Kate and I were talking recently about how we keep track of kid-related paperwork and information, and I mentioned I was using Evernote for a lot of stuff. I really love it for my mom-related research, so I thought I’d write something up. A couple of years ago over at Corporette, we shared the busy woman’s guide to using Evernote and other note-keeping apps, but we haven’t specifically offered suggestions for how working moms can use Evernote for all sorts of family-related things. On this site, we’ve discussed a lot of tech for working moms, including meal-planning apps for working moms, the best smartwatch apps for parents, and apps that help working moms connect to school or daycare.
Here are a few quick Evernote tips for moms:
General Organization Tips for Evernote
Before I started using Evernote for mom-related research (the basic version is free, by the way), I mostly used it to collect various articles for the business as well as a few personal things I’m interested in (like eventually writing a novel). In short, I mostly used it as Pinterest for articles without pictures.
The biggest tip I can give you at the beginning is this: If you think you might want to use Evernote for a few different purposes, start the name of each notebook with an initial to keep your things organized. My personal notebooks start with K-, while everything for Casa Griffin starts with the initial of our street, and then everything for my sons starts with either of their first initials. Within the program itself you can create “stacks” to organize notebooks together, but the stacks don’t show up when it’s time to share things from your phone or iPad — which is why it’s helpful to have it organized by initial, particularly if you have similarly titled notebooks. (“Notes from phone calls, conversations, and emails” is the name of a notebook I’ve created in a lot of different places within the app.) This way, it’s really easy to remember what notebooks I’ve got for which research purpose. Also, I almost always have a notebook called “H-to file”, so if I want to save something but don’t have a specific notebook set up yet for the kids or for myself then it’s still semi-organized. You can also assign one or more tags to each note (such as “health” or “school” or “camp”) and view a list of everything categorized that way, if you want. (The usefulness of tags has been a subject of internet debate, however.)
How to Share Things to Evernote
You don’t have to spend a lot of time in the program/app itself — I mostly just send things to Evernote using either the browser bookmarklet or the share button on my iPhone. You can also email things to the app, but that’s actually my least favorite way to do it, because I’ve yet to find an easy way to choose a notebook when I send it — everything just goes in the first alphabetical notebook. (I named one notebook “aaa-toFile” for just that purpose, but I often forget about things I’ve sent there.) If you have a small number of notebooks that you can easily remember the names of, however, it’s easy to designate a particular notebook when you email something to Evernote. You can also drag things into Evernote or copy/paste them; I do this with PDFs I’ve scanned.
Quick Uses of Evernote for Moms
Articles (for me, mostly health-related research): I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve googled things regarding sleep hygiene, eczema, potty training issues, etc. — but now I send any interesting article with a link and sometimes even a quote to the relevant kid’s folder in Evernote. (One of my kiddos has a speech delay and some other sensory issues, and each of those issues have led me down a thousand rabbit holes on the internet.)
Facebook comment threads: If you’re like me, you’re in a lot of Facebook groups for mom-related things (for me, business-related things, too), where you can find some fabulous threads filled with advice and tips. I just expand the entire thread and send it to Evernote, with appropriate keywords, personal notes, or brief takeaways at the top of the note so I can immediately remember why I wanted to save it.
Notes from conversations, calls, teacher conferences, doctor’s appointments, insurance discussions, etc.: You know how sometimes you have a conversation with someone about your kiddo and then write an email to your partner (possibly your caregiver, too) to relay the information and get you both on the same page? I send that kind of thing to Evernote, and then I have everything in one place.
Paperwork: A caveat here: Evernote stores data in the cloud — so keep those plans to overthrow the government somewhere more secure! (You can read about security at the Evernote website and in these two blog posts.) Still: When I scan a ton of documents (doctors’ paperwork, school report cards, treatment plans, etc.) and put them in the appropriate folder on my desktop, I also add them to Evernote, along with any notes or takeaways I might have.
Pictures of papers that I don’t want to scan: For example, if your kiddo has special needs, has an IEP, or receives services (speech therapy, occupational therapy, etc.) — or all of the above — you know that there are always a lot of weekly progress reports and other papers floating around. I take a picture of those on my phone and then send them to Evernote.
