In the past few months, I’ve really stepped up my use of Evernote, the cloud-based note-taking tool. I can make a new note on any device on which I have Evernote installed, or any device through which I can access Evernote via web browser. The note is then synced among all the other devices on which I have Evernote installed – MacBook, netbook, work computer, iPhone, iPad, Kindle Fire. Because one or more of those devices is always with me, I have round-the-clock access to my notes, and round-the-clock ability to add new notes. Lately I’ve been thinking of new ways to use Evernote to keep my life in order. Here are some of the notes that have helped me:
Names – I am horrible at remembering names, and I feel bad when I’m out somewhere and someone goes “Hey, Paul,” and I’m like, “Uh…… yeah, hi.” So I’ve started a note to take down names of people I’ve just met. Next to each name I’ll put a brief physical description, where we met, as well as any other info that seems relevant (where they work, mutual friends, etc.) I’m still not batting 1.000 on people’s names but this has sure helped.
Convo topics – Sometimes I’ll be out and I’ll bump into someone I only see every two or three weeks. I’ll sit there at the bar and stare at the TV with them for an hour or two, and then when I’m home I’ll think, “Oh, damn! I meant to ask them about ______.” Evernote helps me remember these kinds of things, although now I sometimes find myself thinking, “Oh, damn! I forgot to pull up Evernote on my phone.”
Work ideas thought of outside of work – Almost none of my really good work ideas come to me while I’m sitting in a cubicle. Rather, I’ll be in the shower, or driving home from work, or walking around Downtown… and I’ll think of a PHP script that would solve an issue, a WordPress plugin I want to try, a third-party tool that might be useful, a quicker way of getting a lengthy web update done. I make a note of it. Checking this note is now part of my “first thing in the morning” routine when I get to work.
Non-work ideas thought of at work – The opposite of the previous note. So, let’s say I’m sitting at my desk, and I think to myself, “Hmm, I’m playing poker tonight at Max’s Sports Bar. I need to ask around if anyone wants to split a cab to the beer festival in Midtown this weekend.” I’ll pull up Evernote and make a quick note.
To blog – When I see things I need to write about on Facebook, Twitter, one of my iGoogle widgets, or the various other sources I use, I can clip the info to Evernote so I have quick access to it later. The real value in this note, however, comes when I’m out and about. Now and then people will tell me something which is a particularly juicy tidbit for the blog. Before Evernote, there was about a 50% chance that I’d forget what they told me before the next post. Now a lot more of that information sees the light of day.
Evernote has some other capabilities that help with the blog. For example, Double J posted info to Facebook about its parking lot party tomorrow… but the info was in the form of an image. No problem, I clipped the image to Evernote and there it was, ready to blog. Evernote also has a voice-note feature you can use with mobile devices. It saves the voice notes in Quicktime format to be played back. That feature is not one I personally have found useful, but others may like it.
Staff meetings – At work, I use a whiteboard to keep up with my current projects. For our Friday morning staff meetings, I’ll pull up Evernote on my work computer and take notes on what’s on the whiteboard. Then I’ll take my iPad to the meeting and voila – the note is there.
This wonderful, free note-taking tool has made me more productive at work, on the blog, and in my personal life. If you need help organizing and remembering things, you should consider giving it a try.