The Best Way to Organize Your Life

Okay. I have been trying anything and everything to stay organized, but it’s turned into a muddle of papers, notebooks, sticky notes, Google documents, and email drafts. I love my Google calendar and it’s really the best thing since sliced bread; I wouldn’t be able to keep my schedule in order without it. But I had all this other “stuff” that I needed to document and an electronic calendar wasn’t the best format.

I’ve REALLY (capital letters here) missed OneNote. A lot. I used it in college and it was the best way to electronically take notes and stay organized in all my classes. (Check out that post to see how I used it for my classes.) But I don’t use my PC anymore except for the occasional need for my old versions of QuickBooks. So I was at a loss.

Last week, I discovered, by complete chance, that OneNote was available in the App store. You can download both the desktop app and the iPhone app, and everything syncs.

Let me just say, I nearly cried with excitement. Finally! I can get organized in a completely digital way. This is no exaggeration, OneNote is the best piece of software (app?) out there. Really! It is set up exactly how my brain is set up, and I think you’ll find it just as helpful. I personally like that you can make it work for you. Completely customizable… the sky is the limit for how you want to use it.

For a super rudimentary rundown, the program is set up into notebooks. And within each notebook, you create different sections. And within each section, you create different pages. I’ll show you a quick peek of how mine is currently set up. I blurred out the actual content, but you can open the image in a new tab to get a look at the different sections and pages.

So I have a notebook for “The College Prepster.” I have sections for:
To-Dos: I have been keeping running lists of my daily to-dos. Right now I have different pages within this section for each week. What’s great about this is that I can see what I didn’t accomplish on Tuesday to make sure it gets done by Wednesday, Friday at the latest. This has eliminated the need for loose stickies crowding my desk. I love that I can edit the list as needed, move a to-do to another day/week easily, and look back to see what I’ve done. Plus, it’s available on my phone with the app!
Blog Posts: I still use my planner to jot down the different posts I’m doing when, but I’ve been using this tab to keep certain key “deliverable” dates on tap…. and record ideas for blog posts as they come to me. You know, like when I’m standing in line at the grocery store or while I’m blow drying my hair. Again, LOVE that this syncs between my laptop, desktop, and iPhone.
Travel: This is hands down the most game-changing piece for me. Before, I would have to have my travel plans cluttered in poorly laid out Google docs and emails I’d send to myself. I created different pages for each trip. On the Charleston page, I’ve included relevant travel information, itineraries, contact information, PDF files from the trip’s host, outfit planning. (Leading up to the trip, I’ll be able to record packing lists and pre-flight checklists, etc.)

Outfits to Post: Keeping track of what outfits I want to post is really hard for me. I forget about shoes I have or little accessories all the time. When my photographer is waiting for me to change, I will 99% of the time forget to put on the specific type of jewelry I was going to wear for the post. These checklists are great because now I know what’s being sent to me (I can record the inventory and itemize shipments on my phone while I’m unpacking boxes), what dates I need to get outfits up by, and check things off as I lay out outfits the morning of a shoot. Jewelry included! 
Holiday Gifts: This was just a Google doc I had of products I will include in gift guides. It was getting messy, so I just decided to include it in OneNote!
Contracts: The contracts I get are pretty straightforward, but I don’t want to forget to do specific elements. (Like a branded hashtag, for example.) Instead of printing the contract and highlighting, I’ve been copying and pasting the relevant parts of the contract into separate pages. I can check things off as I go and stay 100% organized!
Management: I’ve recently signed with a manager and we’re still in a transitional period. I’ve been doing sort of a hand off of sorts with the things I’ve been working on and people I’ve been talking to… I don’t want things to get lost in the shuffle when I “check” it off my list so I just keep a running list of everything I send her way. Plus, I can include notes from our phone calls, record questions I want to ask her during our next meeting, and upload attachments I need on hand.
That’s how I organize my sections, but it’s the PAGES where the magic really happens. The best way to see what it can do for you is to play with it. I love that I’m not limited to lines, but when I type, everything is neat and organized. You essentially create text boxes (Microsoft Word throwback) for the different chunks of text you use, but they can be moved anywhere on the page. I tend to work Up and Down, but if you want things to work more like a timeline, you can go infinitely to the Right. 
Some features you can use for pages:

The ways you can use this are basically endless. You might want a personal notebook and a school notebook. Plan your wedding. Keep track of books, movies, and articles you’ve read/liked. Plan out a project with a friend (you can share the notebooks!). Record recipes, meal planning, grocery lists for your family. Whatever you need to organize….

I’d love to know if you use OneNote or if you start, how you set yours up! I got Maxie hooked on it, too… and I think it’s been a game changer for her already!


PS If you have time and want to watch a video on it… Here’s a recent tutorial. It’s cool to see it “in action.”

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I'm an old-fashioned pen-and-paper kind of girl when it comes to scheduling and organizing, but I'm always looking for easier ways to keep me on track. Thanks for sharing! Will definitely try this on my phone!


It definitely is! For some reason I couldn't "crack" the Evernote system… OneNote just works better with how I think I guess ha!

Parks Nunnally

Oh my goodness, I had no idea it was free! I'm so excited! Thank you so much for mentioning it, I wouldn't have thought much about it otherwise. I've been on an organization kick as of late and I've really needed to organize my online stuff!


I LOVE OneNote and was absolutely giddy {#nerd} when I found the app. I used it in grad school for all my notes and was so sad to let it go when I transitioned to a Mac. I struggled through using Evernote too and just feel like I "get" OneNote. It makes my life so much easier for day-job work and blogging. Nice to see I'm not the only one!

Surf & Hydrangeas


I've always loved One Note! I'm actually in the middle of writing a post about how I use the different notebooks for my college class organization instead of real notebooks!
I loved seeing how you use it, isn't it great?

Dani Dearest


I will be starting my dream teaching job next week and I totally forgot how amazing oneNote was for me in college. Thank you so much for the reminder, now I can use it in my classroom!

Jenny Padilla

OneNote is amazing!! Literally just mentioned this in my must-have ipad apps. It's great for students & just organization in general. I make folders and color code sections for everything.
I also like it much better than evernote- I feel like its much more intuitive and easy to manage.

– Jenny
from the desk of j


I actually use this app for college in my iPad! I have a notebook for each class and I think that the great thing about OneNote is that you can create different sections so everything is perfectly organised! and the fact that you can sync it to all your devices makes it even better! I will watch the video tutorial to see if I am missing any useful feature 🙂

Fashionably Sparkly

Audrey Lin

I never knew what OneNote was, even though I always saw it on my computer. I use a Mac now too though, and I know that many people choose to use Evernote 🙂 I'm not sure if it has as many functions as OneNote though. Anyways, YOU'VE CONVINCED ME! I'll figure out how to use this thing soon…hopefully… 🙂 -Audrey | Brunch at Audrey's