Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Go Digital - Day 28 of 31 Days of Organizing

As I alluded to yesterday, I am trying to go digital whenever possible including as it relates to minis.  There are several ways that I do that.

In order to go digital if one has paper saved, one needs a scanner.  I have a three in one (print, scan and copy).  
There are two basic ways to scan: photo or pdf.  I use photo if it is likely to be used in a document later or need printed on photo paper.  I use pdf if it is instructions or reference.  But can go either way (or even both) depending on what is scanned.
When scanning - ideally we should name it and put in the right folder as we are doing the scan process.  But it is ok to let the computer call it scan1, scan2 and then move it and rename it later.  Just do it sooner rather than later.  
I went through a bunch of my saved papers I and scanned them.  Or I recorded/typed the notes in OneNote - more on that below.

Naming and tagging digital items
When naming files or photos, I think it is important to either have them in a proper folder that helps me know what they are or take time to give it a really good name.  To save time later, we want to name them what the file or photo contains, not just the date when it was saved or taken.  Some photo programs allow one to add tags and that can be helpful later when doing searches.  Can also use Windows Explorer to add tags to files - select the file, without double clicking to open and then look for the Tag field.  Tags are something I haven't done much of, but would be useful if I took this time to do so.

Don't print
I try to avoid printing whenever I can.  If a kit instructor provides the instructions digitally online,  I print a copy to pdf.  Most computer these days have this automatic, but if not, just search for a print to pdf program and have that available when you print. 

Don't use paper to start with
This is hard for me but becoming easier as I get used to doing it. For years, I was accustomed to writing down my ideas, steps, notes or whatever.  But today, I try to use OneNote.  

OneNote is software by Microsoft that is similar in concept to a paper notebook/folder or binder with different sections.  Sections then have pages or sub-pages.  
I have three notebooks:
  • Just stuff - non mini - my everyday life)
  • My Projects - miniature projects
  • The Organized Miniaturist - this blog
So this is how it looks in OneNote
This pic is actually rotated - it normally shows as a side bar on the left.  

At the top are the sections within this notebook called 'My Project Ideas'
That * tab has a drop down arrow - which means I have even more sections (or tabs). The one to the right of that, is a new section button.
OneNote adds the sections(tabs) to the right as you add them, but then they can be rearranged or moved to another notebook if desired.  The colors are automatic but can be changed.
My sections are organized based on a project or a related topic.  There are many ways that I could do this.  By miniature scale would be one way.

Within each section, one then adds pages.  
The pages are what can be typed on or pictures added, or draw a sketch (with a mouse this is painful, but I have a stylus for my phone.)  If you add something here from the internet, OneNote will even paste in a link so you know where it came from.
The pages can also be sub-pages.  I use a page then as a cover page, then the sub-pages are the contents.
Sections can also be grouped, but found that doesn't work great on my phone.

Up to this point there isn't much that is too different from using folders on a computer or even paper, but look at the above pic at the top of it and you can see the Search box.  I know computers have search functions for files and folders, but I can say, not like this.  (I could have taken time to add tags, but I don't really need to do so in OneNote.  Although for other search functions it might be helpful.)
Let's say I am looking for "swaps", this is what OneNote found for me in my three notebooks:
I can then easily click on one of those and go to that page in whatever section.

One thing I love about OneNote - it AUTOMATICALLY SAVES.  I don't have to remember to save ever.  And I can look at that save information if I want to know when did I record this note.

Another thing I love - I can access it from any computer that has OneNote installed - I just have log in to see my notebooks.  So I can make a note about something on my phone and I can see that note on my netbook later.  I have been keeping track of the 31 ideas in OneNote and I can quickly see what my next topic is.  I take photos with my phone (with the regular camera but I could do it from OneNote if I wanted). I don't want to turn on the computer to see what I need pics of and with OneNote I don't have to.

If I do take a photo in OneNote - I can draw on it as well.

Yes, I can print from OneNote and it will add headers and page numbers automatically.

If you also use Outlook, you can flag as a task to be done.  I do use Outlook and I do flag emails, but I have found I don't particularly care to use this aspect of OneNote and Outlook together, at least not for minis. I also use OneNote in my real life (non-mini) job.

There is more to using OneNote that I have not touched on, but if interested one can review the help files in OneNote and also on the web. There are similar apps available that I have tried, but I am sticking with OneNote because I like the structure best of the ones I have seen and tried.

My Documents
Ok, so now I want to share about what I did and still have in place before OneNote.  It is a legacy system but I still use it as at least it is on the computer and it still works fine, just as a transition to using OneNote more and more I find I am not putting as much into these folders as I used to do, that is except for pictures.

I have a similar set up to OneNote with my folders:
  • General stuff folder
  • My Minis folder - pics and other files related to minis (This blog related stuff goes in here)
  • Other stuff that Windows organizes
All of this falls under the Documents library that Windows creates.  
Within the My Minis folder are folders:
- By scale
- By topic (not specific to scale) such as rabbits, raggedy, furniture ideas
In the by scale folder are folders such as '1-48 projects' and '1-48 projects completed' among many other folders.
In the 1-48 projects then are sub-folders then for each project.  Some of those then have additional sub-folders for ideas, instructions, particular aspect of the project, finished or in process pic folders.  
So this is how that looks:
My minis
 -1-48 projects
  - Bookhouse
   - in process pics
   - instructions
   - other misc ideas
 -1-48 projects completed
         with similar folders within
In the past the instructions would be done in Word or in Publisher.  But today, i would start them in OneNote, then once I needed to start preparing them to print, I would copy over into Word or Publisher.  This is because OneNote is great for taking notes, but Word and Publisher give better layout options.
My pics would be in the documents folders (Windows would recognize the folders for the My Pictures section as well).  
I also may have a pinterest board going that is related to any project I have in mind.  

Since I use my phone to take pics I do have a lot of miniature related pics on my phone.  I also organize these in albums by year or by scale.  The 'by year' is for non-mini and 'by scale' is for the mini related photos.  I find that having pics of minis (even the older ones I didn't take the photo using the phone to start with) are good to have on my phone so that I can share with others what I have made.  It is great to pull up my picturetrail site, but can't always do that if can't connect to the internet.
All photos mini related on my computer are filed under the Minis folder - I do allow Windows to also look for these folders based on having photos in them, but Pictures folder is not my go to for looking for mini related photos.

Come back to tomorrow for day 29 of 31 - getting near the end of my organizing blog spree.

Happy Miniature Organizing!

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