Category : Productivity

Ten Ways Evernote is Making My Life Better


Page Title Photo_Ten Ways Evernote is Making My Life Better
Evernote is quickly becoming my most relied upon online tool, both professionally and personally. It’s is such a chameleon. (Ha! Loving the animal references!)

There are so many uses for it in every sector of life.

Here’s some of the ways I use it to stay organized and more productive:

1. Recipes

Bowl of Salad

photo credit: VIKTOR HANACEK via PicJumbo

I have photos of my recipes are organized in an Evernote notebook. As a Premium user, one of the features I love is that any text in my images are searchable. This gives me the ability to search for any ingredient and have every recipe with that ingredient come up.

I also have them tagged by type of recipe, so if I need a recipe for a main dish, I can pull up all the notes tagged, “main dish.”

Recipes Notebook2a

When I come across new recipes online, I clip them using the Evernote Clipper and they are added to my Recipes Notebook.

What about Pinterest for Recipes?

I do have a Food Board on Pinterest. But I try to keep it just to food related tips and tricks.  The thing about Pinterest is that it’s not searchable by ingredient, unless that ingredient is in the pin description. So Evernote is really a much better tool for organizing recipes.

(If I do pin a recipe on my food board, I’ll clip the recipe to Evernote after I try it.)

2. Medical Information

Caduceus Symbol

photo credit: colindunn via photopin cc

Medical information can be tough to organize because for most people a lot of time goes by between the times you need it.

That can make it tough to remember it when you need it. With medical information, you never know what the situation might be when you do need it. It could be a crisis situation where you don’t have time to be unorganized!

Recently it struck me that Evernote was the perfect way to organize all this information. I can record a note about every conversation with any doctor, every prescription, every vaccine.

Since Evernote keeps the date of all notes, you can see them in logical order, or search for something specific.

Those hand outs from the pediatrician? I can snap a photo with my phone and in they go. Each note is tagged by person’s name and with “medical.” This way I can keep track of allergies, shots, instructions.

For example, all three of my kids were recently sick. I had one conversation with a nurse, but since they are in varying developmental stages and had varying degrees of symptoms, she had separate instructions for each child.

How in the world was my sleep-deprived brain supposed to keep all that straight? Especially since she was giving me specific dosages that aren’t listed on the bottle (they want you to figure the dose by weight when the child is under a certain age and weight).

Thanks to Evernote, I have a record of that conversation – all three conversations to be exact. I’ve referred to that note quite a bit during this cold and flu season!

Can you see how useful this could be? All your medical history right there in your phone at the doctor’s office when you need it.

What did that other doctor tell me I should ask the specialist? Oh, here’s my note about it in Evernote!

3. Home Projects

Home Improvement Projects
photo credit: Alan Cleaver via photopin cc

I have started keeping track of next steps on home projects. We are on a tight budget but have a lot of project ideas. I keep track of needed items for home projects in Evernote.

Having it all written down in one place helps us budget for them, but also lets me shop for a good deal. If there’s something I like but we aren’t ready to fund that project yet, I can send it to Evernote with the web clipper.

When I’m out and about, if I see something we need to complete a project at a good price, I can snag it without bothering my husband at work with, “What kind of ____ did we need again?”

But this could really work for any project you need to collaborate on with someone else.

4. Accounting


photo credit: reynermedia of via photopin cc

I’ve started keeping expense receipts and payments scanned into Evernote for taxes and records. I can keep track of all my expenses and payments.

These are easily printable from Evernote, and I can search by any amount or word in the image.

5. Capturing Ideas

Light Bulbphoto credit: Jeff Kubina via photopin cc

Inspiration always hits me at the most inopportune times. While driving or out and about, I can’t do anything with my idea. Later, I can’t seem to remember the most important element.

Evernote is great for capturing inspiration. If an idea strikes when I’m away from my computer, (and lets face it, they always do!) I can create a note and jot a few words to jog my memory.

I can even say what I’m thinking into the Evernote App’s voice recorder, which will transpose them into typing in a note if I want!


Quotation Marks

As a writer, I often think of a quote but have no idea where I heard it. Or, I come across a quote and I know I can use it for something but I’m not sure what. Now, I can capture them in Evernote and know who said it and where to find it.

Check out this post by Michael Hyatt for a more in depth explanation of this system if you are a writer or a speaker who needs to organize content to draw from.

7. Client Information

One of my clients sends me a lot of information about multiple (10+) ongoing projects and causes. Each project’s history is as important to keep track of as the newest information. I need to store this large amount of information in an organized way.

With the help a handy service called If This, Then That, all the updates from my client get automatically forwarded from my email account into Evernote.

