My friends know I’m a big Evernote geek, and one of them recently asked me about my use of it. She actually introduced me to the company, but it is always helpful to have another person’s perspective on integrating a tool into your life.
If you don’t know Evernote, be sure to give it a try. It is a note taking tool on the surface, somewhat like Microsoft’s OneNote. The big difference is that you can use it on multiple devices (like iPhone, PC, Blackberry). The company has gotten a lot of attention lately (and hype), but honestly it is deserved. I have tremendous respect for this company and think they deliver a solid product. Admittedly though it can take a while to get used to it and make it your own.
So, in the interest of sharing, below are some of the ways I use Evernote. These are written for someone at least somewhat familiar with the layout. And then, for fun, the top 10 reasons I love Evernote.
1. I use the inbox as a staging ground for other notebooks. Like if I have a meeting, I’ll take notes in a note in the inbox. Then after the meeting and after I’ve gotten the to do’s off, I’ll take the note and put it in the appropriate folder and tag it as necessary.
2. I’ve created “temp” folders for big active projects (like ala midwinter or our upcoming wedding). Once a project is finished I tag the notes, merge them altogether into one, and throw them into my Reference notebook.
3. I have a work reference and a personal reference notebook so that my past projects at work are separate from my gift ideas.
4. I create a committee folder which includes notes from all of my committees (university, library or professional). I tag the heck out of those notes so I can create pseudo-subfolders. For example, any notes I take from a reference department meeting, I throw in the committee notebook and tag with reference mtng. If I want to reference anything, I can click on the notebook and then click on the reference mtng tag. Or I can search for notes with that tag (see image).
5. I email into Evernote any supporting documents for my committee meetings (which is why I went premium) and then merge the files and use content tags. For example, for a reference department meeting on information literacy assessment, I tag it “reference mtng” and “infolit assess”. This way I can get back to the info lit stuff without having to remember at which reference meeting it was discussed.
6. I nest tags. I have a committee tag that includes acronyms for all of my committees. That way I’m not hunting though a long list of tags. I did the same for all of the classes I teach using the main tag as .instruction and then the subtags for each class (psc 260, eng 101 etc.).
You can nest tags by dragging one tag and dropping it on another tag. At least this is true for Mac and for the Web versions. I can’t recall for the Windows version. It is a handy little hidden feature.
7. I have a reference questions folder for the complex questions I am currently working on. I create a note with the person’s name and the date and then throw in any documents, URLs, whatever. I can also use it to take notes, keep their contact info, and then refer back to it all later. VERY HELPFUL!!
Those are the main tips I gave. Now. What do I love most about Evernote?
1. Fun geeky podcasts and yes, I listen to them.
2. You can clip screen shots. I’ve found this most helpful for comparison shopping on the web. If I comparison shop, then I might buy something, which is good for the economy. Therefore Evernote should get a stimulus grant. How’s that logic for you?
3. If you have a iPhone-like phone (ie, not mine), you can take pics in Evernote and then include them in your collection. If you are not so lucky, like me, you can still email pics to Evernote. They give an example on their blog of using the snapshot function to create a picture collection of your favorite wines. I did this just for kicks one night, and it really came in handy when I returned to the store and couldn’t remember the name of that cheap but bearable wine.
4. The company is responsive and adaptable. They don’t just make a product for the Mac or just for the iPhone. They have created versions for Pre, Pixi, Droid, Blackberry, as well as a mobile site. You have to appreciate that. They also have a huge audience of geeks on their forum that like to give advice on using the software.
5. I can access it from any of my computers, the web, or my phone and then sync across those devices. Def a huge reason to luv.
6. Tagging is fun. Nested tags are double the fun.
7. It keeps me from being a grumpy girl because I can forward emails from our awful email system. The less time I spend in LotusNotes, the more likely I am to smile at you. True story.
8. Anything is better than anything Microsoft produces (ie, OneNote).
9. Even the free version allows a ton of uploads. The monthly allowance for free users is 40 MB.
10. The elephant logo gives remember the milk’s bob t. monkey a run for his money.
Do you use Evernote? What tips do you have?