My Love Affair With Evernote
Evernote, light of my life, is my new productivity BFF. I use it every day.
Evernote is a Harry Potter-caliber notebook that can store almost anything and is accessible almost anywhere.
Specifically, it can store anything digital (text, active URL links, images, documents, emails, audio clips) and then synchronize across your various devices (PC, Mac, iPad, smartphone) and the web. It’s everywhere you want to be.
Did I mention it’s free?
Keeping track of everything (or why their logo is an elephant)
How do you keep track of interesting articles you want to read later, killer slides that whiz by during a webinar, receipts from Amazon or the handyman, your to-do list, frequent flyer numbers, travel plans, party and event ideas?
What I used to do:
- Cut out or print out articles and file the hard copies in a file drawer
- Save tons of useful links in an email draft
- Copy and paste screenshots and other images into photoshop, powerpoint or email draft
Often, I’d forget how I categorized or where I even saved these items. And if I were lucky enough to remember, I was often away from the device or file cabinet that held my precious info.
Evernote drop-kicks these problems and makes me feel happy, organized, Earth-friendly, and most important, productive:
- It’s super easy to add and arrange the crazy quilt of information that I want to keep.
- I save paper and my workspace is less cluttered because I’ve stopped printing so much.
- I’m now a regular bloodhound, finding what I want just by searching on keywords or tags.
- I can access my stored information anywhere – on my workhorse desktop PC, and my on-the-go MacBook, iPad and smartphone, and on the web.
How I use Evernote
I spend a chunk of quality time with Evernote every day. I use it for:
Webinars – I’m in constant learning mode and attend at least one webinar a week. Sometimes presenters give the audience the slides and sometimes they don’t. When they don’t, I screenshot the slides and take notes in Evernote. This helps me feel awesome.
Blog posts – I keep an ongoing list of ideas in one note, and when I begin to flesh out a topic even a little, I create a new note and take off running. My ideas sit there and germinate, mostly in different stages of completion.
Meeting prep and meeting notes – Before meetings, I make a note of questions and issues to discuss; and during or after the meeting, I write a short summary.
Projects – I like the little checkboxes in Evernote, and I keep project to-do lists, ideas and plans in Evernote.
Personal life – I keep notes on my kids’ lives (see above), home improvement ideas, travel plans, gift ideas complete with links and images, etc. (Also, if I had only met Evernote three years ago, it would have mitigated the information insanity of the college search/admissions process.)
Don’t leave home without these 3 Evernote tips
These tips have made my love affair with Evernote mature into a long-term, committed relationship (after only four months!):
Evernote web clipper – essential really. It allows you to clip web content from your browser directly into Evernote. It’s installed automatically with Explorer and Safari, and an extension with Chrome and Firefox.
Your evernote email address – Yep, Evernote creates a unique email address for you, which is one of the easiest ways to add key information to your notebooks. Stuff I email to Evernote: New York Times articles I read on my iPad, key emails from my gmail account, and photos from my smartphone. Michael Hyatt provides a good description of how to do this.
Flex your cut and paste muscles – Use your keyboard shortcuts to copy and paste text, images and windows. For example, on my PC, I use Ctrl-C to copy, Ctrl-V to paste, and Alt-PrintScreen to grab a window. My new favorite browser extension is called Awesome Screenshot, which I sometimes use instead of the Clipper when I just want to add a partial screenshot to an existing note.
Who else uses Evernote?
At least 10 million others. I kept hearing about Evernote from productivity powerhouses like:
- John “Evernote is my primary productivity tool” Jantsch
- Christopher “How I blog with Evernote” (video) Penn
- Amber “I heart Evernote” Naslund
- Michael “Evernote is my digital brain” Hyatt
Michael Hyatt, in particular, has a veritable collection of useful Evernote posts. Another great resource is Brett Kelly’s e-book, Evernote Essentials. I’m still working my way through it, and expect to fall more deeply in love with Evernote as I uncover its other charms.
It’s been helpful to see how others use Evernote. Please share – How do you use Evernote?
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