I’ve just spent the last ten minutes trying to find a pen so I can fill out this year’s exam registration form. The thing about going paperless is that it means I have also become penless. Sure I have a couple of Sharpies kicking about, and at a push I could rustle up a pencil but my desk is no longer over flowing with biros (or highlighters for that matter). On top of that I’ve only printed out two things and they were both official forms that I needed to submit. Now, I know that for the actual exams I’ll have to buy a biro and write on “dead tree” but for the moment I am happy keeping everything as online as possible. I actually feel that I am more organized this way, and for someone who is not naturally that way inclined this is a huge deal. Taking things online has stopped me from hiding behind my comfort blanket of organized chaos.
The software applications that are helping me achieve this new found state of order are Dropbox, Evernote and Remember The Milk (all three have free versions). Now I must offer up a disclaimer that I did not stumble upon these myself I hang onto my husband’s technological coat tails, and though at times I am the proverbial dehydrated horse I do eventually come around to using things that ultimately make my life easier.
Dropbox is cloud storage so you are able to access your files from any computer or smart phone, and share files with others should you be that way inclined. I’ve been using Dropbox for over a year, and I love it. It has eliminated the tiresome need for email documents back and forth to myself if I happen to be working on a different machine, plus I have the comfort that copies of my documents are being stored on the “cloud” so should something happen to my laptop I won’t loose all my work. Actually, that would be the second back-up of my important documents as “I” back-up locally to an external drive as well as off-site to Dropbox. I really can’t stress off-site back-up enough – can you tell that I live with a software developer who is fanatical about this type of thing? Last year one of my friends had a tree fall into his apartment. It not only destroyed his computer but his external hard drive as well.
I’ve had Evernote installed on my laptop (and iPhone) for a while but I only really started using it this month, and I feel such a luddite for ignoring it. Evernote allows you to capture and organize data (lists, ideas, recipes, URLs, etc) as you would if you were using a physical notebook. It’s your e-notebook that you never have to worry about forgetting because you can access it from different computers and/or smartphone. I’ve got fourteen different notebooks set-up on my Evernote account so that I can efficiently organize the information I am capturing in the right bucket. For instance, I have a notebook set-up for collecting any recipes, for drafting blog posts (yes I did write this in Evernote), and for each of my courses. It is so convenient, and I no longer have to keep a zillion tabs open on my browser so I don’t forget that great article that I read a month ago and might be relevant at some unspecified time in the future.
And finally, Remember The Milk (RTM). RTM allows you to manage tasks, and share/assign them to others. To be honest I am still feeling my way with RTM. I’ve been using it to manage personal tasks, and have only just started using it for school. I guess that for me RTM has replaced the Post-it Notes that I would use to remind me which chapters I need read, when I need to send in my exam entry form, and to buy more milk.
So there you go, three software applications that allow you to get more organized which in turns frees up more time for studying!