Remember Everything

I am a huge fan of Evernote for helping to keep track of my digital life. I use it as so much more than a note taking tool and I think that confuses some people. I thought I’d share three ways I use Evernote to help me both remember everything and keep all sorts of things organized. I spend a very large portion of my week in meetings — and most of them end with something that either has to be done or has to be managed. I get hundreds of emails in a given day and most of the time it is almost impossible to put them in a place that lets me follow up the way I should. With so little time in between things, I find that I don’t always have time to read what I am looking at online and want to save pointers to go back to. I get handed tons of pieces of paper each day that I need to organize … I use Evernote to help me do all of that stuff.

Forwarding Email to Evernote

I do this quite a bit to keep things organized and out of my inbox. I try to keep my Gmail inbox as clean as possible — not at zero, but typically with under 30 messages at any given time. That means I have to process email quickly and make sense of them before sending them into my archives. Evernote has a great feature that allows you to establish a custom email address to forward emails to that get automatically converted to notes. The real win here is that all the attachments come along, so not only can I get things out of my inbox, but I let Evernote manage the filing of all the attachment. I drop tags on the notes at various times and move them into the right notebook to offer a degree of organization. From there I can get at what I need with a few clicks or swipes on any of my devices.

Screen Shot 2014-02-15 at 4.09.00 PM

Scan or Photograph Paper to Evernote

Another very powerful strategy I employe is to use Evernote to help me be as paperless as possible. I used to keep folders of paper from all the meetings I attended, now I either scan them directly to Evernote from my office scanner or use the camera on my iPad or iPhone to get them to Evernote. As an Evernote Premium user I get to enjoy the fact that images are searchable — that means once an attached scan or photo hits the Evernote server and comes back it is searchable. Again, dropping some tags on the note allows me to quickly reference everything related to that meeting across all my devices — so much better than carting file folders around all day.

Scanned to Evernote

Evernote Clipper to Annotate and Share Pages

Another thing I find myself doing quite a bit of these days is wanting to “clip” or save pages or posts from across the web either for my own keeping or to share with others. I use the Evernote Web Clipper to grab pages and then mark them up for longer term storage … where it gets interesting is when you combine that with shared notebooks. The thing I like about shared notebooks is the ability to share with specific people from within Evernote or just openly on the web — essentially building an online repository of content to share in an organized way. The Web Clipper also allows you to easily highlight content to draw attention to it … and that sticks to the clipped page once it is shared.

Clipped and Highlighted

So there are three simple ways I find intense value while using Evernote. Obviously there are things it isn’t good for, but more and more I find myself storing quite a bit of content in my Evernote. Do you use Evernote? What are some strategies you use to help you remember everything?

One Student’s View on Evernote

Boy, this workflow sounds like it comes from the future. This is a response from a student in a google+ Evernote thread I am pariticpating in. While my daily routine talked about how Evernote has become central to taming my insane email eco-system, this post caught my eye particularly. Notes, snapping photos of handouts, recording audio clips of instruction, annotating in Penultimate, taking notes from Kahn Academy videos, and more — all in a typical day.

This is what a day looks like … I use Evernote to review my notes before going to class. At class, I take notes. If there is a paper handout, I snap a photo of it during class and annotate it with Penultimate or Skitch, then save it to Evernote. If the professor is saying or drawing something that is specifically important, I would record audio or snap a photo respectively. When I get home, I may read some articles in Flipboard, and then save them into my Evernote notebook that fits the subject. I might watch a video on Khan Academy and take screenshots of important moments in the video. Afterwards, I will take notes on the video and insert those screenshots for visual memory. In addition to all of this, I keep all my files in Evernote. All of my paper documents, I scan at home right into Evernote. All of my digital docs are always in Evernote. So I have one place to search for everything. Great!