Evernote – My favorite app – Part 2
John M. Haddad
In the previous post, Evernote – My favorite app – Part 1, I gave a high level overview of what Evernote was and some of the technology and pricing associated with the product.
In this post, I want to delve into details on how I use Evernote every day and show examples of the ways I use it for managing my personal life and examples of how I use it for my business.
How I use Evernote
Okay, so enough of the Evernote soapbox. Let’s get into how I use Evernote in my day to day life. I will break it down into Personal and Business usage.
Every now and then, I do look back and say “How did I accumulate 4,600 notes over the past 5 1/2 years”? When looking at how I use Evernote, I can easily see how this can happen.
By the way, one thing I failed to mention in the first post is that it comes in very handy to have a scanner, as you will see with some examples below. I use the ScanSnap S1300i scanner, which works great with Evernote and is small and compact. It’s a neat little scanner and has proven invaluable to me when using Evernote.
Personal Use of Evernote
Here are some of the ways I use Evernote in my daily personal life:
- Medical Notebook – My medical notebook is actually 3 separate notebooks. One that tracks all my doctor’s I’ve used. I get their profile from the web and capture (web clipper) the info about them. I have a notebook that tracks all medications that were prescribed to me. I scan in the sheet that comes with the prescription and then throw it away. Lastly, I have a notebook that tracks every doctor’s appointment … what the appointment was for, what was discussed, what were the results.
- Statements – I hate paper, and I hate the idea of filing paper and then shredding it later. So I have a notebook for every statement I get from the bank, credit cards, financial institutions, oil, electric, real estate taxes, etc. Most of the statements I get online by downloading the PDF and then just capturing in the appropriate notebook. However, those that come in the mail, I quickly scan it, then discard the paper. I share all these notebooks with my wife so she has access to every single statement. I’ve pretty much eliminated my paper filing cabinet.
- User Manuals – Every device or product you buy comes with a user manual. I used to have them everywhere and could never find them when I wanted them. Just about every user manual you have is also available online in a PDF format. I’ve taken all my user manuals and captured all the PDF documents in my user manual notebook.
- Recipes – We come across great recipes all the time on the web. Now, using the web clipper, I can capture the recipe easily along with pictures and links back to the original web page. Using tags, I can tag the recipe any way I want … chicken, appetizer, breakfast, desert, etc. I can also share recipe notebooks with others using Evernote’s sharing capability.
- Research – Many times I want to take on a home improvement project or research into vacation plans or look into research on various medical conditions for family. I simply create a notebook and capture all information I find on the web and it’s organized and handy for me to reference.
- Personal projects – Anytime I want to work on a personal project, such as a bathroom remodeling or adopting a dog or volunteer projects I’m working, I use a notebook to capture all my notes and reference material.
- Non-profit Projects – Over the years, I’ve been involved in many non-profit projects that I’ve led. I created a notebook for the project and invited my entire team to collaborate with that notebook. The great thing about this collaboration is that emails are not constantly flying back and forth and all assets are stored in one place.
- How-to’s – I’m a do-it-yourselfer, so I spend a lot of time searching the web for how-to instructions or videos to learn how to do things. For example, I was trying to run some wiring from a light switch or had to replace my ice maker in my fridge or fixing a problem with a washing machine. I found some great instructions and videos on how to do all these and captured them in my notebook. Because all my notes are synched to all devices, I can now watch the video or see the instructions on my iPad or iPhone while I’m doing the work.
- Job search – During the times when I was doing job searches, I used this notebook extensively to capture all notes from any job I was interested in or applied to or had an interview with. I was able to use the notebook to research companies. I also used the notebook to track what jobs I applied to, who I heard back from and what the status was. Using tags, you can further tag notes by company or status of application.
- Key Info – I use a key info tag so I have quick access to information that is critical. For instance, I scan in my driver’s license, my passport and other important documents. If I’m ever in a situation where I misplaced these or forgot them, I can produce them on my smartphone or print them out. Great for travelers!
- General notes – Not everything is worthy of it’s own notebook. If do business with any vendor and say, cancel a membership or speak to someone about an issue I’m having with their service, I simply document that conversation as a note. In addition, any online orders I have that I want to track, I can simply forward the confirmation order email to Evernote via my Evernote email address.
