Today I’m going to review the basics of Evernote and why I think you SHOULD be using it. If you’ve even come close to checking out time management solutions, you’ve probably been introduced to this tool.
The main idea behind Evernote is that it is a place to store stuff. However, if you leave it at that, you will quickly abandon it and go back to your old ways.
What does Evernote do?
At it’s core, Evernote is a program that mimics your old fashioned spiral notebook. Use it to record and track anything you might store in one of those things without the risk of losing it or spilling your coffee all over it! But what kinds of things might you use it to record?
- Meeting notes
- To-do lists
- Grocery lists
- Web articles you want to read later or store for reference
- Cheat sheets for commonly typed email responses or social media posts
- Journal/Diary notes
- Gift lists
- Blog post ideas
- Brain dump
How does it work?
Evernote is made up of three specific pieces.
Think of the notebooks as those spiral notebooks. You might have had one for each subject in school. Evernote allows you to set up multiple notebooks and even gives you the option of creating “stacked” notebooks under primary ones.
For example, you might have a Cooking Notebook. Under the cooking notebook, you might have one for Breakfast, Lunches, Dinner, Appetizers, Desserts and Cheats (substitutions, size conversions, etc…).
Notes consist of the “pages” of your notebook. Each note is a separate page within one notebook.
Continuing with the Cooking Notebook idea, you can record a recipe as a note within the appropriate stacked notebook. Chipotle Beef Burritos goes in the Dinner Notebook.
Now let’s get to why Evernote is an extremely effective time management tool! Let’s say your notebook gets really large. You have hundreds of dinner recipes stored but don’t want to flip through all of them to find the Chipotle Beef Burritos. Or maybe you aren’t sure what you want to make but you have a round roast on hand and will be busy all day. When you create a note, you can tag it with custom tags. Chipotle Beef Burritos might be tagged with Mexican, roast, crock pot, spicy, 30+ (for cooking time) for example. Now, when you are looking for recipes to make, you can search based on the criteria (tags) that meets your current needs. In Evernote, you can do a search for round roast + crock pot and come up with just the recipes that meet those criteria!
Oh, wait? But you don’t want to have to retype your favorite recipes from your cookbooks or from the internet? Just use the Web Clipping tool available for all browsers on the internet. When you find a recipe you love, just store it in Evernote and tag it appropriately. For those favorite cookbook recipes, just snap a picture of it with your phone and store the image of the recipe with appropriate tags! ALL of your recipes are now EASILY stored and searched in one place.
How does it save time?
Besides the illustration I just shared, Evernote saves time in many ways.
- If you prefer to write notes (it helps you remember) but still want to store them for later searchability and reference, don’t transcribe. Just snap a picture and store it in Evernote. Or use Moleskin notebooks that integrate well.
- Use it as your Getting Things Done system.
- Put GTD on steroids by combining it with The Secret Weapon.
- Instantly know where to go to find what you have stored.
- Save time searching anything by using relevant tags.
- Use Evernote as a brain dump. Whenever you have a thought or idea, record it there and stop spending time trying to remember everything.
- Share notes or notebooks with others so they can access the information instantly. My husband and I use it for the grocery list. Whichever one of us is out can access the list immediately without having to text the other to find out what is on that paper list hanging on the fridge.
- Link notes that are connected and should be referenced together.
- Add links to files from your computer so you instantly have access to ALL of the information when you open the note.
The more you use Evernote, the more you save time. It is most powerful when it becomes your primary go to tool.
If you are a strict paper person, Evernote will not be good for you. Don’t try to change your paper ways just to use this system unless you really want to. However, if you are exploring going more digital or already like to keep most things online, then Evernote is WELL worth your time to better understand and use it.
Have you used Evernote as a time management tool?
What have been your experiences?
Please note: I may receive financial payment from your use of Evernote if you subscribe to one of the paid versions. However, I recommend Evernote because I use it daily and find it to be an invaluable tool. In fact, this post was originally written BEFORE I was receiving commissions from Evernote.
Having successfully helped hundreds of business leaders stop feeling overwhelmed and out of control so that they have time to achieve that "one more thing" that will make all the difference, Nicole's clients often tell her that she has the magical ability to create time where it didn't exist before.
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