I consider myself pretty tech savvy for a Digital Immigrant (i.e., someone who grew up when the world was still primarily analog). However, I am not one to jump on the tech bandwagon every time the next big thing comes out. I prefer to wait until it has more stability and until I perceive a personal need for it.
That’s why I did not immediately start using Evernote even though many of my organizing colleagues swore by it. When I first heard about it a few years ago I created a user account and poked under the hood a little, but didn’t see what the big deal was. I couldn’t figure out what need of mine it would satisfy, and without the experience of personally using it, I wasn’t about to go recommending it to my clients.
That changed when I attended the recent NAPO conference. For several sessions, I sat next to my friend and colleague Julie Bestry, and I watched her take notes on her iPad using an external keyboard. I was very impressed how the notes were organized on her iPad. I asked her what app she was using, and she responded, “Evernote.” (To read about Julie’s note-taking experiment, see her blog post.)
So I decided to give Evernote another try. In the 6 weeks since, I have figured out why everyone loves Evernote.
What is Evernote? Essentially, it’s note-taking software. The beauty is that it synchronizes those notes across all of my devices. I can add a note while I’m on my computer, and access it on my iPhone while I’m out of the house, or on my iPad. Imagine having a small spiral notebook with you all the time, without actually having to carry the notebook.
If you’ve got scraps of paper on your desk (or everywhere) with ideas and reminders scribbled on them, then Evernote might just be the app for you.
Here are some examples of how I’ve used Evernote in the past week:
- Jotted down ideas for future organizing tips.
- Collected travel information that I’ll need when my family goes out of town later this month.
- Created a list of things I need to remember to pack — which I typed on my iPad while lying in bed trying to fall asleep!
- Captured links to web sites.
- Listed healthy food items that are hard to find, so that I can look for them next time I’m near a Whole Foods.
Evernote lets you group your notes into notebooks. For example, I have a notebook called Travel which is where I am capturing my trip information.
You can add the Evernote Web Clipper to “clip” web pages and add them to Evernote with one click. There is also an Evernote button on my Microsoft Outlook toolbar so that I can clip e-mails to Evernote with one click as well. And of course, everything you put into Evernote is searchable.
I’m sure I’m just scratching the surface of what Evernote can do. I haven’t saved any photos or videos to Evernote yet. But it has been a true godsend for capturing pieces of information that I want to access from different places.
The best news is that Evernote is free. Install it now and see how you can improve your productivity.