Planning Ahead For Looking Back

Every year, I wish I’d done a better job of documenting the previous year. I’m not one for New Year’s Resolutions, mostly because I don’t trust myself to follow through, but this year, I’m making one: Better documentation of life throughout the year so that, next year, I’m not wishing I’d done a better job of it!

I’m sharing my ideas and plans here for two reasons:

– It might inspire someone.
– I would love—read LOVE—to hear your thoughts and ideas about how you document various aspects of your life.

And now for The Details:

Evernote* has been on and off my radar ever since it first came out a few years ago. I have decided to use it as a hub for my Better Documentation because:
» I’m a geek and I like things in the cloud, rather than on paper. (I can always print it out on paper, if I get a hankering.) Evernote is The Ultimate Portal to “the cloud”. I can use it on my phone or on my PC or via my email from someone else’s PC! (I use Gmail because I also like my email in the cloud.)
» I like to do everything with my phone— (no, EVERYthing. I’m writing this post from my phone [thank you WordPress!] and I’m annoyed that they haven’t yet developed a phone that turns into a car — and also a bed ;)). But when I don’t feel like thumbing it out on my phone, it will be nice to be able to access/add to my notebooks from my computer.
» I can create multiple notebooks and post pictures, videos, notes— even files! —to them. It will be a virtual library of scrapbooks, without the clutter! Evernote also has the handy capability of searching for text within images!!! So if I jot “Dream House Floorplan” on a napkin while at the coffee shop, draw out the floorplan, take a picture of it and upload it to Evernote, I can do a search later for “dream house” and Evernote will find that image! That’s just geeky coolness, even if I don’t end up utilizing that feature much. ;)
» Did I mention you can also share individual posts and/or whole notebooks from Evernote with your friends and family??

So those are the reasons I’m picking Evernote as my primary tool for accomplishing this year’s resolution. On to the good stuff…

The Resolution
1. I WILL take a picture of my family once a week (group or single shots). At the end of the year, I’ll have at least 52 pictures documenting how we have changed in appearance.
2. I WILL write a diary entry every day, no matter how short. I plan to include Weather, Mood, and Highlights from the day. I HOPE to include daily details as often as possible, but realistically, it’s going to be tough enough just getting the basic details down on a daily basis. But the FUN part of all this will be in two years, when I can look at diary entries from exactly a year ago and see what we were doing and how I was feeling (and whether or not it was raining that day too!).
3. I WILL take more pics and videos of the kids!! These will be posted to Evernote with a specific tag so they can be meshed in with everything else but capable of being separated into their own group for easier browsing.
4. Lastly, I plan to have a virtual scrapbook of get-togethers, parties, and other events or special odds & ends. It will contain things like pictures of birthday cards, movie tickets, group photos, cherished gifts, favorite clothing, etc.

Interestingly enough, as I was brainstorming all of this yesterday and today, one of my best friends was apparently having a similar inspiration. She discovered something called a “Smash Book“. You can see a short but very descriptive video of it here:

Basically, it’s the papery, non-geek version of what I’ll be doing with Evernote— and it’s pretty cool. If you’re not a cloud-freak like I am, or if you like being able to touch mementos, you should check it out. It’s a great concept, and while they sell everything you could possibly need to make one, there are lots of YouTube videos on how to make your own.

So there you have it: my ideas for better documentation of my family’s life in the coming year. Did any of it inspire you?

Please share your thoughts, suggestions, and original ideas because I would love the opportunity to be inspired by YOU! :)

*I was not asked to promote any of the products mentioned in this post nor was I compensated for said promotion. The entire post is comprised of my own thoughts, opinions, and preferences.