how i organize with onenote

About this time last year I made the switch from Evernote, which I’d used since it came out, to Microsoft OneNote, which is an integrated part of my Office software. After making a ‘trial run’ of OneNote to see how I could organize everything, I knew this was the better program for me. I hated to let Evernote go – they’ve been very good to me! But I just needed more than what their program offers.

imho, the worst thing about OneNote is that there aren’t a lot of templates available (although I’ve found they’re easy made), and there doesn’t seem to be much support / tips’n tricks available.

The biggest plus is that it integrates with the other Office programs – you can “print” to or from OneNote and share in the Office cloud (though I don’t use Skydrive – does anyone?). I keep my OneNote files inside my Dropbox folder – so it backs up its own backups, essentially. The program is largely intuitive. It’s easy to figure out what does what and what you can and can’t do with it. As for the lack of support et al, googling OneNote turns up what I’m looking for. I like that I can customize the interface, too. In the quickview bar, I have only the tools I use most often; everything else is tucked into the ribbon.

I have ADHD (leaning toward the Inattentive/Distractive side), so the way I organize things drives people straight up a wall. For them, it’s not intuitive or organized. For me it makes perfect sense. (I have friends who don’t like using my laptop because they never can find anything – but to me, its organization makes perfect sense)

From this article:

OneNote is designed to mimic a collection of spiral notebooks, with metaphors of tabs and pages. It has six total levels of organization–notebooks, sections, subsections, pages, and two levels of subpages. OneNote also has a system of links that allow notes to contain links to other notes, or to a Web page, a Word document, or a PowerPoint presentation.

I have three notebooks. One is for all my personal stuff, one is for all my blogging stuff, and the third is for all my writing stuff. I could break the writing notebook down into three notebooks, really: writing advice, adult stuff, young adult stuff. And I might if it keeps getting more crowded in there.

Another thing about OneNote is that you can size and position the sidepanels. You can put them on the right or the left and collapse them or widen them as large as you need them to be. When you open a notebook, tabs open across the top of the display, so really you can collapse the notebook pane entirely to give yourself more workspace. As well, you can minimize the pages panel. You can also color the notebooks and individual tabs any color you like, just like a physical notebook, to help sort this into that. “Oh, that’s in the green tab.” Click! Very handy if you’re as visual as I am. One thing I don’t like is that each page and subpage (and sub subpage and sub sub subpage, ad nauseum) under a given tab is the same color as that tab. I’d like to be able to color the individual pages – that’d be awesome!

Like I said, I prefer OneNote over Evernote; it’s what works for me. OneNote gives me so many more organizing / sorting / filing options. Also, the workspace is more user-friendly – I can make everything else smaller in order to view what I need to see / work on. OneNote pastes text into blocks (similar to a text block in Word) that you can click and drag around to reposition where you’d like. If you have a lot of small elements (small text bits / pictures) on a page, this comes in handy; it allows you to put things where they’re more available to you.

Since I started using OneNote last year, I’ve dumped almost all of my writing notes into the program. Some stuff still remains on my hard drive, but bit by bit, I’m moving it all into notebooks. This is so much better to (and for) me than having endless folders with endless streams of documents. Click FAQ tab, and voila, there’s everything in a neat little row for me to pick and choose from. Even with descriptive file names, I’d find myself sitting here thinking, “Is this the file I need? Or is it this one?” I don’t have to do that any more. Less muss, less fuss – I’m all for that!

online adhd quiz

As someone with ADHD, I can say this quiz is fair and accurate. I scored a 94. (remember, i’m the one who scored a 36 on the 50 question assessment in therapy two years ago)

wednesday was family doctor day

Yesterday morning I had to get up early to be on the 7am bus to get to Kentucky Clinic for an 8am appointment. It had originally been scheduled for about the same day in July but at 1pm, and the way our weather had been, I wasn’t going anywhere that time of day for anybody unless they were losing body parts at an alarming rate (or in case of zombie apocalypse). Neither happened, so that’s good. I just called and rescheduled the appointment, and a month later is what she had open.

One cool thing about UK Healthcare is they finally are moving to electronic records/charts/etc.  My family doctor and I got to pull up both my paper chart and my e-chart yesterday morning. Interesting read, even if we did know everything in it already. It’s neat because any department I travel to in the UK system can pull up the same chart and so have all of my information. She printed me off a summary report, and I”m going to go through it for changes/mistakes to update to take with me when I go back in December. (We both lol’d when we saw my OB/GYN team had listed “dysfunctional uterine bleeding”. I said, “Well, that’s not what I’d call it, but it fits.”)