8. Tracking Groceries

photo credit: Ben Moore via Unsplash

I use the Grocery IQ app on my android phone, which has the option to email a copy of my lists to any email address.

I’ve started emailing a copy of the checked off items on my list to Evernote. The note contains the date, so I can always look at when my last purchase of an item was.

The main goal here is to get an idea of how long it takes us to use up certain items to get better at stockpiling items when they are on sale and getting enough to last until the next sale.

But an added bonus is that while I’m at the store, I might catch a glimpse of say, the Oatmeal and wonder, “Do we need oatmeal?” Then I could look up the last time I purchased oatmeal, and this might help me know the status of my Oatmeal!

9. Other Shopping

photo credit: closet factory via photopin cc

I adapted this great idea for remembering all the books you own, to remember all the clothes we own.

I keep a photo of every closet in our home in Evernote. (That’s not my closet above, by the way! The photo of mine is so less compelling, and far less well-lit!)

When I’m shopping, I can reference my photos to remember what clothes my family has. This helps me buy items that will complete outfits or vary in color from what we already own.

I considered this idea for my pantry, but it changes so often, I’d basically have to take a new photo every time I go grocery shopping. That’s not such a bad idea, but I haven’t implemented it yet.

10. Check Lists

Packing lists, lists of recipes, goals or long-term to-do lists (using Evernote’s “table of contents” feature) are just another way Evernote is helping me stay organized!

So, what are you waiting for?

Click here to get organized and do more with Evernote now!

Over to you: how do you use Evernote? I’d love to hear your suggestions!

by Summer Kelley
This post contains affiliate links. If you follow a link and purchase something, it benefits this site and my family. Thank you!

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How I Organized My Email and Emptied My Inbox (and how to keep that way!)

Empty Inbox with No New Mail

Yep! My inbox is empty!

That’s not a typo.

Empty Inbox with No New Mail

It has been cruising at 20 or more messages cluttering up my inbox and my brain for a couple months now. A link to a video to watch. An item to remember. An errand to run.

But they aren’t getting done, they are just collecting in my box. I’m tired of them.

My mind is unclear a lot lately, and I decided its time to simplify. If I don’t have 20 things to look at each time I open my inbox, maybe I can think that much more clearly!

Apply Time Honored Organizing Principles for Paper Clutter to Online Clutter

On my way out the door for a blood draw, where I knew I’d be sitting in the waiting room for at least one hour, I grabbed one of my favorite books, Simplify Your Time: Stop Running & Start Living!

I bought this a few years back, read it cover to cover and implemented a lot of the great ideas. I was in the early marriage stage. I had no kids, worked outside the home and we were living in a rented a condo.

Now I have three kids, own a home and work from home. I needed to read it again and see what works for me now.

The principle Marsha suggests in Ch. 5 is creating a paper-clutter-sorting-station in your home. The station has folders for each different kind of paper you need to deal with on a regular basis.

How to Create Labels

Using this principle, I created “Labels” for my Gmail inbox. (If you are using outlook or another email software program, this would be like using folders.)

Create New Label Dialog BoxTo do this, click “Create New Label” in the left hand sidebar, then enter the information in the dialog box as shown above.

First, I created one “parent” label. I called it “home filing,” but you could use this system for work or school, too. Then I created eight more labels and “nested” them all under my Home Filing label.

Choosing Your Labels

My Home Filing Folders

Here are some of the labels I’m using.

Bills – Some of our bills come via email and they typically sit in the inbox until they get paid. This way, I can open up the bills folder when I sit down to do the weekly budget and they are all right there for me, not clogging my inbox and my brain!

Craigslist – When I post a Craigslist ad, Craigslist sends me and email with a link to my ad. Its not necessary to keep if you have an account with them, but for some reason, it helps me remember to go back and re-post them if I need to, so now I can just find them all in one place.

Online Orders – After ordering something online, you usually get a confirmation email and I always tend to keep them in my inbox until it arrives. I need to keep those, but that’s one more thing to look past in my inbox.

Coupons I am signed up to get coupons and sale alerts from places I like to shop and eat, but these just sit in my inbox until I decide if I will use them. Instead, now they live in this folder. Most of them can be used on location via a smartphone, so I can just access them in my Coupons folder when I need to show them to the clerk.

Library Notices – My kids and I utilize the library a lot. Good writers are readers, right? So we read a lot. My library will collect requested items and put them all in one place, which is fabulous. I don’t have to run all over the library looking for call numbers with three little wanderers in tow. When they email me telling me an item I’ve requested is ready, I put it in this folder until all my requests are ready. I need to save them so I know when is the last day they will hold it. Then I can make one trip to the library and easily grab all the books I want.

