In Blog Life, Goal Setting and Productivity

BOW: 4 Ways To Use Evernote To Organize Your Life

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.

BOW- 4 Ways to Use Evernote to Organize Your Life

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:

4 Ways To Use Evernote To Organization Your Life

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:
Daily Blogging Checklist
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:

4 Ways To Use Evernote To Organize Your Life

_ 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.

Helpful Tip:
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)

Do any of you use Evernote? If so, do you have any other tips to share?
Other BOW Posts:
8 Tips and Apps to Organize Email
Using Wunderlist & the Pomodoro Technique to be Productive
Envelope System for Budgeting.

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Nicole is a treasure hunter and pup mama located in Seattle, Washington. Loves travel, politics, lifestyle, TV, & wine. She's an unapologetic SJW & feminist AF.

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  • Dee

    I downloaded the evernote app ages ago but never really used it. But this article has sold it to me. Will definitely use it now!

    • let me know what you think! I’ve really fallen in love with it. One of the few apps that I use daily

  • I love Evernote but I had no idea about these other features! Thanks! :)

  • I just deleted Evernote because I did not understand it at all – wish I’d found this sooner! Might have to re-download it and give it a try because it does sound really handy!

    • oh man, I’ve been there. I was actually really flustered with it at first but now I love it!

  • Tanya Patrice

    I love Evernote – I wrote about how I used it as a blogging calendar a while back -> Using Evernote As A Blogging Calendar {Blogging Tools I Heart}.

    Instead of Web Clipper, I use Clearly to save articles I want to use as a resource. And I also get my blog posts saved there using IFTTT.

  • I used Evernote a while ago for church notes, because I liked having them available on my phone and online. I never thought to use it for blogging! I use DropBox now but I can see this being ten times more effective. And I love the checklist, super helpful!! I’m loving this series!

    *Sidenote* Did you get an email from me a few days ago making a ‘special announcement?’

    • I think that Dropbox has a lot of strengths (I do use it for some blog related materials) but Evernote is just a lot more efficient for some things.

      and yes, I returned your email yesterday :)

  • I have 3 actual notebooks that are in use at any one point in time. I really like the idea of having a “virtual” one because then I’d always have the right notebooks with me, but I am a bit intimidated by the looks of this to be honest! xx

    • oh, don’t be intimidated, Amanda! Just think of the system as notebooks!
      Notes = pages in a notebook
      Notebooks = well, notebooks
      Stacks = piles of notebooks
      tags = sticky notes or flags you might use to organize your notes :)

      I promise it isn’t too bad after playing around with it for a little bit

      • I bit the bullet and downloaded it a little while ago. I definitely need to play around with it more otherwise I don’t think I’ll utilise it optimally. This will be my weekend task! x

  • I’ve heard a lot about Evernote, but I haven’t used it much–it intimidates me!

  • I used to use Evernote for EVERYTHING pre-Pinterest. Some tips: when you place an order or pay a bill online, clip the confirmation page. That way if it never shows up in your account and you’re charged (maybe I’m paranoid?) you’ll have proof. I also have a household folder where I have pictures of things for reference when I’m out, such as paint or furnace filters — yay for no longer getting the wrong size/brand/color!

    • excellent idea about the confirmation page! And I love the idea of the keeping a household folder as well. Thanks for the tips, Allyssa!

  • There is a checklist. I like checklists. I’m getting this app, I’ve been meaning to get back into doing daily routine task to-do lists and Evernote sounds like it would come in super handy for that.

    • the checklist option is so wonderful! I use it for packing, blogging, and even writing papers!

  • I love evernote too and it is great for checklists! I also love to save inspirational quotes, pictures, and tutorials on there. It is so easy to check back on something I need!

  • A uses Evernote and absolutely loves it. Instead I use Things and Delicious separately to tag lists and to-do vs links. This looks like a seriously great program and super helpful!

  • Molly

    Hi there,
    I started using Evernote after my IPAD notes app started randomly erasing my lists. I like it so far, but a word of caution for everyone-while I was freaking out about all my lost notes and was trying to find a way to restore them online, I saw quite a few posts that Evernote does the same thing

    • thanks for the heads up, Molly! I have yet to experience any issues with losing notes but I’ll look into ways to back them up!

