Have you downloaded Evernote, but have no idea what to do with it? My hope is for you to change that today. Have you ever stopped to think how much time you waste every week “looking” for things?
In a few simple steps you can make Evernote your “external brain” which will allow you to stress less and get more done. While I have much to share about how I use Evernote, I want to start by explaining the top seven ways I use it everyday.
If you are new to using Evernote, it might not be best to start out with all seven at once. This is a big picture overview of some of the larger “buckets” I use to organize Evernote.
The Top 7 Ways I use Evernote Everyday
1. Reference Cabinet
The Reference Cabinet for me is a catchall of anything I want to keep. It is a notebook in Evernote. Most of the time it is something I want to be able to find later via the search function.
These are often miscellaneous items that don’t fit into one of my other buckets, but are still something I want to keep. I often will give the item a tag in Evernote and place it in this folder.
2. Content Creator Library
Since I’m a content creator (blogger, speaker, writer) by trade, this is my go-to library when creating any type of content. Inside this notebook you’ll find quotes, personal stories, surveys, statistics, illustrations, and more. When I want to spice up a blog post, book, speech or podcast, I go here for inspiration.
3. Learning Library
This notebook is for my own personal growth. As I come across great articles, PDFs, worksheets, videos, or ebooks, they all get categorized here. I use a tagging system to organize them into subjects inside the notebook. For example, if I want to spend time learning about list building, I will search for the tag “LL List Building.”
What’s great about starting your tag with “LL” is that it auto-populates all the other tags that start with “LL,” making it easier for me to give the new note the right tag.
4. Goals (Quarterly & Yearly)
Thanks to Michael Hyatt and his Best Year Ever course for this tip. I have a saved search that allows me to review my yearly goals. I have each of my yearly goals in a separate Evernote note, but by clicking on the saved search I can review all of them quickly.
I also use Evernote each morning for a quick journaling session. This allows me to calm my mind and get into “productive” mode. It’s so easy for us to get sucked into “reactive” work. A great example of this is email. Checking email first thing in the morning gets you going down the “urgent” path, which isn’t always that important.
I have a few trigger questions I use for journaling so I don’t have to stare at the blank screen. An example of a powerful question I ask is: “What would make today great?”
What I write down often becomes even more important than what is on my to do list.
6. Business Checklists
One of the many frustrations of being a solopreneur is all of the recurring tasks that fill your day. They can keep you from doing the things that move your business forward. The way out is to get ruthless about organizing what you are doing into checklists.
I use a program called Clarify-It. It allows me to quickly write down the steps of a process (with images if needed) and save them into an Evernote notebook. From there, I can share the notebook with other people who can help me get these tasks done.
7. Book Notes
I’ve written extensively on my book reading review system in the past. I read one book per week. Then I capture the highlights of the book in Evernote.
For a physical book, I create an index page in the front of the book with my notes. That then gets captured into Evernote so I can review it. See my process here for print books.
For Kindle books, I go to my highlights at kindle.amazon.com and then I clip the page with the Evernote clipper. This allows me to review what I learned by using my book review system. See my process here for Kindle books.
New books I’ve just recently finished get tagged “daily review.” I will often spend 10-15 minutes every morning reviewing what I learned from these books.
As you can see, there are many creative ways you can use Evernote. If you are in a content creating role of any type, I’d encourage you to organize your work life using some of the tips above.