Creativity

How I’m Getting Organized and Minimal As a Creative: Using Milanote to Plan My YouTube Videos and Projects

November 10, 2021

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I'm Helena!

A sunny gal from Cali living in the south of France. I adore slow living, magic, and celebrating the simple joys of daily life. I’m a self-proclaimed Disney nerd (as is my husband!), obsessed with cats and cocoa, and you can often find me swimming with the fishies in the salty sea. Come along and enjoy the magic, the simple joys of life with me...

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Dear readers, it was time.

As you may remember from my recent videos, I went on the road this summer and lived minimally out of my suitcase for a few months. And it was liberating! I didn’t realize how much I could thrive with having so few physical possessions on me. Of course, I still brought along my beloved paper goodies: 2 journals, a few books, a couple of pens (…okay, a lot of pens) and some different colored post-its. It was so freeing only having 1 main journal to house my innermost thoughts and creative ideas. And it didn’t take long before I completely forgot about all of my other journals and notebooks stored away in boxes back home.

How I’m Lightly Embracing Minimalism

Now that Alex and I are back in Corsica, unpacked and settled into our cozy apartment, I realized how many diaries, books and paper stationery products I actually own.

It’s….a lot. 

And to be honest, looking at the number of notebooks I use on a regular basis is overwhelming, to say the least. I have one journal for my spiritual messages, another for my tarot card pulls, another for video scripts, another for quarterly goals and big-picture dreams, another for poetry, several for class notes and plenty others for short stories I’ve written.

Unpacking my boxes last month made me realize how necessary it was for me to declutter my mind and physical space and create new organizational systems for my ideas. It all got to be just too much. It takes a lot of mental and physical space to hold onto an assortment of papers, notebooks and diaries.

What can be really overwhelming in our lives is having too many things that serve a similar purpose.

This is why I’ve been loving Milanote: all my plans and creative ideas and creations are in one place.

Getting Organized As a Creative & Going Minimal

With the amount of writing I do every day, I realized it wasn’t sustainable any longer to constantly be writing in journals. As a creator, I’ve used several different online tools over the years like Evernote, Trello and the good ol’ Google Docs, but these tools are too….linear. As a creative, I wanted a place where I could play and get messy.

I wanted to be able to design and create a space that’s organized and tailored to how I personally think and create. And what I really wanted was a giant canvas where I could put all my different thoughts, ideas, pictures, color palettes, to-do lists, inspirational quotes and reference links.

The Next Web explains Milanote as “the Evernote for creatives.”

How I Use Milanote to Plan My YouTube Videos and Projects

Creating anything can be quite messy in the beginning. Often my Youtube videos will start out with a basic idea and then maybe a visual or sentence will appear after that. But having a blank canvas where I can build my ideas and the structure of the story makes the creative process feel more spontaneous and free-flowing.

I like to draw, sketch, highlight, color code and brainstorm ideas using flowcharts when I’m in the early beginning stages of creating something, and that’s why I have always loved using physical notebooks so much.

Milanote is basically a digital version of this, which allows me to embrace my natural creative self but also fulfill my desire to be more minimalist in my paper clutter. It’s like a custom board with digital sticky post-its. Or a digital bullet journal that you can customize to your needs!

Unlike a lot of organizational tools online, Milanote divides projects into mood boards. I’m not limited to where I put my pictures, thoughts and documents – I can structure it however I want! It’s not super linear like using Evernote, for example, which I love! And the simple drag-and-drop feature makes it super easy to add different elements to my boards.

You can add pictures and import jpegs. You can attach files, import pdfs, contracts and documents and easily create to-do lists, highlight, change colors even sketch! I also enjoy using it for personal inspiration to keep me reminded of my big-picture dreams, core values and future adventures. 

I use Milanote in the early process of filmmaking to creatively map out my YouTube content. I  then create a series of columns and label them according to the style of video that feels most fun for me to make that particular week.  I also create t0-do lists here, add text blocks for possible keywords or titles and attach contracts and documents from brands I’m partnering with. All while moving things vertically or horizontally as I go!

