Friday, March 13, 2009

An Amazing Tool for Us OCD-Types

Maybe it's the weather; for some reason, I feel like I haven't been very productive this week. That wouldn't be so strange, except that I've actually done a lot. How do I know this? Because a few weeks ago, I discovered a REALLY cool program on my laptop that is actually helping me get organized: Microsoft OneNote. Maybe I'm slow, because this program has apparently been around for a while, and it's standard as part of the MS Office package (home & student version).

Anyway, OneNote is set up like a binder, with section tabs across the top, and page tabs down the right side within each section. It's taken a while to get all my "stuff" organized, but it was well worth the time I spent doing it. I have individual pages for each of the projects I'm working on (or have completed), with instructions on how I did it and pics of the project. I have to-do lists every week so I can keep track of all those things I want to work on. I have calendar pages so I can remember what's happening this month. I have pages with links to cool sites, filed under craft type, along with snippets of notes, ideas, and pictures. I have links to resources, so I don't have to keep asking, "now where did I find the best deal on that particular item?" I have wishlists of books and supplies. I have snippets of emails where people have provided tips, techniques, or answered my questions.

Oh, and here's another really cool feature: if I run across an idea, a link, a blog, whatever, but I don't want to take the time to put it into OneNote, I click a little icon in the system tray that opens up a page; I then copy and paste the information into a "note." The program automatically marks the note with the website where the information was copied from. Later, I file these notes in the appropriate sections and pages of my notebooks.

All this organizing might seem a little compulsive to some people, and it probably is. But I get so tired of spending huge amounts of time LOOKING for everything from craft articles to online supplies to instructions for how I made those ATCs (IF I wrote them down!). Now that I have my OneNote notebooks set up, I spend a couple of hours a week making sure all my information is entered.

I've added a screenshot here so you can get a visual of what I'm talking about. On the far left is a list of my notebooks; I have 2 for arts & crafts (one more resource-oriented, one for my projects) and one for home stuff. The center section is a particular page; this one documents last week's "weekly square" project. You can see the tabs across the top for the sections in this notebook, and the individual page tabs along the right side.

Ok, and now I'll come clean on something that's REALLY compulsive: I've even started sections for listing the articles in my two favorite magazines, Quilting Arts and Cloth Paper Scissors. Now, when I want to find that article on stenciling with Shiva Painstiks, all I have to do is search my notebook for it. Or, I can add a "paintstiks" tag to the article, then look at everything tagged with "painstiks." Cool, huh?

Here's my disclaimer: I have no affiliation with Microsoft. Sometimes I don't even like MS when one of its program irritates me or asks me once again if it can send information to MS. I really, really love this program, though!

1 comment:

Judy Alexander said...

I can so relate to being unorganized but the thought of organizing my stuff sounds even more painful....