Bryan Paul Sullo

Evernote for Dads, Part 1: Kids & Family

In Family, Productivity on 28 February 2014 at 7:03 am
If you haven’t yet discovered Evernote, it’s a very cool application/service that allows you to store all sorts of information in a semi-structured, searchable repository that is available across all of your computers and mobile devices. If you already use Evernote, I’m sure you’re always looking for ways to make it more useful in your daily life.

Over the course of the next few posts, I’m going to share how I use Evernote as a husband and new dad. I’m relying on traditional assumptions about family structure and spousal roles by calling this series “Evernote for Dads”. Feel free to adjust my advice to fit your own scenario.
The moment you become a parent, your world is flooded with not only new information but new classes of information that you’ve never had to deal with before. If you’re like Carrie and I, you and your spouse can pretty much take care of your own day-to-day needs. She doesn’t need to remember which medications I take, and I don’t need to know what brand of underwear she prefers. With kids, that all changes: You’re both completely responsible for every aspect of another human being’s life, and that comes with a lot of stuff to remember.
Medical Records
Nowhere is this more apparent than at the pediatrician’s office. When was your last visit? How long has he been wheezing? Which vaccinations has she had so far? And, of course, the grandparents, aunts, uncles, and friends are going to want to know the latest vital statistics, like length and weight.
Here’s how to use Evernote to make these visits easier:
  • Scan in any medical records you receive from the doctor.
  • Take photos of your kids’ prescriptions and any over-the counter medications they might take.
  • When the nurse tells you the length and weight, enter it as a new note. (The note will have a creation date, so there’s no need to type out the date.)
  • At home, when your kid has a cough, or a rash, or a funny-colored poop, make a note of it. That way, you’ll be able to tell the doctor with certainty when they ask.
Another place this info will come in handy is at the emergency room. No one likes to think about having to take their kid to the ER, but it will happen, and when you’re concerned about your child, it’s tough enough to remember your kid’s birthdate, let alone the twenty-syllable name of his reflux prescription.
Babysitter Info
Sometimes, you just have to get away. Leaving your bundle of joy with someone else can be nerve wracking, but you can use Evernote to make it a little easier.
  • Keep a list of babysitters, their contact info and availability. That way, if you really need one on short notice, you’ll know who to call. If the sitter is a minor, keep a record of their parents’ phone number too, just in case.
  • Make a note of stuff the babysitter might need to know. Update it with where you’re going to be, and how to reach you, then print it out (unless your sitter uses Evernote, and you can just share it).
All that Stuff Your Wife Knows off the Top of Her Head that You can Never Remember
Quick, which brand of diaper do you get? What size? Is it the formula in the orange can, or the purple can? Is there a difference between the cereal in the box, or the can? They look the same, but they might be different.
When your wife texts you to pick up formula on the way home, you don’t want to be fumbling at the store, trying to figure out which one is which. Even worse, you don’t want to bring home the wrong one. The simple solution is to keep notes on the products your kids use. Take a picture of these, and embellish with text as needed.
  • Diapers: brand and size
  • Formula: brand and specific type
  • Baby-food: brand and flavors your kid likes and doesn’t like
  • Clothing sizes (Update this one frequently.)
  • Anything else about which you’ve ever thought, How does she remember this stuff?
Extended Family Info
Now that you’re a parent, you need to start taking responsibility for communicating with the rest of your family (rather than passing everything through your own parents). Do you get Christmas cards, birthday cards, and other greeting cards? Snap photos or scan in the return addresses, so you’ll know where to send cards next year, when you finally get around to it.
Something no one likes to think about is that you may get called in to take care of your spouse or parents in the case of an emergency. Keep a note with the birthdate, address and Social Security Number of yourself, your spouse, your kids, your parents, and your spouse’s parents. This is vital information you may need, if anything happens and you need to take charge.
End of Part One
In the next post, I’m going to talk about appliances, gadgets, and cars. In the mean time, let me know how you use Evernote to keep track of your family.

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