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