You know how gamers get all excited about the latest “World of Warcraft” or Apple addicts will wait in line for days for the latest iPhone? I’m not that fanatical about most things, but I do get very excited when I hear of a new organizing tool. You heard me – “organizing”.
It’s not super sexy or cool, and I won’t go showing off my new organizing tool to my friends like the latest Apple product, but it gives me a delightful feeling when I am one step closer to being the organized person I always dream about. (My dreams are often more colorful than that, but I’ll save that for another post!)
I have been in search of the perfect organizer since middle school. I have tried most of them all – “Babysitters Club” organizer in middle school, “At-a-Glance” in high school, “Franklin Covey” in college and on my first job, and all the electronic versions in my 20s, including the Palm Pilot.
Most of these organizers are limited. Each has a calendar section and often a note section. The note section is usually little more than a pad of paper with lines. There is no easy way to organize the notes once taken. I started using spreadsheets to keep my notes, too. While I am also an Excel jockey, who loves her spreadsheets, even these can be limiting since they are hard to access away from a PC or laptop.
In today’s world, we’re working and thinking in several places – at home, in the car, at work, on the train or plane and in line at stores. Wouldn’t it be great to have an organizing tool that not only organizes our notes, but also has them handy for us no matter where we are?
If you haven’t tried it, you must. It’s an application with a web component that syncs to all your devices where you have Evernote loaded. I have it on my PC at work, at home, on the laptop, on my iPad and my smartphone. It also has a web clipper, which makes it super easy to store online content.
You can create “Notebooks” to help organize the notes and tag the notes for easy searching. There can also be parent Notebooks that other Notebooks are filed under. You can also share “Notebooks” if you’re working on a project with other people.
You can take a picture of something and store it as a note, and Evernote will read the text. This has been great for recipes, receipts and business cards. Do your kids bring home a ton of paperwork? Scan the paperwork into Evernote and store it in a Notebook for each kid.
You don’t even have to login to Evernote to save something there – you can email it to your Evernote account. Each Evernote account comes with a unique email address for you and you can store this address in your contacts, give it an appropriate nickname (like “Evernote”) and then quickly email what you want and have it stored into the appropriate notebook.
Some of My Notebooks:
Blog – ideas and drafts of Posts
Business Ideas – a place to put seedlings of ideas and a place to start finally planning my new business
Decorating Ideas – save snapshots from stores or online and stores floor plans
Financial Stuff – use this to store tips I read online to remind myself to review portfolio, etc
House Management– this is where the Honey Do list is stored (shared with my husband), I also maintain a contact list of all handymen, contractors, plumbers, etc.
Event Planning – I planned my sister’s 30th Birthday party in this Notebook including planning decorations, menus and with links to ideas
Holidays and Vacations – research places to go, organize times and accommodations. Each holiday or vacation has a designated notebook, so I can store to-dos and gift lists.
Recipes – recipes and grocery list template that I print each week and store inside our pantry. I also store weekly or monthly dinner plans here.
Right Now – this Notebook is for my daily to do list
Self-Improvement – a place to store inspiring articles, words of wisdom and reminders of what my goals are
Work Stuff – since my company doesn’t offer remote access to its system or cloud computing, I will store articles to read and files to use at home here
Evernote also has a voice-activated ability to create notes. I haven’t tried it yet, but I have read a lot of good things on it. Imagine using this as a way to start your novel, record articles or blogs or even make a list of things to do in a shared notebook.
I’m not the only one raving about this sensible tool!
Take a look at who else cares:
My sorority sister’s website is what first turned me onto Evernote: Organize for Success
10 Tips on How to Use Evernote
CNET editors give Evernote 5 stars
Wall Street Journal review
Also, you may be wondering how Evernote compares to Pinterest (see my post from the other day: Pinterest Rocks).
Think of Pinterest as your Creative Director and Evernote as the Chief Operating Officer. Pinterest is all about visual ideas and inspiration, although stored and edited in an organized way. Evernote is about realizing those visions and coming up with a plan of action. Also, Pinterest is a social network and Evernote is only shared with whom you choose. Both tools are great in their own ways, and since both are free – you should take advantage!