I have been a fan of Evernote for a long time.
(Been a premium member since 2010.)
However, at some point, my Evernote usage tailed off, especially for notes.
I was using Moleskine notebooks for my handwritten notes, and Evernote only for saving articles and reference material.
Recently, I have brought Evernote back as a much larger part of my productivity tool set.
Here are 12 tips that got me using Evernote again as my primary note taking tool.
Bringing Evernote Back
There were two main factors that brought me back to Evernote:
- I had a need to access my notes on the go via multiple mobile devices.
- I had several projects underway which required managing large numbers of documents. (One of which was purchasing a new home.)
Evernote has always excelled in these capabilities. You can access your notes from almost any platform from phone to computer to the web. As well, Evernote is a great repository for organizing notes, documents, and reference material.
As I started using Evernote more, I discovered (and rediscovered) many features that made it easier for me to manage large amounts of information on the go.
Some of these tips are new, many are not. However, each of these was a factor in re-starting my Evernote use in earnest.
Here are 12 Productivity Tips That Got Me Using Evernote Again:
- Reduce Your Notebooks – The first thing I did was to reduce the number of notebooks I had in Evernote. Some people like to have countless notebooks in their Evernote account. I prefer to keep it simple with only a few active notebooks at any time. I pared down my Evernote notebooks from over a dozen to only 3–4. Each represented a different area of my life (Work, Life, TMN)
- Take Lots of Photos – I love using photos to replace notes or todo details. Evernote’s quick photo feature lets you take one or many pics to quickly create a note. For example, don’t save those whiteboard pics to your camera roll never to be seen again. Instead, put them in Evernote where they are easily captured and filed. (My only gripe is that you then have to open the “untitled” note to name it.)
- Remove UI Distractions – Evernote’s UI has always been a bit busy for my taste. I prefer a minimalist notes area without distraction. I customized the interface by turning off all of the unneeded features: Marketplace, Related Notes, Atlas, Tags, and more. This leaves a relatively clean interface, so that I am only shown a list of my notes and the edit pane.
- Use Drafts App for Notetaking – I am a big fan of the app Drafts. (See here.) Often, I will use it as a quick way to capture a new note that I want to go into Evernote. Not only does it support Markdown, but it allows quicker capture of thoughts and ideas. I then save these notes straight to Evernote.
- Save Articles with the Webclipper – The webclipper has come a long way. I can choose what type of clipping to make and annotate the page before saving. I can even choose notebooks and tags right from the clipper plugin. Very slick.
- Use the Quick action buttons – In the iOS 7 release, Evernote added quick note creation buttons. I like that these buttons allow you to jump right into creating a specific type of note whether it is a checklist, photo, or text.
- Leverage All of Your Devices – One of the strengths of Evernote has always been the ability to access your notes from any location or device. I have come to appreciate just how many access points that I have always in sync: iMac, Macbook, iPad, and iPhone. No matter where I am, my notes are right there with me.
- Make Lists with Checkboxes – Often, when you are making a note it becomes a list. I make full use of Evernote’s bulleting, numbering, and my favorite, the checkbox features. You can quickly make your list and even “check off” items as you complete them.
- Email to Evernote – Email is not going away any time soon. The ability to get things from your inbox to Evernote is often overlooked. If you go to your Evernote account page, you can find a unique “email to Evernote” address. I can simply forward or CC Evernote any emails that I want added to my notebooks.
- Scan to Evernote - My ScanSnap scanner is one of my favorite tools for eliminating paper. I can scan straight from my scanner to Evernote.
- Drag-and-Drop To Evernote – Another simple method of getting documents into Evernote is to drag-and-drop them into Evernote. Dropping a document on the Evernote app icon causes a new note to be created with the document embedded.
- Get to Your Notes Quickly with Shortcuts – I avoid searching for often used documents by adding them to the Shortcuts list. This keeps notes that I need regularly right at my fingertips. Simply drag them to the shortcuts area, or “star” them on the mobile app.
Using Evernote Every Day
As I have added Evernote back into my routine, I find myself using it every day.
From the quick capture of ideas and notes, to the collection of reference material and documents, Evernote is my main information library.
The ability to access my notes from anywhere is a powerful capability that saves time and makes me more productive.
If you have moved away from Evernote or haven’t explored its full potential, I recommend trying these tips today.
Question: How do you use Evernote? And what is your favorite note taking trick? You can leave a comment by clicking here.