Living the travel nursing lifestyle can sometimes turn your world upside down. It’s really important that you take the time to get organized and stay organized. There are travel documents, tax documents, mail, photos, and bills to name a few that you must keep track of. Here are some tips that should help you stay organized and eliminate stress while you travel.
Scan your travel nursing documents
I keep a scanned copy of all licenses, certifications, health immunizations, doctor physical, tax records and a resume updated on my computer at all times. I use an app called TurboScan on my iPhone to scan and label all the documents to my phone. From this app I can easily email them to recruiters on the go. I also email them to myself so I can store them on the computer just as a backup and have another copy in my gmail. Whether I’m at home or on the road, I can easily email copies to companies from my phone or computer when needed.
Get an accordion type organizer
I use this for all hard copies of my licenses and certifications. I also keep personal documents organized here, like marriage license, social security cards, extra checks, etc. It’s more convenient to have a scanned copy of everything, but you still need a place to store the original documents. This is just one more way to keep those documents organized.
Keep an updated folder for CEUs
I started out trying to keep all my CEUs organized in a binder. This turned into a nightmare. I now complete the CEU and save the certificate into a folder on the computer labeled by year. If you are doing this from your work computer, just simply email yourself a copy of the certificate to file later. Some websites like RN.com keep a running transcript of all your CEUs completed on their website. You can go back later to print or email them.
If you’re not using online billing you’re missing out on a huge time and hassle saver. Most credit card companies, cell phone providers, utility companies, student loans and other creditors offer online paperless billing. You can change your settings so you only get an email notification when balances are due each month. It’s a much more efficient way of handling bills rather than changing your address or setting up mail forwarding at the post office for every location you travel to.
Speaking of mail forwarding, we have used Mailbox Forwarding for almost 3 years now. All of our mail gets forwarded to our box at the Mailbox Forwarding location in Florida (they have locations all over the U.S.). The facility scans the front of the envelope and sends us an email notification that we have new mail. We log in, look at the scanned image and are given three options: have them open the envelope and scan the contents (available for viewing the next day); have it forwarded to our current location; or have it shredded. You can also just leave it until you have enough mail built up to make it worth sending. It’s a great service that we’ve been very happy with. There are other services out there, this one just works best for us.
Banking is now much easier now that all banking can be done online. You can set up your online account so that you can keep track of your withdrawals, deposits, and account balances. You can set up direct deposit for your paychecks with most agencies allowing you to check on payday to make sure your funds are there and are correct. You can also set up recurring automatic payments with some banks to pay other debts. Make sure you check if your bank has locations nationwide. Some are east coast or west coast only. While most banks offer check deposits through smartphone apps, you’ll still want to have access to ATMs wherever you travel. We recommend Wells Fargo.
Using Microsoft spreadsheet for bank register
I have a microsoft spreadsheet formatted to help me manage our bank account. Each week I go to our online banking account and open my spreadsheet at the same time. I transfer all debits and credits from the bank account over to the spreadsheet that is formatted to do the math and keep a running account balance. My account is always balanced to the penny.
I’m sure there are countless apps and software on the market that do the same thing, but using excel is free. Here’s a free template you can download from Microsoft that has everything set up and ready to go. Just start plugging in the numbers and it will calculate as you go.
Use Google calendar to set up due dates for bills
I have set up a Google calendar with all my recurring bills due dates. You can customize each entry with an email alert several days ahead of the due date so your payments are always on time. I have Google calendar synced with my iPhone so I get these alerts via email on my phone and computer. As I pay the bill, I change the entry color in the calendar to a different color so I know I have made the payment online. I then go back to my spreadsheet and highlight the debit once it clears from my bank account.
Use a task manager
Whether it’s an app on your smart phone or the old fashion pen and notebook, keep yourself on track by writing down tasks you need to accomplish. For example; “get fingerprint cards for your next assignment” or “cancel internet service before heading to your next destination”. We currently use Asana, a free online task manager, for our “to- do” list. If you want something more simple, check out our list of travel nursing apps we use.
Organize your photo collection
I recently did some research about organizing pictures. This was a major task for me as we have over 10,000 pictures in our collection. They are all now nicely organized using iPhoto. I can sort by month and year and easily share pictures or browse through them when reminiscing or looking for a particular photo.
These are some simple strategies to help you get and stay organized as you are traveling about on your journey. Being organized will help you keep all your important documents close at hand, thus saving you time and effort. Use your smart phone and software programs to your advantage. Do whatever works for you to keep clutter down and gives you the sense that you have it all together!