Yesterday I posted about Evernote and how it was a revelation in what the wide world of great minds out there can come up with. I can go on and on about how great it is, but why not go into detail as to how exactly I use it. So that’s what I’m going to do today.
It’s a simple service and there isn’t much too it, but how I use it has increased my productivity on top of all it has done for my sanity.
Here’s a picture of my workflow:
I’ve only got the Android app on my phone. I don’t use the desktop app or the web toolbars for Evernote because however useful they are, I don’t like a lot of clutter and I’ve always got me phone with me. I don’t always have my computer on or my browser open, believe it or not.
So when I get an idea or need to write something down in general, I open Evernote on my phone and create a new text note.
Now there are two different scenarios of what I will write. If I’m in a place where I need to write something down quickly, like at a stop light when driving in my car (most of my ideas come to me when I’m driving which is why I need a system to get ideas out quickly) I’ll open a new note and create it’s title. The title will be one word that best describes the idea. Then in the note I’ll jot down the most targeted and relevant key phases in my idea. I need to make sure that I’ll remember the entire idea and all it’s details later. By thinking of the most relevant keyword to the idea and a few core details that will bring the entire idea back to memory, I’ve had a pretty decent rate of success.
I find Android’s voice-to-text just wonderfully accurate. Most of the time if I have something come to mind when I’m driving, I’ll open Evernote and use the voice-to-text to write the note instead of typing on the phone.
An example of a quick note would be something like this. Say I thought of a post idea about how to get better gas mileage. The title would be Mileage. Inside the note I’d write, “drive slower empty trunk break early”
Then later on when I got to my computer, I’d reopen that note and elaborate on those key phrases by writing out exactly how driving slower, having an empty trunk or breaking early would increase gas mileage. This brings me to the second scenario that happens when I have an idea.
If I’m able to elaborate more when I first write a note, whether on my phone or on my computer, I’ll write entire drafts of posts in a sort of short hand language in a note. I leave out words like “the” “and” “he” things that aren’t necessary to the whole idea but I spend a good five minutes or so drafting an entire idea or article in Evernote from my phone. This way, I don’t have to revisit it later and when I do come back to it, I’ve got an entire idea there I can use.
Aside from note taking, I also have a system for organizing my notes. Within Evernote, I’ve created folders for what I generally take notes in. I’ve got the main folder that all notes go into by default. Then I’ve got a folder called “Archive”. I don’t like to delete anything so this is where I send notes that are finished and notes that have info I need periodically like a picture of my drivers license. Aside from those main folders, I have a few folders to separate different things like business ideas, song ideas and app ideas.
One other thing I do with Evernote is use the snapshot feature of the app to take pictures of things I don’t want to lose such as letters, serial numbers and addresses. Since pictures are searchable, I’ll just snap a picture and let it upload to Evernote. Then it’s there if I ever need it.
Using Evernote this way, I’ve cut down on processing time of ideas and notes, I’ve got them all in a centralized location along with a lot of personal information I need from time to time, and I can access any of these notes from anywhere with a network connection or cell phone service. That’s pretty much everywhere 🙂
I share this in the hopes that someone trying out Evernote for the first time can get a general feel for how it can be used.
Image by dbwilldo br>