Back in January I shared my Top File-Sharing and Collaboration Tools. One of those listed was Evernote.
I’d always heard from people who loved Evernote for note-taking, life organisation, and for tasks as diverse as saving recipes and tracking expenses. For a long time, I just didn’t get it.
It was years before someone told me that to get the most out of Evernote, you have to put everything in Evernote. So I tried that. It was a bit of a black hole: things seemed to go in and never come back out. I clung to Basecamp Personal even though I was mostly using its text document function.
Now I use Evernote for everything from taking notes to keeping scraps of inspiration and quotes, to making my weekly to-do lists. It’s also a great place to dump thoughts and ideas when they pop up at inopportune moments.
So, based on my new-found productivity through this app, I have a few tips.
Tip #1 – Limit the number of Notebooks you use.
Although using Notebooks seems like the most intuitive way to organise notes, your tasks will soon overlap and you’ll start to lose track of notes. As I learned from the articles linked above/below, tags are a much more useful way to navigate Evernote.
Tip #2 – Make use of tags.
If you go about it the right way, tags are more actionable, and easier to search on Evernote. I picked up on Michael Hyatt’s idea to begin every note with ^. This common character makes it easy to select a tag name from the dropdown of existing tags (no more losing notes because I tagged “recipe” and not “recipes”).
Note: You may want to try another common character that’s easier to access on mobile, like a dash or an underscore. I always forget where the ^ is, but am too lazy to change it now!
My Notebooks & Tags
The tags you use will probably correlate with your notebooks in some way.
Here’s what it looks like for me to give you some examples.
All my business-related notes. These include drafts of blog posts (much like this one); weekly to-do lists; snippets and tips from books and blogs I’m reading; contacts; and digital scribblings or things to come back to.
One of the most useful things I’ve created recently has been Master Content Checklists for each of my websites and for video and podcast content. Uploading, publishing and marketing a piece of content involves several steps, and it’s easy to accidentally skip one. It’s often too late before I realise that I’ve forgotten to fill in my SEO keywords or post to a particular social network. Having a checklist keeps me right and ensures that nothing falls through the cracks.
Most used tags in this folder include: ^to do, ^bizdev, and ^to write.
2. Reading Week
I almost never add anything to this Notebook directly on Evernote. It’s primarily a storage repository for my Reading Week links, which I capture as I read.
I do almost all of my reading in Pocket (or save things there just to reference), and send any links and notes through to Evernote for safekeeping. First, I’ve an IFTTT recipe set up here: when I star a Pocket article, it automatically sends the article to this folder. Secondly, there’s also a share function within Pocket, so when I want to quote from an article, I copy the quote and send to Evernote there.
Most used tags: ^pocket
3. Reading Notes
Slightly different from Reading Week: this is for notes that I hastily type into my phone while reading; quotes I find online; and other reading-related notes like books I’ve come across and want to buy later.
Most used tags: ^to read, ^to write, and ^to buy.
4. Personal Notes
This covers pretty much everything else. It’s a mish-mash of personal to-dos, personal project notes like blog post ideas and podcasting notes, ideas, recipes, and other miscellaneous notes.
It’s basically what my entire Evernote account looked like until I started using tags – now the tags make it much easier to navigate.
Most used tags: ^to do, ^inspiration, ^quotes, ^journal, ^to buy, ^money and ^travel.
What has been your experience with using Evernote? Do you love it or loathe it? Let me know in a comment below.
Using Evernote the Right Way – Thomas Honeyman
How I Organise Evernote – Michael Hyatt
How To Use Evernote For Blogging To Boost Your Efficiency – CoSchedule
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