iPhone Note Hacks to Keep Your Entire Life Organized
If you’re anything like me, your brain swirls with new ideas all the time. Currently there are 300+ notes on my phone right now. YIKES. But guess what, I actually don’t mind, because they’re organized strategically. Imagine having a place to store new ideas, grocery lists, business to dos, all the things swirling in your mind in one click, today I’m going to show you how I do this.
I heard a quote a few years ago that said, “New ideas are a hit or miss without a process for implementation.” This hit me down to my core. I knew I had a lot of ideas, but they were getting lost in the shuffle. I knew I couldn’t get to the implementation part, without having a place to store them in an organized way.
I’ve been using this process for over 4 years now and it’s honestly the only way I keep track of everything. Yes, I know there are project management tools and tons of apps you can pay for that will take this to the next level, but this process has worked wonders. I really believe its worked because it’s so simple. It also doesn’t cost a dime. (If you already have a smartphone!)
How to Set Up Your Notes, Strategically
Let’s dive into some simple functionality tips about how the notes app actually works. Chances are, you have a lot of notes already on your phone. If so, we're not going to start by cleaning these out, that's just going to be a distraction. We're going to do something much more strategic.
Step 1: Create a Note Folder
(new folder icon below for reference)
Step 2: Create a New Note in Your New Folder
Think of 1 aspect of your life you constantly need to make a list for. I'm going to use my grocery list as an example here. The first line of your note is for the title, that's why the text is so large. Choose an emoji to put in front of the title. This will help you recognize the note more quickly. Once you have your emoji and title, arrow down and add either this ***** or _______.
Here's a preview:
Step 3: Prioritize 3 Old Notes
Now go back to your default folder of notes. (*If you don't have any notes on your phone skip to step 4) Find one that you know you'll need later. Hold your finger down on the note until this pops up:
Click 'Move' and push that note over to your new folder! Now repeat what we did in step 2. Give the note you moved over, an emoji, new title, and those dots to keep it looking clean. (The purpose of the dots is just my way of keeping it looking clean. Notes automatically displays the first line of text, but this can be distracting when you go back later to find a specific note.)
Once you have a lot of notes in your folder it will look something like this:
Step 4: Get Seriously Organized
Think of a few other aspects of your life you want to keep organized and add a couple notes to that new folder. If a certain aspect of your life will need multiple notes, create a new folder for that.
A few folders that have been helpful for me are:
Client Folder - I have a note for each client (current clients are pinned to the top of that folder)
Counseling - this started as just a note... but I quickly realized it would be helpful to create a new note for each session.
I have one note for Finances (goals and tracking progress) and another for Shopping. Instead of buying something when I want it, I put it in the note and wait a while. Sometimes, God provides before I can even buy something! Or I keep something on the list of a while and realize I don't need it or don't actually want it anymore.
As you start adding new notes, you'll realize what parts of your life will need folders and what may just be helpful to have a note for. For example, I have a folder titled "My Business". This folder is helpful to have a note for leads, my shopping list for the business, tax notes, expansion ideas, goals etc.
Just test it out. Sometimes I make a note for something and end up deleting it later. Just try it, see if it's helpful. If you're not a list person and you're better keeping things in your head, that's okay too. The purpose of this to try a new strategy and see if it helps! Remember, progress over perfection.
Features to Take Your Lists to the Next Level
Once you have a lot of notes in a folder, there will be certain ones that will be helpful to have at the top. Pin these to the top of the folder by sliding the note to the right with your finger. When you do this, you'll see an orange box with a little push pin come up. When you tap the push pin, it will pin the note to the top of your folder.
I've realize Apple doesn't allow you to lock a folder, but you can lock specific notes. I like to have a note just for gift ideas for people. I keep this locked, that way no one ruin the surprise ;)! I also have specific counseling notes locked too. When things happen during the week that set me off... I quietly go into my notes, write down a few sentences to jog my memory later and set it down "mentally" until I can ask my counselor about it. Once you create a note, you'll see a circle with three dots in it, tap that and you'll see an option that says "Lock". Tap that, set up your pin, and you're good to go!
I love the checklist feature in notes, because it allows you to actually check something off your list!
When you click the icon I circled above, it will automatically give you a check box. Just start typing, then hit 'return' to add the next item to your checklist. If you click return a couple times it will take you back to the normal typing mode.
Sometimes I find pictures that would be helpful to keep in a specific note. I found this bullet journal idea on Pinterest for tracking savings goals. I took a screenshot of it and uploaded it to my finance note to work on later!
As you can see, you can get extremely organized just using the notes app! I've been doing this for over 4 years and it's truly helped me stay sane. Whether I'm out with a friend and remember something I need at the store or I'm about to fall asleep and remember something I need to do in the morning, I always have a place to put it. Here's a little peek at my ever growing amount of folders:
I've gone a bit overboard with this strategy, but it works! I've had so many people ask me how I stay so organized and this is a big part of it. Work life balance is so important to me, but as a business owner – work is always top of mind. It's helpful to have a space to drop ideas for later and allow my brain to just melt into a restful space.
This won't solve everything, I still forget things all the time... but this helps 90% of my tasks not to slip through the cracks. If getting organized is on your list of things to do – this just might be the next right step!