Discussion: How I use Evernote

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Do you write lists on your lists? Do you re-write daily to do’s, struggle to stay on top of paperwork from the school, and have a range of notebooks for ideas? I totally hear you.

Without a shadow of a doubt, Evernote is like my spare brain. As someone who scribbles on post-it notes and any available paper around, I need a base outlet to store my information when my mind gets busy and needs a mindsweep.

Evernote has been around for a while, and is just a lifesaver. It syncs between my iPhone and the desktop and web versions, so I can always access information.

Here below are some of the ways in which I use Evernote and I would LOVE to hear your ideas and methods too in the comments area. I am always keen to learn! So, here is an overview of how I use Evernote:

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Daily to dos

I set up a daily list of “to do”s ,so I can keep in my shortcut area a list for the day. I use the check box function for this, and tick off things as I do them. If anything doesn’t get done, I copy and paste it to the following day. I also use Azendoo, which works really well with Evernote, to drag and drop tasks around visually.

Swipe files and filing research

Evernote is brilliant for this.  Whenever I read something that I want to save for later, I clip it using the Chrome Evernote clipper, and it goes straight to my research notebook. I can then use tags to file information neatly for later, and also add a reminder if anything needs to be actioned by a certain date.

Blog post ideas

Anything blog related, from plug ins to try, to researchm post ideas for this blog and others that I guest on goes into a specific notebook. I can then store all my scribbles, pics, research, supporting tweets, emails, links and ideas in the right place to be easily accessible.

Smart filters and read later lists

I have set up an IFTT recipe to smartly filter “Read Later” emails and posts from my Gmail inbox. As soon as an email is filed there, it automatically goes to my Evernote notebook so I can access on and offline and read in one go when I need to without being distracted by my inbox.

Project notebooks

I set up separate notebooks for each project and client, and can file and share relevant information, audio notes and ideas in the right place.

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Tweet archiving

I have set up a recipe in IFTT to archive all my tweets directly into Evernote. That way I can look back easily on everything I have tweeted, and easily access past tweets.

 

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Dealing with paperwork when it arrives

Oh gosh. The schoolbags. The SCHOOL bags! I sometimes feel I need a part time job to deal with the paperwork, and I only have two children, goodness know how those with more cope!

I now file documents and tag them as soon as they come in. So, I make a pile of PTA bake sale/Christmas fair/reading lists/homework tasks and the like, and sit down with an obligatory cuppa once the kids have gone to bed. I then photograph them all using the “document” camera function which captures an A4 sheet easily, and I can tag everything and set reminders as it comes in. Sanity, you beautiful thing, you.

I also take a photo of all the drawings and artwork that come home with the Minis. We frame as many as we can, but when the pile of drawings is getting ridiculous, I still want to keep a record of their early Picasso moments, so file the artwork in a notebook specifically with a time and date stamp.

Keeping my inbox bearable

I have set up a number of smart filters in combination with IFTT recipes to automate my Gmail inbox filing, as it can get a bit crazy in there! For example, I have filtered my Groupon deals to go directly to a folder which is then automatically stored in a Groupon notebook in Evernote.

Similarly, I have set up a filter so that all Amazon and iTunes purchases go straight to their own Evernote notebook, as do all emails about our weekly shopping from Tescos. That way regular information gets filed smartly, and I can access is without trawling through all my emails.

I also forward emails directly to Evernote to store items where I need them; Evernote has a rather clever method of filing things where you need them using a system of characters (read more about the system here).

RSS feeds straight to Evernote

For sites I read and comment on regularly, I have set up a recipe via IFTT to drive the posts straight to my notebook. This way I can keep track of my reading, and important posts become searchable and time stamped too. Wahoooo!

Instagram and Twitter favourites to a notebook

I have set up an IFTT recipe to file away tweets and Instagram images that I star or favourite to go directly to a notebook, perfect for quickly building up a research file.

Sharing ideas

One of the brilliant things about Evernote is the sharing functionality. I share notebooks with my partner for things like Christmas to-do’s, household tasks, things to do and visit, and more. With my co-workers I can share notebooks of ideas, drafts, research and all sorts.

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Photographing my brainstorms and notes

As a brainstorm, mind sweep and post it note addict, being able to photograph and tag my notes is absolutely brilliant. I go offline to think and develop ideas, then store them all away by taking a snap with my iPhone or iPad. I love the fact that Evernote has a specific Post-It note function for photographing the little squares of genius, so they are filed neatly and logically for when needed.

Evernote is an enormous app (with many plug in apps and products) with a wide range of possibilities that are beyond the scope of this little post. But, as an overview of uses I thought it might be useful to share.

I would love to hear what you use Evernote for, and how it works for you. Or, if you use something else, such as Google Keep, tell me about it in the comments.

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Stay sane and productive,

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Jo Gifford

My work is about helping people work in smarter, creative ways + getting their message out to the world via killer content—blogs, copy, images + social. I am a designer, writer, blogger, mentor, author, creativity addict + prolific geek. You could call it a portfolio career of multi-potential multi-passions. I call it being me.
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