Once we grow up and have children of our own, we’re often astounded when we realize how much our mothers did for us. The truth is, we often only appreciate it after we’ve become parents ourselves. We wonder how our moms could have possibly squeezed as much into every day as they did. Kara Layne is one working mom whose kids will know exactly how she managed it because she wrote it all down. Along with a mother’s patience, love, forbearance, and wisdom, Kara Layne has another tool in her ‘mom’s bag of tricks’: Evernote.
Mom: entrepreneur, volunteer, writer, and artist
Kara, a professional photographer, has four children—10, 8, 4, and 3—and she’s also a teen church leader, artist, and blogger. Her clients often comment on how easily she appears to do it all. “Anyone who is a parent knows the amount of chaos that comes with it is mind-blowing. When they get old enough to start school, that confusion is multiplied by 10. My husband and I face a mountain of paper daily. It gets overwhelming. Then add to that the non-stop barrage of mail, bills, business documents, banking statements, and the other necessary evils of paper, and it feels like we’re being buried alive. I manage what I can, and the rest has to find its place or be left behind.”
A business solution comes home
Help came when Kara started using Evernote last year for her business, a successful Phoenix, Arizona area photography studio and online store and blog. “As a photographer, I use Evernote for wardrobe and location ideas. It’s perfect for a client who wants a lot of detail. I can gather it all and share it with them. From an editorial sense, Evernote helps me organize ideas and drafts for blog posts, and collect the images that I want to use.” Kara said. “I keep a notebook for each of my branding and design clients, and I add and share ideas with them. Then I’ll use the very same tool to store receipts and business expenses and have it all automatically ready for tax time,” she added.
“It hit me one day that the powerful tool I had at work could have practical uses at home. I picked up my phone at the kitchen table and started feeding all the physical paper I had into Evernote in hopes of reaching the surface. Over time, this process has gotten quicker, and I’ve totally organized the family’s paperwork clutter.”
Expanding to other areas of the home, Kara, along with her husband, who also has his own startup commercial cleaning agency, discovered other Evernote lifehacks. “We share our to-do lists in Evernote. If I come across a bill or other expense that needs his attention, I add it to his list and set a reminder to catch him when he’s ready for it. If he sees something from our neighborhood community about an event we need to attend, he’ll do the same for me and add a reminder.”
Creativity and family keep no time clock
For someone in a creative profession like Kara, ideas don’t always come between 9 am and 5 pm. Inspiration could strike at any time. “I’ve had ideas for my blog while waiting at soccer practice, while picking up dinner, or waiting in a drive-through line,” she said. “When that happens I can use the voice recording feature in Evernote to record my thoughts. I put them in a notebook I already started. There is something comforting in knowing that I don’t have to try and remember it all. I can trust Evernote to store my ideas, and they’ll be available for me to search when I’m ready to work with them. When you’re a mom, your hands are always full. The voice feature has been a blessing.”
Evernote, the Next Generation
Kara has realized that it’s almost time to pass Evernote on to her children. She gave her eldest son a mobile phone for Christmas, and suddenly realized the potential to organize his school life using Evernote. “There is so much paperwork in schools—handouts, permission slips, calendars,” Kara said. “All he has to do is take a picture of these things with his phone, and nothing gets lost. It’s not a chore for him. He doesn’t even have to write anything down. I can teach him how to add tags so I can go in and look at it later.”
See Kara’s work on Instagram
Read Kara’s Blog