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I'm going Paper Free...

Pretending my family is a company both makes me laugh on the inside and gives me a higher sense of purpose in my life. No, I'm not going to start treating my kids like numbers or make them sit at a desk and do work all day, but I do like to follow some of the organizational principles I have seen in various companies I have worked for. We have an operations manual (yes, I call it that). I send my husband memos and make him submit expense reports. Because I find it amusing and it keeps me organized. Of course, having to deal with all of this at work already, my husband simply finds it annoying. But whatever:)

So lately, as many companies have been, I am working on going paper free (or paper less, as in using less paper). I love paper. Really. I've always enjoyed simple things. Water is in my top five. So is paper. I love the feel of it, the smell of it, the many things it can be made to do. I buy cute notebooks compulsively. I have tried multiple times in the past (first with a palm pilot- remember those?- and now with my iphone) to use a virtual planner instead of a paper one and I have always come running back, because I love paper. But lately my focus has been to streamline the nonsense in my life (you know, like paying bills, filing important papers, meal planning... nonsense) so I have more time to spend with my children as well as on my own pursuits (um, blogging mostly, but also my recent nutjob idea to train to run a 5K in the spring). And you know what nonsense slows me down the most? The piles of papers and notebooks I amass. I pull things out of magazines, I get papers at preschool, I print out recipes, articles, and knitting patterns, I clip coupons. All of it goes in a pile. All efforts to organize this pile have failed, so I am going to try to eliminate (most of) it. So I'm giving the virtual planner another go (which isn't much of a stretch, because somehow I managed to live through this past year without any planner at all... I believe that's a first since seventh grade). As any good manager would do, I have constructed an action plan. It is to employ the following:

  • my ical, since it's already there and is already on my phone and computer.
  • Things. No really, that's what it's called. It's list making and project organizing software. It may sound stupid to pay $40 to make lists, but this was my favorite of all the list applications I looked at, and the only one that would sync with my iphone, which was important to me. And considering that in the past I have had an entire mini-notebook devoted entirely to lists (which this eliminates the need for), this is a pretty significant improvement.
  • Start e-meal planning. I'm still working on this one. I don't want to pay for meal planning software. I also don't think I want to have to type all the recipes I use into a meal planning program. I'm already working on typing/copy pasting all the recipes I use into a word doc. so i can print them (more paper, I know, but I hate cooking with the computer nearby, it makes me nervous) and put them in a cute little mini-binder I found. Do I want to do that again? Will I eventually end up doing this anyway? It would be a lot of work upfront, but once I got done I would only have to enter new recipes- shopping lists would be created by dragging and dropping a recipe. My organized side also likes the idea of a kitchen ap that keeps inventory of what I have on hand, but that means that every time I went groccery shopping I would have to add everything I bought. If there existed a circular program that had your recipes, created your shopping list, canceled things you already had, then added the shopping list back into your inventory after items were checked off bought that I would definitely pay for. For the moment I'm simply using a spreadsheet template I made.
  • Reduce the piles and folders of torn out and printed recipes into a handful of word documents.
  • Use budget and expense tracking software. This is a combined organizational and financial wellness effort, as my husband and I have never been good at tracking our spending and being accountable for what we're spending. I am also shopping around for this one, and would like a program that is flexible and has an accompanying iphone ap.
This is what I am working on right now. While I'm supposed to be making my meal plan and groccery list. Which need to be done by tomorrow. The boss isn't going to be happy. And by boss, I mean me. Yep. I'm loosing it.

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