Organize your life with Evernote:
What happened to that idea which popped into your mind during a train commute? Probably you had jotted it down on a piece of paper and lost it within a day? Or probably you took great pains to type it on your phone but after you changed your phone last year, that data was lost?
What happened to that business card of a CEO you met at a summit? Probably you lost it? Or probably you took great pains to take a photograph of it using your smartphone but after a backup, it must have gone into some external hard-disk but you are not patient enough to dig into it (which requires going through thousands of your old photos).
I am sure most of us have been through such situations where we need quick information access system but due to the lack of strategic organization of our information, they are usually not available when we really need them. Even if you have been promptly following traditional productivity tips like using notebook to plan your day or quickly jot down ideas, you might not be able to carry it everywhere, everytime. If you plan it on your desktop computer, would you be copying it to your phone before stepping out of the house? Highly unlikely.
Is there a solution? Fortunately, yes. Here comes the most widely respected & innovative application called “Evernote” which helps you organize information, plan action items, improve productivity, synchronize across devices and more. It can be used online (without any installation) or as an application by installing it on PC/Mac/Tablet/Smartphone.
It is available for free and requires sign-up (to create your free account).
Download evernote application:
One of the most interesting features of evernote is that it lets you capture information in several formats. The basic unit in this system is a “note”. You can type text as a note, record voice and store it as a note, capture a photo and save it as a note, use OCR to convert a text within photo into a note, bookmark or clip a webpage for future reference.
The best part is that all these captured & organized information can be accessed through any device, be it a PC, Mac, iPhone, Android and even Windows Phone. Whenever you create a note or organize notes, they will automatically be uploaded to the cloud and instantly pushed (changes reflected) all other devices which installed with evernote and logged in through the same account.
The easiest way to organize all these notes is to create several notebooks and add these notes into relevant notebooks. For example, you can have a notebook to preserve all your ideas. Next time you come up with an idea, just fire up the evernote app, create a new note, write down your idea and save it in the idea notebook.
Similarly, you can create the following notebooks These are just suggestions for notebook names, but it is finally your prerogative to give them any name you want.
To-do lists notebook: Create a notebook called “To-Do” into which you can add all your plans, to-do lists, grocery lists etc as different notes. You can even set reminders to each note.
Business cards notebook: Whenever you receive a business card, take a photograph of it and store it as a note in this notebook. There is a built in OCR feature to extract the textual content as well & store the phone numbers separately (or in your phone contacts). This way, you will have complete database of all your business contacts & their details just a tap away.
Personal documents notebook: You can take a photograph of your passport and save it as a note in this notebook. Driving License, PAN card, ID proof, insurance, marks sheet copy, degree certificate etc can be scanned (or photographed) and stored as separate notes into this noebook so that your entire personal database is accessible at the tip of your finger. But please ensure that you store only those details which are not sensitive/confidential. Storing your passwords or credit card details with CVV are not recommended.
Receipts notebook: Those who travel frequently can create a separate notebook for storing copies of receipts (which might later be needed for reimburses or budget expenses).
Bookmarks notebook: Create a separate notebook called bookmarks and you will never use the browser bookmark feature again because this will be synchronized & accessible across all your devices (assuming that you have installed evernote on all your devices). You can install evernote extension (plugin) for Google Chrome which will allow you to easily bookmark a webpage, or clip the webpage for later reading in evernote itself, or even take screenshot of webpages along with remarks.
The Chrome browser extension is available for free download here:
As you continue using evernote regularly, you might create several such notebooks, and over time, you might end up having hundreds of notebooks!! If you are overwhelmed by it, you can organize it further by grouping similar notebooks into a “notebook stack”. For example, you can group all your work related notebooks under “Work” stack, group all your personal notebooks into “Personal” stack and so on for better organization & easier access. The basic hierarchy is: Note is the simplest unit. A set of notes is a “notebook”. A set of notebooks is a “notebook stack”.
This is just a brief overview of Evernote. Although these features appear simple, they are very powerful and when used in the right way, they can help you go paperless, organize your digital clutter, streamline your workflows. In fact, most of the regular evernote users would agree that it is like their personal assistant and some would not even mind calling it their “second brain”.
Download evernote application: