Tips for Using Evernote at Home
Last week I wrote about how Evernote makes it easy to take, store, and access notes at work, but Evernote is also great for keeping things in your personal life organized! Here’s a quick refresher about how Evernote works:
The uses for Evernote are endless, but I want to share some of my favorites with you:
This was one of my BEST parenting ideas ever! Whenever we are shopping and the kids see something they like, I whip out my phone, open up my Evernote app, and search for their note in my "Gifts" notebook. I just type in the name of the store we are at and then insert a photo of the item they like (I try to include the price in the photo if possible.) This takes less than a minute, but saves me SO much time — time spent listening to kid-whining and time spent trying to make up a Christmas or Birthday list for grandparents!
I keep a note for each person in my family and for close friends as well as a general one for other friends. If I’m online and see a cool gift idea, I sometimes paste the URL in my note. I also keep a note like this for myself — just in case my husband ever needs a good gift idea for me!
I don’t know about you, but I have a hard time remembering specifics about products I like especially if they are items I don’t buy very often. I used to have to guess what color of makeup I wore, what fabric softener scent I liked, and what type of cat litter worked best whenever it was time to restock.
I created a note for each shopping category with a picture of the product including any details like color, scent, size, type, etc. For example, I added a "Makeup" note with a photo of the type of pressed powder I like. I have a photo of the front and back so I can see the product name and the color information. In this note I have a picture or pictures of every type of makeup I like — eyeliner, eye shadow, mascara, blush, concealer, foundation, powder, lip color — I also may include the name of the best store to find each item and even record what a good price is.
Another note is titled "Cleaning/Household Products" where I include things that my family has a certain brand preference about like laundry detergent. I also have a note called "Clothes" where I record current sizes for each family member (my kids’ feet grow so fast, I can never remember the sizes.)
When you are shopping for home improvement projects, Evernote is very handy to store options so you can easily compare items that are at different stores all in one spot. Another great tip is to snap a photo of the measurements you wrote down so that when you’re at the store, you can make sure the item you want to purchase will fit in your space. When we were remodeling our kitchen, I must have counted how many of each type of cabinet handle we needed 20 times and then couldn’t remember when I was at the store. I finally got smart and took a picture of it, and put it in Evernote so it was easy to locate and accessible to me when I was ready for it. Keeping photos like these in Evernote is better than just in your phone’s photo app because Evernote is searchable.
Keeping track of all the details of every family members’ activities is no small feat, so I use Evernote as a cheat sheet! Many of you probably take photos of sports schedules or school field trip info, but how easy is it to find when you need it? Insert those photos into an Evernote note and you can easily find what you need when you need it! If the school emails you a PDF document, you can even insert that into a note. The things I access most in this category are the school calendar and sports schedules.
I also have a note that lists the times that my kids have lunch at school, so if I ever happen to be home and free during that time and want to go have lunch with them, I don’t have to call the school to find out what time they eat. I save the monthly school lunch menu in a note instead of printing it out or having to look it up on the website or in my email every time the kids want to know what’s for lunch.
Documents and Records
When you’re on the go, sometimes you are asked for information that you don’t typically carry with you or have memorized. For example, one time I rented a car and had the company pick me up, but when I got to their office to rent the vehicle, they required my car insurance information. Of course my insurance card was safely in my glove box in my car which wasn’t with me! After that experience, I took a picture of both of our vehicle’s insurance information that I can access anywhere I have an internet or cell phone connection.
I do the same thing for health insurance cards in case I’m in a situation where someone in the family needs medical care and I don’t have the insurance information with me. I also keep a "Medical" note with copies of vision prescriptions, names of medicines we take, things I want to talk to the doctor about at the next visit. I created a note to log my blood pressure for several days so that it was very easy to find the next time I went to the doctor. Let's face it, we are rarely without our phones these days, so having an app with critical information makes life easier.
I think it’s helpful to keep records of household purchases in case you need to know how old something is, where you purchased an item, or what style or color you used last time. You can take pictures of receipts, labels, or item numbers. Think about how easy that would make it to purchase matching paint or siding for your next big project!
When you’re working on a home improvement project, make a note or notebook for any pertinent information. Keep the business card information and estimate from the contractor in a note so it’s easy to find next time you need to refer to it.
I prefer to keep my work and personal Evernote accounts separate, but if you would like to have them in the same account, you could easily create a "Work" and a "Personal" stack and have several notebooks in each to keep them separate.
What I’ve shared likely just scratches the surface of what you could use Evernote for. It’s such a flexible tool, and the basic features are FREE! The possibilities are endless, and when you use a combination of the desktop, online and mobile app version, you can access your notes anywhere!
Tips for Using Evernote at Work
Did you think you'd be done with note taking when you were done with school? Depending on what type of job you have and what your responsibilities are at home, you may be taking more notes now than you did in high school history class!
How often have you jotted something down on a scrap of paper and by the time you needed to refer to what you had written, you'd lost it? Maybe you keep a small notebook with you at all times in case you need to make a note. How do you possibly find the just the right note when you need it? It may be time to consider a new way to store your notes so you don't lose them and can quickly find what you need when you need it!
