How We Use OneNote, Part 1: My Brain

I used a paper Bullet Journal, affectionately known as My Brain, for well over a year, but, then, a few months ago, I decided to go digital. I switched to OneNote (which I have on my laptop, phone, and iPad). In addition to everything I had in my paper Bullet Journal, I also use OneNote for school planning (which I’ll explain in part 2).

How We Use OneNote, Part 1: My Brain

I use it the most to tell me what to do each day. Our planned meals and snacks, schedule, and my to do list are all on one page so I can see what I need to do when. I have the My Brain notebook shared with Jamie so he can see what we are doing and what’s on our schedule and add to it as needed.

How We Use OneNote, Part 1: My Brain

My to do list is color coded so if I have a few minutes I can just look at the colored section with tasks that are most convenient at that time. Red is in the physical world, blue is on my phone, green is on my computer, iPad, or phone, and purple is on my iPad. If I don’t get something done, I just move it to the next day (like on today’s list, I moved fold clothes and put away clothes from yesterday).

How We Use OneNote, Part 1: My Brain

I have three notebooks that make up my digital Bullet Journal: My Brain, Recipes, and Journal. In My Brain, the My Day tab has several pages under it. Several of them are my calendar. They allow me to easily add things to my Today and Tomorrow pages. The Every Day, specific day of the week, and First of the Month pages are my to do lists for those days. I just copy and paste to add them to my Tomorrow page (which gets copy and pasted to today each morning). The RS Lesson Schedule page helps me keep track of what to read (in the Gordon B. Hinckley manual and Conference talks) each week to prepare for Relief Society.

How We Use OneNote, Part 1: My Brain

I keep track of what I’m reading and what I’ve read in my Reading tab. The 2016 Books and 2017 Books pages are just running lists split by month of what books I read on what date and what rating I gave them (out of 5 stars). The Reading Challenges page is where I plan the books I’m reading each month this year to spell out the birthstones, what our book club books are, bedtime stories for the boys, school books, 52 Books Bingo, etc. My favorite page is Sentences That Made Me Laugh. That page has a bunch of quotes from books I’ve read that I found funny.

How We Use OneNote, Part 1: My Brain

The rest of the tabs in My Brain are Health which has pages for keeping track of Ani’s symptoms, what we are still owed from overpaying for some procedures she’s had, and the kids’ vaccine records. Blog Ideas is just one page of ideas for blog posts. Scouts which has pages for Fritz and Adrian with a list of things they need to complete for rank advancement. Sports has pages for our taekwondo schedule, a record of dates for earning belts and mid-terming, and Fritz’s times at swim meets. Church has pages for planning family home evening, my notes for General Conference (one page per Conference), my Personal Progress answers split by value, and a poem Ani wrote when she was around 12. Finances has pages with spreadsheets for our checking account, the kids’ money, our budget, and a list of 2017 pay days.

How We Use OneNote, Part 1: My Brain

I really love my Recipes notebook. Most of the time we use it just like a cookbook, reading the recipes off the iPad as we cook. The notebook is extremely useful every Wednesday. That’s the day I make our menus for the week. I go through the sections of recipes and pick the breakfasts, lunches, snacks, and dinners that sound good to me at the time. As I write down what we’ll be eating, I make our grocery list and note how the chicken will need to be cut. The grocery list is the used to order groceries from HEB (which Jamie picks up on his way home from work). I cut chicken once a week, on Wednesday night, so the gross bits can go out in the trash on Thursday morning (living in Texas, we definitely don’t want chicken sitting around very long).

How We Use OneNote, Part 1: My Brain

My Journal notebook is mostly exactly what it sounds like. I copied my journals from 1999 on and divided them into years. Under the year sections, the journal entries are divided into months. I copy and paste all my Facebook posts including pictures into my journal. The AB Letters tab is where I wrote my letter to my aunt each week (it also gets sent to my mother-in-law). I keep her up to day on what’s going on in our lives. I’ve been keeping those letters since December. The Fun Stuff tab had a page for funny things people in the family have said. It’s probably no surprise to anyone that Adrian’s is the longest. I also have Adrian’s birth story, a page of things that happen that I am grateful for, and a page of things that blew my mind (like the fact Queen Victoria had a granddaughter who was still alive when I was born). The Christmas Letters tab has a copy of all of our annual Christmas letters (and one Valentine’s Day letter that year I was super late…) since 2007.

How We Use OneNote, Part 1: My Brain

So that’s how I use OneNote to be my brain. It totally keeps me organized. In a couple days I’ll post part 2 on how I use OneNote in our homeschool.

Advertisements

Bullet Journal, Take Two

I filled up my first bullet journal, aka My Brain, and so I started a new on on the first of August.
Bullet Journal, Take Two

I transferred the important information pages from the old one to the new one.
Bullet Journal, Take Two

Then I took apart my old one and saved just the pages with information on them that I want to keep.
Bullet Journal, Take Two

I made a few tweaks to my Bullet Journal this time around. I made a grid page for my step goal so I can just put a checkmark if/when I reach that goal.
Bullet Journal, Take Two

I made it easier to see when to put things on my to do list by listing them out by day of the week.
Bullet Journal, Take Two

I started a list in the front of intermittent things to add to my to do list. This’ll include things like lesson plans each quarter, reserving library books, and so on.
Bullet Journal, Take Two

I made monthly grid pages for things I do every day so I don’t have to write them over and over.
Bullet Journal, Take Two

This makes it so the daily pages are much shorter and can usually fit at least two on a page.
Bullet Journal, Take Two

Otherwise than those tweaks, I’ve got it pretty much going like I did before. Using my bullet journal really helps keep me on task and organized. I love it!

