How I use Evernote to stay Organized

This article is a result of a request made in one of the comments on my todo list post.

tl;dr: Notes, Notebooks, Stacks, ifttt.com, laptop, iPhone, iPad

The trick with Evernote is to keep it organized. The CEO of Evernote has said in one of his press releases that he enjoys reorganizing Evernote from time to time, because he can. (not a direct quote). I definitely have overhauled my organization structure, but mostly I make small changes that allow me to be more effective.

I have the following stacks (most of which stay minimized all the time):

  • Articles – for articles I am going to save and articles I need to read
  • [Event name here] – I am on the board of a big event in Denver and we keep all our stuff in this stack
  • Meetups & Events – I have multiple notebooks for different meetups in here, so I can find the notes I took at those meetups
  • Personal – all my personal stuff goes in here
  • Projects – all the ideas and projects I am working on go in here
  • Work – everything for work, lots of notebooks
  • Other – all the crap I want to keep, but don’t ever look at

Inside of these stacks are notebooks which keep everything nice and organized for me.

Articles

I keep a notebook in here called “ReadMe” which I push articles to through my Clearly browser plugin or through various recipes like RSS->Evernote at ifttt.com.  Then, I have a couple notebooks for the articles I want to come back to later, like Creativity, Marketing, Motivation, Startups, etc

Meetups & Events

Whenever I start going regularly to a meetup where I might take notes I will add a notebook for that meetup in this stack and then create new notes with my iPhone or iPad in there. The notes are named by the date (on a mac cmd+shift+d gives current date in Evernote).  Then, when I need to refer to them again I can.

For all other meetups, I will just add a note into the “Other meetups” notebook.

Personal

This is the second most used stack I have, next to my work stack.

My wife and I share a notebook in here that allows us to keep a family todo list, a grocery list, Recipes, and Meal Plan ideas. One thing I really like is that I have a notebook to remind myself of all the tax-related stuff I do throughout the year. For example, if I donate money to an organization like Movember, I will record how much here. If I donate goods to Goodwill, I will take pictures and record what was donated. I put all the notes at the top and the pics at the bottom of the note. Then, when it’s tax time I can just send this to my accountant. Everything has notes and amounts so I don’t miss a write off. I also have a note for my work mileages in here, so that I already have it typed up and ready to go when I need it for tax time (Evernote has a table that you can put into the note, which makes this nice and organized).

The last notebook of note (get it?) in this stack is my “random-plz organize” notebook. This is the “default” notebook that Evernote will use for any notes that are created and not organized. It’s a nice setting that pays off if you can’t remember where that one note you were looking for got to. It’s in this notebook!

Projects

I keep every idea I have as well as all my active project notes in here. I have a notebook for ideas where I will just add to a list or do a write up in case it’s longer than a one-liner.

My blogs notebook has notes about each of my blogs so that I can write down ideas about them in a single location.  One of my blogs has it’s own notebook because there was a ton of research I have done for it and I needed to have different notes for each section to keep things nice and clean.

If there’s a project that requires, or could benefit from, having multiple notes then I will just create a notebook for that project here.

Work

I have organized all my notes, information, and research for work here so that I can easily look it up or search for it. This makes my life so much easier.  I actually keep my todo list

In this stack as well, because I use my todo list mostly for work and less so for everything else. Yes, all but one of my todo lists are kept in the same place because it’s easier and faster than looking for more than one list. The only list that isn’t here is the family list, because it doesn’t make sense for my wife to have to sift through all my work crap to get to the household chores list.

There is something that I do for some of my work notes, that I wish Evernote would integrate into the core of their system.  I have a templates notebook where I keep outlines for note-types that I create quite often. For example, all of the candidates for jobs that I talk to get their own note and the questions/information I need is usually fairly formulaic. So, I created a candidate template which I copy to my candidates notebook whenever I add talk to someone. This saves me a ton of time and I don’t have to remember what information I need, because my template has it outlined for me.

Other

I have notebooks for bit.ly and skitch here. Skitch is a screenshot taking application that was bought by Evernote and will integrate so that all your screenshots are saved with all of your notes. This is super helpful when you need to do a writeup with your screenshots, because you can email the whole thing from Evernote.

I have my bit.ly URLs show up in the bit.ly notebook, well… because I ifttt.com makes it easy to do this and I loathe their new website. No other reason really.

 

The last thing that I do, which makes Evernote super valuable is sharing. I touched on this a bit, but I will go into more detail. My wife and I share a notebook, which allows either one of us through our Evernote account to go in and add to our todo list or groceries list. This is awesome, because my memory is crap and I will forget that we need eggs. Every. Single. Time.

Sharing is super useful for work as well, because I can email a note to a co-worker and all the data, images, and files will stay attached to the email my co-workers receive. I can also make a note public or share with a bunch of people through a private link.

 

If you have questions about something above or how you could use Evernote, hit me up in the comments below.




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