Organized. 40 Ways I Used Evernote to Improve Productivity

If you’re like me, you’re forever seeking better ways to organize your life. You write ideas on napkins, scribble notes on business cards, and mess up your hand with hastily jotted numbers.

If you’re really savvy, you might have a file on your computer and/or smartphone to jot ideas as they spring to mind. But if you’re like me, you also lose those scraps of paper, duplicate your notes across technology platforms, and ultimately feel like you’re fighting a losing battle.

But what if you had a command center to organize all of that information? What if every thought, inspiration, number, detail, image — and so much more — could be stored and quickly retrieved from one location, no matter what device you were using? 

That command center is here, and it’s called Evernote. Or as I like to think of the award-winning piece of technology goodness: my life in sync.

To understand Evernote, you have to get your head around something called cloud computing. Basically, anything that can be taken off of your computer and held in the cloud, a.k.a, the Internet, can be called cloud computing. QuickBooks Online is a perfect example. QuickBooks isn’t taking up space on my hard drive. It’s sitting in the cloud, password accessible by me, my bookkeeper, and my accountant.

Cloud computing has so rapidly changed the way I work, and improved my productivity, that it’s hard to believe it really only started taking shape a few years ago.

Evernote is part of the cloud. Part of that swiftly changing world. Evernote is a cross-platform application (or app), accessible on my desktop, iPhone, iPad, and laptop. Basically any piece of technology or mobile device I own. Evernote captures reminders, lists, photos, voice memos, PDFs, URLs, screenshots, emails — just about anything I want to access later — in one constantly synchronized spot.

Ways My Clients Use Evernote

Once I’ve helped a client through the pain of recalling and organizing 10, 20, even 30+ years of career outcomes, they’re usually pretty worn out. That’s a lot of career history to dig through, and it doesn’t make sense to repeat it in five years.

So when we’re finished, I recommend downloading Evernote and creating a notebook called “My Career.” Clients detail company name, size, and rank; employee count and geographic scope; job titles and promotion dates; and important outcomes and their quantitative details. (Numbers make résumés sing, remember. Don’t ever forget that.)

I tell clients, why not take snapshots of awards and certificates with your smartphone, where they can be uploaded and cataloged directly into Evernote. Why not PDF conference details, professional development classes and dates, and articles in which you’ve been quoted. (You can even take a photo or scan hard copy articles to save … forever!)

The point is, Evernote lets you record career successes and outcomes as they happen, saving time and money on future résumé updates. It’s a great way to actively manage a career.

But that’s just one idea that gets heard by 100-110 people a year. For a better idea of the general ways you can use Evernote, I’ll share my own experience with the app.

What I Store in Evernote for my Professional Life

  1. Article ideas and drafts
  2. Bookkeeping reminders
  3. Blog and e-newsletter ideas
  4. Business card snapshots
  5. Client referrals and details
  6. Favorite restaurants and details (even facades and menu snapshots)
  7. HTML code for the few times I need it
  8. Library of favorite keywords and phrases
  9. Marketing ideas
  10. New chart of accounts categories I want my bookkeeper to implement
  11. Notes from professional development meetings, lunches, conferences
  12. Professional biography (long, short, and super short versions)
  13. Questions I want to add to my client survey
  14. Random ideas as inspiration strikes (I call it my “Idea Bucket”)
  15. Receipt snapshots (you can also scan receipts with your phone or other peripheral hardware)
  16. Recommendation drafts I’m writing for others on LinkedIn
  17. Research on e-book designers
  18. Service ticket numbers and details
  19. Software tutorials
  20. To do lists
  21. Travel itineraries (flights, hotels, car rental and mileage details, meal reservations, etc)
  22. Tweet drafts
  23. Web site edits I want to make
  24. Webinars I want to develop
  25. Wish lists

What I Store in Evernote for my Personal Life

  1. Auto-payment details
  2. Birthday and gifting ideas
  3. Confirmation numbers for orders, tech support, etc
  4. Grocery / shopping lists
  5. Gym statistics
  6. Photos of flowers and greeting cards I’ve received
  7. Prescription numbers and ordering details
  8. Products to research or buy later
  9. Quotes I like
  10. Snapshots of books I want to buy
  11. Snapshots of places and addresses I want to remember
  12. Things I want
  13. Things I’m saving for
  14. Vacation research, complete with details and URLs / links
  15. Warranties (technology, furniture, etc)

Still More Uses for Evernote

Use your smartphone’s camera to snap hand-written meeting notes (on paper or whiteboard). Evernote will index the material for later retrieval.

Record business or personal changes you want to make. Jot headlines or copy ideas. Evernote will keep your inspiration organized and ready for any time review.

My Advice About Using Evernote

Explore Evernote slowly. Google “ways to use Evernote” and find out how others use the platform. Experiment with the app and get comfortable. Subscribe to Evernote’s Twitter and Facebook pages. Ideas for using Evernote will start evolving around the way you uniquely live and work.

Don’t Take Just My Word for It

  1. Techworld’s 2010 Evernote Review
  2. 14 Practical Ways to Use Evernote, American Express, OpenForum
  3. 9 Ways I Use Evernote: Digitzd.com
  4. 5 Ways to Use Evernote to Organize Your Busy Family Life: Evernote.com/Blog

Final Thoughts

I wrote this article in Evernote. Whether at my desk, on a hike, waiting for a plane, or having a meal, I had constant access to jot and edit my thoughts, whenever and wherever. I totally avoided scraps of paper that might have floated out of my bag, lost forever. And I edited knowing that when I hit sync, I would have the article available again. Anytime, anywhere.

Also, I now use Evernote’s collaboration function with my virtual assistant to better interact on projects and requests. Collaboration requires a premium account upgrade. But at a super low monthly cost, it beats more expensive collaboration solutions by a mile.

By the way, I do not care for Evernote’s Web / browser version. I recommend downloading the latest Evernote version to your primary computer, where it will look like any other application. Then visit your app store to download the mobile versions. No wires necessary. Just log in using your username and password.

Want to Download Evernote for Windows?

Your free and fabulous Evernote journey begins here. Or visit Evernote.com.

BTW: If it sounds like I’m on Evernote’s payroll, I’m not. I’m merely an avid user and fan.

November 11, 2012 update! 

This post gets enough attention that I’m updating it with a few helpful YouTube videos. Keep in mind that every new Evernote upgrade changes the user interface, but the functionality remains largely the same — and is often improved or enhanced.

Until next time!

Jared Redick
Visit: The Resume Studio.com
Follow: @TheResumeStudio
Connect: LinkedIn.com/in/jaredredick
Call: 415-397-6640

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One Response

  1. Fantastic blog post. I have recently become a fan of Evernote, but have learned many new ways to use it in both my business life and personal life. Thank you for your insight and inspiration.

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