Taking notes, writing down thoughts and ideas and journaling is a key skill for the person who wants to live a Focused Lifestyle. In this article we will cover what is my favourite note taking app of all time: Evernote. Is is also my overall favourite app. I have been using Evernote daily since 2010, and since 2017 I also decided to become an ECC, Evernote Certified Consultant.
In this FLAWD article we will cover
- the importance of writing things down,
- having an external brain,
- what is a “zibaldone”?,
- What Evernote is,
- why you should use it,
- alternatives to Evernote.
- How to use Evernote professionally. And much more. Enjoy!
Before that, if you haven’t downloaded Evernote – please use this link
Have you heard about Evernote before? If not! – This will literally change your life. If you do use it, take the time to learn more about it.. Lets get started!
Evernote is a suite of software and services designed for notetaking and archiving. A “note” can be a piece of formatted text, a full webpage or webpage excerpt, a photograph, a voice memo, or a handwritten “ink” note. Notes can also have file attachments. Notes can be sorted into folders, then tagged, annotated, edited, given comments, searched and exported as part of a notebook.Wikipedia
Why should you take notes?
So Evernote is a note taking app for all kinds of information. Lets zoom out a bit, why should you even take notes to begin with? Well… Do you value your life? Do you agree that life is a gift? Do you agree that “Life is a gift worth recording.” – most people do. Let me offer you this quote:
“If you’re serious about becoming a wealthy, powerful, sophisticated, healthy, influential, cultured and unique individual—keep a journal. When you listen to something valuable, write it down.” Jim Rohn
All great achievers have been great note takers, just think of Leonardo Da Vinci. Almost all have seen his more famous notes like the Vitruvian man or his “Helicopter”. Da Vinci is said to left over 13000 pages of notes and drawings after his death. How would Da Vinci use Evernote?
TAKING NOTES HELPS US GAIN A BETTER UNDERSTANDING
Not everyone can be Leonardo Da Vinci, but most of us simply wants to gain better understanding of the information we consume. In this post, fast company discuss why all productive people are better note takers. They map out that our mind can only handle a limited cognitive load– at the same time. And we can only hold so many items in our working memory before they start to fall out, and we then miss that information. Brian Tracy also considers note taking a vital skill in his program Accelerated Learning Techniques. Tim Ferriss, who is impeccable about his use of time, shows devotion to his notetaking, quipping that he takes notes “like some people take drugs” and that he trusts the weakest pen more than the strongest memory.
“I trust the weakest pen more than the strongest memory”
Now that you know why you should take notes. So why should you use Evernote instead of other tools? And why isn’t pen & paper enough? I think pen & paper is magnificently efficient to get the thoughts down, and to get an overview and a feeling.
The top reasons you need Evernote
1. Findability: Search
The key is to get your notes “searchable”, findability is a key phrase in our digital world today. If I wrote something down in a journal 3 years ago I do not remember in which journal and on which page or where I was, but with Evernote I get that search, regardless of where I am, and in some cases you simply don’t remember what you have written but only where you written it, and Evernote offers geotags for your notes so you can search on places.
There is also a whole system of tags that you can use to be able to cross reference your notes, example you do not know where you stored a note but you know you have tagged it with: “recepies”, you simply search for pancakes in all your notes tagged with “recepies”. As always your notes are only as good as how you tagged them and made them searchable.
Evernote supports a number of operating system platforms (including OS X, iOS, Chrome OS, Android, Microsoft Windows, Windows Phone, BlackBerry, and webOS) and also offers online synchronisation and backup services.
Relationship contacts manager tool
There is a distinct difference between a contact manager as we all have in Outlook, gmail, in our mobile phones and many other places. Get It done guy has a great article about how to manage your contacts : 6 takeaways:
- Use a single master contacts list
- Merge in social media
- Limit yourself to one phone number and one email
- Scan your contacts before traveling
- Take a paper copy of contacts on trips.
- Prune your contacts as you go
For Contact management I also recommend EverContact which automatically updates your contacts.
Why should you even manage your relationships?
The old quote “no mans an island” is relevant here. You are the sum of the 5 people you spend the most time with. I think everyone agrees that relationships with other humans are one of the most profound and rewarding activities we can do, just when you help someone else, or to spend time with someone you really care about is extremely important to most of us. Therefore, why not make the best of it? Using a tool for managing your relationship is not only smart, it is essential in today’s world where everything is moving so fast, and we have so many touch points.
There is a fundamental difference in contact management and relations
Contact Management = being able to locate & retrieve a phone number and email address
Relationship Management = Using that information and more to, over a period of months, get to know a person and establish either a relatively shallow relationship (think: Twitter or Facebook) or a deeper relationship (think: in-person, phone, dinners, lunches, coffees, dates, marriage, life, etc.) Digital minimalism has a great blog post about this. A quick summary of the steps:
- Step 1: Stop Looking for the Tool that Does Everything Really Well. It does not exist.
- Step 2: Separate Your Contact Manager from Your Relationship Manager
- Step 3: Use Evernote as a Relationship Manager, NOT a Contact Manager
- Step 4: Create a Notebook for Relationship Management
- Step 5: Create Your First Contact or Relationship
- Step 6: Use It
Other takeaways from that article
- Put a date time stamp, I use
- Less is More, Where Relationships are Concerned
- Don’t Just Add Existing Contacts. Create Notes for People You’d Like to Meet – example Phil Libin below
- How to Remember to Stay in Touch in a World of Noise
- Filter last updated – OR use Follow Up then OR reminders
Love this in the article:On Karma
Generally when I meet someone new, after I get to know them I always end up asking the same thing: “If there was one thing that I could help you with this week or this month or this year, what would it be?”