I can certainly go on about many other ways I use Evernote, but you can get an idea of how this can be useful for your personal day to day life.
Business Use of Evernote
Here are some of the ways I use Evernote in in my business:
- Client Notebooks – I set up a separate notebook for each of my clients. Any key information I need for working on projects for my clients go right into the client notebook. If I receive an email with some important information, I simply forward that to my Evernote Notebook. Any graphics or research I do for my clients projects are all captured in the clients notebook. Any meeting notes I’ve taken are all captured in my client notebook. I have used this technique in my past 3 jobs and it has been an invaluable process. I can quickly search and find any information in a matter of seconds.
- Simple CRM System – I can create a simple Customer Relationship Management (CRM) process using a notebook and tags, so I can track potential clients and tag various notes if required actions are required. This also makes it easier to have a tickler file for follow up on proposals and contacts.
- Tech Notes – My business is geared around technology. I spend a great deal researching new technology and researching various ways to solve problems for my clients. Any time I find a technical “how to” that I find helpful, I capture that in my tech notes notebook. It gives me a great way to easily document tech how-to’s and refer back to them as needed to support my clients. This gives me a great technical reference notebook.
- Client Project Management – For most of my projects, I don’t need a complicated project management system. Evernote gives me a great way of creating a project tickler listing, assigning responsibility and due dates and sharing this with my clients. Evernote gives you the capability to share a note with a public link that you can send to your clients and they can view it on the web without needing an Evernote account.
- Receipts – All my business receipts can be easily filed in Evernote. Using my ScanSnap scanner, I can scan in all receipts into Evernote. What’s great is any document scanned is completely searchable within the PDF or JPG that is scanned in, so I can search on any receipt.
- Follow up reminders – Evernote has the ability to set alarms and reminders, so if you need to follow up on any items, you can set a reminder. Because of all the third party applications that integrate with Evernote, you can easily have these reminders automatically appear on your to-do app or your calendar. Saves a lot of duplicate entries.
- Key Information – A lot of what I do is repetitive and follows a prescriptive step-by-step process. Instead of starting from a clean sheet of paper each time, I document key step-by-steps things that I need to do to accomplish various tasks. That way I don’t have to remember them and can follow a standard process each time to ensure I deliver a quality product.
- Business Cards – One thing I used to have was a Business Card wallet where I could stick all business cards I’ve received over the years. Well, that started getting to well over one hundred business cards! I could never find what I was looking for. Now, I have a Business Card notebook. When I receive a business car, I simply scan it in immediately with my ScanSnap scanner. The business card is now a separate note. I can find a business card in a matter of seconds with Evernote’s powerful search capability.
- Blog Articles – I am always looking for new ideas for blog articles for my website. When I come across a topic that I think will be of interest for my clients and potential clients, I use Evernote’s web clipper and capture that idea in my Blog Articles notebook. Now, when it’s time to write a blog post, I simply go into my notebook and see the various ideas.
As you can see, the possibilities are endless on how you can use Evernote for your business. For businesses with a few employees, you certainly can get away with using the basic versions of Evernote. However, should you require a more collaborative environment with all your employees, take a look at Evernote for Business.
I hope this two-part series on Evernote gives you some motivation to give the product a try. I’ve listed about 20 different examples on how I use it for both my personal and business use. There are so many more areas that I find each week where Evernote comes in handy. What Evernote has done for me is to increase my personal productivity by automating my workflow and capturing important information in an electronic notebook. That way, information gets cleared out of my inbox and out of my head so I no longer have to remember things. After all, Evernote’s motto is “Remember Everything”!
I can honestly say that I am coming very close to achieving the true paperless office. The more I use Evernote, the more comfortable I feel at completely eliminating paper files. While I have not been able to quantify it, I know that the money I’ve saved in printing documents, filing documents, getting large file cabinets and searching for information has been significant … not to mention much less stressful!
If you find this article helpful or have some new ways that Evernote helps you, please drop me a note and let me know about your experience. As always, contact us at Bisinet Technologies. We can provide you with consulting support to help get Evernote operational for your business.