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Gini Dietrich

Using Evernote for Better Time Management

By: Gini Dietrich | March 8, 2011 | 
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A few months ago,  Danny BrownFrank Dickinson, and I had a comments conversation on Danny’s blog about Evernote. I said I love it; they both couldn’t understand why.

Frank asked me if I’d write a guest post on why I love the tool. Yes, it’s taken me a few months to get to it. Oy. But I’m here now!

This first ran on Frank’s blog and caught the attention of Evernote themselves. They asked me a few questions about how I use the tool, so I’m going to tell you why I love the tool, but I’ve added a few extra things.

I love journals. I used to negotiate getting a journal scientists use when I got a promotion (they’re really expensive) or when I got a new job. I have every business journal and every Franklin Planner I’ve ever written – tasks, ideas, brainstorms, new business meetings, everything. I write it all down.

I also use my journals to create my to-do list. I draw a little box in the margin and that tells me it’s a task and not just a note. Then I get to go through my journal and check off the boxes as I finish the task. There is such great pleasure in that check mark!

But the one problem with a journal is I have to carry it everywhere with me.

Enter Evernote. I have it on my laptop, iPad, and iPhone (it’s available for every smart phone and both Mac and PC). And I take notes, create my to-do lists, create presentations, jot down ideas, capture a photo or image, and save files.

It syncs through the cloud (I love the cloud) and it’s available on any device I have in front of me at the time.

On your way to a meeting and you forgot your journal? No problem! It’s on your phone in Evernote!

On a flight and you realize your client folder is sitting on your desk? No problem! It’s on your laptop in Evernote!

Took notes at a new business meeting and lost your phone (it happens in Chicago cabs a lot)? No problem! It’s on Evernote!

Sold yet?

You can also clip articles and blog posts from the web and save in Evernote. It’s your journal, camera, audio notes, to-do list, and Delicious accounts all in one.

All you have to do is download it, create a user name and password, and get to work. If you get in the habit of using it (instead of letting it just sit there), you’ll never miss an idea, note, or task again.

What it does not do well (so don’t try to use it this way) is to catch up on your reading. If you’re a link clicker (cough, Kary Delaria) and have several tabs open during the day, use Instapaper to save them for later. Another tool that’s on the cloud so you can use it from anywhere.

And, if you have an iPad, use Reeder for your RSS feeds. This tool has made me extremely efficient in keeping up with all the blogs I subscribe to and read.

Evernote is not great for RSS feeds or saving links to read later, but it is super efficient for note taking, journal writing, taking photos (I use it when I am relegated to the trainer and want to enter my stats in Training Peaks later), creating to-do lists, and never carrying around another notebook again.

Do you use Evernote? Are there ways you use it that aren’t mentioned here?

About Gini Dietrich


Gini Dietrich is the founder and CEO of Arment Dietrich, a Chicago-based integrated marketing communications firm. She is the lead blogger here at Spin Sucks and is the founder of Spin Sucks Pro. She is the co-author of Marketing in the Round and co-host of Inside PR. Her second book, Spin Sucks, is available now.

98 comments
akrde
akrde

Instapaper has a new feature now: When you add your Evernote account to your Instapaper settings, then all liked Instapaper items are sent to your Evernote automatically. Cool, eh?

allisonralston
allisonralston

That's interesting that you don't think Evernote does a good job as a link reader and saver, I love it for this. Anytime I see an article that I think I'll need later, I use the web clipper to save it in the Evernote! Now, anytime I need to find a solution to a problem, I search Evernote before Google! I love it!

DrVinceRoberts
DrVinceRoberts

Gini, I was looking for something like this as I tried to keep all my excel and word notes, pictures and todo lists together. I read this post a week ago, got Evernote on my htc evo and laptop and all i can say is WOW! this program IS an extension of my brain, but way more organized. The encryption feature is perfect for me as I use patient info and bank account numbers.

Love it. Thanks!

4thGear
4thGear

One of my favorite features is that you can search for the blank checkboxes that I use to put todo items in my notes. It let's me know immediately if i have any undone tasks from notes I took during client meetings. Just put "todo:false" in the search field and all of your unchecked boxes show up

akrde
akrde

"On a flight and you realize your client folder is sitting on your desk? No problem! It’s on your laptop in Evernote!"

How about data privacy concerns when synching sensible client data to Evernote, most notably when your client does not know about it?

KaryD
KaryD

I am a a big link clicker w/ tons of open tabs and I LOVE these tools. I actually do use Evernote to save web sites (it has kind of replaced bookmarking for me, and I'm not totally sure why I've gravitated to this instead.) I absolutely LOVE having the Elephant trunk in my browser window to just plop tings in there. I agree, though, for the "read later" stuff, Instapaper is a life-saver.