I have implemented this in my life and it is an interesting experience. :) Also note that Evernote has its own app for relationship management, called Evernote Hello.
Follow ups and Reminders
- Reminders for bills that is not automated.
- Capturing gift ideas for specific events
- Dealing with milestones (in projects)
- Irregular appointments
- Send info about a person before meeting them – see above about relationship management to Manager
- Reminding phonecalls – can be used with Callnote
- RSVPing to specific events
In another post Jamie mentions is quick reminders:
Quick reminders on mobile
FollowUpThen is a great reminder tool using email and can easily be integrated in Evernote, but since Evernote added reminders this is a bit redundant, but might be a great alternative for your email handling, since it is no install and simply just to send an email
How reminders works in Evernote
As you go on in your life you constantly get tips from friends, blogs, the internet and so on- as we all have a limited time here on earth – I have switched from almost only reading on recommendations, from my friends, or from podcast or other source of information.. How do I manage that? Well.. first of all I follow a reverted version of Jamies tips. His tips for giving other people book recommendations is truly great and simple.
- Create a Recommendations notebook
- Define a tagging scheme
- Add Recommendation to the notebook (use one note per recommendation).
- Share The Notebook
- Tell People about the link
- Keep recommendations up to date.
I HAVE NOT yet implemented this but I plan to do so soon. I am however working on a reverted version of this with recommendations given to me, especially for books, movies, Gear, Services and Gear.. will update you on how I implemented this in a future post.
As a GTD (Getting Things Done) user I love using Evernote to achieve that. The Secret weapon is a great technique that take the versatility of evernote and integrating the methodology of GTD into Evernote. I have been using this since almost a year back and I love it. Since Evernote 5 for Windows just have been released I have not yet gotten around to optimize it but I will get there. This GTD system is soo powerful and soo great that I don’t even know where to begin. If you want to be a PowerUser for Evernote and GTD – you should try it right now!
Their own apps are awesome!
What is skitch? Skitch is a markup tool for all devices that is closely integrated in Evernote. It is available on “all” devices. Skitch for Windows is a great tool for quick screenshots, highlight and mark your images and screenshots. Skitch for iPad is nothing short of MAGNIFICENT! You can there highlight mark, annotate, edit whatever you want. I find it especially useful for PDFs when traveling. Check out this Youtube clip for a deeper understanding
Evernote Web Clipper is a browser “add-on” that enables you to save anything you see online—including text, links and images—into your Evernote account with a single click.
Evernote is great for automation with IFTTT. Some tips of how I use it:
An example of how Evernote integrates with HootSuite
Need more reasons?
Evernote keeps innovating and collaborating
Evernote DevCup: Postach.io
Every year evernote has a “devcup” which is like a conference during a couple of days. This year (2013) the “gold award” was given to Postach.io
Postach.io is a way of using Evernote as a “one stop shop” for blogging. really interesting read more here. This is simply yet another reason as to why Evernote is the number 1, FLAWD app. They keep innovating and collaborating, and that is the 10 reasons as to why you need evernote to win.
Disclaimer: Evernote is not for everyone.
Since it is so powerful it is not recommended for everyone, LifeHacker has made a comparison of different techniques.
There are other alternatives: Google Keep | SimpleNote | Good Old: Pen & Paper, which enables you limitless possibilities – like drawing, mind map and “offline” access out of the box. Never underestimate the power of Low Tech like Pen and Paper.
AS you have “noted”. We truly recommend Evernote is if you want to win. One important thing to keep in mind is that regardless of how great a tools is, it is only as great as its master. So keep innovating and keep going forward! If you are new to Evernote or note taking, give it time! All new routines takes time to implement and integrate into your life. Soo what are you waiting for?
Bonus Reading: GOING Paperless and using textexpander tools by Jamie Rubin
Download EVERNOTE here!
How are you using evernote? We would love to hear your story.
Take NOTES! Be a student of life!
Lastly another quote from Jim Rohn where he mentions 3 treasures to leave behince (they are: pictures, library and journals):
The ideas that you picked up, the information that you meticulously gathered. But of the three, journal writing is one of the greatest indications that you’re a serious student. Taking pictures, that is pretty easy. Buying a book at a book store, that’s pretty easy. It is a little more challenging to be a student of your own life, your own future, your own destiny. Take the time to keep notes and to keep a journal. You’ll be so glad you did. What a treasure to leave behind when you go. What a treasure to enjoy today! – Jim Rohn
Signup for Evernote use my link: Evernote thanks!!
As an Evernote Certified Consultant I can help you :
- Get started with Evernote
- Optimize Evernote for your personal needs
- Implement and optimize Evernote for your business
- Automate Evernote so you can do more what matters to you!
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Thank you for reading and listening! You are awesome!
Peter is Podcaster, CrossFit Coach, Security Professional and productivity expert. He is the founder of FLAWD.se and the author of Security Encyclopedia: SakerhetsBibeln.se. Peter blogs about health, technology and productivity. Peter is on a mission to help you to Focus, implement success disciplines and to Win in life!