If you insist on using your paper notebook for taking notes and jotting things down in, then think for a minute about what happens when you lose it, or it gets stolen along with your car one day. Do you have a back up? Probably not. Major inconvenience? If so, read on.
Allow me to introduce you to Evernote. Think of Evernote as your digital brain. It is a clever tool that syncs everything you want to remember or store, across all your devices – phone, tablet, laptop, iOS, Android, Windows. Organisation freaks will love Evernote – it is so easy to collate everything you need into one easy and accessible place.
I use Evernote for taking notes in meetings, for storing photos of whiteboard scribbles, clipping web articles, writing To Do lists, bookmarking ideas for stuff in the future, and collating documents, pdfs, presentations, and emails on any projects. When I am reading articles on the internet and I want to keep them for later, I just use the Web Clipper extension on my browser to clip the article straight into Evernote, or I email the URL to my Evernote email address. Simple.
Things I love about Evernote:
- It’s free and it works across all devices and all operating systems. Very clever.
- Evernote will search all the text in your notes to find that one containing ‘important do not delete’. No more leafing back through pages of your notebook trying to remember whether that meeting was 2 months ago or 3.
- Notes and clippings taken on one device are accessible on your other devices instantly. Great for shared folders with others.
- You can add images, pdfs, audio notes – super handy for capturing the whiteboard after a brainstorming meeting. And the text in your images is searchable – yes that’s right, the scribbles in your photo of the whiteboard can actually be found in Evernote search later on.
- See something on the web which sparks an idea? You can email the URL and a quick note to your Evernote address and it will be automatically uploaded into Evernote and even tagged how you would like it. This is a brilliant feature! I use it all the time for blog ideas, articles I want to bookmark for the future, or posts that I want to read later.
- Got a receipt you need to keep? Take a photo and send it to Evernote. Same with important codes or information like your locker combination at the gym, or the guest wifi password which you use infrequently.
- Evernote also has reminders. Enter a note with a reminder date and time and Evernote will email you.
- Evernote integrates with Skitch, so you can do all your free hand drawings, doodles and diagrams, and they will sync in Evernote automagically.
- You can view your notes by geolocation – handy if you know you took notes at a specific conference or meeting.
The best Evernote tip I’ve found is to have a default notebook called @Inbox, or !Inbox or .Inbox (so it appears at the top of your Evernote folders). This is where all your notes, clippings, emails etc will get filed into unless you say otherwise, and then from there you can file the info into your other Evernote notebooks. I have notebooks for Work, Me, Kids, Home, Blog and then other notebooks under those (for example Blog Ideas, Blogs In progress etc).
Although Evernote is free, if you want to access your data offline (for example, on a plane) then you should upgrade to Evernote Premium for USD56 per annum. This also gives you access to other features, and increases your storage space to 1GB per month from 60 GB under the free model.
Here is the quick intro video to give you a flavour of what Evernote can do.
If you are an Evernote user, I’d love to hear how you are using this tool. I feel like I am only just scratching the service with how I use Evernote, but I’m loving it so far.