I am so loving the fabulous comments here because I know that I'm not using Evernote to its fullest potential. Thank you, Gini, for starting this awesome conversation!

the_doti
the_doti

Hi Gini,

I would love to know if there was a way to upload the photos and images from Evernote to my blog (blogspot) directly. Right now I'm keeping everything on my desktop before publishing it to my blog (and after) and don't want to have to go to my back up drive in case I need to reference something, or lose the space on my computer. If I start to build a blog post by saving images, etc. to Evernote, I then have to save everything to my desktop before I can upload it to my site. It would be great this was possible! Tell me what you know...

Thanks-

WSI4Marketing
WSI4Marketing

I also love Evernote. I use it to save receipts for online purchases. I have save clippings from web sites and I use for taking all my notes. I can access and search on any of this info from any devices. I agree, if you haven't year tried it you should.

feliciahudson
feliciahudson

I've heard much about Evernote, but use ToDoMatrix and IdeaMatrix for Blackberry (there is also an iPhone app). http://www.rexwireless.com/ideamatrix_blackberry/index.html

I keep my to-do lists on ToDo Matrix and my notes, files, etc. on IdeaMatrix. What I like about both is that you can save e-mails to either, create files for each, organize by context (things to do at computer, phone, when running errands, etc.) and prioritize (and reprioritize) with a grab and drag feature. It can also be securely backed up and accessed online from wherever you are, in addition to your phone. It does not, however, allow you to upload photos--at least I don't think it does.

I was really into David Allen's Getting Things Done (OK, my version where I take what I can from the book while continuing my own bad habits) and found this to be the most adaptable.

I'll have to check into Evernote. Thanks for the tips Gini and all!

DavidAPhillips
DavidAPhillips

So to the 'experienced' Evernote users (no reference to your age, just the amount of time you've been using Evernote :), do you create a new notebookfor each day for every day notes and a different notebook if you are taking notes from a special event or project meeting?

Thanks!

deanholmes
deanholmes

Gini - love this discussion. Another way I use Evernote is with Google Alerts for searches on topics i don't have time to read and auto-forward through gmail as a rule to Evernote.
This allows me to capture new info, stats, white papers, etc... I need later without having to do anything until I need to look for it on Evernote.

It's a very efficient use of several tools to do one thing. Love the blog!

@deanholmes

BobReed
BobReed

Evernote is the forever note... or until you decide to delete it. I've been using this gem for the last four months and am finding additional uses. The latest iteration is even easier and the iPhone app is cleaner and more intuitive. At a client dinner last Thursday, we were discussing the merits of the wine we bought. I liked it so much that I just snapped a picture of the label. No scribbling, no bits of flotsam. Just easy.

jkretch
jkretch moderator

Hey Gini, just tweeted to you. We just disabled the mention feature for a few minutes while we make an update. It'll be back in a sec! Sorry!

ginidietrich
ginidietrich moderator

@akrde SUPER cool! I just added my account info. Thanks for the tip!

KaryD
KaryD

@allisonralston I do the same thing...in fact, it has replaced most of my bookmarking. Clip, tag, save. Perfecto!

4thGear
4thGear

Not sure why it posted my search term as a link its just - todo:false

ginidietrich
ginidietrich moderator

@akrde Oh I never put client data on it. Only my notes: Brainstorms, ideas, meeting/conference call notes, and tasks. Sure they're client-related, but it's not like it's their financial numbers or their marketing plans.

ginidietrich
ginidietrich moderator

@KaryD I'm still trying to segue from Instapaper. I still like it better for reading stuff later than Evernote. But if I can make the switch and we find a way to migrate Reeder, we'll be golden!

ginidietrich
ginidietrich moderator

@the_doti Shoot. I don't know Blogspot very well. I know there is a function within Evernote that allows you to email to a blog, but I only know how it works with WordPress (you have to install a plugin).

ginidietrich
ginidietrich moderator

@feliciahudson You still have a BlackBerry?! Gasp! :) You're the third or fourth person here to mention David Allen's book. I'll have to check it out.

ginidietrich
ginidietrich moderator

@DavidAPhillips Who're you calling old?! :) I actually don't create a new notebook each day. I do it by topic (i.e. client, meeting, Arment Dietrich business, Spin Sucks, etc.).

ginidietrich
ginidietrich moderator

@deanholmes SHUT. UP. That is brilliant! I never even thought to create the rule to send to Evernote. I'm going to do that for SmartBrief, too. Thanks!!

ginidietrich
ginidietrich moderator

@BobReed Are you going to Vegas? We'll all be sitting at dinner, on our phones, in Evernote.

jkretch
jkretch moderator

Hey @ginidietrich I'm just showing @donpower the mention feature in Livefyre. Sorry to mess up your beautiful comment stream with a demo :)

akrde
akrde

@ginidietrich Seems as it is not cool enough at the moment, because Instapapers "Send to Evernote" feature is a bit unstable (not all items sent to Evernote appear in my Evernote database) and the original url of the website gets lost.

allisonralston
allisonralston

@KaryD Ditto! I used to use delicious, but I am all about consolidating the number of services I use. It doesn't get any easier than evernote!

ginidietrich
ginidietrich moderator

@4thGear Oh Randy! I love you for this! I'm going to try it out right now. Thanks for the tip!!

feliciahudson
feliciahudson

LOL! Yes--I still have a BB! Thank you very much! ;-) I have a good reason. I just returned to Chicago from Madison, WI where AT&T service sucked (I'm on Verizon)! Otherwise, I would have bought an iPhone. Now that iPhone is FINALLY on Verizon, I'm eyeing Droids. :-) And, yes, Allen's book is very useful. Thanks for this post on Evernote. I'm looking into it.@ginidietrich

DavidAPhillips
DavidAPhillips

@ginidietrich @DavidAPhillips ok, so you basically just create a new heading within the notebook and just keep rolling? Now if you were going to a strategy session, would you just tag is somehow? I'm just trying to figure out how best to jump in, I'm sure most of this will be clear once I use if for a week...thanks young lady :)

deanholmes
deanholmes

@ginidietrich @deanholmes This can be done for many things. I like Google Alerts for this, set-it-and-forget-it-till-you-need-it type approach.

Key is to setup things like... Client Brand Monitoring (Research is a part of what we do in Social Media) where this can capture missed areas during the research in forums, groups, etc,... that may not be caught by the big monitoring services.

I love it for Infographics (within each topic or keyword you want to track), Stats (Most today are pumping out content with Stats to drive Virality of their messages and blog posts).

Brilliant - thank you, creative maybe, efficient no doubt. I smell a new Blog Post that takes all of these Tips, creates a Top 25 List and gets you mad traffic :)

KaryD
KaryD

@tlbrisson GTD has long been on my list to...get done. Still haven't read it. :-) That's a great system. Thanks for the Diigo tip, too. I'll have to look into that.

tlbrisson
tlbrisson

@allisonralston @KaryD I look at all the information I grab off the web through a GTD (David Allen's Getting Things Done) lens. If I want to read something, I clip it though Evernote and then I "process" it- read and decide if it's something I want to keep for another purpose, especially if it has text that I will search when working on a project or an answer I might need. If so, I store it in an Evernote "reference" notebook. If it's an interesting article that I'd want to make public to my coaching clients and others who visit my website, I store it in a public library on Diigo and tag it (career advice, productivity, etc.). I moved to Diigo when there was talk about Yahoo selling Delicious. I like having both Evernote and Diigo. You can make Evernote notebooks public, but they're a little clumsier than a service like Diigo.

WSI4Marketing
WSI4Marketing

@DavidAPhillips @ginidietrich David, I save a lot of web clippings. I use notebooks according to topics and add tags also. For receipts I save them to the appropriate credit card notebook. I keep notes and put them in notebooks according to client or project.

Another great feature of evernote is it records when a note was created and when it was last modified making it easy to view or search for note chronologically.

ginidietrich
ginidietrich moderator

@DavidAPhillips Yeah - you can totally tag it. So, depending on what works for you, you could just create a new heading and then tag it (which is what I do) or create a new notebook. You can download it for free (you don't have to buy the premium service) so check it out and play around with it!

tlbrisson
tlbrisson

@DavidAPhillips @ginidietrich I created a notebook called !nbox (the ! makes sure it is always the first notebook listed) where I store all my notes and web clippings. Then, every few days to once a week (depending on what I'm working on), I process my notes and move them to the notebook that makes sense (project based ino, to do, reference, someday/maybe etc.) and add any tags that will help me find it later. We haven't talked that much about tags yet here, but they are also wonderful.

ginidietrich
ginidietrich moderator

@deanholmes I wish I were going to SXSW. I feel like the only person on earth who won't be there.

deanholmes
deanholmes

@ginidietrich Great minds.... also one more tip for the kitty here.

Use @myEN on tweets to send directly to your Evernote account. This is very helpful for links in the stream, case studies, etc... More here: http://blog.evernote.com/2009/04/14/evernote_twitter/

I also use Twitter as a search and collect tool, RSS feed (Google Reader again) and rules to send away to Evernote. Twitter is such a valuable aggregation of crowdsourced content.

You at SXSW this weekend? Me 3/11-3/14 if anyone wants to talk.

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