For the first installment of the BOW (Balance and Organization at Work) series, I wanted to introduce you to an application that I use to organize both my work and personal life: Evernote.
I'll be the first to admit that I wasn't thrilled with the application at first but I soon realized that was because I wasn't using it effectively. Once I found a system that worked for me, I was hooked. Here are the basics.
Why I Use Evernote
The easiest way for me to find balance and organization is when I have everything in one place. When it comes to work, school, and blog files I use Dropbox to organize, collaborate, access, and back up my documents. I have found it to be hands down the best way to organize and store such items. But there are some things that I want to save that don't fit well with the structure of Dropbox. Enter Evernote. The allows me to save and organize other types of information and documents in a more intuitive way.
How I Use Evernote
It took me a little while to figure out how to organize everything on Evernote but I after a little bit I realized that there are four things I needed to know in order to get started:
1. Notes: This is an individual document, file, or page.
2. Notebooks: Notes are filed within Notebooks. Think of Notebooks like file folders. Example: Blogging Resources.
3. Stacks: Similar notebooks can be combined into Stacks. Blogging Resources is in a collection called Blogging Stack, which consists of all my blogging notebooks.
4. Tags: Exactly what it sounds like. You can use tags on notes like you use labels in Gmail or tags on blog posts. Tags can be applied across notebooks and should be specific.
Simple enough, yes? There are a lot of other features that can be used but these are the basics.
When I Use Evernote
1. Bookmarking Articles and Posts.
This is how I first got into Evernote. Although I love pinterest as a way of finding and bookmarking articles, I prefer to use Evernote. Whenever I find an article or blog post that I love, I use the Evernote Web Clipper to save it to my account. This is actually how I save links for my Links and Love series. Saving articles is really as easy as a, b, c:
a. While on the specific URL of interest, click the Evernote Web Clipper
b. Select Notebook and apply tags
c. Save note to your account!
When you use the webclipper, the webpage is saved exactly how you found it. You can change the settings so that it only clips the URL, or a small section but I prefer to save it in the original form. Here is what it looks like once it has been saved to Evernote:
The panel on the right hand side of the screen shows the notebook, applied tags, date, and original URL. The first line of text above the title is my own little note.
2. Checklist Templates.
While I prefer using a different application for my to-do lists, I love to make checklist templates on Evernote for things such as packing. I also use one for my daily blog activities:
I have also heard of people using the application for things such as grocery or shopping lists, etc. This would be especially helpful if you share the shopping list with another person at home; If you forgot to add something to the list the other person could add it and have it sync to your phone application.
3. Account Information.
If you're anything like me then you probably have a thousand passwords and account numbers to keep track of. I like to keep all of my non-important account numbers and passwords (like my airlines reward information, internet passwords, etc.) in Evernote. Since all my information syncs to my iPhone I'm never without the information.
4. Blog (or insert hobby here) Information.
I thought that it might be nice to use my Blogging Stack as example of the way that I organize my Evernote account. While I recognize that not all of you are bloggers but I promise that this section will still be relevant so long as you think about it in terms of your own hobby. My Blog stack has the following notebooks:
_ Blog Backups: Every time I make a change to my blog design, about me page, or widgets, I save a copy of the html in a note within my Blog Design Notebook. You never know when you want to take a look at the archives.
_ Blog Brunches: I am that crazy person who tries to take notes during each month's blog brunch. Notes from each brunch is kept in a separate note and tagged accordingly.
_ Links and Love posts: All the links and I love that week. These notes are deleted once I have mentioned them on my blog
_ Post Ideas: Pretty straight forward
_ Blogging Resources: You know all those great blogging tips you find online? I have found the best way to organize everything is to be specific with my tags. Now I can easily see all the articles I saved relating to WordPress plug-ins, general blogging, or social media tips.
Where I Use Evernote
Evernote syncs between my Mac, iPhone, and iPad. They also have applications for Windows and Android.
Often times I find an article while using my phone or tablet, meaning I am without the Evernote Web Clipper. Luckily, you can email articles and pages to your Evernote account! The best part is that you can file it away to a specific folder and give it a tag all from email. Each account has a specific email address, which you should save to your phone contacts. To designate a Notebook use the ‘@' symbol followed by the name of the Notebook (ex: @Travel). Then, use the ‘#' symbol to apply a tag (ex: #SouthAfrica)
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