I use Evernote in my workflow to keep track of everything that as I read, write, and socialize online. As I’m working, I come across websites or materials that I may want access to later. There are also the random whiteboard notes, research PDFs, & audio interviews I want to archive and have access to. It basically becomes a my own personal database in which I save everything that I do.
In this post I’ll document the thinking and process used as I integrate Evernote into my workflow. I’ll identify these processes at work using Evernote. I think you can any tool as long as you identify a process…and stick to the process. 🙂
Evernote is a FREE tool that can serve a multitude of uses. The challenge is that because there are so many things you can use it for…people don’t know how to get started.
To get started, create an Evernote account and add the apps across your devices. Install it on your iPhone, iPad, Android devices, Mac, PC, etc. There are paid versions available…I’d suggest starting to use it before you start paying. I have been a subscriber for years to get the extra options.
Sign in to your Evernote account across all of these devices. Now your notes will be accessible on all of these spaces. This is one of the tools that allows me to have ubiquitous access to my content.
Set up Evernote notebooks
Once in Evernote, I set up two “notebooks”: INBOX, and ARCHIVED. Anything that I bookmark, write, or save automatically goes into the INBOX folder. Once or twice a week I go into Evernote and process or clean up the INBOX. I “tag” the various notes with a word that describes what the note is about and then move the notes to the ARCHIVE.
Tags range from “LRA” to “critical evaluation”, to “dispositions, to “music.” Notes can have multiple tags, so I can have notes from my dissertation tagged with “dissertation”, “dispositions”, “literacy”, and “assessment.”
Once I move the note to the ARCHIVE, I forget about it until I need it later. When I start a new research project, I conduct a quick scan of Evernote to see what materials and information I already have stored. One extra feature is that the browser extension will let you search Evernote while you’re searching Google for online content.
To see this organization in action, please review the video below.
How I use it
I use it as a note-taking tool. When I am at a meeting I add the meeting agenda to Evernote and include my notes on the agenda. I also create an audio recording for most meetings using Evernote. It’ll create the audio recording and keep it attached to the note and the meeting agenda.
I use it as a bookmarking tool. As mentioned up above, I use the Evernote extension for Chrome and save webpages instead of bookmarking them. When I come across a webpage that I would like to traditionally “bookmark” for later, I save the whole page into Evernote. An example of this is the other day when I was looking for my recipe on Freezer Jam I found on Lifehacker. I saved it into Evernote, and then pulled it up on my iPad when I was in the kitchen and ready to cook.
I use it to save important information/receipts. When signing into a new program, or signing up for something online, we always get that pop-up window that reminds us to save that all important document. I drag this file into Evernote and now I have it available everywhere. When I receive a receipt from attending a conference, or purchasing an app or tool, I save this into Evernote and tag it. It is easy to use the Web Clipper to save an online receipt that I’ll need later.
I use it to archive my tweets. I share a LOT of stuff daily on Facebook, Google+, and Twitter. I have everything automatically archiving to Evernote so I can go back and search for links I shared in the past. My thinking is that my tweets are a form of curation of online content. I use a free service known as If This Then That (IFTTT) that uses “recipes” to connect your online tools. Check out how to do this from the ProfHacker Blog…or use my recipe.
I use it for research and writing. I have around 4,000 research PDFs saved up from when I started my research career. Some of these are annotated, and some are still waiting to be read. As I start a research project, I’ll search Evernote to see what work I have in a given area. Evernote allows me to annotate in the app, or open it in an external app for review and commenting. I’ll mark up the PDFs and start up my writing and note-taking in Evernote before moving to Google Docs or Word.
I continue to expand my use of Evernote. I’m archiving old Word docs I created throughout time. This includes drafts of writing pieces and blog posts. I also purchased a scanner and started the process of scanning notes and work from my doctoral studies into Evernote for future reference.
Evernote quickly has filled a lot of uses in my world… and continuously picks up new jobs. What do you use it for?