I frequently get asked by colleagues, friends, and family what apps (web, desktop, and mobile) I use to organize my work and life. So, I’m going to make a concerted effort here to blog a series on my personal and professional information management workflow. I say “workflow” instead of “system”, because no single tool meets my needs. It’s also an evolving workflow, because my toolbox and my process changes as new/better apps come out, or as new features and functionality are made available in current apps. And (sadly), it’s still a bit of a manual workflow, because these apps don’t always sync together in an automated process.
This third post looks at Evernote — my go-to app for managing my life, my work, and my “personal” research. Yes, I use Zotero for what I call my “professional” and “intellectual” research, but Evernote is where I stash research materials and notes for what I call “doing life” — such as my genealogy work and my Bible studies. I’ll explain this distinction more, and my process, in a future post.
I have been hooked on Evernote for several years now. It is by far the single most highly used app in my personal and professional information management system. I use it all day every day — on my Macs, my PC, my iPhone, and my iPad. Every single note that I type on my mobile devices (and oftentimes on my regular computers) goes into Evernote. Every bit of information (cheat sheets, reference materials, web clippings, receipts, travel documentation, etc. ) that I want quick immediate access to goes into Evernote.
While you get exceptional functionality out of the free account, I do find the added features of the Premium plan definitely worth the $45.00 annual fee. For most people (especially if you are new to Evernote), the free account will work just fine. As part of this series, I will blog about the specific features that make Evernote Premium valuable to me.
These two videos provide an excellent overview of why and how to use Evernote.
A bit first about Evernote terminology.
- Note: A single item stored in Evernote.
- Notebook: A container for notes.
- Stacks: Containers that hold notebooks.
- Tags: Descriptive topic words assigned to Notes.
- Sync: The process by which your Evernote notes are kept up to date across all of your computers, phones, devices and the Web.
In my opinion, aside from its ability to sync across all devices, the web clipper is the most useful feature of Evernote. It allows me to capture “clip” and archive anything on the web, including: research articles and documents, handy cheat sheets, recipes, patterns, home improvement and decor ideas, vacation ideas, and gift ideas — entire web pages, or simply parts of a web page.
I access Evernote daily on both my iPhone and my iPad. I love being able to carry a virtual filing cabinet with me wherever I go.
My Use Cases
I plan to blog about each of these uses cases in detail, but these are some of the key tasks for which I use Evernote daily.
- Work meeting agendas and minutes.
- Web Development and design code snippets.
- Genealogy research and logs.
- Bible study/reading and sermon notes.
- Craft patterns and stash inventory.
- Recipes and grocery shopping.
These are all great resources for learning more about how to use Evernote, or how to use Evernote better.