The Top 6 Reasons I am An Evernote Mom

It’s no secret that I am a big fan of technology. I am admittedly well-gadgetified. And because I have a device for all mobility, I spend much of my time on the Cloud. I live my life on Google Docs, Dropbox, and social media. But the cloud that I have my head in the most as a mom is Evernote. Here are the top reasons that Evernote keeps my home life organized:

1. School Memos. I have a child in elementary school. That means a whole lot of papers coming home, stuffed haphazardly in a backpack. Since I rarely have time in the walk-in-the-door chaos after work, I just take a picture of it and save it under the file for that child with a school tag. If I have to buy something for name that fundraiser or event, I go straight to my shopping list (see #4). Capturing all of the school info quickly is priceless, which leads me to…

2. Homework help. We get a spelling list every Friday to be studied for the following Friday’s spelling test. I snap a picture of it to add to my daughter’s file, and that way, I have her spelling list for our commute together, or when we are out and about. Much easier to study spelling when they see the word on a sign or recite the spelling from the backseat. Additionally, for other homework I can use Evernote’s Peek to quiz her on my iPad.

3. Home improvement. My house was built in the late 1800s. Let’s just say we are on a first name basis with most workers at Home Depot. When I am trying to plan the next project, I can make a list of what we need to get from the store, the measurements of that window to cover, or the comparison prices I found online. When I am at the store, I snap pictures of the item’s tag, which includes price, brand, specs, etc. Time saver.

4. Groceries on the go. From #3, you can see how this can help at the grocery store. I always have my list with me, since I always have my smartphone with me. And if my husband is taking the trip to the grocery store, I can email him the note for his phone.

5. Brainstorming. Blog ideas. Fundraising ideas for school and my other projects. Presentation ideas. Cool websites I wanted to include in another conversation. All of that, I use Evernote. It makes my “notes to myself” much more manageable. I can tag them six ways to Sunday, so that when I return to them, with whatever prompted me to find them again, I can find them.

6. Just plain notes. Notes from the presentation at NASPA I went to? Tagged. Notes from my last staff meeting? Tagged. Notes from that meeting with Barb about Girls on the Run? Tagged. It’s like a really awesome notebook that is cross-referenced.

I would love to hear about the ways that you use Evernote, or another organizational software, to make your life more manageable. I appreciate the order that Evernote brings to my permission slip, field trip money, pick that up at the store after work filled life.

Checking In

The other week, I attended an in-service training for academic advisors on my campus. The session was held in the MSU Museum, a building that I had, sadly, never entered. Now, in my defense, this campus is frickin’ huge. There are multiple buildings I have never set foot in, but I am disappointed in myself for never visiting the Museum (which hosts a killer chocolate party benefit every year from what I hear).

When I walked up the steps, I got a chuckle out of the fact that the Museum has a Foursquare check-in sign on the front door. Historical artifacts and social networking weren’t an automatic for me, but I am glad to see forward thinking on the part of the museum. At that moment, I was disappointed that I couldn’t check in. I wasn’t on Foursquare. Despite encouragement from some of my early adopter students (see Nick Lucido) and more recently, my deal savvy staff member, Lauren Gaines, I had never seen the purpose of Foursquare. I was on Facebook, Twitter, loved every Google application I could get my hands on, and I was addicted to my smartphone. I had even read how campuses were using Foursquare or Facebook Places or Layar to introduce new and prospective students to campus – how fantastic!

However, I thought Foursquare was for my students and for those who wanted a free latte at Starbucks. I still wasn’t seeing the impetus for me to try it. However, the MSU Museum moment made me think of how we, as administrators and student affairs professionals, encourage our students to explore and try new things. And here I was, with a perfect opportunity to not only role model stepping outside my comfort zone, but also promote my own campus.

So, I am on Foursquare, and I will head back to the Museum to check in…as soon as I figure out how to check in. How are you using Foursquare to promote your campus to your own students?