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Evernote is an amazing “catch all” application. You may already be using Evernote or you might be using some other note application. None-the-less, Evernote is powerful and very customizable. When showing people how to use Evernote, I equate Evernote to Twitter. There is no real right way to take or organize your notes as long as it fits your needs.
When I say Evernote is a “catch all”, I mean you can store all of your, well, everything. With a premium account, you can upload any kind of files or media to your account.
Here are some tips how you can use Evernote to keep your life organized.
To effectively use Evernote, you should know the basic bits and pieces of the application. There are quite a few parts to get to know and this is where many people lack the knowledge to make Evernote immensely useful for themselves.
There are two different account types, paid and free. When you are just starting out, most people can usually get away with free. The free version has some limits you should be aware of though. You cannot upload every file type. There is also an upload limit every month too.
Notebooks are essentially folders which let you sort information in any way you’d like. Home and work, pictures only, just one for birthday parties if you’d like. For people using the GTD (Getting Things Done) method of managing tasks, you can create your Inbox, Someday, Next Action and other notebooks to fit your needs. Further organizing can be done with tags.
Make a list of common tags (i.e. project name, initial meeting, checklist or read later). These tags will make it easier in the long run when you are looking for a note. The point of using a note taking application is to have a trusted place to turn to when you want to remember something. If you need to rack your brain to remember how you labeled a bit of information, taking notes won’t be worth your time and effort. Create a simple set of common tags to use the majority of the time then add more descriptive or unique tags if desired.
Evernote have made their service pretty ubiquitous. There are versions for all of the major OS both mobile and desktop. When you go from iPhone to your Windows desktop, the interface is very similar and offers the same basic functionality. However, there are different extensions available to add features to your desktop or mobile.
Once you get in the habit of using Evernote, you can add on different applications to extend the usefulness of Evernote. The add-on applications are found in the Trunk. The Trunk is full of mobile add-ons for iPhone and Android as well as different desktop and browser extensions.
Evernote can record a voice note on your mobile device if you have a great idea and are not in a position to type. There are 2 kinds of voice notes. There are voice-to-text notes and recorded notes. Remember using a separate micro cassette or digital recorder to capture your thoughts? Those are like the voice recordings. While the voice-to-text notes analyze what you say and transform your spoken word into text.
A lot of people do not want another application on their phone or desktop. If that sounds like you, you can email in your notes to Evernote. Each Evernote user has a unique email address to send notes to. Here is how to find your Evernote email address. Your address will look something like this: [email protected]
For the Twitter addicted, you can follow @myEN on Twitter. When Evernote follows you back, you can send an @ mention or DM to @myEN with what you want your note to say. You can also forward a tweet to Evernote. You are still limited to a total of 140 characters when tweeting a note to Evernote.
As mentioned earlier, there is an Evernote application for all of the major browsers. The layout of the applications is pretty much the same. However, where the mobile versions differ is the add-on applications from the Trunk. An example of this is Evernote Hello.
As an Android user, I have to admit I am jealous of Evernote users with iPhones. Evernote Hello is a great application to help you remember people you meet while networking. It has basic information like their name but also includes a picture of them. You can finally put a face with the name.
Evernote features web browser extensions to let you clip a URL or a full-page to your Evernote account. When you add the extension or use the Bookmarklet, you can choose to send the whole page or just the URL. There is also a drop down to choose what notebook you’d like the page to be stored and a spot for tags. Evernote strips out all of the ads and other clutter on the page and just sends what you need to see.
In a note, you can create a checklist. While this may seem trivial, think of the possible uses.
Using a list of items to complete, there is something fulfilling to checking off items. The more you check off, the more motivated to are to finish the list.
The first part of organizing clients is to make a notebook for each client. Individual notebooks will definitely help keep any notes for this client easily searchable.
When you have a notebook for each client, you can use it to collect ideas and other information you may want to use later. Use tags like “client name ideas” to make searching for them later much easier.
When you are working while mobile, you can easily jot down times you work on a project. For freelancers who are not always in the office or who are just starting out and don’t have the funds for other time tracking applications keeping a note will work well.
Using your Evernote account to go paperless can be a breeze. Create a folder for documents or bills, even receipts for your expense reports/taxes. Create appropriate tags and/or notebooks to organize all of the papers you would normally file away and possibly never use again.
While a little bit of forward thinking may help when setting up an Evernote account, you can always use the ready, shoot, aim approach. Get in the habit of taking notes using Evernote, then go back and do a little cleaning and organizing.
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Trevor is a freelance writer covering topics ranging from the Android OS to free web and desktop applications. When he is not writing about mobile productivity, he is a mobile productivity trainer for the busiest of all mobile users, working women.