If you are a reader of this blog, it’s probably no surprise that I love Evernote. In this post I summarize all my favorite ways to use Evernote – a few that I have written about before, and a few that still need to become blog posts. Enjoy!
I write my blog posts in Evernote before transferring them to WordPress. I like this because I can use Evernote online, so I can write when I don’t have Wi-Fi, and I get less distracted in general.
2. Weekly review
I use Evernote in my Getting Things Done system, which I’ve blogged about here. During the weekly review, I use Evernote to write down a summary of what I have done each week for different goals, such as writing or exercise.
3. No list
Also during the weekly review, I write down what opporunities I have said yes to, and what opportunities I have said no to. This has made me more aware of how many request I get and accept, and easier to say no.
For the things I did say yes to, I might forward the invitation to Evernote and tag it with “my_CV”. When I need to update my CV, I can add all these items based on the tag. I do the same for any media that mentions me, just in case I need this for an annual review or a grant application.
5. Read later
The first thing I started using Evernote for was to save blog posts or articles to read later. I wrote about this in the “capture’ part of the GTD process. The saved posts go to my Evernote inbox. During the weekly review, I briefly look at the posts and either delete them, or add tags and move them to my ideas notebook. When I need information on a specific topic, I just search the ideas notebook for that tag.
6. Organizing literature
Evernote is great for saving PDFs, so I use it to organize the papers that I’m reading. I find the tags very helpful in finding the exact paper that I need. Read more about my system here.
7. Organizing travel
When travelling for a conference, I keep all the reservations and other important information in a notebook for that specific trip. Read more in this post.
8. Happy thoughts
I forward emails with that made me happy to Evernote and tag them with “happy”. This could be anything from getting a paper accepted, to a comment from a blog reader that my posts have helped them. The idea is similar to the “jar of happy” – review these notes when you are feeling down. Similarly, you could add photos, drawings, handwritten notes – anything that can remind you to appreciate life.
I have used Evernote as my 5-minute journal, although I have now switched to paper so that I don’t use my phone just before bedtime.
10. Text snippets
I have several notes where I store pieces of code I often use for my blog, such as:
- hiding an image (great for attaching Pinterest graphics to the post)
- shortcodes for WordPress
- embedding newsletter sign-up forms
Of course I can always find these snippets from within WordPress, but I find it easier to keep these snippets in a single note.
11. How-to guides
I have started writing guides for myself, on how to do things that I have to do from time to time, but not often enough to remember all the steps. For example:
- Installing essential WordPress plugins for a new website
- Installing and configuring software if my laptop dies
- Creating a yearly financial report
12. Meal planning
Evernote is great for keeping track of your favorite recipes! I have two notebooks (both shared with my partner) to plan my meals – one with recipe ideas, and one with recipes where we drag and drop recipes for the upcoming week. This way it becomes really easy to create a shopping list!
I do not really use Evernote as an address book, but I might keep important information about people I know, like food they don’t eat, their favorite beer, what gift I gave them last year, etc.
When people recommend me books or podcasts, I tend to add a short note to Evernote about it. This way if I check out and enjoy the recommendation, I can thank the person later!
14. Buy later
When I think I might want to buy something online, I often save the item to Evernote first and tag it with “buy”. From time to time, I go through this tag. Often I’m able to delete a lot of items – a few that I bought, but most that I decided I didn’t need. Great for keeping your place uncluttered AND saving money.
15. Gift ideas
No “best ways to use Evernote” list is complete without gift ideas! Similar to the “buy later” section, I save items that could be good gifts to Evernote, and tag them with “gifts”. The difference is that I don’t delete the note once I’ve bought the gift. Instead, I can edit the note to include who I gave the gift to.
If you like these ways to use Evernote, check out my Pinterest board where I’m always collecting more ideas: