Gini Dietrich

Using Evernote for Better Time Management

By: Gini Dietrich | March 8, 2011 | 
116

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, an integrated marketing communications firm. She is the author of Spin Sucks, co-author of Marketing in the Round, and co-host of Inside PR. She also is the lead blogger at Spin Sucks and is the founder of Spin Sucks Pro.

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116 Comments on "Using Evernote for Better Time Management"

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TMNinja
TMNinja
5 years 3 months ago

Gini,

Good stuff! And you know I love Evernote!

One of the most forgotten/overlooked uses of Evernote is snapshots!

I take pictures of anything that needs to be remembered down the road. Product names. Store hours (for small shops that may not have a website.) Whatever.

And many people don’t know that Evernote has special text recognition for pictures. It will identify words in the pictures and make the text searchable. Love it!

Craig

RachelBaker
5 years 3 months ago

I am a big fan of Evernote as well. Did you know, you can also encrypt private information you store inside of it? Highlight any text you would like to encrypt, right click and select “Encrypt selected text”. You will be prompted to enter your own passphrase to decrypt the text. Just don’t lose your key.

JamesDBurrell2
5 years 3 months ago
Gini, You know how much I cling to my To Do lists. I like the feel of the paper and pen. Will this transition be difficult for me? Is there the same satisfaction of checking off a completed item when done electronically as when I demonstrate my dominance over a task by forcefully striking through it in my planner? Is there a period of withdrawal from paper pads? Will I need to go into a detox center to get over it? I need answers, Gini, and I’m scared. But courage is the ability to act in the face of fear,… Read more »
KarenARocks
KarenARocks
5 years 3 months ago

Gini,

I too have a hot and heavy relationship with Evernote. I am no longer a “paper pigeon” by leaving little pieces of paper around me (even did a blog post about it). Aside from work purposes and keeping client info on that bad boy, I use it for meal planning, keeping a list of books I have read (and want to read), and around Christmas time I keep a list of presents I need to buy (and love how I can share the list w/hubby on his Evernote).

T60Productions
5 years 3 months ago

Hi Gini.. another use for Evernote? I don’t know, maybe for when you go to a PR event at Arment Dietri and decide you want to take a few notes? 🙂 Yup… that’s what I was doing on my smart phone.

You didn’t think I was texting… did you!? 🙂

T60Productions
5 years 3 months ago

Hi Gini.. another use for Evernote? I don’t know, maybe when you go to a PR event at Arment Dietrich and decide you want to take a few notes? 🙂 Yup… that’s what I was doing on my smart phone.

You didn’t think I was texting… did you!? 🙂

–Tony Gnau

zanarama
zanarama
5 years 3 months ago
I am a big Evernote fan too. I read Scott Belsky’s book, Making Ideas Happen, and used his system of Action, Reference and Backburner to organize my Evernote files. So if I get an idea that I want to do, like a blog post, it goes in Evernote under Backburner. An article that I know I’ll refer to time and time again? It goes in Reference. Something that needs to be done goes in Action. I also just shared a notebook for the first time. It was one I created for SXSW. Loved being able to easily send a batch… Read more »
rachaelseda
5 years 3 months ago

I haven’t tried but I’m sold now…I’ll let you know how it goes @ginidietrich 😉

rachaelseda
5 years 3 months ago

I haven’t tried but I’m sold now…I’ll let you know how it goes @ginidietrich 😉

blfarris
blfarris
5 years 3 months ago
Gini: I’m 3 months into my Evernote journey and I’m LOVING it. Why? 1. It’s my to-do list (I have 5 lists, today, tomorrow, later, Saturday and waiting for) Always on my phone, I never forget them. 2. I keep my meeting notes in there. So easy to do, always searchable. I don’t use my computer when I’m with a client, I use a pen and paper for that, but then I’ll either type them in (if they’re short) or scan them in to keep them all together. No more paper, hooray! 3. It’s my reference files. Clip a web… Read more »
FocusedWords
FocusedWords
5 years 3 months ago
Love, love, love Evernote. I use it for: 1. Keeping reference material for future blog posts. Especially when it’s statistics that I won’t remember any other way. 2. Things to do. Love @blfarris 5 list idea. Hope you don’t mind if I adopt it. 3. Notes. I used to always have little scraps of paper here and there with notes on them. Now I just have lots of files with the notes. Best part, I can consolidate notes that are related. 4. Ideas for future implementation. When the brainstorm hits, write it down. It gets it out of the brain… Read more »
mylifestylemax
mylifestylemax
5 years 3 months ago

