every day and actually be using it.
So don’t be too practical here.
And you don’t have to limit yourself to the apps I spoke about, either. There are dozens of good ones.
Play around. Download different ones and try them for a week. Don’t put your whole life in it. Just use it for a few weeks, and see how it goes. Maybe start with putting your to-do list in it. Whatever works for you. Play around.
I told you this would be fun!
As with everything, “the more you use it, the more you’ll use it.” What I mean by that is that the more you’ll use it, the more you’ll see opportunities to use it.
For Example – How I use it
Right now in BEAR I have a section for classes I take. I’m in the middle of taking a class (you know I’m always in the middle of taking some class) so this way I can take notes on the class and have it all in one place.
I also have a section for my journal. I don’t put all my journal entries in there. But the other day I had some thoughts that I wanted to jot down in a place I’d see it later. So I put it right there.
I stuck in a section for goals. Every year I create goals for myself and I put them right into the app.
Of course, I also have a section for my podcast and that’s where I keep my outlines.
You could have a section for your family. For example, I used Evernote when my kids were young. When they said something cute, I put it in Evernote and now I have a bit of this cuteness saved.
See, it’s a database. That’s why I started out saying that word even though I knew it would be a bit hard to hear since it sounds techie. But that’s how I want you to think of it.
It makes it so easy because you are a complex person and have different areas of your life. You can put it ALL in there, whichever software you choose, neatly organized.
Here are Other Examples.
- TV shows to watch
- Paint colors that you’ve used in your house.
- Articles you want to read
See how everything is in ONE spot and not all over your desk and your online space? It’s neatly organized in an app you love.
And this my friend, is how you create more balance in your life. Everything in one place. It’s a dream come true.
So go pick one that makes you smile and that you ENJOY using and then, don’t make a big deal out of it. Just use it. The more you use it, the more you’ll think to use it.
Everything in one place. I’m excited for you.