So you’ve downloaded Evernote but its been sitting on your computer unused for the past 3 months – I know the feeling. It took me a while to invest time in figuring out how I should use this piece of software. Now I have 11 notebooks and 386 notes. I offer you my reasons to get started and how I have been able to make use of this program.
Firstly, why should you even use Evernote? How is it better than Microsoft Word in combination with dropbox or notes on our mobile devices?
Simple but Complex
What’s perfect about Evernote is that it sits somewhere in between Microsoft Word and Notes in terms of functionality and features. It’s purpose is a note taking program so it includes only what is necessary. To this end it declutters the working environment of a piece of software like Word but offers more than something like Notes. I mean lets face it, I don’t need smart objects or graphs in most of my documents but I do need to be able to change the colour and size of text.
Organised and fully searchable
Folder structures just frustrate me. Even Apple finder is unable to make looking through your files an easy and user friendly experience. Evernote solves this problem because all your notes are to be found in one place in an intuitive ‘notebook’ and ‘notes’ structure with advanced features for tagging. The search functionality in Evernote is really great because of this; Evernote can pick up words within your notes and words even within PDFs in your notes.
I like this feature not because I find it particularly useful that I can view my notes on my iPhone or any online computer, but because it gives me the peace of mind that whatever happens my notes are being constantly backed up.
The Web Clipper
Probably one of my favourite features of Evernote, the web clipper can be installed into almost any browser and simplifies data on a website (gets rid of complicated formatting, ads, menu bars. comments etc…) so that with the click of a button its neat and saved into an Evernote notebook of your choice. It was recently updated this month and it has become very powerful. I regularly use the web clipper to save blog posts and recipes.
See the transformation:
Let me take you on a tour through my Evernote, hopefully it helps you understand how you can include this software in your life.
I have 11 notebooks like I said. They are:
- Art and Design – Mainly contains webclips of artists and images I like as well as tips for adobe software and useful websites.
- Blog – A collection of my blog entries (this post was first written in Evernote of course).
- Design work – Here I write notes pertaining to my design projects, they are mostly plans and information given to me by the client.
- Gender and Sex – Notes here relate to my interest in feminism and gender/sex issues. There are mostly web clipped articles and images I find interesting as well as reading lists and useful websites.
- Guitar – Collection of web-clipped guitar tabs.
- Jobs – A database of my cover letters, useful websites and links to jobs I want to apply for.
- KEA – Notes from my Multimedia Design course.
- Literature – I write book reviews so I can remember what I read otherwise I completely forget. It also includes reading lists.
- Random – Notes that don’t fit anywhere else eg. webclipped blog post “29 simple household tips that will save your life.”
- Recipes – Self explanatory.
- SOAS – Notes from my History degree.
Now to get more specific….
My learning notebooks
I have two of these which are named after the two institutions I was part of. SOAS (the School of Oriental and African Studies) where I studied History and KEA (Copenhagen School of Design and Technology) where I currently study Multimedia Design and Communication In these notebooks I have:
- Notes that I take from readings and from class
- Plans or ideas for projects/assignments
- To-do lists
- Collections of useful websites
- Web clipped articles, images etc..
I use tags for:
- The name of the module or class eg. Gandhi and Gandhiism, Basic Web
- The type of note eg. reading notes, class notes, assignment, websites
- Maybe the content of my note eg. html, css, migration, partition
- My rule is generally that if there are more than 4 notes which can be put in a given tag, then create it
Tags are really useful for when there are similar topics across notebooks. For example I could want to view all the useful websites I have documented in which case I could just search for the tag ‘websites.’
I use Evernote for recipes because I can just pull out my phone at someones house and cook a meal or I can be at someone’s house snap some pictures, write (or even record) a little text and have a recipe waiting for me to try when I get home. I have used Evernote in both situations.
In this notebook, tagging is really useful because you can have tags like: main course, meat, vegetarian, easy, hard.
My Job Search
This is a recent notebook creation that has kind of changed my life. I have been looking for a number of different jobs but in roughly the same line of work. I generally use previous cover letters for inspiration and I have them open at the same time so I remember all the things that are great about me.
Microsoft Word is annoying for this because the work space is just too cluttered and you have to have 3 different documents open at the same time. In Evernote all my applications are visible to me and I can scroll through them reading whichever I want without having to open a new document. It’s also really great to have an overview of everything you have ever applied for.
In this notebook I have:
- Notes containing cover letters
- To do lists of jobs I want to apply for
- Lists of websites good for searching for jobs
- PDFs of References
I hope this helps. Evernote has really been a wonderful way of writing, collecting, viewing and remembering information from the world around me.