How this list loving girl went paperless

Who doesn’t love a good list?  A to-do list.  A shopping list.  A forty before forty list.  A birthday list.  A party list.  A menu.

All these lists bouncing around in our heads, our purses or our houses.  How often do we lose them, and then forget all of those terribly important things?

I have been on a mission lately to go paperless; not so much for the environmental benefits of such a feat (although that is a bonus) but to avoid the loss of important information, and to ensure I can find the information I need, when I need it.

I have one exception: my diary.  For one or two years I tried to go digital with my diary.  I tried iCal and Gcal – both are wonderfully convenient and powerful – but there’s just something about a paper diary that I can’t give up.  I’ve stopped trying to fight it, and am running with it.

For everyday to-do lists and reminders I use the ‘reminders’ app on my iPhone.  You can switch it over to a ‘date’ view and add to-do items to a day, attaching a reminder to them if you like.  For all of those ‘bucket list’ items – the things you want to get done some day – I use the ‘list’ view.  You can create a number of different lists in this view if you want to separate your tasks.  I tend to keep it simple and lump everything in together.

There are a number of to-do list apps available for iPhone, iPad, android and your computer.  Simple is good though – you could even jot your list in the ‘notes’ app.

For most other lists I use Evernote.  I can’t sing the praises of this app highly enough.  I have it installed on both my Macbook and iPhone and it syncs between both.  I use it for many, many things, but I’ll stick to my lists for today.

For birthday and gift lists (for me and for other people) I make a list then attach a picture or link to the ideas to make them easy to find.  Evernote is fully searchable, so all I have to do when Christmas comes around is search for ‘sister Christmas present’ and the note with the gift ideas pops up with the links all there for me to click, order and wrap.  Since the list is always accessible on my phone, I can view it while I’m at the shops too.

Weekly meal plans are easy: list the days of the week and add the links to the recipe for each day.  You can even snap a picture of a recipe from a mag or book to save looking it up later.

Blog post ideas have their own note, ready to be fleshed out when I have time (ha!)

Lists for special events like parties or dinners go straight onto an Evernote note, with links to recipes, decorating ideas and things to purchase.

I have lots of other lists tucked away in Evernote: a list of patterns for clothes I’d love to make (along with pictures of the finished product), a list of places I want to eat at when we go away for our wedding anniversary, a whole lot of brainstorming for the blog, goals, house plans… And everything is safe in ‘the cloud’, accessible to me wherever I am, and much more searchable that if it were in a notebook or on a random piece of paper.

I have a way to go before I am completely paperless (I still have a notebook that I use for things that just need to be written down) but this is a start.

Are you a list-maker?  Do you do it digitally or in the old-fashioned way?

Simplify Your Life week fourteen – catch up over at Home Life Simplified.


6 thoughts on “How this list loving girl went paperless

  1. Thanks for the reminder! I had downloaded Evernote to my iPad when if first came out but never thought to get it only my MacBook too and sync them. Thank you.

    I’ve attempted paperless too, but you are right, nothing beats a paper diary!

  2. I am such a paper girl but have been using my ipad and phone a bit more – i just like to hold tangible things and grab them to read or check without having to worry about turning on a device (i am so old LOL). i love note taking on the ipad though! i keep meaning to get into evernote more, but it is far down my to do list ; )

  3. Well done on going paperless -Evernote sounds great!! I don’t have an iphone or ipad or anything i for that matter and still love my paper diary and calendar….I’ve tried on my phone, just doesn’t work for me…so I’m a bit envious that you have found a great system for you!

  4. I tried getting rid of my diary, too, but found it just didn’t work for me. Go the old-fashioned diary – but paperless for the rest sounds great.

  5. You have no idea how much I appreciate this post. I’ve been struggling for a while with all my to-do’s- like you, I prefer a paper calendar but it was bursting to the brim with reminders, and then I found when I turned the page in my diary I lost all of my previous weeks reminders- and then I didn’t know what to do with the longer term lists I wanted to keep track of.

    I’d started using Reminders on my phone but had forgotten I could sort them by date- how fantastic! I haven’t looked at Evernote for years, so I’ve just downloaded it again and can’t wait to get into it. Thank you, Thank you, Thank you!

  6. I am such a list girl too, but tend to do a mix of paper and digital. I really should get into using my iPad and Evernote more, but I just can’t get past the fact that handwriting things down helps me remember them better. It’s stuck like glue then!

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