By in Random

Organizing My Notes to Self Simplified

I hate to waste anything that might be reused. Just that compulsion to save way too much is a topic for another post, but it is a symptom of that issue that was wreaking havoc on my note-keeping system.

All those envelopes that mail comes in? Well, my goodness, the back of each envelope was blank paper. How could I throw that away? So I didn't, and that became a problem of disorganization.

Phone numbers and addresses were written on this envelope or that one. Email addresses or URLs I wanted to remember were written on the backs of envelopes, too. Notes to myself to remember to call someone or to pay a bill were dutifully written on the back of envelopes.

Guess what, though? When I went to retrieve information that I knew I had recorded, I either had to search through my stack or envelopes or sometimes simply lost the information.

One day it dawned on me that my "system" was causing me as much angst as no system at all.

Since then, I use a 6 inch by 4 inch spiral notebook to record all this information and anything else I may need to recall or have handy. I keep the notebook by my computer, which is also handy to my telephone. Now I can record everything in one place, sequentially. I'm able to flip back through the pages and find whatever information I need.

No stacks of sticky notes or index cards or saved envelopes -- all I need is the little notebook and a pen.

It may sound too simple to work for you, but that's part of the beauty of the notebook -- it's simplicity.

How do you record and retrieve everyday information that you need?

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Image Credit » MissPiggy Public Domain/CC0 1.0 license via Pixabay

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FernandoSHA wrote on January 5, 2015, 7:19 PM

Simple indeed but very helpful. As for me, in addition to the notebook (I use a daily planner), I jot down important things on my smartphone so that I can retrieve information wherever I go.

Kat- wrote on January 5, 2015, 7:20 PM

Until I got a little notebook to put on my desk, I did the same thing you did, wrote stuff down on whatever was handy at the time, leading to a lot of unnecessary pieces of paper stacked on my desk. Now I won't say I have completely quit writing stuff on whatever is handy, but I have gotten better.

bestwriter wrote on January 5, 2015, 7:22 PM

I have a bag full of such paper including covers that have blanks on the reverse. I use them to make lists of items my maid has to buy. And as for scribbling phone numbers I too scribble on them and then they are lost. (lol).

Feisty56 wrote on January 5, 2015, 7:24 PM

I haven't gotten the hang of putting stuff on my smartphone. That would make perfect sense. Thanks -- I need to work on that.

Feisty56 wrote on January 5, 2015, 7:26 PM

It's a tough habit to break, but even if I do jot something down on an odd piece of paper, I've disciplined myself to have to re-write it into the notebook. Making myself do double-duty with the info is a self-reprimand. : )

Feisty56 wrote on January 5, 2015, 7:27 PM

I was becoming so frustrated with losing information that I had to do something. I won't say I don't still misplace information now and then, but not anywhere near the rate I had been before beginning to use the notebook.

j2jworkz wrote on January 5, 2015, 8:08 PM

I am guilty of using the envelopes and it does take a lot of time to locate "the"one with the info . I use a combo legal pad, planner and notes on the smartphone; they don't wander like the envelopes do. Nice to see you!

maxeen wrote on January 5, 2015, 8:17 PM

Feisty,I have tried to tag you ! Don't get it ! What do I do ?

FernandoSHA wrote on January 5, 2015, 8:38 PM

All you need to do to tag a connection is to put the & before his or her name.

wolfgirl569 wrote on January 5, 2015, 8:49 PM

I have a couple of spiral notebooks that I use for different things. It does help

Feisty56 wrote on January 5, 2015, 9:43 PM

I'm so pleased to see you here. Did it take much getting used to, putting notes on the smartphone?

Feisty56 wrote on January 5, 2015, 9:45 PM

I see FernandoSHA answered your question. The & sign immediately before a member's name tags them; the # sign immediately before a word or phrase written without spaces between creates a highlighted tag that will show up in search results.

Feisty56 wrote on January 5, 2015, 9:47 PM

It does, and part of what makes using the notebook then to find information is that I have a fairly decent photographic memory. I am able to recall whether it is on a left or right-sided page, for instance.

paperdaisyflower7 wrote on January 5, 2015, 10:04 PM

I have several notebooks one where I list all my usernames and passwords in case I forget

Brenda wrote on January 5, 2015, 10:19 PM

I have a daily planner by my laptop. I just wished it had more paper for the notes. I am still looking for that one. One thing I like about it is one glance at gives me my appointments if any or things to do list or b'days at my fingertips. I also threw away all my old back of the envelopes notes. lol.

carmela wrote on January 5, 2015, 10:34 PM

i have a very huge calendar hanging on a wall in my room and that's where i write all my notifications and reminders or very important phone numbers that i need to remember and i use black pentel pen as my writing medium not an ordinary ballpen.

nbaquero wrote on January 5, 2015, 10:37 PM

feisty56 I have two ways of organizing my notes, one is a little red notebook (6" x 4") and the second is Evernote on my smartphone. The advantage of my little notebook is that I can take it anywhere, but with evernote I can do a quick search. So my method is a combination of both.

nbaquero wrote on January 5, 2015, 10:40 PM

Encrypted passwords, right? As a rule I never write any password in paper. If the paper is lost or misplaced that would make my life miserable.

wolfgirl569 wrote on January 5, 2015, 10:49 PM

I just have to flip trough the hard way

FernandoSHA wrote on January 5, 2015, 11:18 PM

It's amusing the way each person keeps himself organized as I see in the comments to your article, Ms. Feisty hahaha!