I absolutely love Evernote, since discovering it a few weeks ago, I know longer use Delicious as my Tags where getting way out of hand. I could never find anything anyway. Evernote is helping to keep me organised, captured information I want to go back to, and its all in one handy place. One of the best free online tools, I have ever come across. I see why so many people go crazy about it

ginidietrich
ginidietrich
5 years 3 months ago

@mylifestylemax So you tag everything in Evernote? I haven’t played with that feature. Can you share the links, like you can in Delicious?

ginidietrich
ginidietrich
5 years 3 months ago

@FocusedWords Your brain file overloaded before you realized you don’t have to remember everything?! LOL!! The best part of your comment is saying that it’s the first tab you open every day. Brilliant!

ginidietrich
ginidietrich
5 years 3 months ago

@blfarris Why not Sunday?? 🙂 Wait. I didn’t know you can scan notes into Evernote. Is that what you do??

ginidietrich
ginidietrich
5 years 3 months ago

@rachaelseda Do let me know. I think you’ll love it!

ginidietrich
ginidietrich
5 years 3 months ago

@zanarama I think the Scott Belsky system is really smart. I’m going to steal that, too! And the idea that you can share a notebook? Love, love, love!

ginidietrich
ginidietrich
5 years 3 months ago

@T60Productions WHAT?! I thought you WERE texting me. I’m so sad now.

FocusedWords
FocusedWords
5 years 3 months ago

@ginidietrich @mylifestylemax It’s like having the absolute best file clerk in the land!!!

ginidietrich
ginidietrich
5 years 3 months ago

@KarenARocks I laughed at “paper pigeon.” Unfortunately, I still do that, but the comments on this post are making me realize, as much as I use the tool, I still don’t use it to the full effect.

ginidietrich
ginidietrich
5 years 3 months ago

@JamesDBurrell2 It’s OK, Jamey. Baby steps. Just like you had “download evernote ” on your to-do list so you can check it off (yay!). So keep doing that until you feel utterly ridiculous.

ginidietrich
ginidietrich
5 years 3 months ago

@RachelBaker I did NOT know this! Thank you for the tip!!

ginidietrich
ginidietrich
5 years 3 months ago

@TMNinja I always take pictures of the screen when I work out so I can enter in my coach’s calendar later. I should have taken a picture of a car in front of me last night because I wanted to remember the URL on his bumper sticker. But I was driving.

FocusedWords
FocusedWords
5 years 3 months ago

@ginidietrich You should have seen the smoke!!

blfarris
blfarris
5 years 3 months ago

@ginidietrich Yes, I either scan notes with my ScanSnap (you have one of those, right? It’s the bomb) or a take a picture with GeniusScan on my iPhone). Both go right into Evernote and their OCR engine will make the notes scannable (if they can read my writing).

I try not to work on Sunday (even errands and stuff) it’s my totally down/hang with family day.

JamesDBurrell2
5 years 3 months ago

@ginidietrich evernote It has been a monumentally productive day. I “wrote down” Download Evernote in my planner. Then, once I had downloaded it to my Mac, I made a “note” in Evernote to download it to my iPhone, and once that was completed, I deleted the note. Ah. Satisfaction indeed.

blfarris
blfarris
5 years 3 months ago

@ginidietrich @TMNinja I keep a picture of my license plate so that I can remember the number. I also keep my Drivers License number (encrypted link Rachel Baker says) so that I can remember that too!

mylifestylemax
mylifestylemax
5 years 3 months ago

@ginidietrich @mylifestylemax Not as far as I’m aware, not publicly share anyway. But the email tool they have is excellent, and you can easily share, clips, links, videos even with anyone in your address book or whose address you add, it’s super fast

ginidietrich
ginidietrich
5 years 3 months ago

@mylifestylemax I like this. I’m going to try something. I’ll let you know if it works.

thegraytuna
thegraytuna
5 years 3 months ago

Thanks Gini for this introduction, and for helping me “stumbling upon” Evernote! I’ve just started using Evernote but I’m quite excited about its possible uses. For me as a student, Everynote can be a great tool for storing ideas, photos and text (in the cloud of course). Since I switch working places daily between my school and my home, a single place for storage can make my life a bit easier!

