It’s been a crazy and busy week here!!! I started out this week prepared (for the most part) and had a plan to get a lot of stuff accomplished. But you know how it goes. I hit several snags – several days in a row. So with that, I apologize for the “radio silence”. I haven’t forgotten to come back and share all the really neat things I’ve found lately, I promise! Just been one of those weeks!! And new programs and routines take time to be effective! 🙂 Remember that as you’re working on Getting Prepared. (If you missed that series see Part 1 here, Part 2, and Part 3). So now –
Tools for Getting (& Staying) Prepared
1) A Smartphone
This is my number 1 tool I’ve found for getting and staying prepared. I’ve used my smartphone to utilize all the other tools listed! I couldn’t afford to get a “real” smartphone for a long time. But as my old phone went to the phone graveyard we bought one for both Chris and I in April. Joining the world of Android for the first time, I can’t believe how much I was missing out on before! There really is an app for everything!!! It can be a tool that is used to waste a lot of time, if you let it. But it can also be a great tool to help you be more efficient and organized. If you haven’t joined the Smartphone club yet, they really are an amazing tool. And the price has come down a lot (and with no-contract plans they are a lot more affordable on the data plans as well). We got ours for $50 refurbished, and while they are not top-of-the-line and we wish we could afford some higher-end models, it’s still pretty great all the things our phones can do!
Have you ever wished you could have a place to keep all those notes, reminders, lists etc., in one place and always have it with you? Well, now you can with Evernote! I remember reading about this in Inc. magazine a few years ago and thought it was an awesome idea! But seeing as I didn’t own a real smartphone at the time I never followed-up on it. If I had I probably would have opted for a smartphone sooner! Evernote allows you to do so much – and I haven’t even figured out the half of it yet!! It works across all platforms so wherever you are and whatever platform you are using – it’s always with you! Here’s what I have figured out so far and how I’ve used it to help me get prepared over the last month. — Clipped recipes straight from the Web into a notebook of Meal Ideas/Recipes
— each recipe is tagged with relevant info so I can find it easily using the search feature. Like type, main ingredient, etc. You can really use whatever you want to with this.
— You can clip all or part of any webpage, and it automatically includes a link back to the site just in case you want to go to the source later. Clip it all with just a couple of clicks!
— Created my Meal Plan for the week (look next week for a post about Meal Planning 🙂 ) — Pulled up my new recipes as I’m cooking, and while at the store needing ingredients – so much easier than all the little scraps of paper I have in a messy folder in the kitchen (I plan to take a pic of each of them at some point to add to Evernote). — Started a list of all my ideas to write blog posts about. This way I have them all in one place and I can look through them easily. — Created my projects to-do lists. (Check out Getting Prepared: Day 3 for more info on this.) — Stored lots and lots of information that I need to refer back to for my blog (like when I reference I’ll blog about this in the future, I put it in my Sticky Post notebook, so I can find which post to go back and edit.) — Recorded my notes from a Customer Service Call so I can refer back to it later — Clipped some info on how to make Homemade Sunscreen Bars and referred to the recipe using my phone, to make them. I also used it to go back to the original site and quickly include a link in this post 🙂 . And all this is all just the beginning! You can take pictures with your phone and “scan” receipts and documents in, save files to it, add to-do lists, check-lists, calendar reminders and SO MUCH MORE. In fact there are so many more things you can do that there are several tutorials out there about how to use Evernote! So by now I’m guessing you’re wondering how much this all costs. Zip, zilch, nada! It’s FREE! There are premium options for a small fee a month, and they do limit data per month with a free account – but its a pretty HIGH number. At that cost its a STEAL!
Formally known as Read It Later this tool is used to help keep your focus better and use your time more efficiently. I’m very easily distracted and curious by nature, so when I see an interesting post with lots of links, I often click and open in a new tab. I’ve been known to have 10+ tabs open at any one time. Way more than this mommy has time to read during a nap time! I was always so frustrated then as I had time to read while I fed Naomi – but just couldn’t manage to feed her while sitting at the computer and I couldn’t find them on my phone. (If only I’d found Pocket in my early days of nursing!!!) Pocket is a browser plug-in that quickly and easily saves the page you are viewing so you can read it later. The great part about it though is it’s not browser or device-specific so you can read it wherever you are. I downloaded the app for my phone – and I love it! Now when I’m browsing for info, or on Facebook, and I see something I want to read I just open it and save it to Pocket. I can then use my computer time for other tasks, knowing that I can read the article later while I’m feeding Naomi. Can you imagine all the possibilities of making your time more productive/entertaining while you’re in those “What do I do now?” twiddle your thumb waiting periods (doctor’s offices anyone?). And guess what, it’s FREE too! Pocket also comes with a tag feature so you can easily mark things to find later. I love this app for reading blogs the best as I don’t want to save a whole blog post to Evernote usually. This app has honestly saved me a lot of time lately!
4) Tell Your Time e-book by Amy Lynn Andrews.
This book really has been a great tool for helping Chris and I to think about how we are spending our time and to make plans to spend it working on the things that are important to us! This past weekend we utilized the tools in the e-book to create a Schedule and to think about how we are/were spending our time. So far in just the past week it’s helped us to make more intentional time for each other, helped us to communicate better about some “wasted” time we were spending, given me time to get more accomplished around the house, and has given Chris and Naomi some great Daddy/Daughter time to connect! The $2.99 I paid for this book was well worth it – and it was quick read to boot! Check it out here.
So there you have it. My top 4 Tools I’ve been using to get myself prepared to do all the God has planned for me! I’ve got a lot of work ahead of me – and a lot to learn and do, but I’m glad I’ve found these to help me along the way.
Share with me some of the Tools you use to help yourself Get & Stay Prepared for Life!