I've Been Using Evernote All Wrong. Here's Why It's Actually Amazing

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For years, I saved listening to how superior Evernote was: the way it may retailer all the things you presumably wanted, make it obtainable in all places, and the way scores of individuals couldn’t stay with out it. I attempted it a number of instances, and by no means noticed the attraction till now. Here’s what I used to be lacking. [jump]

Any time we discuss Evernote, a very good variety of you say the identical factor: you’ve tried it time and time once more, however you could possibly by no means actually “get into it.” I used to be in the identical camp, however after studying the opposite facet’s experiences in this article and its comments, I made a decision to present it one other shot. If you’re like I used to be and haven’t but skilled the greatness of Evernote, listed here are some issues it is best to attempt.

The More You Add, the More Useful Evernote Becomes

Let’s begin with an important trick: In order to see why everybody likes Evernote, it’s vital to benefit from all the things it has to supply (fairly than use it as simply one other be aware taker). Reader ppdd says it best:

The key to Evernote is to decide to it and soar in with each toes. It’s fairly rotten for those who’re simply utilizing it for a couple of remoted duties, as a result of completely, it doesn’t do anybody factor completely and it’s not as quick as different apps.

It actually begins to point out its brilliance when you begin utilizing it as your default bookmark/webclip app, notetaker, recipe field, repository of all of your reference materials, and so forth. It’s nice to have ALL the knowledge you want listed and searchable throughout each single platform you may have. I like opening it up in a gathering and recording the assembly audio proper together with my typed notes on my iPad. If I miss one thing (fully doable whereas pecking issues out on a glass display screen) I can at all times return to it after the assembly.

So, if you wish to give Evernote one other shot, attempt placing all the things in it that you just need to grasp onto. The extra you add, the extra helpful Evernote turns into. Here are a couple of examples of what you could possibly do.

Use the Web Clipper

I at all times thought Evernote’s web clipper extension was pointless. If I wanted to reference articles for later, I’d simply save them in my browser’s bookmarks folder or drag them to my desktop. However, that didn’t enable me to make notes on an article, or reserve it with different associated notes on that mission. Evernote solved that drawback completely.

Test Case: Buying a New Grill

I simply moved into a brand new condo, and I would like to purchase a brand new grill. After a little bit of looking, I discovered a couple of I preferred however wasn’t prepared to purchase. I used the Web Clipper to throw its product web page right into a be aware below a brand new pocket book, entitled “Wish List.” Now after I come into some more money, I can open up Evernote and see my high picks on the high of my “Wish List” pocket book.

Bonus tip: Evernote’s Web Clipper additionally integrates with Google. For instance, let’s say I’m not fairly performed with my grill analysis, and I head again to Google afterward to seek for “gasoline grills.” When I do, any associated Evernote clippings will present up in the suitable facet of my search outcomes to remind me which grills I already preferred and saved. To activate this function, simply open up Evernote’s choices and verify the field subsequent to “Related Results.”

Don’t Be Afraid to Create Lots of Notes and Notebooks

I at all times tried to maintain my notes to a minimal, so I didn’t get buried below an countless quantity of notes that I may by no means filter via. Evernote is best than this, although: it manages a large number of notes simply because of notebooks, tags, and be aware hyperlinks (see beneath). I discovered that almost all of my “notes” ought to have, actually, been “notebooks,” permitting me to retailer bigger volumes of knowledge with higher group.

Test Case: Troubleshooting a Finicky PC

I’ve a home server that I like, however at all times appears to present me issues, so it’s a “work in progress.” Back within the day, I used to maintain monitor of this mission in a single be aware, jotting down traces from log recordsdata, troubleshooting instructions I needed to run, hyperlinks to analysis I needed to do, and extra, all jumbled in in a single large block of textual content. Even with some subheadings and formatting, it was nonetheless very tough to navigate.

Now, I’ve a complete pocket book devoted to my dwelling server. Right now, it has 4 notes:

  1. Some sections of my server’s log, containing all the knowledge I must troubleshoot my most up-to-date drawback
  1. An internet clipping from an article on one of the best VPN suppliers, since I’m putting in a VPN on my dwelling server
  1. An internet clipping on tips on how to set up OpenVPN on my dwelling server, since I don’t bear in mind tips on how to do it by coronary heart
  1. An internet clipping on setting file permissions, since I would like to present my girlfriend entry to my server’s recordsdata

Because I saved every article with the Web Clipper, I’ve the complete textual content of the article and the supply hyperlink proper there, plus any highlights and notes I’ve made in every. This is gentle years higher for me than simply pasting the hyperlinks to every article, or attempting to put in writing all the things down myself into one big be aware. Plus, by creating a complete pocket book, every be aware features as an merchandise in a to-do record, which makes ending the mission a lot simpler.

