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Getting started with Evernote

Evernote is a vast and powerful system but it takes time to discover its place in your work flow. You’re confident that it solves a problem but you aren’t sure which one. Don’t worry, I think that may be the common experience. I had Evernote installed for months before I really began to use it but it didn’t take long for me to integrate Evernote into most every area of my life.

So let’s focus on where to start using Evernote.

Start with the Muddy Middle

In most projects there are items that aren’t quite tasks nor are they calendar items. They are reference material, research, and notes and often associated with upcoming meeting or a project in the works. These items are what I call the muddy middle. They don’t belong on my calendar or tasklist but its info I need to reference and possibly update at a moments notice.

This extra info belongs in Evernote.

I’ll share a few specific examples:

  1. Meeting Prep: Meeting agenda, notes, ideas, and references all sit in Evernote. Probably in my Work Notebook and I tag them as meeting. (Bonus Tip: Take a photo of the whiteboard and record an audio memo on the way out of the meeting for a more complete record of the conversations.)
  2. Client Projects: Documentation, phone call notes, ideas – all of this sits in Evernote. Begin thinking of Evernote as a brain offload, things you don’t have to remember.

Go Beyond Work

Evernote is more than just for work, its flexible enough to handle personal items as well without clutter or confusion.

You might find it a perfect place for your recipe notebook, travel research, or most anything else. The trick here is to build distinct notebooks that fit you. There isn’t any one way to do it but here is how I organize Evernote.

My primary notebooks:

  • Work
  • Church
  • Content Production

This three areas are places that my brain has ideas at strange times. If I’m asked a question or need to capture an idea I just drop it into the appropriate notebook. Once you begin using this system you’ll never wonder “where did I put that?” – It’s obvious you put it into your second brain, Evernote.

In addition you might start adding some tags to help you drill down quickly.

Evernote has a great search function if things get lost but its easy to adapt this system to however you choose to work.

Final Tips

2 killer tips that keep me sane.

  1. Save your evernote email address to your contacts – Anything you email to this address is added to Evernote. I BCC: the address to save a step when scheduling meetings and it means I can import data from anywhere because everything supports email.
  2. Setup Tweeting to Evernote – Now you can @myen or dm myen to send data. Great for flagging a link for followup or texting yourself and idea.

If you are brand new to Evernote check out their Getting Started guide and see some more ideas in the Evernote Tips Blog

This is part 1 of my Evernote Worthy Series on using Evernote.

  • http://twitter.com/mesmiratron Aditya Ramachandran

    Don’t forget the sharing folder feature. Allows you to create a custom curated content portal of sorts. I guess that’s advanced usage…

  • http://www.newcommbiz.com/ tacanderson

    Great tips. I know I’m not using even a tenth of the potential of Evernote. You’ve motivated me to up my game. 

  • http://KnowtheNetwork.com Keith

    Thanks Tac, Honored to hear that.

    I’m trying to take people in slowly. I’ll be covering organization tips and usage examples as we move further through the series.

  • http://KnowtheNetwork.com Keith

    I don’t user Shared Folders that much but they are a powerful feature. Perhaps we include those ideas toward the end.

    How do you use them?

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