OldRoadsOnceTraveled wrote on January 6, 2015, 12:14 AM

I'm not just committed to backs of envelopes, I'm addicted to the strips of paper that remain after cutting apart printed coupons. They're just the right width for grocery lists and daily to-do lists.

MegL wrote on January 6, 2015, 2:35 AM

I have a number of notebook from past years, mostly quotes from books I was reading. I have a Rolodex type address book on my desk, much easier than a notebook type one, because lots of information changes over the years and I hated having to transfer everything to a new address book. If I am at the computer, I have one text file in Notepad that holds ALL "sticky note" type stuff. It can be searched. If necessary, I send myself an email or text with the info. I have a notebook style computer program that holds lots of "notebook" type stuff.

LilyDay wrote on January 6, 2015, 12:25 PM

The method of organization depends on what sort of information it is. There is definitely room for us to get much more organized here, but we do have our notebooks, apps, etc. that help to keep the most important information fairly easy to find.

paigea wrote on January 6, 2015, 3:17 PM

I am still using the envelopes. I am gradually morphing over to a scribbler.

VinceSummers wrote on January 6, 2015, 8:27 PM

I like to keep my life simple. As simple as possible. Something in this world needs to be simple, after all.

Feisty56 wrote on January 6, 2015, 9:21 PM

I had no idea the back of envelopes were so widely used. lol I thought I was a bit OCD to do that, but now I see I am in good company.

Feisty56 wrote on January 6, 2015, 9:23 PM

I keep such messy notes that about the only one who can truly make sense of them is me. That's basically my "security" system. : )

Feisty56 wrote on January 6, 2015, 9:24 PM

That's a good system. That way you can look back by date, too.

Feisty56 wrote on January 6, 2015, 9:25 PM

I am assuming you keep different kinds of info in the two places -- or do you keep some of it in both places?

Feisty56 wrote on January 6, 2015, 9:26 PM

Yes -- there are a wide variety of methods because people think in a variety of ways. I think it's fascinating to see how something so basic can be done differently, and still done "right" for that individual.

Feisty56 wrote on January 6, 2015, 9:27 PM

Oh my gosh, lol, I'm glad I never thought of that. : )

Feisty56 wrote on January 6, 2015, 9:30 PM

You are an organized woman! I'd like to hang out with your for a few weeks to see if I could pick some of that know-how up for myself.

Feisty56 wrote on January 6, 2015, 9:36 PM

Yes, I don't think the particular method makes a difference, as long as you're happy with the method you use.

Feisty56 wrote on January 6, 2015, 9:37 PM

I know. Those darn envelopes are just so easy to grab, aren't they?

Feisty56 wrote on January 6, 2015, 9:38 PM

I agree with that. I have been de-cluttering my mind as much as my surroundings -- or trying to, anyway.

nbaquero wrote on January 6, 2015, 10:56 PM

Ha Ha my comment was for paperdaisyflower7 but I see you are also concerned with this type of "security" good method indeed *wink*

nbaquero wrote on January 6, 2015, 10:58 PM

feisty56 Different information in both places, but from time to time I use my red notebook to capture notes and ideas that later I store online.

paperdaisyflower7 wrote on January 7, 2015, 2:20 AM

I wrote all the passwords and usernames and it is in my cabinet. only my daughter knows just incase anything happens she can open my sites and officially close them. :)

paperdaisyflower7 wrote on January 7, 2015, 2:22 AM

no and also I don't carry it around with me. No one else in the house but just me and my daughter so no fer of others getting hold of it. They probably won't understand it either

nbaquero wrote on January 7, 2015, 5:32 AM

That is a good idea, I should print out my list and keep it on my safe box.

Feisty56 wrote on January 7, 2015, 10:59 AM

I found myself nodding and smiling as I read through your endeavors. I'd forgotten about writing on my hand, which I still do occasionally. I always seem to have a pen, but not always paper handy. lol There is so much to remember, isn't there?

Feisty56 wrote on January 7, 2015, 12:01 PM

You are not alone here, Theresa. This is the information overload era. I think many of us find ways to deal with it that we're not even aware of.

BarbRad wrote on January 7, 2015, 5:45 PM

I lean more towards the notebook. My husband tends more towards saving everything on those precious used envelopes and then recruits me to help him search for the one with the information he wants.

teamshepherd wrote on January 8, 2015, 4:18 AM

You are being "green" when you do that, I don't do it out of any noble purpose of saving money, things, recycling bla bla I just grab the nearest envelope ... but the end result is the same! I tried the notepad thing, my result? I end up with 5 and there is ALWAYS a scrap envelope or some random paper that is closer at hand... it doesn't solve it for me :(

WordChazer wrote on January 8, 2015, 11:01 AM

I'm as bad. When I start sorting bags of papers it's amazing now much of the things I threw in there are repeat notes of the same piece of information that I need to remember. I can rationalise a large pile of papers to a smaller one fairly easily. The bit I find difficult is the filing. I'm well known for starting things and not finishing them so I'm trying to make sure that doesn't happen as often now.

AudreyHowitt wrote on February 18, 2015, 11:50 AM

I had to laugh! I have so many envelopes by my computer with notes written all over them!

Shellyann36 wrote on February 24, 2015, 7:58 AM

I use notebooks for everything. Those cut little spiral notebooks at the dollar store work great for me. Hubby on the other hand will write down phone numbers or email addresses on any piece of paper he can find. Normally, it is on something I use on a daily basis (scheduling, work list, chore list, etc.). It is very aggravating to go to my desk and find my "to do" list all marked up.