These next three will be key to stay caught up on.

I’ll have to take a little time each week to get to these items, but at least now I can go straight to them instead of spending the time looking through my inbox, only to decide I don’t have time to clear it!

To Decide – This folder is for anything that I let hang around because I can’t decide what to do with it or need to talk to someone else about before acting on it.

To Do – Emails that require action that I don’t have time for right now.  Gmail has this great feature you can check the boxes and turn them into “tasks” which show up at the right. I did that for these emails as well, and hopefully that will keep them at the forefront where they’ll get done when I have time to do something.

To Read – This is also one that I will have to stay on top of and keep a strict monitor on “unsubscribing” but when I have a minute to read, I can go straight here instead of poking through a messy inbox.

This system has been working splendidly for me for some time. Of course the inbox still gets clogged if I get complacent about sorting them after I read them. But even if that happens, I can still take about 10 minutes and sort through 50+ emails.

What about you? How do you organize your emails? What categories would you use?

by Summer Kelley
This post contains affiliate links. If you follow a link and purchase something, it benefits this site and my family. Thank you!

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Free Yearly Planner Pages

Yearly Planner At-a-Glance

Free Yearly Planning Pages

Who doesn’t like a freebie?

I’m ecstatic to offer these super cute (if I do say so myself!) Yearly Planner Pages for FREE!

A few years ago, I wanted a planner that was functional. I also wanted it to be cute so I’d want to use it. Finally, I needed it to be useful year after year. (Once I’ve done something – I hate to have to do it again!)

Even though there are many free downloads and planner books you can purchase for cheap, I decided to customize my planner with the pages laid out exactly how I would best use them.

I’m hoping that there are those of you out there who will find these to be exactly what you want as well!

Free Downloadable Planner Pages

Here’s a preview of what they look like.

Weekly Calender Left Sample Image


Weekly Calendar Right Sample Image


January Left Sample Image


January Right Sample Image

Compiling, Printing and Binding Instructions and Suggestions

Download Links and Printing Instructions

Printing can be complicated because you need to print front and back, but if you follow my steps below, you shouldn’t have any trouble! You’ll need to be familiar with how your printer loads paper, so use a scratch paper and black ink first to test.

  1. Starting with blank paper in your printer, print all the Monthly Calendar Right pages.
  2. Reload all the Monthly Calendar Right pages in the printer and print the Weekly Calendar Left page on the back.
  3. On blank paper, print the Monthly Calendar Left pages.
  4. Remove the one for January and set aside. Print the Weekly Calendar Right page on the back of the remaining 11 Monthly Calendar Lefts.
  5. Print the Year Overview Page on the back of January Monthly Calendar Left.
  6. With blank paper loaded again, print 41 Weekly Calendar Right pages.
  7. Set one Weekly Calendar Right Page aside to be the last page of the weeks. Reload the remaining 40 of the Weekly Calendar Right pages and print 40 Weekly Calendar Left pages on the backs.
  8. Print any desired additional pages, then bind.

Additional Pages for Functionality

What else do you want to do with your planner? Your intentions for it will determine if you want to add any additional pages. Here are some suggestions.

Here are some other great places to find some other free downloads and ideas for a planner:

  1. Life Your Way :: Check out this host of free organizational printables for everything imaginable.
  2. Money Saving Mom :: Browse the free download page for chore charts, cleaning lists and more.


You can purchase the whole thing, pre-assembled, with the pages organized and ordered for you!

The pre-assembled version includes:

1. Yearly overview

2. 12 Monthly Calendar Page Sets

3. 52 Weekly View Page Sets

4. Projects Lists

5. Birthday Gift List

6. Christmas List

7. Yearly Goals Page

8. Quarterly Goals Page

For the quickest and easiest results, I’d recommend uploading this to a printer that prints double-sided.

Click here to buy all the pages put together for you! $2.50

Cover Options

One option is to print a cover page on regular paper or cardstock. Personally, I wanted something even more sturdy for my cover, so I used this method from Life as Mom. (specifically the use of pocket folders as the covers and dividers trimmed to 8.5 x 11)


Of course you could use a three hole punch and put these in a 3-ring-binder, but I love having mine spiral bound. It’s so much more portable. And lets face it: if I don’t take it with me, I won’t really utilize it to stay organized.

You can get your pages spiral bound at a local print shop. It wasn’t very expensive in my area.

Like this post? Click here to get freebies like this and more delivered to your inbox for FREE!

by Summer Kelley
This post contains affiliate links. If you follow a link and purchase something, it benefits this site and my family. Thank you!

Click here to get on my mailing list