She gave me an official diagnosis yesterday of “benign essential hypertension”, which we’d been leaning toward since I’d met her last December, anyway – and also what my therapist and OB/GYN thought. BES just means that it’s not causing symptoms or damage and that it’s more than likely come due to genetics and not because I have something that’s causing it. I asked her if I could be tested for asthma, and we ran down my symptoms – including my breathing sometimes sounding and feeling like my lungs are over-full with bendy-straws.. Right now, she’s not fiddling with my beta blocker or diuretic. Also, she said she didn’t want to fiddle around with asthma. Instead she gave me a list of OTC allergy medications to choose from, leaning toward Allegra, and said we’d work the “chronic allergies” angle for right now – after she listened to my lungs and said they were clear as a bell. She said with me having surgery (in eleven days!), she didn’t want to mess with anything just to see how I came out the other side and how I recovered. She didn’t want to add anything that might screw with that and didn’t want to increase or decrease anything for the same reason.

My blood pressure was high. It had been running lower all year. We both think that the stress of Preston being out of work, the anxiety of my surgery coming up, and genetics are at play here. She wants to see how I’m doingafter I have my hysterectomy.

I see her again around the first of December. She said, “I want you to be healed up as well as possible from your surgery before I see you again and we go any further with anything else.”

She’s wonderful. I’ve been so blessed with such a wonderful medical team at UK. I wish I could get them all together in a single room and give them all a huge, warm group huge! (and individual hugs, too!)

napping with adhd

Yeah, good luck with that. Any sleep at all with ADHD is a beautiful thing. Naps are almost impossible. I mean, I’m sitting here digging sleep out of my eyes, yet my brain won’t shut down long enough for me to snooze – although I didlay down for half an hour; I think Miss Kitty might have gotten a small nap after she groomed herself.

But see, when I lay down, that’s when my mind acts up. It’s true.

I’m laying there, trying to doze off, and my mind says, “Let’s get this party started!” and breaks out the dance floor. Next thing you know, the lights have gone up along with the disco ball, the lasers, the LEDs, the fog and confetti makers, and gods know what all else. The fully stocked bar is rolled in, and the barstools are put along the front. Like magic, club seating appears around the outskirts of the dance floor. A bouncer secures the velvet VIP rope across the door. Music is adjusted and a dj is hired as everyone begins to spill in. My mind has invited its 50 squillion closest friends and neighbors. Before you can say, “Glitter!” the black lights come on, and I realize this simple party has morphed into a rave.

I enjoy it for a little while, until the noise becomes too much, then I have no choice but to get back out of the bed. Sleep, even a short cat nap, isn’t coming right now. About an hour before I want to sleep later on tonight, I’ll take half a Trazadone and hope that does the trick. If not, I’ll eventually doze off and might get to sleep for 4 to 6 hours. If the Trazadone does its job, I’ll get to sleep for 8 hours,if Miss Kitty will let me sleep that long. She’s gotten horrible about coming in to wake me up at 7:30am! Brat!

Meanwhile, in an hour, I have a ritual to lead and a class to teach. I also have manuscript that needs typed up, one that needs editing, and a pile of books to read. Don’t worry about me if I can’t sleep. I have plenty to keep me busy!

living with ADD / ADHD

I wrote a response to this post at ADDitude Magazine online, and thought I’d post that response here. Because it’s relevant.

What I do is set myself a schedule for every day of the week. Every single day. It varies but the gist is: have set routines.

I get up, take my medicine, make the bed, shower, and have breakfast. Always take your medicine and make the bed before anything else. Coming out of the bathroom into a clean bedroom always makes me feel better, or at least good that there’s one less thing I have to face in the day!

I have breakfast and allow myself to surf the ‘net while I’m eating. (i feed our cat on my own eating schedule, which works for her; others may vary) I clean up after myself then clean something around the apartment. Even if it’s just wiping the dust off the television or some such – it’s something, and it’s gotten done.

This is time to figure out what to fix for supper, if we didn’t the night before. I’m a big believer in my crockpot, so if it’s a crockpot meal, the meat comes down from the freezer to thaw in the fridge overnight – then the meal goes into the crockpot after breakfast to cook until 5pm.

I’m a writer and an editor, so after this is when I get to work, and I work my way through/with lunch (and take lunchtime medicine!). Then I get to take a ‘net and/or gaming break. Especially if I’ve been editing. It’s draining, so I either pop in a movie to watch, pick up a book to read, take a nap, or play a game (The Sims 3 is good; it keeps me busy).

Our apartment has seven rooms (well, the living room and dining room are one room, but i count them as two!), including two full bathrooms and bedrooms. That gives me one full room to clean each day of the week. The bathrooms aren’t that big, and since I keep everything clean, they’re not that messy, so sometimes I do them both on the same day to give myself a “day off” here and there.

