Do you find yourself pushing aside a stack of crumpled receipts on your desktop every morning just to find some space to put your coffee cup down? What about the times you find yourself standing in the department store and realizing you left the bed sheet measurements on the kitchen table at home?
You’re not alone. Recently I found myself shopping for a dinner party, feeling pretty on top of things, when my husband asked what I was making for dessert. After a brief moment of panic, I remembered my secret weapon—my iPhone and my Evernote app. Within seconds I had trawled through my favorite dessert recipes and had the ingredients in my cart moments later.
Evernote is a cloud-based service that allows you to capture, organize and access the bits of information you need to have at your fingertips. Need to save more than just text? No problem—Evernote can capture photos, scans and audio files too. Once you have the information uploaded to Evernote, it’s synced to all of your devices, allowing you to access it from everywhere. Unlike that list you left on your desk.
I’ve used Evernote for about two years, but I knew I wasn’t using it to its full capacity. I sat down with Sara Caputo, founder of Radiant Organizing + Productivity, a productivity consulting firm, to get a few advanced tips:
- A thousand scraps of paper in your pocket: “Evernote is great for that random information you never need until you’re standing in the store,” explains Sara. Model numbers, paint colors, window dimensions and clothing sizes for family members work well with Evernote. So now there’s no excuse to clear those colored notes from your desk, your handbag, your fridge. From remembering the wine you liked at a restaurant to cataloging favorite songs, Evernote keeps the information at the ready.
- Destroy that pile of receipts: From your household budget to your expense report, scan those receipts and keep them organized. Epson Scan To Cloud, for example, helps people scan receipts—and life’s other important information—directly to Evernote. “We all have books we want to read, movies we want to watch, passwords to remember,” says Sara. “Keep these in Evernote and never forget them.”
- It’s a snap: Don’t have access to a scanner? Use the camera on your smartphone to upload the photo directly to Evernote. Browsing the web and see a recipe you can’t wait to try? Use the Evernote Web Clipper to grab the text, save the whole page image or just the URL. In a meeting and need to record it? Evernote lets you do that with its mobile app.
- Organize your notes: There are many aspects of your life that can benefit from some organization, from research on an upcoming vacation to storing photos of furniture you like for an upcoming remodel. If you have children (or even pets!), it helps keep information in order, like PTA meetings, medical records and, Sara’s favorite, kids’ creations. Take photos of their artwork and schoolwork—Evernote dates them and saves a copy in the cloud if they get lost or damaged.
- Collaborate: From your son’s science project to your client’s latest goals, Evernote makes managing all moving parts easily. Evernote updates and saves changes in real time, so you’ll be able to access that photo of volcano ingredients your son just uploaded when you’re at the hardware store the night before it’s due.
- Discipline: Does this sound like a lot of work? It’s not. Evernote not only makes it so easy to upload, store and access your information you won’t even notice the time passing, but also the first time it saves your bacon you’ll realize how indispensable it is.
I like to call Evernote my “external hard drive” for my brain. I’ve scanned tiny instruction manuals into Evernote that I would otherwise lose in seconds, as well as tips on gardening, blog topics for clients and articles on places I’d love to visit. I find it indispensable for cataloging those books I want to read but will have forgotten the names of by the time I finish reading volume 15 of the Game of Thrones. I can honestly say that Evernote has changed my life for the better.
What online cloud service do you use? How it has changed the way you work, play and share? Let us know in the comments.