Organization. I think about it a lot this time of year. I keep all my tax-related receipts and documents sorted in an expandable file folder, but those items need to be collated and tabulated. I use Excel, which I don’t care for but is ubiquitous. I was always a Lotus 1-2-3 fan, but that went the way of the dodo years ago.
One step I’ve yet to take is use of a scanning app to copy paper receipts and documents. The US Internal Revenue Service has accepted electronic documentation for quite some time, and the thought of exchanging paper for easily searchable electronic files is very appealing. But part of me is still attached to the concept of hard copy. And so the expandable file folders keep piling up.
Notes. I attend at least one writers conference every year, and spend hours a day taking extensive notes during panels and presentations. I used to use paper notebooks or pads, then would either lose them after returning home or find that I had written so quickly that my handwriting was illegible in spots. That drove me to give note-taking apps a try, even though my typing speed leaves much to be desired. Two that I’ve used are Evernote, a third party app, and Notes, which comes preloaded on Macs. Both work well on my iPad Air 2, an older model that may be teetering on the brink of obsolescence given how often iOS is updated. One nice thing about using these apps is that I can photograph slides etc with my phone, then add them to the notes. Another is that I can always find them since they’re saved on the iPad as well as on the cloud. Finally, I can read them.
I realize that these apps, however useful, are not the cutting edge of note compilation. Smart pens and smart paper fascinate me. Information sticks with me better when I write it than when I type it, so I am often tempted to try out a smart pen so I can have the best of both worlds, the reinforcement of handwriting plus the option to save it as easily readable and searchable text. My concern is that the devices aren’t in widespread use and many require vendor apps to interface with laptops etc. Small companies go out of business all the time, at which point I’d possibly be left with a gadget that might no longer be supported. There’s also the possibility, stronger than I like to admit, that I would use a smart pen a few times, then consign it to a drawer.
So for the time being, I will be sticking with a keyboard, my iPad, and a relatively widespread program for taking notes. As for organization, I know there are scanning apps out there, and it’s past time for me to look into them.
Have you ever used smart pens or paper? What’s your favorite organizational app or method?