This week's episode answer a question from many people about what exactly do I put into my Evernote.
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In this week’s episode of The Working With Podcast, I answer a question about Evernote I am frequently asked.
Hello and welcome to episode 12 of my Working With Podcast. A podcast created to answer all your questions about productivity, GTD, self-development and goal planning. My name is Carl Pullein and I am your host for this show.
Since starting this podcast last November the one question I am asked most often is how and what I use Evernote for. This question is easy to understand, because Evernote can be used for so many things. It can be used for collecting your ideas, your memories, your kids’ drawings and paintings as well as more businessy stuff such as expense receipts, meeting notes and performance tracking.
So, in this week’s episode I decided to go through the kind of stuff I keep in Evernote and hopefully it will give you some ideas of what you too can use Evernote for.
So, without further ado, let me hand you over to the mystery podcast voice for this week’s question…
This week’s question comes from many people: Jill, David, Penny and Tony to name a few. The question is: Hi Carl, what do you put into your Evernote?
Okay, before we get in to the details of this question, I should say I have been using Evernote since September 2009. So I am nearing my 9th year anniversary.
Quite simply Evernote changed everything for me. Before Evernote, i had notes and files all over the place. Now, because I am a naturally organised person, these notes and files did have a place, usually kept in folders in my bookshelf next to my desk. Notes, were often kept in notebooks and all my important paper documents were kept in their appropriate files. It was organised, but it still took time to find what I was looking for when I needed it.
Then along came Evernote. Even back then it was easy to take a picture of something and send it to Evernote. And this is what I started doing. First in was important receipts that I needed to keep for the guarantee. Then it was my utility bills and soon pretty much all important paper documents I needed to keep were scanned into my Evernote. In the early days I needed to scan many of these documents in using my computer’s printer/scanner, but as time went by and technology in our digital devices improved, I was able to scan documents simply by using my iPhone.
My organised mind, created a number of Notebooks and tags for these documents and very soon it just became natural to scan in documents to Evernote. I think, if I am being honest, I never actually made the decision to go paperless, it just evolved over a few years.
I’ve always used Evernote to capture my ideas and notes. That was what I used Evernote for when I first started using it. Scanning documents came later.
Over the years, what I keep in Evernote has grown, and as the stuff I keep there has grown, so my organisation of Evernote has evolved. Now, for example, I use less notebooks and more tags. That was a big change in the way I use Evernote a couple of years ago. (thank you, Enrico Nahler)
The one thing that has always kept me with Evernote by the way is Evernote’s search function. I have tried other note taking apps over the years, but the one thing Evernote does better than all its rivals is in it’s search. It is fast (very important) and you can search for almost anything within a note. Just hitting COMMAND J on a Mac (sorry I don’t know what the function is on Windows) will search for notebooks, tags or keywords. It takes no time at all and it is so easy to find exactly what you are looking for. If, for example, I am planning a trip to Singapore and will have a few days free, I can go in to Evernote, type “Singapore” in the box and I will get all my notes related to Singapore and I can choose the places I want to visit.
So there you have one use of Evernote I use. I keep a note for each city or country I would like visit and list out all the places I would like to see while I am there. I also keep important information such as visa requirements and other such information.
I also keep all my utility bills in there now. As soon as a bill arrives I will use my phone and scan the bill in and send it to my inbox. Then when I process my inbox I will tag it appropriately and send it off the the right notebook.
I also have a special tag I call Incubator. My incubator is used for ideas I am developing. I get ideas at all times of the day. It is so easy to open up Evernote using 3D Touch on my phone and capture the idea. Then as I develop the idea over time, I store it in my Incubator tag which is kept in my favourites bar. This way it is really easy to get the note back and add other ideas I have to the note as they come up.
