My Tips for Using Evernote

Over the last few months, Evernote has become an invaluable tool in my day to day life.  I use it for a number of different things and areas of my life, in ways that I thought I would and ways that I never would have imagined.  I’ve written about Evernote a few times in the few months, and they are some of my most popular posts.  So, I thought I would bring those posts back up front for everyone who may have missed them.

How I Use Evernote to Maximize Productivity

More Ways to Use Evernote to Maximize Productivity

If you are new to Evernote, or are interested in checking it out, these posts may give you a better idea of how you can best use it for you.  Enjoy!

Posted in Time Management | Tagged

My Most Useful Scrapbooking Trick

Do you have a “toolbox” of special tricks you use when you are scrapbooking? I do, I have some great tricks that I use to add a little punch to my layouts all the time. Some of them, I use over and over. One trick I always come back to is adding a thin white border around my photos. I think it really draws the attention to the picture, and helps set it apart from the rest of the layout.  Like this:

Here’s how I do it:

  1. Find the photo layer, and open the layer style panel for that layer by double clicking on the layer.
  2. Look down to the bottom of the list and click on “stroke”
  3. Now you need to change the settings.  My preference is to set the size to 16px.  Then switch the position from “outside” to “inside.”
  4. Finally, click on the color box and change the color to white, and hit ok.
  5. Now, back on your layout, add a blank layer above the photo.
  6. Select the photo layer and the blank layer, and merge the two together by right clicking and selecting “merge layers”

Now your photo is ready to be shadowed!

It’s really that easy. I am always impressed at what a difference doing this one trick does for my photos and layouts, especially when I am using really busy patterned papers and elements.

What tricks do you have in your scrapbooking toolbox?

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Save Time by Setting Limits

I feel like I am always adding to my never ending to do list. There seems to be no end to the amount of projects and responsibilities I take on, even when I am not sure if I can get them done. More and more time taken up, when if I could just set some limits, I would find more time. It’s not so easy though, to say “no” or to turn down potential projects and activities. I am determine to try and scale back this year, and here are three ways I plan on setting some limits.

Understand that YOU don’t have to do it all.

This is one of the hardest things for me. It’s not about control, either. When I see something that needs to get done, or someone needs help, I want to do it because I want to be helpful. A perfect example of this was this week at school. There was a project that  needed to get done, and instead passing it up and letting someone else take care of it, I volunteered myself to do it. It wasn’t necessary for me to do, and I didn’t really have a lot of time to get it done, but I said I would do it anyways. If I had just let someone else take on the project, I would have saved myself a lot of time.

Instead of just saying “no,” let people know why you can’t take it on right now.

I’ve always had trouble saying “no” to people, so when I have to turn down and event or project, I make sure to let them know why. It doesn’t need to be a long detailed reason. I often find that saying, “I wish I could, I just don’t have the extra time right now” works like a charm.

Make sure that the things you are doing are things that make you happy.

I’ve done a lot of this lately, looking at my commitments and asking if they are things that truly make me happy. If you are doing something that doesn’t make you happy, you need to truly reevaluate why you are doing it. This is hard for me, but I am working on making those choices.

Hopefully these changes will help me get a handle on what I take on.

What things do you do to set limits in your life?

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Memory Keeping Goals for 2012

Have you set your goals for this year? Every year I say that I’m not going to set goals, and then I get a few weeks into the year, and I realize that I really do need some goals to focus my work. Hence,we are almost through the month of January, and I am still busy setting my goals for the year in all the areas of my life. Recently, I’ve put together my goals for Memory Keeping this year, and I wanted to share them with you.

  • Scrap more layouts – Last year I did just over 150 layouts. This year I am hoping to increase that number to just above 200.
  • Journal more and make it more meaningful – If you read the blog regularly, you know that I am always working at making my journaling better. This year I am looking forward to exploring my journaling more, and sharing my ideas for journaling about yourself in my upcoming BPC Workshop, It’s All About Me.
  • Create a photo workflow – Over the years, I’ve gotten really bad at just plugging my camera in and dumping the pictures into files on my hard drive. This year, I am hoping to get back into a photo workflow that will help me keep everything organized and easy to use. I’ve been inspired by THIS POST over at Paperclipping and I am looking to do something similar.
  • Explore more artistic style layouts – I’ve begun exploring this style more and more in my layouts recently, and I have to say I am intrigued. This year I want to check it out more and see how I can combine it with my own style.
  • Print and organize my layouts – Yes, I’ve printed before. However, as you saw above, I’ve done over 150 layouts last year. I’ve got a lot that need to be printed, and I am going to need to get both girls new albums for the layouts. I can’t let this go much longer, or it will be a huge order. I wonder what the biggest order at Persnickety Prints has ever been…it may just be mine.