  • Rachel Murphree

    Oooh, I have never heard of Evernote, and I am thinking that this might be a game changer! Thanks!

  • Ah, this comes at the perfect time! I’m really seeing the need to further/better organize my life and prioritize things differently and I’m excited about this series and how it can help me to do that! Thanks so much for sharing this Nicole!

    • of course, Erika! so glad that you’re enjoying the series! Let me know if you end up trying Evernote!

  • stephanie court

    I downloaded Evernote a while ago and I never use it because I get totally overwhelmed and confused when I try. Thank you SO MUCH for this post. I’m going to give it another shot. :)

    • oh you’re so welcome, Stephanie! Don’t get overwhelmed or confused! I felt that way when I first started but now I’m absolutely addicted

  • Robin Hardeman

    This is an excellent resource. Thanks so much for putting it together and sharing!

  • T&C

    How is it that I’ve never heard of this note app?! Thanks for sharing!

  • Thank you so much for this post Nicole! I recently downloaded Evernote, in the hopes of getting more organized. Like you I’ve been disappointed so far, but feel as though I’m not using it correctly! I’m definitely going to refer to your tips. I also love Blog Brunch, maybe I’ll see you at the next one. ;)

    • good luck mastering Evernote, Melinda! Like I said, it took me a little while to get the hang of it but now I use it daily.

      And see you at the next blog brunch :)

  • emi

    this is exactly what i needed today! i’m feeling frazzled! :)

  • Umm, you’ve just successfully revolutionised my life one step further! This is amazing. Going to download it now :) xxx

  • I just downloaded Evernote a couple of day ago and already love it, but ugh, this has made it so much clearer! It’s just totally bewildering at first.
    Happy Friday! (coming to you from we took the road less traveled’s friday blog hop, by the way :))

    • so happy to be of help! it IS absolutely bewildering at first. Stick with it and let me know what you think.
      and thanks for stopping by my dear!

  • oh I love that post on how to use it as a blogging calendar! Thanks for sharing. I’ll also have to look into Clearly!

  • Thank you so much for this, seriously! I have the app on my computer and on my phone and I don’t even use them because it was just too much! Thanks for clearly explaining how to utilize this, I appreciate it and look forward to more of this series!!

    • you’re so welcome, Kym! I’m happy that the post was useful! there are so many things that you can do with Evernote but hopefully these basics can help!

  • don’t be intimidated! Check out the comment I just wrote below to Amanda. I promise it gets easier with time

  • I have evernote and I’ve looked at it here and there but never really dove into it or figured out how to use it, so this is very, very helpful for me! Thanks so much for sharing!!

  • I love Evernote! I’m always recommending it to friends. I use it a lot for post ideas, and also shopping lists and photo-a-day challenge lists and anything else I might want to look at in my iPhone, iPad and/or laptop. The syncing feature is the best part! This was an awesome post; looking forward to the rest of the BOW series. :)

  • I actually used to use Evernote for my editorial calendar, too! (I’ve since simplified into a Google calendar, but I still recommend it!)

  • Love this! New favorite already. I have an astronomical number of bookmarks on my computer and I hope this keeps them more organized! Thanks!!

  • My husband is crazy about Evernote, and I have an account, too- but I just didn’t really “get” it. He obviously didn’t explain/promote its usefulness as well as you did. Now I think I might actually start using my account! :-)

  • shannon

    holy crap.
    i totally have this app but just never f’ing use it.
    thank you thank you for this lady.

  • Kayla Koroush

    This post has been extremely helpful to me. I downloaded Evernote and even made some of my own notebooks. Its a great how to tutorial.

  • Thanks for sharing this! I’ve thought about using evernote, but I never wanted to learn a different system. right now i’ve been just saving ideas to an email draft and using excel too.. and it’s not organized whatsoever. I’m going to download it again and see how it goes the second time around. :)

  • This post is amazing. I’ve just started using Evernote about a month ago and this just explained so much! Thank you!

  • I LOVE evernote! You can use IFTTT to integrate it with other stuff too! I have my instagram photos archived, purchases, all kinds of stuff. I wrote a post about evernote as well :D

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