The backside line: Don’t be afraid to create a ton of various notebooks and a ton of various notes. Evernote equips you with the power to simply deal with hundreds of notes, and what appears overwhelming will quickly really feel like one of the best organizational scheme you’ve ever had.

Bonus Tip: Create a pocket book referred to as _INBOX, right-click on it, and make it your default pocket book. That means, any new notes you ship to Evernote present up on this inbox, on the high of your record of notebooks, prepared so that you can funnel into considered one of your different notebooks.

Sift Through Notes with Saved Searches and Tags

Using tags at all times felt like a waste of time to me: tagging each be aware appeared like a chore, and serves the identical goal that submitting notes into notebooks does. However, tags may be helpful you probably have notes that you just suppose may match into a number of notebooks—or are on the identical topic—with out getting overwhelming. You don’t must tag each be aware you may have, and also you solely want a couple of actually vital ones. It principally makes your archive simpler to go looking via with Evernote’s superior search operators. You may even then save these searches by clicking the little arrow subsequent to the search bar, and urgent the magnifying glass.

Test Case: Filter Out Family Members

Our personal Walter Glenn makes use of tags, albeit sparingly, to maintain monitor of issues throughout a number of notebooks. Both he and weblog Nerd Gap, for instance, advocate making a tag for every member of your loved ones. That means, you probably have notes throughout completely different notebooks that apply to somebody moreover you, it’s straightforward to search out them via a easy search. Nerd Gap explains:

I’ve tags for each of my children and my spouse. When I search for my son’s tag, I get all the things from photos he’s drawn for me to the outcomes of his final check-up with the physician.

You may additionally create tags for work (in case your work seemingly spans a number of notebooks, and also you need to filter out work-related notes after 5pm), to do gadgets (since your to dos will span completely different notebooks), and so forth. You can then save extra complicated searches associated to these tags—say, tag:todo created:week-1 for to do gadgets created within the final week—and entry them with one click on in your sidebar.

Again, don’t go overboard—Walter notes that tags are solely actually helpful you probably have a couple of that you just actually bear in mind and use—however they could be a godsend when you begin amassing hundreds of notes. Check out Nerd Gap’s introduction to tags and search for extra concepts on tips on how to use these options.

Use Note Links to Jump Between Related Stuff

Once you may have extra notes and notebooks than you already know what to do with, Evernote can hyperlink all the things collectively so that you don’t have to go looking excessive and low for contextual data.

Right-click on considered one of your notes and select “Copy Note Link.” Then, paste that hyperlink into one other be aware for fast entry later.

Test Case: Researching This Article

When I write an extended article (like this one), I create a pocket book for that article. Then, I create a textual content be aware with a fundamental define of how I would like the article to look, with all its subheadings. As I analysis, I clip all related net articles to that pocket book, highlighting all of the vital elements and chopping out the irrelevant stuff. Then, I’ll copy every be aware’s particular person hyperlink, paste it within the article define, and I’ll have a normal skeleton of what that article’s going to seem like, utilizing simply the stuff I’ve saved in Evernote.

Walter notes that always, if he has a ton of notes in a pocket book, he’ll simply create a “Table of Contents” be aware on the high, the place he can dump hyperlinks to all of the notes in that pocket book, organized nonetheless he sees match. This may be notably useful if Evernote’s sorting choices don’t actually suit your wants.

Bonus Tip: You can even drag any be aware to Evernote’s toolbar to rapidly entry those you utilize day-after-day. That means, your most used notes are at all times one click on away. For instance, I’ve a be aware entitled “Post Ideas” that I entry all through the day, so I’ve added a button to my toolbar so irrespective of the place I’m inside Evernote, I can get to it instantly.

Other Things You Can Put In Evernote

We’ve talked a bit of bit about what you can store in Evernote, and I’ve given some examples above. But once more: the extra you set in, the extra helpful it turns into. Anything you should save, put it in Evernote and see the way it works. For instance, you could possibly use it to retailer:

…and naturally, the rest you may presumably consider.

Is this strategy for everybody? Of course not. In truth, our personal former Editor Adam Pash found the “everything bucket” model too limiting for him (and he he advocates Simplenote instead). Like most issues, it relies on the sort of work you do and the way your mind desires to arrange that data. Sometimes, you simply want a easy app with a bunch of textual content notes. Evernote can do this if you would like—that’s a part of its magnificence—nevertheless it isn’t what makes Evernote particular. If you’ve tried it over and over and may’t perceive what the fuss is all about, focus its extra particular options like notebooks, be aware hyperlinks, and the net clipper. You would possibly lastly discover the organizational nirvana you’ve been searching for.

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