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Everything in One Place: A Guide to Personal Organization

In this past week's newsletter, I talked about how a lifestyle where everything "just works" needs a streamlined personal organization system. When you open up a new Apple Product, it seamlessly integrates into the ecosystem. I've always been amazed by the fluidity of Apple's ecosystem in this regard.

So how can we build our personal organization system? I believe in organizing everything in one place. For me, this is in my Notes app. There are plenty of creators out there with their version of an iOS Notes app tutorial. "How to get organized at work when overwhelmed", or "How to get organized with ADHD" are common inquiries made online. Regardless of why you are trying to get organized, some strategies are effective in any situation.

One Simple Trick

Having everything in one place is the trick! How often in life are we looking for something, be it a password or recipe, and right when we need it most is when it seems to be the hardest to find?

Not only is this extremely frustrating, but it can even be embarrassing sometimes if people are waiting for you to get things in order. When you get everything into one place, you've won half the battle!

That one place for me ended up being my Notes app on my iPhone. I'm a big tech guy and about a year ago I decided that I wanted to go paperless. I was so tired of random papers everywhere, and whenever I wanted to jot down a note, I would use a scratch piece of paper that I knew was going to go missing by the end of the day.

A macbook pro with an iMac and iPhone on a desk

It took more than a few days to compile everything, but slowly, I started scanning old documents, or typing up lists and filing them away in my Notes app. And when I say everything, I mean everything! Login information, ID numbers, favorite quotes, lecture notes, design ideas, and everything else in between.

Like any new system, while it seems great at the moment, after a few days, we often find ourselves backsliding. I knew that if I wanted to make this work, I needed to commit myself. So once I had double and triple-checked that I had stored everything I wanted, I went through my home and office, shredding and recycling every loose document, journal, and packet I had.

It. Was. Terrifying.

Living the Dream

Once it was all said and done, it was like a new clarity had taken over my life. I remember a few days after I made the leap, I was getting the oil in my car changed. When the mechanic asked for my license plate number, I searched it on my Notes app, and that was it. Once the change was completed, I scanned the receipt, updated the car's miles, and set a reminder for the next change. Then came the best part, I threw the receipt away.

Whenever I'm sitting in a lecture and hear something that I don't want to forget, I make a note of it and file it away. One weekend when visiting my parents, I was proudly showing off my organized system. My father, always the skeptic, asked what happens when my data is compromised.

A Magic Keyboard, magic mouse, and earbuds with some sunglasses

He brought up a good point. Admittedly, when my paperless journey began, I started using EverNote. I found after a while that the Apple Notes app suited my needs better. Apple encrypts all of my iCloud data as well as stores it locally on my devices.

And at the end of the day, it is a risk I inherently must take. But the way I see it, I could lose all of that data in a freak accident just as easily as I could if it were in a filing cabinet during a house fire. I have taken some precautions though, locking notes with sensitive information, and every quarter, uploading a zip file of my entire system onto a thumb drive to be kept in a fire safe.

One System to Rule Them All

I could go on and on about my file management if you couldn't tell already. But it's because it has made such an incredible difference in my life. Whether you are using the Notes app from Apple, Google Drive, or EverNote, the principle is the same: everything becomes easier to manage if it's in the same place.

While getting there may be tedious, I can promise you the results are well worth it. For more tips on everything tech, productivity, and organization, stick with Focus Forge!


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