Every day in our lives and business we have to access and use all types of information. So as someone who runs a creative business, how can you easily manage and access the information you need when you need it? One app that I’ve found to be indispensable in my business and personal life is Evernote.
At its most basic, you could describe Evernote as a “note taking tool”…but once you start using it you’ll find that it’s much, much more than than. You can use Evernote to create notes, add text, images, website links, bulleted and numbered lists, and checklists. Evernote works on a variety of mobile devices, tablets, desktop computers and through the web where you can access and edit your notes. And all of your edits are automatically synced across all of your devices.
Evernote is more than just text. You can use Evernote on your phone to dictate audio notes and replay them. You can create notes through email and send and archive copies of your emails directly into Evernote. Photos taken with your mobile device can be uploaded directly into an Evernote document where you can make comments and annotations. You can even scan written or printed documents with your phone straight into Evernote which will convert it into a searchable text document.
And my favorite feature is the Web Clipper, which allows you clip web pages, clip selected web text, or clip screen shots directly into Evernote..complete with the web link embedded in the note. If you need to capture and save it, Evernote will make it easy for you to do so.
Notes, folders, and tags…oh my!
Once you start creating notes, you can organize them within Evernote using a system of folders and tags. If you’re more comfortable with filing cabinet concept, you can create a “folder stack” which is a single folder that contains multiple folders beneath within it. While notes can only be assigned to one folder at a time a note can be assigned with multiple tags. Evernote also has a very powerful search feature which allows you to search for notes by folder, tag, or the text within the note. You can post individual notes, tags, folders, or folder stacks in the Shortcuts section for quick access to items to use frequently within Evernote.
Evernote is flexible enough to allow you to organize your notes in a variety of ways. Some people prefer to organize their notes using multiple folders and folder stacks. Others throw all of their notes into a single folder and organize their notes through a big library of tags.
I’ve recently went from a system with 10 separate folders, 2 folder stacks with very few tags to a method that relies heavily on tags with just a handful of folders. Your method may be different…it’s entirely up to you.
Note links and reminders
Do you want to have a single note within Evernote that has to links all of your receipts, or blog posts, or meeting notes? Evernote also has two features that allows you to do just that. You can do this with a group of notes automatically using the Table of Contents feature. Or you can create links to individual notes one by one using the Note Links feature.
Do you have a project or a note that you want to have brought to your attention at a later date? Perhaps you’ve stored an art fair application in Evernote and you want to be reminded to complete it at a later date. Evernote reminders are just feature for that task. Attach a specific day and time to an individual note and you will get an alert on that specific day and time. I use Evernote reminders extensively to help me manage my blog posts, newsletters, projects and other parts of my content calendar.
Share it and chat it up
If you work with an assistant or a team, then Evernote can be a valuable tool in managing your information, projects and tasks. You can share individual notes or specific folders with your assistant or members of your team where they can create notes, make changes, highlight and annotate notes. Reminders set to shared notes will alert everyone that it’s being shared to. There’s even a chat feature built within Evernote that allows you to communicate with the people you share notes with.
You can even make individual notes and folders available to anyone by sharing a public link to the note. Here is a public link to my blog post template…feel free to use it if you like.
As all of your notes are stored in the Evernote system, another huge advantage along with the ability to access your notes anywhere is the fact that you won’t have to worry about losing your Evernote documents if any of your devices fail. It’s like a never-ending backup for your files!Evernote does way more than take notes. It's a digital center for your life and business. Click To Tweet
So…what do you use it for again?
Evernote is one of those apps that’s pretty awesome, but you don’t know exactly how awesome it is until you actually start using it and figuring out ways that it can help you. There’s there’s really no one way to use it. People have used Evernote in a variety of ways, from managing research projects, writing books, and running presentations to planning events, teaching online courses, and managing customer support.
I dabbled with Evernote off and on for a year and a half before it really became a daily tool for me. Here’s several ways that I use Evernote:
- For reviews and planning– A habit I started last year was doing weekly and quarterly reviews. I write all of my reviews in Evernote and index them using note links. I can easily reference a key lesson, or insight from any weekly review from my phone, tablet or laptop. I also used Evernote to write my year-end review and plan and being able to easily refer to a whole year’s worth of reviews made my task that much more valuable.
- For reference and idea gathering– I read a lot of articles, a lot of books, and listen to a lot of podcasts. Whenever I see a great idea, a useful quote, or find an article I want to reference later, I clip this information into Evernote. I’ve stored everything from nicely designed emails and quotes I’ve scanned from books I’m reading to design examples and the highlights and notes I make from my Kindle app. Evernote has become my central storage place for ideas, information, and inspiration.
- Recipes and DIY projects– I use Evernote pretty heavily for personal projects as well. DIY projects, recipes I’ve found on Pinterest, and home maintenance instructions are stored into Evernote.
- Content creation– I write all of my blog posts (including this one), newsletters, articles, and much of my social media content within Evernote. All of my content planning and idea generation also happens in Evernote as well.
- For templates and workflows– All of the workflows and templates I use for writing newsletters, blogs, Instagram posts, weekly reviews, project briefs…just about anything I do on a regular basis, lives in Evernote. If I need to write a blog post or start my weekly review, all I have to do is open the right template, copy it and paste it into a new note and start working.
- For tracking my workouts– Yes, I can use the Health app on my iPhone or I could use some other exercise tracking app for this task, but I find it just as easy to quickly jot down my exercise notes in my workout notes. It’s one less app I have to use, plus I can easily reference or link to my exercise notes when I’m doing my weekly reviews.
Evernote also plays well with a number of other apps, so you can connect it with apps like IFTTT, Feedly, and Sunrise Calendar. For example, I use Sunrise Calendar as my central spot for all of my Google and Apple calendars. By connecting Evernote with Sunrise calendar, I can also see all of my Evernote reminders with the rest of my calendars. You can set up an IFTTT recipe to automatically archive all of your email receipts in Evernote. You can set up a connection with Feedly and save Feedly articles directly into Evernote.
Need more ideas? Here’s an article from the the Buffer blog on how to use Evernote for marketing and productivity. If you create any kind of content, whether it’s a blog post or updates on social media, check out this video on YouTube on 40 ways you can use Evernote to create content.
The fine print
You can sign up for Evernote’s Basic service for free, which allows you to create and sync your notes everywhere. However you won’t be able to save emails to Evernote, nor will you be able to access your notes while offline. You can sync up to 60 megabytes of data per month…which will be plenty when you’re first starting.
If you find yourself hitting the monthly sync limit, you can upgrade to one of Evernote’s paid versions. The Plus service, which is $24.99 per year will allow you to sync about 1 gigabyte of data per month, you will be able to import emails, and you will be able to look at your notes while you’re offline.
There’s also the Premium service for $49.99 per year which allows you to sync 10 gigabytes of data, allows you to create presentations with your notes, scan business cards, and makes Office and PDF documents within Evernote searchable…as well as a couple more interesting features.
I’m a really heavy user of Evernote, so I didn’t have problem opting for the Premium service, it’s been well worth for me so far. If you’re just starting out or you’re more budget minded, check out the Basic service and see how much this app can do for you. You can sign up for Evernote here.
Do you use Evernote? If so, what do you use it for? Leave your Evernote ideas below in the comments.
Evernote does way more than simply take notes. It can be a digital center for your life and your creative business.
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