My Bullet Journal

I’ve been using a bullet journal (aka my brain) for a few months now. I love it! I tried using a digital calendar and to do list on my phone, but it just doesn’t work for me. Paper works much better.

My Bullet Journal

I use a large Moleskine dotted (8.5×5) with an orchid cover. I’ll need a new one in a couple or three months. I think I’ll get a blue one next time.

My Bullet Journal

I don’t use my Bullet Journal exactly as the guy who made up the idea outlines. I make it work the way I need it to. Inside the front cover is my To Do Schedule. I have specific things I do every day, once or twice a week, or once a month. I color coded my to do lists. Green is on my computer, blue is on my phone, and red is in real life.

My Bullet Journal

I have lots of pages spread throughout my bullet journal of random things I need to remember/keep track of including blog ideas (complete with date the post will go up and a checkbox for when it is written), a page to record the time each day I hit 10,000 steps, a coconut tortilla recipe I adjusted to use one full can of coconut milk, lesson plans, books people have recommended to me, cute things my kids have said or done, things I am grateful for, notes I took at Time Out for Women and General Conference, and school planning for next year. The back page is an index telling me which page(s) a certain category appears on. I only need to consult my index occasionally, but it’s a major timesaver when I need it.

My Bullet Journal

I have several planning/scheduling page spreads. Two pages cover the taekwondo schedule at the school we go to. I color coded everyone (I love my 4-color pen!) and put stars for which classes people in our family generally go to.

My Bullet Journal

Another page lists the regularly scheduled things we do (other than taekwondo). There’s space in each day of the week to change them as needed (for example, at the beginning of next school year, the day of the week we have youth activities at church will change). The page facing this one is holidays/birthdays divided by month.

My Bullet Journal

I have a two page spread for future planning for the next year. Since this particular notebook started in March, I made squares for the months of April through March of next year. I write in appointments and things in the appropriate month block until the block gets too full and it becomes time to move those appointments to a future planning space where I can write more specifics.

My Bullet Journal

The more specific future planning section covers four months (however, I’ve found I really only truly need two months out at any given time). I use half a page for each month and write the numbers of the days of the month down the page. I underline every Saturday just to help me easily see how the month is laid out. On the 28th of every month I create the month schedule page for the following month.

My Bullet Journal

The month schedule page has the numbers and days of the week written down the side (with a small line under each Saturday). I transfer scheduled appointments, regularly scheduled things, birthdays, and holidays onto the page. I do not write when we’ll be going to taekwondo since someone is there at least once a day Monday-Saturday. At the bottom of the page I put Must Do’s for the month. Things that really need to get done sometime during the month but not on any specific day. I use Washi tape to make certain pages in my bullet journal. Most of the time the tape goes on the long side of the notebook. The Washi tape on the monthly schedule pages goes at the top to make it very easy to find quickly.

My Bullet Journal

I plan all our meals, breakfast, lunch, and dinner, a week at a time. After I plan them and make my grocery list (the grocery list I do using an app on my phone), I write my menus in my bullet journal.

My Bullet Journal

What takes, by far, the most space in my bullet journal are my daily pages. I put the date at the top of the page in black. Under that, in green, is what we’ll be having for meals. Next is that day’s schedule in blue. Under that goes the day’s school assignments in red. Each of those sections is separated by a black line and there’s another black line under the school section. Under that is my to do list divided by colors as outlined on the To Do Schedule page. Everything had a checkbox next to it. I check things off with a black checkmark.

As the day goes on, if there is something I need to make a note of, I do that using black ink. I note things like books I finished reading and things that happened during the day that I want to remember. If I don’t get to something on my to do list I cross it out with black ink. If it’s something that happens every day, I don’t worry about it until the next day. If it’s something that doesn’t happen every day, but can’t wait until the next time it’s regularly scheduled, I add it to the next day’s to do list.

I really love my little bullet journal. It keeps me organized so nicely!

Lesson Planning

I am one of the very weird homeschoolers who plans lessons a year ahead of time. On occasion I have to rearrange things, but I plan enough 4 day weeks to make that easy and possible.

I divide the year into four 9-week sections starting the day after the local schools start and going for 36 weeks with a week off at Thanksgiving, two weeks off at Christmas, and a week off in March for Spring Break. We basically follow the public school schedule for our district. We take off all federal holidays (since Jamie is off those days). We end up finishing school for the year about a week before the public schools.

I initially make my lesson plans in Word using tables. Then I copy a quarter’s worth at a time into my bullet journal.
Lesson Planning

Every day when I write out my daily to do page for the next day in my bullet journal, I write in the things the boys will be doing together and then the things Adrian will be doing (marked with Ad). Next school year, only their together work will be in my bullet journal and Adrian will get his own notebook like his big brothers have.
Lesson Planning

The older two boys have spiral notebooks for their daily assignments. The stars indicate things they can do on their own. I write their schedule so they know what they will have to do that do. At the bottom is their to do lists. Fritz requested that I put pray and brush teeth on his in addition to his morning chore. I add things they are learning (such as Fritz learning to tie shoes) and things they don’t do as a regular chore but needs to get done (like straightening rooms or mowing the lawn).
Lesson Planning

I work best when I am very organized and that definitely applies to school, too. The notebook method is extra useful when I have to go somewhere, like visit teaching or taking one of the kids to the orthodontist. The boys left behind can complete their starred assignments without me around and have them waiting for me to check when I get home.