Pictures from books, magazine articles, screenshots from text messages, links to YouTube videos (with explanations for why I’m sending them to Evernote), and so on: I find Pinterest to be a better place to save very visual information like those crazy informational charts or Instagram things or quotes — but sometimes you just want everything in one place, so you can always send those to Evernote as well. I find it particularly helpful for books — long ago, I used to take notes on books and copy important chapters and things; these days I just take a picture of the relevant page or pages, use the “screen markup” tool in my iPhone to highlight relevant portions, and then save the pictures in Evernote.
I also use Slack for ongoing conversations with my husband — I’ll have to do a separate post about using Slack.
Ladies, do you use find Evernote useful as a mom? Did you use it before you became a parent? Do you have a similar organizational system for all the notes, papers, and other documents and research you collect for/about/from your kiddos — either an app or hard-copy method?
- How to Use Evernote for Back-To-School Organization [Kara Layne & Co.]
- Why Your Family Should Be Using Evernote Plus 5 Practical Uses [Jackie Bledsoe]
- How to Plan a Family Vacation Without Losing Your Mind [Evernote]
- 6 ways to organize your personal life using Evernote [Evernote]
Stock photo: Deposit Photos / vdovichenko.
Screen time says
How do you handle it when your allowance for screen time is much less that your kids’ friend’s allowance? My daughter gets very little screen time (like maybe an hour or two on the weekend, none during the week, unless it’s an audiobook or a podcast). We have good friends whose kids are constantly watching tv, or on a device. (literally, the first thing they say when they get picked up is “can I have your phone?”). It’s not my favorite thing, but they are the parents… However we swap childcare a lot, especially this summer, and often when they are watching the kids, they spend the whole time in front of the tv. I’m not opposed to some screen time, it’s just that my daughter gets to be a real PITA when she has too much and has difficulties transitioning to other activities from the screen- we’re talking tantrums and refusal to go to bed. I feel like, it would be rude for me to ask my friend to not have screens when they are watching my daughter, since they are doing is a favor and I do ‘t want them to think that I’m judging them (which, admittedly I am a little bit) . I’m trying to reduce the amount to time we ask them to watch our kid, and just paying a sitter when I need coverage. On the other hand, I watch their kids a lot too, and I actually enjoy it and don’t want to create a childcare imbalance. Aside from that, our families hang out together at least three or four times a month …. Anyone have thoughts as to any good script or box text I can use too try to reduce the amount of screen time when we are together? Or any ways I can handle this with my own kid?
When you’re all together, I would just start suggesting/bringing other fun activities for the kids to give them better options than screen time. On the other hand, when your friends are providing child care for free, I personally don’t think you can ask them to reduce screen time. To me, free childcare = take it or leave it on the terms of the person providing it. When you are paying a sitter you get to make the rules.
If they’re watching your kids, unfortunately, you are going to have to change your standards and accept the situation. Personally, I would find another caregiver, because I also have a kid who has a tough time transitioning and having another family create screen-time issues would be a deal-breaker for a semi-regular childcare arrangement.
How comfortable are you saying to your friend, “Hey, DD really has a tough time handling more than 30 minutes of TV at a time. Would you be comfortable limiting her to one show while she’s over?” If you can’t have that conversation, you may need an arrangement that works better for your family.
As far as how to handle it when you’re together socially, I would (and have) hosted more and have activities planned that don’t involve screens. Or just tell the kids they’re out of luck; find your own fun!
Hey there, looking for recs from parents with real experience(I’ve been googling but not getting great recommendations…)-just got nicest car we have had, pretty much ever, and want to protect leather seats from our 6 yro’s booster seat. But I read that some protectors have issues somehow melting into the leather on hot days. I live somewhere that is very warm in summer and want to avoid. Any experience with leather seats/seat protectors/hot weather and a product to recommend? Thanks in advance! (also how much do I adore that my 6yo is on board with no eating in the car because quote “we want it to stay nice not all dirty like our old car”).
We don’t use them in our cars and the indentions from the seats aren’t that bad. We drive our cars for years so it’s not like that going to be the thing that kills our resale. Take out the boosters when you clean the rest of the car and apply some leather conditioner. I do think weatherproof floor mats are a great investment so maybe look at those if you want to keep the car looking good.
Woah, this is a great post. I like Evernote and would like to use it more effectively. As a new mom I am always researching things, but saving articles and things like that to Pinterest has some limitations. Good ideas here!