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.

There are also a wealth of tips and info in their blog hereΒ and their product guides here.

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.

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Join the conversation! 17 Comments

  1. Thanks for the heads of on Skitch.
    As an avid daily Evernote user, who doesn’t carry paper or a pen, I’ve been on the look out for such an App to scribble, draw and highlight. Not to mention I am always taking photos of the white board and struggling to make sense of it all months down the track.

    Ta,

    Mat

    • Thanks Mat, I’d be keen to hear how you go with using Skitch – I’ve only just started using it with Evernote so no doubt there are a few tips and tricks to be uncovered πŸ˜‰

  2. Hi Simone

    Thanks for the post on evernote, I never realised skitch was part of them, my daughter loves that app to draw with.

    As for evernote I have started checking it out again, the layout is way better then it used to be a couple of years ago and I am now ditching one note and am loving how evernote works on everything, even my windows mobile πŸ˜€

    Cheers
    Sam

  3. It is a blogger’s greatest companion as you can record thoughs and web snippets on any device – anywhere. And pick them up on any device to continue or extrapolate further. I also use it to back up posts and back up photos using ifttt.com. Just in case! πŸ™‚

  4. Skitch is great, particularly as I can’t remember the many keys you need to press to take a screenshot on a Mac. Right up there with Snagit, and I do love Snagit!

    • Hi Mark, thanks for your comment! To take a screen shot on your Mac use Cmd Shift and 3, or Cmd Shift and 4 to select an area on the screen. You’re welcome! Look forward to hearing how you get on with Skitch πŸ˜‰

  5. I just read your twitter.. And that inspired me to come and look at your blog. It rules. Just so you know. I’m getting Evernote to run my freelancing/home/kids life..

  6. Hi Simone. I use Penultimate with Evernote so I can write by hand. Love the product. Cheers Peter

  7. I’ve had this sitting on my iPad for ages but you’ve inspired me to give it a go. Don’t know why I waited so long!

  8. Any thoughts on the Premium version? I’m talking to anyone reading this, not just Simone.

    • I coughed out for premium after a bad sync left me 8 pages short of a 9 page document. The premium version backs up as you create so was able to recover a version with 7 pages. Which in productive time paid for itself for a month.

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