We had Aidan’s 2nd birthday party this weekend, and for the first time I was cool, calm, and collected during the party planning. (Well … mostly cool, mostly calm, and mostly collected. I was having company over, after all. ?)
What was my secret for easy party planning? What did I do differently this time that I’ve never done before?
I’ve been using Evernote for a few years now, but I’ve only recently begun to tap into its full potential. And the more I use it, the more uses for it I find! The way it allows me to collect all my resources, lists, links, and more in one place is a godsend for a scatterbrain like me!
Usually when I have a party, gathering, or special event to plan, my system goes something like this:
- Jot down lists on random pieces of paper
- Find recipes and pin them, bookmark them, and/or save them to my Recipes folder on Evernote
- Lose previously written lists; rewrite them
- Try to figure out when I’m going to get everything done, and get overwhelmed trying to sort out my schedule
- Forget necessary ingredients when grocery shopping
- Forget where I stored my recipes – constantly go back and forth between websites, Pinterest, and Evernote
- Forget to thaw or prep pieces of the meal
- Forget to allow time for this or that
- Forget, forget, forget, stress, stress, stress!
Basically, my usual M.O. is trying to be prepared, but doing it in a haphazard, disorganized way that results in stress and panic. Because my mind is naturally a bit scattered and all over the place, I needed a planning system that was organized and contained everything in one place. That system, I finally realized, was Evernote!
Here is how I used Evernote to plan my son’s birthday party:
- I made a notebook titled “Aidan’s 2nd Birthday.”
- Within that notebook, I created several notes for the different aspects of planning the party.
We kept our party very low-key with just our immediate families, and I kept the decor very, VERY simple (we got balloons and called it good!), so planning didn’t require a lot of notes. The notes I created were “Menu” and “Schedule,” but you could also create notes to keep track of decoration ideas, your guest list, your grocery shopping list, and your present budget. The sky’s the limit!
- Finalized my menu, searched for recipes, and clipped them from the web to my party notebook in Evernote.
Now I had all the recipes I need in one easy-to-access location!
- Made out my schedule for cooking and prepping.
I chose to make this a checklist so that I could check things off as I completed them. This was the biggest sanity-saver for me! Planning out when and how I’m going to get everything done is usually the step that sends me over the edge while planning something like this, but this time I felt like I actually had everything under control! I even ended up with time leftover before guests arrived to sit and play with Aidan! It was such a nice change of pace to feel in control instead of running around like a chicken with its head cut off!
That was the extent of my usage of Evernote – this time – but like I said, there’s a lot more you could do with it! Here are a few more ideas of ways you could use Evernote during the planning process:
- Make a guest list table containing names, addresses, and RSVP answers
- Clip decoration ideas like I did with my recipes
- I had already finished my birthday shopping before it dawned on me to use Evernote, but if I hadn’t, I would have also attached my Excel shopping budget spreadsheet to the notebook, as well. Like this:
That’s how I used Evernote to plan a party in the most cool, calm, and collected way possible. This system worked wonders for my need for visual organization and changed the way I will view parties and hospitality from now on!
If my story sounds familiar, and you dread the stress of planning special events, then I highly recommend trying my Evernote system! Once you do, you’ll never go back to paper lists and bookmarked recipes again!
To learn more about how Evernote has changed my life, sign up for a FREE copy of my mini-ebook How to Organize Your Entire Life: The Ultimate Answer to a Cluttered Mind!
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