I bet there are quite a few more uses, and that you guys at Arment Dietrich could do great stuff with Evernote!

thegraytuna
thegraytuna
5 years 3 months ago

Thanks Gini for this introduction, and for helping me “stumbling upon” Evernote! I’ve just started using Evernote but I’m quite excited about its possible uses. For me as a student, Everynote can be a great tool for storing ideas, photos and text (in the cloud of course). Since I switch working places daily between my school and my home, a single place for storage can make my life a bit easier!

I bet there are quite a few more uses, and that you guys at Arment Dietrich could do great stuff with Evernote!

tlbrisson
tlbrisson
5 years 3 months ago
I love Evernote! It has saved my life as a coach, business person, PhD student and person. I set up GTD style so that I use the Stacked Notebooks to set one up for each of my Areas of Responsibility and then projects within each. I do it a little different, but took the general idea from this blogger in my GTD LinkedIn Group: http://hanamidesign.com/blog/evernote-gtd-setup/ The text in photo recognition is the best. When I am walking around NYC, I take pics of flyers and bus schedules and then they are stored as reference material. I also take pics of… Read more »
Marcus_Sheridan
5 years 3 months ago

Careful Gini, keep this up and you make just be causing this guy to get rid of all his paper notes lying around the place 😉

This was great though, as I’ve been reading more and more about Evernote and I guess it’s about time I started listening.

Thanks, as always!

Marcus

rontoledo
rontoledo
5 years 3 months ago

@Marcus_Sheridan Hi this is Ron from Evernote. Been peeking in on the comments and the great discussion. Not sure if all of you know of Evernote’s image recognition. If you prefer paper, you can scan it or snap a picture of it and easily add it to Evernote. Once you add it we’ll automatically index the image and make it fully searcahble. That means we’ll find any text within the image, even handwriting. http://evernote.tumblr.com/post/1043240537/did-you-know-evernote-can-recognize-words-in

lisagerber
lisagerber
5 years 3 months ago

I especially love the picture feature. For example, we drove around all day researching real estate in a city we weren’t familiar with (without a realtor) and took pictures of all the property signs that interested us. Then we just went back in and visited all the websites later.

Ok, and then – say you’re somewhere out in the woods and all of a sudden that brilliant idea hits for the client. Quick, take a voice memo!! (and file it under brilliance of course)

tlbrisson
tlbrisson
5 years 3 months ago

@lisagerber How could I have forgot to mention the voice memos? They are so great!

lisagerber
lisagerber
5 years 3 months ago

@tlbrisson i feel so important, like Darren in Bewitched. dictating a memo! i have no idea how i came up with Darren in bewitched btw.

lisagerber
lisagerber
5 years 3 months ago

@blfarris @ginidietrich OMG, i am so excited I’m getting ScanSnap right now.

ginidietrich
ginidietrich
5 years 3 months ago

@lisagerber I want to see this brilliance folder of yours! I demand to see it!

ginidietrich
ginidietrich
5 years 3 months ago

@donpower! Check out how @livefyre works on @spinsucks (that’s a lot of handles!)

ginidietrich
ginidietrich
5 years 3 months ago

@lisagerber I want to show @donpower how tagging works in a comment.

ginidietrich
ginidietrich
5 years 3 months ago

Testing the new @livefyre functionality

ginidietrich
ginidietrich
5 years 3 months ago

@donpower Check out how the @livefyre tagging works!

jkretch
5 years 3 months ago

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
5 years 3 months ago

@jkretch Ah! OK…I’ll be patient.

lisagerber
lisagerber
5 years 3 months ago

@ginidietrich its encrypted. thanks to @rachelbaker

ginidietrich
ginidietrich
5 years 3 months ago

@lisagerber LMAO! Enter that key! I wanna see it!

ginidietrich
ginidietrich
5 years 3 months ago

@Marcus_Sheridan Did you see you can take pictures of your notes?! OMG!

ginidietrich
ginidietrich
5 years 3 months ago

@rontoledo Thanks for the awesome tip!!

ginidietrich
ginidietrich
5 years 3 months ago

@tlbrisson I love the ways you’ve described how you use the tool. I’m learning so much!

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