I’m a very visual person so Milanote is perfect for me, and whereas on some tools your ideas are meant to be read, on Milanote, they are meant to be seen visually.

Aside from my Youtube videos, I also used it to map out my book proposal! I like to write everything down because it helps me remember and integrate things. I never feel that I am separated from my thoughts, ideas, and dreams when they are laid out before me.

Ideas and phrases often come to me, not while I’m sitting at a desk, but often while I’m out on a walk or in nature, and in these instances, I need access to a place where I can record and organize the ideas. Milanote has both a desktop version and a mobile app, which makes it easy to access it on multiple devices and keep it organized in one central place. I particularly love how I can quickly type a note down on my phone while on a walk and then when I sit down at my laptop later, they will appear in an “unsorted” box in the top right-hand corner in which I can then sort the notes and easily drag them to different boards. Makes organizing ideas easy!

Using these boards on Milanote, I have found my creative ideas end up being more organized than on little notes and papers scattered throughout different notebooks. 

Full disclosure: I love using Milanote. I also use Notion for writing long-form content, like the rough draft manuscript of my book, as well as book outlines, storyboards and more detailed Cornell style notes for my online classes but for my creative projects and laying out ideas and plans, Milanote is my jam!

I’m Still Old-fashioned & Paper Obsessed

I adore stationery products. And paper stores are such a great joy in my life. And so I still enjoy the act of doing morning pages and writing my daily to-dos each morning with my morning cup of cocoa. But I then transfer it digitally, which just takes a second to do!
I also now throw out my journals when I’m finished writing in them. This is a new habit I began last month.

I used to believe I needed to keep all of my journals for dear life in fear that I would miss something of sentimental value.

But in reality, as the years go by, I care less and less about my past. I’m much more focused on the present moment and where I am heading…looking back at old diary entries just distracts from the now. Connecting with the element of fire and burning the pages of your past is such a beautiful ceremonious way to celebrate an ending in your life.
I’ve been journaling for over 20 years and after recently visiting my hometown and seeing all of my old journals again, I’ve realized how I actually don’t need to have any of these memories anymore. The next time I head back, I’m planning to scan my most important diary entries and burn the rest (sans the plastic-covered journals)!
My simple living journey is not perfect, and I’m still a bit old-fashioned. I still use a small notebook to store all of my passwords and addresses. I still write long letters to friends and love reading tangible, physical books.
But I’m getting better at releasing the paper things I no longer need in my life.
And I feel a lot lighter because of it.

Calling All Visual Creatives – You’ll Love Using Milanote

I’ve been loving using Milanote for organizing and planning my creative projects. If you’re a visual person and looking for an online tool to help you organize your creative plans, Youtube videos or other writing/design projects, I definitely recommend checking it out here!

You can download the app or use the desktop version for free and once you’ve created your account, keep it easy by choosing one of their pre-made templates! They are gorgeously designed and Milanote has created over 100 templates for different types of creative work – everything from creative briefsmoodboardsstoryboards, etc.

I have been using their free account for quite a long time (been writing notes on their app for over a year!) but this Fall I decided to move all of my creative ideas to this digital platform. I reached out to Milanote to sponsor this post and they kindly comped me a Pro version of the software!

Disclaimer: This content has been created as part of a paid partnership with Milanote, however, all views and opinions are my own. I never recommend products that I don’t love and use myself. 

My Focus of Less

Since coming back to Corsica after traveling and living minimally for a few months, I see how light I felt living with less. While I’m not a “minimalist” (went through that phase in 2017, which you can see documented here!) I feel intuitively pulled to buy and own far fewer material possessions, including….journals and paper products.

Hard pill for me to swallow. But a necessary one.

Less stuff, more freedom.

Love,

Helena! ☀️

 

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I'm Helena, your new kindred spirit.

Sunny free-spirit, writer and creator in love with documenting the simple joys of life. I am passionate about noticing light and truth around me and reflecting it back to others.

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