So those are the goals I’ve set out for this year.  What goals do you have for your Memory Keeping in 2012?

Posted in Scrapping Tips and Techniques | Tagged , , ,

Are You Still Using Google+?

So last summer, as Google+ was introduced, I wrote a few posts about it. At the time, I was seriously obsessed with Google+. In both of my posts, I talked about how I was so in love with Google+ that I was leaving Facebook for it. Just look at the titles of the posts:

How Google+ is Like a New Boyfriend

Facebook, We Need to Talk

The thing is…I lost interest in Google+. In fact, I don’t usually visit the site unless I have a specific reason. It just doesn’t seem to interest me anymore, I don’t know. While six months ago I touted the idea of leaving Facebook behind, now I can’t imagine not visiting Facebook everyday.  In fact, it’s open right now.

So what was the problem? What happened to Google+? I’m not even sure, to be honest with you. Are you still on Google+? What do you like about it? Why are you still invested at the site? Help me figure out what I’m missing!

Posted in Internet Tips and Techniques

Keeping a One Sentence Journal

Recently, as part of the Sweet Shoppe Designs book club, I’ve been reading The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin. I’ve had this book on my Nook for a while now, but had kept putting it off for a variety of reasons. I was happy to see that this was the book choice this month because it would force me to read it and think about it. Now that I am about fifty or so pages from the end, I have to say that I am sorry that I’ve waited so long to read it!

One thing that has particularly struck me from the book is the concept of keeping a one sentence journal. Basically, a one sentence journal is a journal in which each day, you write one sentence. Go figure, right? Some people take it a step further, and keep the journal for multiple years, usually five years. That way, at the end of five years, for each date you have one sentence from the last five years. What a great way to see how times are changing!  I don’t think I’m ready for that just yet, though.

See, the one sentence journal appeals to me because, frankly I don’t like writing in a journal. I just never got into the idea of journal writing. That’s probably part of the reason why I have trouble journaling, but I digress. With a one sentence journal, there really isn’t the pressure to write a full entry. I can write one sentence a day, right? In the book Gretchen recommends having a focus for the sentence, such as a sentence about the happiest thing from your day. I like this idea because it’s similar to a tradition I have with my family, One Good Thing, where every day at dinner we say one good thing that happened that day.

So, I’ve started keeping a one sentence journal. So far, I’ve been pretty good about keeping up with it. I save it for the very last thing I do every night, right before I go to bed. I’ve found that it’s a nice way to reflect a little on the day. I’ve been focusing on the happiest thing from the day, and it really helps me to put my day into perspective. I’m glad that I’ve started keeping a one sentence journal, and hope to keep it up.

Do you keep something like a one sentence journal? What do you do?

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Tricks for Better Journaling: Use Someone Else’s Writing

One of the things I find the hardest about creating layouts is journaling. It’s not that I don’t want to share my stories, or that I don’t have memories that I want to write down. Sometimes, though, I just have a hard time getting what I feel and my memories down on paper. I know there’s no right or wrong way to journal, I just am not always comfortable with it.  I’ve worked hard to get better at journaling, and have learned some tricks along the way. The trick I want to share with you today is simple: use someone else’s writing. There are a few ways to do this.

Have someone do the journaling for you. This is an easy way to get some journaling onto your page, and it brings a different light to your layouts. You can do this by conducting interviews with people, or just asking them to share their ideas about a certain event. In today’s tech savvy world, you can email someone and ask them to share their thoughts, and then copy and page them onto your digital layout. It doesn’t get easier than this.

Use someone else’s writing. I do this one all of the time. Some memories can be easily expressed by using the words of a song, or a quote that means something to you. I like the simplicity of using something like this as the journaling because, while I don’t express in words exactly how I am feeling, I know the feelings and thoughts associated with the song or quote, and I can save my feelings in my head.

Write as someone else. Ok, so this is not technically using someone else’s writing, but sometimes it’s effective to write your journaling pretending you are someone else. Pretend you are the dog, or your daughter, or a casually observer of the situation. By detaching yourself from the event/memory, it will be easier to write about it.

These are three ideas that have proven effective for me in the past. If you struggle to get words on the page like I do, they may work for you as well.

What other strategies do you have for getting your words onto the page? 

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