Why iPhone notes are genius

7 January 2015

Like many of y’all, I use my iPhone for much more than just taking phone calls. Though I only have about ten apps, I get a lot of utility out of them – particularly the humble Notes app. This incredibly simple and incredibly handy widget helps me seem more together than I am and be a more thoughtful person than I would be otherwise. I use it to maintain tons of lists, and I thought it might be helpful to, well, list some of them – maybe it will help any of you out there who have a New Year’s resolution to be more organized? :)

Books to read | Instead of saving torn-out magazine recommendations and scraps of paper, I jot titles down on the go for later reference when I’m at the library or requesting books online. I also try to note the source of the recommendation (friend, Oprah, etc.) to help jog my memory.
Books read in 2015 | It’s fun to keep track, and also helps me balance across the different categories I try to read in – faith, finance, fun, etc.
Gift ideas for John | My husband does NOT make it easy to shop for him – but this way, if he lets something slip, I can jot it down before it slips my mind! I also have another list for gift ideas for everyone else.
Restaurants to try | It might take us months (or years!) to get to some of them, but this way, we’re never without a recommendation.
Travel | John does most of our travel research, but whenever I come across a specific hotel, site, restaurant, etc. I want to share with him, I jot it down. Right now I have ideas for Charleston, Asheville, Savannah, Nashville, Winston-Salem, and Atlanta within this list!
Wardrobe wishes | If, in the morning, I keep thinking of something I wish I had to put on, I add it to this list. Currently: a camel quilted down vest!
Things I’m looking for at the flea market | Or the consignment store, or Goodwill, or wherever else I and inexpensive furniture find ourselves. Currently: an old flag, a dresser for our guest bedroom, tin trays, and cake stands (always).
Home measurements | I note the relevant measurements of any area for which I’m actively looking for furniture or an accent piece. Currently: the height of our couch’s arm, for an end table.
Food preferences | This is my favorite! I use this note to record food likes/dislikes/allergies for our frequent dinner guests. I also write down the treat preferences of friends so that I can surprise them with goodies when the occasion calls for a celebration!

Any other ideas for things I can make lists about? Are you all laughing at my simplistic system because you have a much better one? :) (Spill, if so!)

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January 7, 2015 8:33 am

I love your system, Emily! It’s so thoughtful and makes it so much easier to remember things on an everyday basis without having to have a notebook and pen in your purse at all times. I’m inspired to come up with my own lists on my iPhone!

January 7, 2015 9:40 am

I track many of those same categories, but travel was a new one I’ll have to try!

I also keep a list of:
-Things to buy (food, target, etc.) and once there’s enough I’ll go to decrease impulse buys with too often trips to target!
-Weekend: Usually mid work week I’m itching to get some projects or errands that aren’t possible during the week. A simple Fri/Sat/Sun list with to-dos, appointments, relaxation etc lets me think forward and remind me there will be a time to get things done!
-Freecycle: A new one I started last month. (Do you use freecycle?) I kept seeing and then forgetting various things in the house I could give away (extra xmas decorations, unwanted furniture, etc.). I started a list last month since I knew it would be hard to post & be available to coordinate pick up during the holidays and can now easily post them all at once while referencing my list!
-Remember: uh, basic but logins, numbers (like my library card number for online requests) , airline frequent flier, basically the stuff i’m always relooking up goes here!
-Quotes: When I see something that really hits me in a book, online, hear it in a podcast i love to reference it later and think about why it spoke to me!

That was more than I expected! While I wish notes were a little “prettier” I’ve tried fancier list apps and always come back to it! Would love to hear the other apps you use since you seem like an app minimalist would love to hear what makes the cut!

January 7, 2015 9:56 am

I thought I was the only one who loves the iPhone notes app. Right now, I have lists for “2015 Desires” (because the word ‘resolution’ scares me), 30th birthday celebrations for my husband, and new make-up that I need to buy. I also use the Notes app to jot down quotes I hear or read, computer passwords (that’s probably not wise though), and random thoughts that usually turn into blog posts.

A friend of mine made me download the Evernote app since we’re leading a group together. You can assign a category to every list/note you write and share it with others on Evernote. And I believe you can even access whatever you write in the app on your computer.

January 7, 2015 11:34 am

Good idea on the food preferences and house measurements.

I prefer to use GoodReads to note books I want to read. Then once, I’ve read them, I mark them as read and give a rating, which serves as a handy reference when I’m trying to remember the title to recommend to a friend. GoodReads also has the book description, so I like to read through those when I’m choosing what I’m in the mood to read.

January 7, 2015 11:51 am

I use the Notes app a great deal. I have everything from recipes to grocery lists and future goals. I’ll definitely add a note for treat preferences and flea market finds. Great ideas!

January 7, 2015 1:28 pm

I, too, love using the simple Notes app. My sister has been trying to get me to convert to OneNote, and I’ve also tried Evernote, but I keep going back to the iPhone notes app. It’s so simple and effective, and I really always have my phone with me. I have lists for books to read, and, so that it’s always handy when recommendations are asked of me, I have my list of my 12 favorite books of all time. I also keep separate lists of all of my favorite wedding vendors for various locations so that it’s right there. And gift giving, meal planning, trip ideas, grocery lists, etc are all Notes of mine, too!

January 7, 2015 3:51 pm

I love your lists! Have you tried the wunderlist app? It’s as simple as Notes but I find a little easier to keep things categorized and check items off as you go. It’s probably my favorite app on my iphone, I use it for everything!

January 7, 2015 6:16 pm

I see Christine mentioned it already, but I am another vote for checking out the Goodreads app. I prefer to keep apps to a minimum (and like the simple ones) and Goodreads is the perfect balance. I can add books to my list on the go, mark them as read once I’m done (and catalog the date completed), share a short description of what I thought, and rate the book. It’s also easy for me to add books from my desktop, too, by logging onto the site. I’ve found some of my favorite books this way (as recommendations or by seeing what my friends and peers are reading) and have found it to be such a perfect system for me (I used to use Notes for books, too). I love all of your other suggestions as well!

January 8, 2015 6:44 am

I keep a little list of affirmations that I like to say to myself (daily if possible, but this sometimes falls by the wayside). Keeping track of them helps me pick and choose what it is I want to be thinking/feeling/affirming each day.

January 8, 2015 11:30 am

My favorite trick for remembering gift ideas is creating a private Amazon WishList. Throughout the year I add gift ideas (not just from Amazon) to the private wishlist, making it easy to do Christmas shopping. I’ve got the Google Chrome Amazon WishList extension on my toolbar, making it even easier to add away!

January 8, 2015 4:49 pm

I, too, love the Notes app and I love your ideas! I use the following lists regularly:

– groceries on the go (usually when coming back from a trip)
– wishlist (my mom asks for a Christmas list in September!)
– gift ideas for friends and family
– frequently used hashtags – so I don’t have to keep checking back on older posts!

January 9, 2015 1:06 pm

Never thought about using it to keep note of friends treat preference! Must do this. Also, glad I’m not the only one who keeps a million lists continually running. :)

January 14, 2015 11:45 pm

I use the notes app all the time! Right now it is filled with all of Jude’s monthly notes so I can look back and remember when he did what. I use the app Wunderlist for all my to do and wish lists. This way I can check things off and make lots of other lists on the go!