Featured Software

Getting Organized: Notebook by Circus Ponies

I have to admit to behaving like a kid in a candy store wanderingthe notebook aisle at Office Depot. The Office Depot rush only scratches the surface of my excitement when, at he end of the summer,  they start bringing out the new school supplies at Target. Outside covers are only half of the notebook’s "cool". There is just something brilliant about a fresh blank notebook, willing and ready to de-clutter your thoughts all in one place. Its a place to stick your stickies (other than your computer screen) and a home for all the other notes randomly jotted down while in your car “driving” or on the phone in another room. Creative people understand the necessity of having a notebook-  you never know when a random creative thought will pop into your mind. (Normally mine hits in the shower so the notebook isn’t as conducive to my situation, but it’s handy to have waiting for me as I get to work and can unload all my random thoughts. )

So what does this have to do with virtual organizational tools? Well, everything.

Enter NoteBook. A brilliantly designed virtual notebook for the creative mind. This clever tool is the perfect answer to organizing all of your clutter in one place, while keeping the familiarity that we love about our spiral notebook.

NoteBook’s clever “spiral bound” interface is designed complete with pages tabs, sections and subsections allowing you to not only collect your clutter, but organizes it in a way where it can be easily found when you need to go back to it. Each notebook is saved as a file on your computer and you can save as many as you want to organize the largest and smallest of projects.

Use NoteBook to type notes and text, or simply drag in files and folders. I find myself inspired a lot while browsing the web for things. And also get the  random epiphany while emailing. Rarely do I keep track of these thoughts as I am usually in the middle of another task and don’t have a lot of time to stop what I’m you are doing to jot it down. Easy answer. No more “jotting it down”, just "clip" your web findings, mail messages and other content into your Notebooks. No need to leave the application I’m working in and it’s so quick and easy that I don’t loose track of the real job at hand. Lovely for those of us who are totally ADD.

So here is how NoteBook is most handy in my creatively random world… A new project for me starts usually with an email or phone call. So, knowing this project will be a big one with a lot of variables, I start a notebook. The first note being the original email, phone number of client and notes they gave me when I was most likely in the middle of another project. I will then create the project bid and after sending to the client, will clip the bid into my notebook for reference. Once the project starts, other emails will come usually containing content for the project weather it be images or copy or reference to another project online. I copy or clip each of these things into the notebook I have for this project. This way there is never a question of “where did I stick that note”. This is the best way to combine all forms of content used for a project and not only to organize then into tasks, but find then in a pinch. As I have mentioned in previous articles, I am a bit OCD when it comes to my email inbox. I like for it to be clean and my emails to be attended to in a timely manner. It is hard to do this when you have a major project going and your clients sends you small bits of info in 20-30 emails. This is where NoteBook is a saver of my sanity. Rather than letting the emails pile in, I clip the content into that project notebook and move it out of my inbox allowing me to contain all the info in one organized space!

From here I organize the content, assign tasks and deadlines and even make notes for future projects possible inspired my the task at hand. Then once the project is complete you can save your notebook in the customer file and refer back to it when needing inspiration for another project, or and this happens all the time, a client calls and says, “I sent you an email several months ago and I need something from it and just can’t find it, can you send it back to me”. Simple things like this can land you “Super-hero for the Day” in the mind of your favorite client!

Notebook also has excellent annotation features via highlighting, keywords and even voice annotation that can be sent to your ipod, which leads me to my favorite feature. Notebook is setup, well like a perfectly organized notebook, complete with a Multidex™ that locates each and every note you take by text, capitalized words, numbers, web addresses, highlights, keywords, sickies, to-dos, attachments, even attachments you’ve trashed, dates of creation, change or deadlines. Pretty cool that you never have to worry abut accidentally writing on the back of one of your “pages” and ripping it out to take with you only to later find that what was on the other side, was pretty stinking important! With this notebook, you never loose a page.

So many TO-DOs, not sure what to start with first? Join the crowd. Good news is this app makes checking off your TODO list even more fun! Simply add checkboxes and due dates to you tasks. So as you take down notes or clip memos into your notebook, you can then add a check box with a date to complete the task if you wish. No need to make a separate TODO list containing the same items you’ve made note of. I’ve found myself doing this over and over in my “paper” notebook which tends to bring on the overwhelming feeling of never being able to complete a list, not because you didn’t complete the task, but because you have it listed in 4 different places!

If you are like me your first thought is “where in the world do I begin?” So many notes, so little time. We’ll they’ve made it easy for you. First, download your 30 day trial version here….

Then when you open NoteBook for the first time after registration, this handy little screen will come up, giving you all kinds of ideas on what, when and where to begin your organization. This is by far my favorite of all the organizational tools I have reviewed so far and will continue to be a part of my everyday goal for an organized life.

On a side-note for those of you with kids, I never thought I would say this, but I will miss the little “stick figures conquering the world” that always found a place in my paper notebook on days when the kids were on break from school!” I may have to scan a few and clip them in for nostalgia! Happy organizing!