Maryl answers: The 3 ways Evernote helped me get a memory like an elephant
“To help the world remember everything, communicate effectively and get things done”. Now that’s a corporate mission statement I can support. So in my ongoing effort to do less, be more efficient and productive (especially online) and save time, I’m mastering Evernote. This is a suite of software tools that organizes my ideas and projects together in one place regardless of their format or original source. I’ve already found three ways I can clean up my clutter and stop losing files, photos, bookmarked web pages, emails, video, audio…easily got another hour back to my day!
Evernote® is a platform for human memory, designed to help individuals remember everything™. That’s their trademark and the elephant is their logo because who doesn’t want a “memory like an elephant”, especially in our second lives.
All you have to do to get started is go to www.evernote.com and download the software on your Mac or PC. Once Evernote is installed on your computer– and the green elephant icon is somewhere on your desktop-you create your account, which means simply choosing a username and password. Now that you’ve registered, you will be immediately logged into your account page and you are ready to start creating notes.
Here’s the only terminology you need to understand from the start: notes, notebooks and stacks. Notes can be a single item or a collection of text, photos, Microsoft documents, web sites, emails, slides, video and audio clips all pertaining to a single topic or project. Similar notes can be organized within a common notebook and then if you really want to be even more detailed, notebooks can be grouped within stacks. I don’t have enough notebooks to worry about stacks yet; that will come later.
Here’s three ways I started using Evernote that have helped me with my memory:
1. Single project repository for different file types
I write a blog post every week that is made up of a Word document, photos, web links and sometimes slides and video. That could be five different folders or locations somewhere on my computer. If I had to go back to repurpose the post or borrow some of these elements, I’d have to do some remembering and searching to find all the pieces. Now I can archive everything with Evernote by simply dragging these files into the note with that particular blog title and declutter some of cumbersome files on my hard drive. (As with any critical data, it always makes sense to back it up somewhere else.)
Each of my notes contain all the elements used for one blog post. I store all these notes in a Second Lives Club notebook. At the end of the year or each quarter I might put all those notebooks into a stack. Make sense?
2. Capturing and storing web pages
How many web browser tabs do you have open at one time on your computer? I know there are still people who only have one but there have got to be a lot more like me that have ten to 50. Right now I have 24 open…and that’s just on one browser; the other one has 15. I guess excessive browsing slows down and puts a drain on your computer. I can’t help myself because just one email or web page can send me to five separate web sites with relevant information I need for my many projects. Of course by the end of the day I have so many windows open I can’t remember what they are and why I saved them? Most of them I don’t need to review right away but rather when I have time to deal with that particular topic which is why they stay open for so long!
With Evernote I can now save a full webpage, just an article or the URL by clicking the elephant icon in my browser tool bar and storing it directly in any Notebook I select. This does require that you install the Evernote Web Clipper for your specific browser type. Just click on Products on the top of each Evernote page and you’ll see it in the box that opens.
3. Store emails with other files and documents by topic
Filtering my email before it hits my inbox has greatly reduced my time spent with it. But I still receive a fair amount that gets lost if I just move it to my Gmail or AOL topical folders. Now I simply forward the email to Evernote using the personal email address they sent me when I registered. The email will appear in a default notebook, which you can then move to the one you want to store it in.
There’s one other term I need to tell you about and that’s sync. It’s the curved double arrow button in the upper left corner of tool bar. (It’s to the left of the satellite icon, which has to do with collaborating and is a part of their premier fee service.) So for example, if you want to save a web page or an email as I explained above, you must click sync to have them appear.
But here’s the bigger plus. Evernote is a cross platform app, which means you can sync and then access your notes and notebooks from your smart phone, tablet or computer. I take a fair amount of notes with my iPad and in fact I had done so during the Evernote class I attended last month. When I went to refer to them before writing this post, I discovered they had disappeared as had all my past notes. (This apparently is fairly common based on some Apple discussion boards.) But no more as I can do all my note taking right on Evernote and have them wherever and whenever I need them.
I’m still new to this program so I image I’ll come up with other ways to easily find my previously lost and scattered files and folders, emails and web pages and now I’ll have an extra hour to do so. Anyone tried Evernote and have some tips to share with us?