The Notes App Is My Entire Brain

Erin Yandell

Senior Staff Writer 

Organized chaos. That’s my life in a nutshell. I have great organizational skills, yet all my thoughts, tasks and simply life in general are constantly bouncing around in my head. My attention flits from one thing to the next, persistently trying to stay on top of everything. I’ve always been successful in school, capable of balancing assignments and tasks. Despite how effortless it may seem on the outside, there is a multitasking nightmare that somehow handles my life. 

As a person with clinical anxiety and depression, I struggle with the impending doom of worry and immense procrastination. One day can be spent organizing my life down to the minute details—creating lists, schedules and routines—then the next I could spend the entire day cleaning my apartment to procrastinate. 

Did I really need to spend an hour reorganizing my drawers or refolding all my clothes? 

There are so many tips and methods to organize your life on the Internet. TikTok and YouTube are overflowing with videos promoting different methods or apps that help organize anything from school assignments to daily tasks. I’ve tried so many different apps and organization tools but I haven’t found anything permanent that effectively helps me.

Here are some things I’ve tried to organize my life:

  • Evernote
  • Microsoft Onenote 
  • Google Calendar
  • Spreadsheets
  • Paper To-do Lists
  • Sticky notes (even virtual ones)
  • My Study Life
  • Notion
  • Time-blocking tasks
  • A whiteboard
  • Planners

These are just a few examples of what I’ve tried. Sometimes I’ve tried several methods at once but the conclusion was always the same. I either forget that the app is there or I’m very inconsistent, often using one method on one day and another on the next.

This is my final semester at UNC Greensboro, and I still haven’t perfected my organization. Currently, I’m using a planner, two mini composition books, a spreadsheet, a white board, Google Calendar and the Notes app.

It’s a very conflicting system that somehow works—well at least I think it does—however, there is one app that I always return to: the Notes app. 

There are so many random notes that reflect the abyss that is my brain.

It isn’t perfect, I’m always trying out new ways to use my notes to more effectively manage school, clubs and life in general. 

Here are some examples:

  • Master To-Do List
  • Daily To-Do List
  • Specific To-Do Lists
  • Wish Lists
  • Reminders
  • Budget
  • Story Ideas
  • After Graduation Plans
  • Applied jobs 

There are more personal ones, but my entire life revolves around this simple Apple application.

One of its attractions is its portability. The infamous iCloud syncs across my devices, saving these notes all in one place so it’s accessible from almost anywhere with my phone. Sometimes I forget or misplace my mini composition notebooks and my planner, leaving me without a way to complete my to-do list or write down random lists and thoughts. But hey, I have my phone and my handy-dandy notes app so those thoughts don’t disappear. Obviously, I can’t carry my huge whiteboard around campus or to the store so the tasks are often forgotten and then the panic hits once I get home realizing I forgot to complete an assignment or missed a due date.

I value the physicality of notebooks and writing; I have a journal that I use religiously, but I can’t ignore the benefits that technology has provided us. 

Organization to me is a dynamic concept, all about constantly changing and trying out new ideas. There is no flawless system that works for everyone. Everyone’s brain works differently and different methods aren’t convenient for every period of your life. 

I’m graduating soon, and my life will no longer revolve around school, so my methods may change based on where I’m at during a certain time. 

It’s not a perfect system. Sometimes I even forget to check my notes, but people still say I’m one of the most organized people they know. It’s a complicated and confusing system, but by some miracle I make it work. 

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