The Emerald Girl

casual. classic. curious.

Saturday, March 9, 2019

How I use OneNote to organize my life

There are many programs out there but I've been using OneNote for the last three years. I used to have a physical notebook with dividers and would put all of the pertinent information in there. In fact, I held onto that method long after most organized people had started using digital tools for this type of stuff. Now that I am using OneNote, I realize this makes way more sense. It's environmentally friendly, available on the go and has virtually endless numbers of pages. I recommend having OneNote on any device that you use regularly.

I have a tab to organize our family. This tab houses our family mission statement, rules, monthly family meeting notes, family traditions, weekly meal plan and monthly budget amongst other things. It's a general overview. One thing I need to add to this tab is emergency information.

Next, there's a tab called "Cookbook". This is a modern day recipe box. It's organized into basic categories such as breakfast, lunch, dinner, etc. I only save recipes for meals that I actually make or that I believe I will actually make. This is not a Pinterest board free for all. Being able to use this list easily for weekly meal planning is essential and I don't want it to be overwhelming or burdensome. Since cooking is not my forte I have to pull out my phone when it's my turn to make a meal. Pro tip: keep auto-lock turned off so that you don't have to constantly log back in when the screen turns off. It is so handy and super easy to train yourself to physically turn the phone off when you're done using it.

Right after that is a tab called "Grocery Shopping List". This is the section that I really want to make work. The idea is that my husband and I can add items to the list together or individually and then whoever goes grocery shopping can pull out their phone to view the list and make shopping that much easier. Admittedly, we don't use this section very much at all. For one, my preferred method of grocery shopping is online and, for two, we just don't tend to be that structured about grocery shopping.

Other sections in my Notebook include: travel (each vacation can have its own tab), the kid's school, a tab for me, a tab for my husband (these are just sections for notes on whatever we want) and a tab for my blog (this is where I first write out a potential post before publishing to the blog).

While it may be tempting to just dump any and all information into your OneNote, DON’T! Too much is a bad thing. Get in the habit of deleting things. OneNote for organizing your life is not meant to literally house your entire life from now until death. Unless you plan on creating a new notebook for each year, this isn't a memory book. This is a tool to make managing your family and home easier and more streamlined. It's also helped me to declutter my inbox. For example, since the travel tab has a section for each vacation, I copy and paste flight, rental and other confirmations here and delete from my inbox. It's unnecessary to have this information in two places and it's much easier to have it all together in one location (OneNote) especially if you're married since you can both access it.

Give it a try and let me know how it goes! I'd love to hear about other home/life organization tips people are using.

Updated 09-19-19: This post was originally about OneNote 2016 which Microsoft will be discontinuing supporting for in 2020 sometime. I do not recommend Windows10 OneNote. The functionality is beyond poor, the ease of use is dismal. I am so disappointed when I absolutely loved the 2016 version of this app!

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