8 years’ worth and something like 5 magazine file boxes were weighing me down mentally. Why? Because how does someone utilize any of that information or recall what they need to from stacks (or binders) of information.
That’s when you decide (as we did) that enough was enough.
How did I tackle it?
A little at a time – not putting pressure on myself to use one of my days off to do it all.
I placed a small stack next to the couch and every day – either first thing in the morning during my brief quiet reading time or at the end of the day’s downtime – I would flip through one or two magazines.
It’s surprising how much I remembered what articles I enjoyed and found benefit in. (It helped that the first time I read them years ago, I folded down the page on my favorite articles. 🙂 )
Step #1 – Find a time frame that works that feels achievable, not overwhelming.
Step #2 – Flip through, skim, and determine what is most beneficial moving into the future. (Have high standards – only the best information/articles. For me, that was no more than 1 or 2 per magazine – sometimes none!)
Next, I used the Scannable app to scan the articles. (Genius Scan is another favorite app for scanning).
When you scan with Scannable, you can choose to save it in either PDF or image format into Evernote, or “send” it into another program.
So, even though Scannable is an Evernote product, you could use it to scan items and send to any of your file managers such as Google Drive or iCloud Drive.
Step #3 – Scan and save in the digital management place that works best for you.
Remember that simply saving articles digitally will not do you any more good than the physical ones if you don’t make them easily accessible – that is, easily searchable).
One of the reasons I absolutely adore Evernote is because Evernote Premium gives you additional search powers. It can search the text of PDFs as well as your handwriting on hand-written notes! I find that amazing (and incredibly helpful).
Without Evernote Premium, it will only search the titles of notes and text typed in the notes themselves.
If you don’t want to pay for Premium, or if you prefer to use a cloud file manager such as Google Drive or iCloud Drive to save all of your stuff, the best way around this would be to make sure you title the document thoroughly for what it’s about.
Sometimes I add additional words outside of the title – ones that I might use when searching for information on that particular topic. This will make it much more searchable in whatever digital storage place you use.
Here’s an example (from an online article/resource):
Natalie Weber has a composition resource called “The Psalms Project.” I might title the file name (or Evernote note) like this:
The Psalms Project_Composition_Composing
Otherwise, if I saved that PDF file and was looking in my digital files for a composing activity, using the word “composition” is not in the original article title.
I hope that makes sense!
If you use Evernote, you can also tag every item with a multitude of things. So I might tag that one note with the tags:
composition, bible, summer camp
Then, that one note/file will show up under each category without being duplicated in Evernote.
Step #4 – Make sure the materials you are converting to a digital format are easily searchable and thus useful.
Once you make your choice of what’s worth keeping. The last part may feel a little difficult…
You’ll get my once-a-month “Secret Letter” which includes what’s been going on in my studio that month, books I’m reading, and more. You will also have the option to have new posts delivered to your inbox weekly.
P.S. One of the resources I share in the podcast is my favorite digital recipe manager: Paprika. I just saw they are having a big Thanksgiving/Black Friday Sale that will get you 40-50% off both the apps and desktop versions. I LOVE having the desktop version as well as the app – totally worth it!
Have you ever experienced a feeling of giddy elation over finding the “perfect” (insert: piano, piece of office furniture, studio equipment, or teaching chair)?
It’s amazing how the physical things around us affect how we move and interact in our spaces.
When I first opened my studio I remember being on the hunt for MONTHS for the perfect piece of furniture to place next to the piano to help store all the items I liked to have within arms reach such as pens, stickers, teaching tools, etc.
I’m trying to set up my RSS reader so I can get my email under control.
If I add Piano Pantry to my RSS reader and unsubscribe my email, will I still get the Secret Letters? I don’t want to mess everything up!
Yea for RSS! You’re going to love it. I’m also glad to hear you’re enjoying the Secret Letters and don’t want to miss them! 🙂
That being said, if you unsubscribe from my email list, you will NOT get the Secret Letters. That’s why they’re called “Secret.” 😉 They’re not available to find anywhere online and only go to those on the email list.
RSS is about feeding new blog posts into one spot so you can visit one website and see all the new content from your favorite websites at one time.
I still stay subscribed to a lot of email lists because most of them nowadays send more than just blog post updates. To keep all of those subscriptions out of my inbox I use Unroll.me which I then set up to send me a Daily Digest.
It’s all so confusing! How does one know if it’s an email list or a blog post update? I suppose I will have to figure it out! I’ll take a look at Unroll.me. My inbox is out of control at the moment. I was doing well in the email department but somehow I got behind and now it’s a MESS!
One more question for you – how do you remember where to find something later? It might be in the RSS reader, it might be in an email, it might have been in a Facebook group.
Do you have a way to put what you glean all in one place so you aren’t trying to remember where you saw it? No way do I have enough brainpower to remember all that! (I’m guessing you might say Evernote, but I still thought I’d ask!)
Great question and yes, it CAN be confusing!
