Evernote is a tool that I’ve been using for a while now, and I’d love to commend to you. It allows me to capture and remember so much in my life. Organization can be very difficult for me. I love to create and initiate, but I have trouble knowing what to do with everything necessary to do so, and to tidy up after projcets. I’ve found Evernote to be incredibly helpful in organization to give me more time for what I really want to be doing: anything else! (That’s a bit hyperbolic, but there is some truth there).
Be warned! This blog post is lengthy. That is because Evernote really is that cool to me. Plus, it’s free to use. I like it so much that I’m writing this post to give Evernote extra publicity for no other reason than the fact that their product is great!
What is Evernote?
Evernote is most simply an online notebook, file cabinet, and stenographer. It holds information for you and allows you to search it. You have the ability to catagorize notes into book, and tag them with keywords to make things even easier to find. It also scans photos and documents so that they are text searchable as well: amazing!
If you’re not familiar with it, it can be difficult to understand the usefulness of it. Here are the ways it helps me:
– Inspiration: This is my favorite use of Evernote, though I know not everyone will identify with this. When I find something that captures my attention, i take a picture of it and put it into Evernote. When I am mulling over an idea in my head or have a specific project in mind, I grab anything and everything that might relate to it. I can then come back and look at it all. Creativity doesn’t happen in a vacuum. Evernote helps me track the little bits of inspiration that add up to make the things I create. If it’s a webpage, I use the evenote web clipper. If it’s a quote from a book, I’ll take a picture of the page and evernote scans it to make the words searchable. It’s SO great to be able to go back through and see the website of that one architect or that one piece that was on the wall of that one coffee shop.
– Business organization: I’m not great at organizing papers, but I can scan receipts, contracts, and other important things into evernote, tag them with some keywords, and forget about them. When I need them, they’re at my beck and call. I also save blog posts and articles that I want to be able to come back to regarding marketing and other business education ideas. You can even email important emails/documents directly into Evernote.
– Better bookmarking: I’ve always struggled with what to do with internet bookmarks. There are the kinds of bookmarks that I return to regularly- banking, shopping, and social networks- and then there are the other ones that I just like for different reasons- nice design, interesting photos, great ideas, etc. I’ve found that these sites end up lost in bookmark land and never get viewed again becuase it’s cumbersome to find them. With the Evernote Web Clipper you can save the link with some keywords. This helps me remember why I saved it in the first place: inspiration, design, photography, etc. You also have the option to save the entire page instead of just the url. This clips the whole page— pictures and everything- into evernote so you’ll always have it even if the site changes.
– Writing: Evernote is a great place to save ideas for my own writing as well as others work that I’m spending time with- lyrics, poetry, and such. I don’t have to remember where I wrote them (how many journals do I have?)- they’re always around. I also save poetry that I like so i won’t loose it or forget where to find it.
Evernote can also be a great resource for developing ideas for blog posts, papers, songs, books, just about anything. You can capture a thought and then easily return to it later. It makes working with multiple projects/topics/posts easy.
– Lists: to-do lists, grocery and shopping lists. For example, over the past few months I’ve been really excited to read whatever I want to read this summer since my reading time is primarily taken up by school during the rest of the year. As books would come to mind, I’d add them to my “summer reading list”. Now I’m working my way through the list and loving it!
– Recipies: when I find a recipie that I like or that I want to use as a starting place (that’s how I tend to cook), I put it in Evernote. I have a recipie “notebook” in evernote that keeps all of these for me, along with the recipies that I’ve created and want to save.
– Important info and passwords: it’s a good place to save information that you don’t want to loose- glasses prescriptions, warranties, pins, and passwords. Evernote allows you to select certain information and give it additional encription. If you encript important info, then if someone gets into your Evernote somehow, they would need an additional password to access the encripted information.
– Organizing research: as I’m preparing for research papers at school I will clip articles and book titles to my “Research” notebook. Anything that’s loosely connected goes in Evernote.
– Business cards: since everything that goes into Evernote becomes searchable, I take a picture of business cards I want to save. It’s super easy for me to return to it without having to remember where I put the physical card.
Evernote has (among others) a mac app that I have on my computers and a mobile app that I have on my phone. Both make it really easy to put things in and access what’s already there. You can also send things to evernote via email and twitter, and there’s also a web interface so I can access it from other computers. I don’t use all of these access points, but it’s great that they’re there for people to find a workflow that suits their needs.
If you use Evernote, I’d love to know how you use it best. If you don’t then give it a try, or simply laugh at my techno-infatuation!