In today's digital age, notes can be taken in many forms - handwritten, typed, or even as a voice recording. The best solution I have found to store and organize my notes is Evernote. This is a free app with upgrade options for a fee that allows you to take notes in different formats on different devices, store them in the cloud, and categorize them for easy access.
If you've never heard of Evernote or even if you have used the app for years, read on to learn some tips and tricks that will boost your productivity at work. In a later post, I'll share some ways Evernote can help you at home!
For those of you that have never used Evernote, it's a very simple, but powerful app available on mobile or desktop. After creating a free account, you can create notes. Each note is like a blank document where you can type text, insert photos, record audio, attach files, insert links, create tables, and even add sketches. One of the coolest features is the web clipper which can be installed in your browser. This allows you to easily save a screenshot, a portion of a webpage or an entire PDF document with a quick shortcut. It's easy to create bulleted or numbered lists and even insert check boxes. If you'd like to use a template, there are many free ones to search from. Need a reminder about a specific note? You can set one and get a notification on a certain date and time.
If you would like to group notes together, you can create notebooks, and for even more categorization, you can create stacks (which I like to think of as binders) where you can group notebooks together. To easily find notes, you can apply tags that are searchable. A note can have as many tags as you want. In addition to searching by tags, you can search all text in a note as well as text in any images. Because notes sync to multiple devices, you can always have your notes with you when you need them! If you want to collaborate with other Evernote users, you can share notes and participate in discussion about them.
All of these basic features, but if you want to upgrade your account and pay a subscription, other options are available such as the ability to create your own templates, the ability to send an email to a specific address to automatically create a note, store an even larger amount of notes each month, and have access to even better search options. Depending on your subscription level, you can sync notes across multiple devices. You can prepare for a meeting at your desk, and then take your tablet to the meeting.
Evernote at Work
Evernote is one of the first apps I open in the morning because I use it for planning my day, I created a note that includes a checklist for the day's "Must Do's" and another checklist of my "Would Be Nice To Do's." Below that I include a day's calendar broken down in 30 minute increments that I use to plan out my day.
First I fill in any appointments, and then I fill in the blanks with "Must Do's" and if there's any time left, I sprinkle in a few "Would Be Nice To Do's" I then keep a "Done List" of the things I actually accomplished for the day. I reference this note often throughout the day and add to my "Would Be Nice To Do's" as I think of them and record what I actually did on my "Done" list. This helps me visually see what I've accomplished for the day while also helping me to better understand how long tasks actually take so I can better plan in the future.
Since I use the free version of Evernote, I can't save an actual template, but I keep a blank note and just duplicate it every day. If you are interested in creating your own templates, you may want to consider the Premium plan.
I use Evernote to take notes during meetings if it's appropriate to type. Even if I take handwritten notes, I can snap a photo of them and insert as a note. Since Evernote can search text in images, even my handwritten notes are searchable!
Tags are a great way to easily filter notes so you can see all notes about a specific topic at once. I suggest creating a few categories of tags like dates, people, meeting types, subjects. To make it easy on yourself, consider a prefix for each category so you don't get confused. Here's a few examples:
Using check boxes for to do's that come up during a meeting are a great way to make sure you don't forget to do the tasks assigned to you. In Evernote you can create saved searches, and the most powerful of these searches is the one I set up for "unchecked to do's." I can quickly click on this and see every note that has an unchecked check box. Then I can either do the task if it takes less than 2 minutes and check it off, or, if it will take longer, I can add it to my master task list.
I also like to indicate when others have a to do. You could do this by inserting a certain character, emoji or colored text to indicate whose task it is. This is especially helpful when you share your notes with those who were assigned tasks during the meeting.
I created a meeting template for myself that I duplicate for use for meeting notes. If you'd rather use a template that's already created, check out all the free template options.
Other Ways to Use Evernote at Work
I can't wait to share how I use Evernote at home. Stay tuned for those useful tips next time!
Photo by Alejandro Escamilla on Unsplash
Get Organized Head First
Today is My Life In Order's two year anniversary! It's hard to believe that I've been writing for so long. A year ago I published "One Year of My Life In Order" which was pretty exciting, but this year I've got something even bigger to celebrate!
Over the past few weeks, I've been working on my 6 week sprint, and it's culminated in a product I'm very proud of — my e-book, Get Organized Head First!
Get Organized Head First is a book about changing your mindset to help you get organized and be more productive. There are also two practical projects to help you dive into organizing plus lots of bonus content! Here's a sneak peak into what you can expect in the book:
Introduction: My "Before" Story
Chapter 1: A Life In Order
Chapter 2: A Lego® Lesson
Chapter 3: What T-Shirts Teach
Chapter 4: You're In Charge
Chapter 5: Help Me!
Chapter 6: Order in Real Life
Chapter 7: Organize Your Home
Chapter 8: Organize Your Head
Chapter 9: Rewrite Your Story
The book is on sale now, and anyone who takes the time to read this full post will get to use this coupon code to get the book for just $4! Use code: BLOG at checkout.
Get Organized Head First E-Book
We've all had those days where everything seems to go wrong and you end up feeling overwhelmed and out of control. What if you could change those feelings and regain control of your life? You can! In this e-book you will start to understand what it means to get your life in order and learn some simple strategies to get more organized and be productive in your real life!