I suspect many of you are like me in that you’ve come to increasingly rely on Evernote. It’s rapidly become one of my favorite apps, so I thought I’d share some of my favorite ways to use it. Some of these may be old hat to a few of you, but I hope you pick up at least a couple of new ideas from my list.
For the benefit of the uninitiated, Evernote is an all-purpose note-writing, note collecting, information-archiving application that runs on multiple devices. I have the app running on my MacBook Air, my iPhone, my iPad, and I can access my account via the Web from my PC at the office. I can make a grocery shopping list in Evernote on my laptop, synchronize it over my home wifi network, and have that list available on my phone when I grab my cart at Wegmans. That is an extremely simple example of what this app can do, however. Here’s what I like to do:
- Sort my notes into notebooks. Evernote gives you the ability to create individual notebooks in which you can stash information. They act like virtual binders; when you create a new note, you can assign it to any or none of your notebooks. I have notebooks for freelance projects, insurance (that’s where I keep info for my day job), library board notes and documents, writing/podcasting, general interest stuff, and an idea bucket to keep track of random ideas. The other night I made a list of people I’d like to interview on my podcast this year and stashed it in the writing/podcasting notebook. Tomorrow night, I’ll take notes at one of my library board meetings and store them in the library board notebook. You get the idea.
- Tag my notes. I just recently started doing this. In addition to sorting notes into notebooks, you can tag them with categories that you make up. I’m on two library boards, so I have a tag for each. When I want to quickly call up notes for one of the boards, I just go to my list of tags, click the appropriate one, and Evernote will display only the notes for that board. I also have tags for music, books, recipes – I even have one that I assigned to Christmas shopping lists. That one can be retired for the next 11 months.
- Take photos instead of notes. I live in Ye Olde Snowbelt, and last year my old snowblower’s wheels locked up one time too many. It was time to get a new one. For those of you who live in more hospitable winter climes, home improvement superstores display snowblowers outside the store, just like they do with lawn tractors and equipment like that. When I went shopping, I took photos of the snowblowers I was interested in, and I particularly took photos of the large placards showing the features and price of each one. No need to write that info down on a notebook in the dark with a pen that I may or may not have remembered to bring. I shot the photos and stored them in the personal interest notebook in Evernote. Then I went home, called the notes up on my laptop and researched the models.
- Store Web pages. I have been known to bookmark a few hundred thousand Web pages in the delusional belief that I will someday go back to them all. Evernote has a clipping tool that allows you to select all or part of a Web page and store it in a notebook. Now when I want to save a page to read later, I store it in Evernote. When I finally read it, I drag it to the trash if I’m done with it.
- Store documents for meetings. When I have a work or library board meeting coming up, I stash related documents in the appropriate notebook so I have them on hand for the discussion. Emails, spreadsheets, memos, PDF’s – whatever. It’s all stored in one handy place where I can access it easily.
BONUS: Record audio notes. I used this before I got my first GPS. One time my youngest son had a baseball game out of town. I knew how to get to the city where he was playing but not how to find the field once I got there. I looked up the directions on Google Maps and read the directions from the highway to the ball field into my phone. I stored the recording in Evernote and played it back when I hit my first red light in the other city. Worked like a charm. Now, of course, I have a GPS that speaks to me impatiently in a British accent and doesn’t complain when I swear at it.
Those are my current favorite uses for Evernote, and I’m sure there are many I haven’t discovered yet. Got any favorites of your own? Share them in the comments so I can
steal adopt them.