By then it’s time to get the mail and finish supper. After supper, the kitchen and dining room get cleaned, including loading and running the dishwasher, cleaning out the microwave, washing off the stove, and sweeping the floor.

Having a set schedule and keeping it has made a huge difference in how I feel, how my house is run, and how my life is lived.

mari’s so behind it’s … shameful, really

I know. I know. I said months ago (and then months before that) I was going to start blogging more regularly. We all see how well that turned out. Here’s the thing. There’s just not been that much going on, not anything that would make a blog post, anyway. I use Twitter now for the “this is what I’m doing right now” stuff – instead of using my blog for those one and two sentence updates I used to make throughout the day the first few years of my blog’s life. Also, I use check-ins at GetGlue for a lot of stuff, too. For example, I just checked-in to “pot pie” because that’s what I’ve got in the oven for our supper. I don’t want to let this blog go, though. It’s been part of my life since 2002, and there’s so much stored here (even if I did accidentally dump all the pictures a couple of years ago – whoops!). Yeah, I could archive it all on my hard drive, but that just doesn’t sound appealing.

So, here I sit. Trying to figure out where to start on catching up since … Christmas? New Year’s? My birthday? The funny part about all of this? Starting sometime in October, I created a tab in OneNote labeled “Blog Topics”. I have subtopics: brainstorming, love, memories, mental health, pagan, ‘women in fiction’, and writing. We won’t discuss the number of topics and ideas listed within each. I mean, I probably have enough material in there to work from for at least three months of intermittent blogging – like every third or fourth day kind of intermittent – especially with the memories stuffs. I probably should be shot for having all of these things and just sitting here and not doing one damned thing with them.

It’s a writing problem.

It’s a writer’s problem.

It’s so simple to create all these lists and jot down thoughts and ideas – and then just leave them and never once think about coming back to flesh them out. Especially with me. The whole ADHD (lately I’ve been joking and calling it ADDH – because CDO insists I keep everything orderly) thing makes me scattered. I have to keep telling myself over and over, “Focus on one thing at a time! One thing at a time! Easy now! Easy!” And that’s harder than it sounds. See, if something isn’t right in my face where I can’t see it or glance at it at least on occasion, I forget about it until I run into it again, be that a day or two or a decade or two later. This is the curse of having distractibility ADHD. (just look at this paragraph!)

Thing is, I don’t work at a desk; I work at our kitchen table. I’d have a garbage dump of a mess if I left everything out where I could see it all of the time – then I’d get cranky, irritable, and whiny because everything was a mess! What I end up with, then, is a pile of different notebooks containing this, that, and something else, pencils or ink pens clipped to each, and my cellphone stacked on top of that. I keep Outlook open all day because I need the reminder alarms, but I fail at keeping OneNote open all day – and that’s where my daily task list lives (but I tell myself I keep a duplicate in this one notebook …).

And see, I sat down here this morning with the intent of making one of those what I call “catchup posts”. I even pre-tagged it so I could look at the tags list and, with some hope and forethought, not leave anything out. But no. I’ve sat here doing everything but writing a blog post. I think I’m going to save the other half for tomorrow! If I don’t show back up tomorrow, just jab me and make me do it!

nyny: about my ‘goals’

[note: this is a post i wrote longhand on december 31st and am just now getting around to typing up.]

You’ll note my goals (in this post) are kind of vague. I left them that way on purpose. Why? Because I have ADD*. Because I never know how I’m going to feel or be from one day to the next. I can’t say, “I’m going to walk three miles in the morning,” because I may not feel physically or psychologically able, or Thomas might have a clinic/hospital visit.

This is why it’s so difficult for me to schedule anything. That, and I think it’s ridiculous to say, “I’m going to walk three miles in the morning,” when I might get up and manage only half a mile. After that, should I feel guilty because i didn’t meet my goal? imho, no. Realistically, you look at your life and see what you’re capable of, and that’s what you do.

This is why I don’t won’t can’t refuse to use dated and/or timed ‘planners’. They just don’t work for me. This is why I like my plain regular notebook. I can write down what absolutely must be done today (phone calls, chores, meals, etc) with things I’d like to do today. As stuff gets done, I draw a line through it. If it doesn’t get done, I rip the page out and transfer that thing to tomorrow. Etc, etc, and so on. Lather, rinse, repeat. This is what works for me. This may not work for you, and I’m okay with that. Each of us has to find our own way in the world and work with that (and what we’re capable of, as I said before).

So that’s why I went through and listed vague steps to explain how I would like to achieve my goals. Note, I didn’t say, “How I will achieve my goals.” For me, listing how just sets me up for failure. Because life, the gods, and health, and unscheduled apocalypse may have other plans for me at any given time.