My journal is now in Evernote. The reason I switched over to Evernote was simply because Evernote is with me everywhere I go. If I have a few minutes while in a taxi, on a bus or train and I want to write in my journal I can do so. Then, at the end of the year, I print out that year’s journal entries and create a book from it and I store those in a storage box. In the future it will fantastic to be able to go in and read what I wrote in years gone by.
One area of interest I have is with classic British clothing. I love the history and culture behind items of clothing. For example, the business suit we all know and sometimes wear today has military origins going back centuries. Overcoats and pea coats also originated from military clothing. It’s a fascinating story where the different styles we all love to wear come from. I have a tag for articles related to clothing I like and can reference these when I am deciding if I want to buy a new coat or suit.
Likewise I have a tag for clothing and shoe suppliers. I have my favourite brands, I think we all do, and as I live in South Korea some suppliers can’t or won’t ship to Korea. Over the years I have found suppliers who do ship here, so I keep their details in Evernote and if I decide I want to buy a new sweater, I can go in to Evernote search for “sweaters” and up comes my favourite sweater manufacturer, N Peal in London (they do ship to Korea by the way) Same for my shoes. My favourite show maker is a company called Crockett and Jones. Now some department stores do sell Crockett and Jones here in Korea, but they are prohibitively expensive here. It is actually cheaper to buy direct from the UK. I know my sizes at Crockett and Jones so I can simply pull up my Crockett and Jones note and I have the order details right there.
I also keep details on my favourite fashion icons. I have tags for people like Cary Grant and Steve MacQueen and in there I keep pictures of them and details of the clothes they wore. Steve MacQueen’s sunglasses in the movie Thomas Crown Affair were made by Percel. I have a pair which came from an article I found while surfing around the internet one day years ago, found this article on the sunglasses worn in the movie, clipped the note and a few months later I ordered a pair.
Other more businessy things I keep in Evernote are things like my student lists. I keep a note for each student and client I teach whether that is my communication students or my productivity mentoring students. These notes contain all the things we are working on and what we have worked on. That way, when I am with the student I have a list of all the things we have worked on and I can see what needs working on without me having to carry that information around in my head. Again, I tag each note with the student’s name. That way it is very easy to call up the note when I need it.
I have a tag called “content” in that tag, I keep notes for each of my YouTube series, such as Todoist, Evernote and work. I can then add ideas to the list for future episode when they come to me. I also use a fantastic app called Drafts which allows me to add ideas for these directly to the note without having to open Evernote. I did a YouTube video on Drafts a few months ago, and I’ll put a link to that in the show notes for those of you interested in it.
My weekly social media content is also planned out in Evernote. I keep a template for this and copy the template every Sunday when I plan out next week’s social media content. During the week, when I am busy doing my usual weekly work stuff, it makes life so easy to just open up that note and do that day’s social media work.
And of course, meeting notes. Depending on the situation, I either type notes directly into Evernote, or use my paper notebook and after the meeting just scan the notes in. Once again, this makes finding meeting notes months later, so easy. It’s almost unfair on anyone not using Evernote. It really does work as my external brain.
And there you go, pretty anything I want to keep gets put into Evernote. All my interests and hobbies like, my unhealthy fascination on all things related to James Bond and my love of Photoshop. I keep a tag for these. Tutorials for Photoshop, interesting facts about Ian Fleming, the creator of James Bond and my writing hero. Anything like that gets sent to Evernote. As you can imagine, over the last 9 years I have collected an incredible source of information that is tailor-made for my interests and needs.
And that’s something I should stress. Make Evernote yours. Keep whatever you like in there. Create a notebook and tagging system that works for the way you think and just sit back and enjoy everything you keep there. As time goes by you’ll love going in to your Evernote for all the memories it serves up for you.
Thank you for listening to this episode. I do hope you enjoyed it as much as I did making it. Don’t forget if you have a question you would like me to answer, all you have to do is email me - firstname.lastname@example.org, DM my on Facebook or Twitter or fill out the question sheet on my website carlpullein.com.
It just remains for me now to wish you all a very very productive week.