You can’t always know until you sign up for a list, what types of emails they will be sending. If you notice a subscription is only sending you posts to your inbox (and you’re already seeing new posts in your RSS reader), then you can unsubscribe.
RSS isn’t so much about completely getting rid of all of your newsletter subscriptions as it is giving you a place to read website content in one location rather than relying on your time in your email to be when you see and read new content.
As far as saving and retrieving your favorite articles for later, Feedly (my RSS Reader), allows you to save (and search) articles – so that’s one good option. You can also send articles from Feedly directly into Evernote.
I try to be very picky about saving too many blog articles, but if I do, you are correct – I save them into Evernote then tag that note by whatever it’s about such as “group lessons” “apps” “lesson planning” etc.
The search function of programs like Feedly and Evernote is really great so you really don’t have to get super caught up in labeling and tagging articles too much. Just type a keyword into the search box and it will usually find it.
Consider subscribing to the Piano Pantry email list. You’ll get my once-a-month “Secret Letter” which includes what’s been going on in my studio that month, new posts on the blog, books I’m reading, favorite Instagram posts, and other fun things like that.
Don’t get too excited, I’m not about to give you all kinds of financial advice on saving money or doing taxes as an independent music teacher. (I figure we have our dear Wendy Stevens at Compose Create who has shared a lot of great stuff like that over the years. 🙂 )
I’m going to stick with my strength and talk to you today about organizing and managing your incoming bills, expenses, and receipts. Yea!
Let me introduce you to the best thing that has happened to me in our daily financial management process and that’s my file folder system.
It’s not complicated and it makes ALL. THE. DIFFERENCE.
Isn’t she beautiful? 🙂
First, a little back history on the straw that broke the camel’s back and made me come up with this system.
My husband and I have used Quicken for years and love it. If you’re not familiar with the program, it’s like a check register for all your finances in one place including loans, 401k’s, credit card bills, checking, and savings accounts. We manage both our personal and my business finances through this.
Budgeting has been important to us through our entire marriage and Quicken has a lot of tools to help you track expenses and manage a budget properly. If you keep up with it on a regular basis, keeping expenses categorized makes life a whole lot easier when it comes time to do taxes as well.
If you enjoy self-improvement and are looking to build some good habits into your life, then definitely consider picking up James Clear’s famous publication Atomic Habits: An Easy and Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones.
When this book first came out, I immediately put it into my Amazon shopping cart. A year later I finally purchased it and a year after that I finally got around to reading it. (That’s par for the course for me. LOL)
Of course, as soon as I read it I kicked myself for not reading it sooner.
Oh well… “let it go, Amy,” is what I have to tell myself.
In this post, I’ll share with you one big reason I love this book, seven of the most impactful points I took away, and a few habits I’ve built both in my piano studio and personal life.
One Big Reason I Love This Book
One big thing I love about this book actually has a lot to do with its layout.
Every chapter has a summary at the end that highlighted 6 major points to take away. This was an incredibly helpful visual recap. I tried to force myself to highlight just one or two of those points to underline in order to focus my takeaways even more.
At the end of the book, he even provides bonus chapters available for how you can apply these principles to business and to parenting.
You know how sometimes in life you’re told about something that you know you should do but at the moment, you just can’t bring yourself to mentally mess with it?
That’s how I was when we started using Zoom for our online lessons.
Teachers in Facebook groups were mentioning the importance of the “Enable Original Sound” setting to help with sound quality but I was just trying to wrap my head around getting myself set up online to pay it any mind.
Then two or three weeks of lessons went by and I was DONE with the garble. It was time to upgrade our sound.
Do I kick myself a little for not dealing with this sooner? Yep. But, oh, well, I’m over it now.
Through all of this, I have to say one thing all my studio families have been mentioning in our evaluation meetings this week, was the quality of my communication throughout this whole process. They felt the instructions were incredibly helpful and easy to follow.
That’s part of our job! Quality communication.
To spell things out as clear and easy as possible, I gave my step-by-step instructions using screenshots. It doesn’t get easier than that!
Teachers: You have my permission to copy and paste this entire email and use these images to send to your studio families (if you don’t mind having my mug shot! LOL).
As many teachers are considering what it may look like to run their studio (temporarily) online, one topic that may be necessary and quite urgent is making the move to online payments.
If you’re still taking checks from parents and worried about making the switch, rest assured, while it may take a little leg work setting everyone up, your future self won’t regret it.
Taking online payments will not only save you time from manually depositing checks but the payment portal I want to share with you today will save you money compared to 90% of the other online payment services out there.
(P.S. That number was arbitrary. Basically, the fees are cheaper than anything else I’ve found out there.)
Coinhop has been my payment portal of choice for several years now. I hope the reasons why I love it will help you as you’re considering online payment options for your studio.
Please note that Piano Pantry is enrolled in the Referral Program with Coinhop which simply means that if you sign-up, I will get a small commission without it costing you any extra.