The new equipment at our new fitness center is complicated, and we actually have to go over and be shown how to use it. That’s the first step. The second step is using it. This new stuff has television screens attached (and gods know what all else – I may be able to send up signals to promote ‘Free Mars‘, for all I know), so I’m hoping that will help with the ADD boredom that always ensues when exercising with machinery. People say, “Listen to your mp3 player, Mari!” But that doesn’t work. That doesn’t give my mind or my eyes something to focus on. You have to understand true ADD/ADHD to ‘get’ this. It’s like before I started the Trazadone to get to sleep at night. I’d lay there and say, “Well. I’m bored.” And Preston would say, “Mari, just shut your eyes and go to sleep!” As if it were that simple!

Also. I forgot. The clubhouse is going to be accessible by keycards once the locks and cards arrive. We have to learn how to use those, too. I think the clubhouse is going to be ‘open’ twenty-four hours; I’m not sure yet. Also have to learn how to use the equipment in the theater room. But that shouldn’t be difficult. Sixty inch flat screen tv with a 3d Blu-Ray player and three rows of stadium seating (seats either twenty or twenty-five). The business center has three touch-screen iMacs; I get to learn how to use those, too! Sometimes I go over there when I need to print something – and I’m nice; I try to at least take my own paper and print double sided when I’m able. I’ve not use a Mac since 1992. Twenty years almost! (excuse me while I step over there and feel old for a moment)

But once I figure everything out, I’d like to host a weekly or a bi-monthly writ-in at the clubhouse. November spoiled me for getting out of the apartment and for having writing buddies! I miss that so much (which means my agoraphobia is definitely better!). Even without writing buddies, I plan to use the clubhouse for ‘leaving the apartment to write’ purposes. Mommy called this ‘a change of four walls’. I also want to walk down to the Tates Creek Library now and then when the weather is cooperative and my health will allow it. Four more different walls!

Getting back on a regular cleaning schedule shouldn’t be that difficult. If I can get the laundry done Wednesday mornings, I can go home and clean something once I’m finished. I did a big clean yesterday [December 30th], but I’m not always able to clean the apartment all in one chunk like that. Thanks to my blood pressure, migraines, and my back, I have days when I just can’t bend or lift my feet. Trust me, if your blood pressure is running high, the last thing you want to do is bend over and, at the least, get dizzy, or, at the worst, trigger a migraine. Remember what I said about being realistic about knowing and working with what you’re capable of?

Doing more organization around the apartment is going to take some time. I have to figure out what works best where and in what container. I have to figure out what I need to keep and what I need to throw out donate give away. And I have to figure out what containers I need to store it all in. The pinboards at Pinterest have really helped with this by giving me some terrific storage and re-use ideas. What I need are my reusable shopping bags, a dust rag, and time to go through all of my dvds and all of my books. Then, I need a lift to Half-Price Books to unload it all.

This and in my writing are where my creativity goals also apply. Creativity doesn’t have to apply only to ‘arts’. People, including me, need to get back in touch with their imaginations and start applying those ideas again – seems like we called this ‘creative thinking’ in school. I have found so many do it yourself and how to blogs out there that it’s ridiculous; and they all have so many great ideas, but it’s impossible to follow all of them. It’s no use collecting ideas if they aren’t ever implemented. And that’s the whole point of this NYNY thing. Action. (‘more doing’, just like those commercials tell you!)

And as I write this, I realize I didn’t put anything in my goals about my faith. And I should be ashamed because one of the first things I learned as a Gwyddon (also twenty years ago!) was ‘action’ instead of ‘re-action’. So easy to say. So difficult to do! One of my students sent me a paper Thursday [December 29th] titled What I Have Learned as a Gwyddon. As a teacher, it probably wouldn’t hurt me to write something similar. There are three of us in the college now, only three active members. And right now, one of those members is without Internet access, and it’s driving us all batty. See, we’re not one of those groups who insist on everyone living in the same neighborhood and getting together face-to-face every weekend. My current students? One is in Texas, the other in British Columbia. But I’m not discussing me here, am I?


Ganesha cropped up in conversation not long ago. Now he seems to be everywhere – or maybe I’m just looking harder. I’m not surprised, though, since I already have rapport with Kali (and have had since 1998). Also, it finally occurred to my addled ADD brain (we won’t discuss how many years, okay?) that all the cranes (Gwyddon, duh!) and herons have been Manawydan fab Llŷr‘s way of trying to get my attention – and here I’ve always looked at these as omens, and I know better!

But all of this seems to be pushing me toward some kind of direction, is my point. And I’ll eventually get there. It just may take me a bit longer than everyone else, but that’s okay, too!

* it’s not adult-onset ADD; there’s no such thing. it’s like chemical depression. it’s either something you’re born with or you don’t have it.