I used to scribble notes on whatever piece of paper was handy (yes, me!). Then I started writing all of my notes in a notebook where I could more easily find them – sort of. Having all of my notes in one place was better than trying to find the information I needed on scraps of paper and sticky notes. But shopping lists were mixed in with notes from phone meetings and things to do and, well…you get the picture.
Enter Springpad, a free app that lets you organize all kinds of information in separate notebooks and store them online where you can access them from your computer or smartphone. In addition to having my “things to do” notebook, I have notebooks for recipes, book ideas, places to see, organizing products I like, blog post ideas, shopping lists, and more.
What’s really cool is that you can clip or “spring” stuff from web sites and save it to an existing notebook or easily create a new one. Your notebooks can be filled with tasks, checklists, notes, links, photos, products and more. I’m “springing” all over the place these days, but all that stuff is neatly filed away.
Because paper is the #1 organizing challenge for everyone these days (even for professional organizers!), I asked my friend, Devin from Springpad, if she could share a couple of tips on going paperless. Take it away, Devin – and please don’t forget to tell us about that spring cleaning giveaway!
We’ve all been there. One day, you’ve got a clean desk. The next, your home office is an ocean of half-completed to-do lists, post-its and assortments of documents. When you rely on paper to keep organized, it can wind up doing more harm than good. Taking paper out of the equation may be the answer. Try these tips to to start breaking out of your dependence on paper:
1. Make to-do lists in Springpad
Handwritten to-do lists have a way of piling up on your desk, creating more stress instead helping you get organized like they’re meant to. Try Donna’s custom Organize Your Time Springpad notebook for starters. You can use this tool to create separate to-do lists for work, home, and for yourself, all in one place. Plan your tasks at the beginning of each week, check them off and add new ones as you go.
2. Scan documents, then toss them
It’s hard to say goodbye to your filing cabinet, but letting documents accumulate inside can create extra work – and stress. Searching for papers, keeping them in order and cleaning out old items waste valuable time you could be spending elsewhere. Instead, try scanning your documents into your computer. (If you don’t have a scanner, look for self-serve scanning options at your local office store.) Organize your documents in folders for general categories like insurance, financial, and medical to make them easier to find later on. Worried about losing files? Pick up an external hard drive to back up your files and keep it in a safe, dry place. Or back up automatically to a service like Carbonite that charges a small, annual fee.
3. Opt out of junk mail
Junk mail that can quickly pile up if you don’t trash or recycle it immediately. But what about those credit card and insurance applications that have your personal information on them? You can keep shredding them or better yet, opt yourself out of those offers at http://www.optoutprescreen.
Devin is the Happiness Specialist for Springpad, a free personal organizer app for web and mobile with digital notebooks that help people accomplish the many projects in their lives. Learn more about Springpad or get more digital organizing tips here.
Be sure to enter our GIVEAWAY for a chance to win something to help you get your spring cleaning done faster!
Postscript: Congratulations, Michelle Johnson, winner of the Reliable PRO T3 Steam Mop!