How I Use Evernote

evernote This is kind of a random post since it doesn’t really have anything to do with the church, or shepherding or anything specifically spiritual at all.  Rather, I’d like to point out a tool that I’ve been using a lot lately that has simplified my life and helped to keep me more organized.  The tool is Evernote.

Evernote’s CEO Phil Libin describes Evernote as your “external brain.”  It’s essentially a place where you can store all of the random information that you find tucked away in your normal brain, or on the internet, or on a restaurant napkin, or wherever.  If you’re like me, you probably have a lot of things going on in your life and a lot of information to manage in relation to those things.  What evernote does is gives you a way to catalog that information in a searchable format so that you can access it quickly, rather than having it take up space in your brain.  Here are a few examples of how I use evernote.

  1. Getting Things Done.  A few weeks ago I wrote a review on the book Getting Things Done by David Allen.  Evernote is one the key tools I use for that system.  Inside of Evernote I have a folder called “Inbox” (which is my default folder).  Anything that I put into Evernote automatically goes into this folder, which I clear out every day.  So, whenever I have a good idea or remember a task that I’m supposed to do, all I have to do is put it into Evernote and it’s there waiting for me whenever I get around to clearing out my inbox.  I can put things into Evernote by opening the program and typing into it, by sending a simple e-mail or text message to my Evernote account, or by using the excellent app on my iPhone.  The point is that because of Evernote I’m able to capture all of my ideas, tasks, etc. into one central location and process them in due course.
  2. Keeping Random Information.  Another great use of Evernote is for keeping all kinds of random information.  Evernote lets you set up folders in which to keep information.  I have a “Personal” folder where I keep all kinds of random information about my life that I know I’ll want to be able to access at some point.  Without Evernote most of this information was scattered in various drawers, sticky notes, and gum wrappers, now I have it all in one place.  Here are a  few examples of the information that I keep in Evernote for easy access:
    1. Manuals for children’s toys, etc.
    2. Various warranties for electronics, watches, etc.
    3. Information on refills for ink cartridges, labeler refills, etc.
    4. The birthdates of my nieces and nephews.
    5. Battery types for kids toys.
    6. Vehicle license plate and vin numbers.
    7. Phone numbers for credit card companies in case I ever lose my wallet and need to call and cancel cards.
    8. Serial numbers for electronics, etc. for insurance purposes.
    9. My contact lens prescriptions for ordering refills.
    10. All of the software license codes for my computers.
    11. Passwords for websites that I’ve joined, etc.
  3. Online Articles that I want to remember.  There’s a lot of good information on the internet for pastors to use.  When I find something worth keeping (whether it be a book review, blog post, sermon illustration, etc.) I put it into evernote for safe keeping and later access.
  4. Seminary Notes.  I keep all of my seminary notes in Evernote, which makes them all searchable, so that I can find that nugget of information that I know I heard in seminary but can’t remember what class it was in.
  5. Videos.  Using Firefox I can download videos from youtube that are especially helpful and archive them in Evernote for later use in Sunday School, etc.
  6. Wishlists.  Every Christmas I have the worst time trying to figure out what to get for Amy.  With Evernote I’ve created a folder to keep any gift ideas that I get throughout the year, which allows me to have a pool of ideas for gift giving.
  7. Scanning Documents into Evernote.  This is one that I haven’t got to use yet, but Lexmark just came out with a way to use their scanner to scan documents directly into Evernote.  I usually add a lot of handwritten notes to my sermons before and after I preach them, with this new scanning ability I’ll be able to digitally archive those notes and thanks to Evernote all of my handwritten notes will be word searchable!

One of the best things about Evernote is that it’s completely free!  Anyone can signup for a free account and start using it right away.  If you have a mobile device, like a Blackberry or iPhone it becomes even more useful because you can take all of your notes with you to go.

Here are a few more web resources that I’ve used for increasing my skill with Evernote.

  • The Evernote Blog is a great place to find tips, hints, etc. for using Evernote.
  • This is a great article by Andrew Maxwell on 100 Different Uses for Evernote.
  • I actually went back and listened to every single episode of the Evernote Podcast, which was pretty entertaining and very helpful for getting the most out of Evernote.

Finally, here’s a video extolling the wonders of Evernote:

HT: @tohuvabohu for turning me onto Evernote.

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May 03 2010 04:00 am | Blog

2 Responses to “How I Use Evernote”

  1. Get Your Life Organised - A Guide To Evernote Resources | Web2, Cloud Computing and More on 02 Sep 2010 at 9:01 pm #

    […] Christian Pastor Drew Buell uses Evernote extensively and he describes how is his blog Shepherd’s Notes. […]

  2. Grant Bakewell, Jr. on 02 May 2012 at 7:06 am #

    Thank you, Drew. As a busy chaplain with ADD, this looks promising. I still like to remember my wife, Gail’s advice tho: “a pencil, an eraser, and a 3×5 card in your pocket is also a good piece of technology”. Also, it doesn’t need batteries, is easily replaceable, doesn’t require expensive technology or repairs, and doesn’t pollute the environment in the process of manufacture (as in Silicon Valley toxic hotspots and Apple’s Foxconn scandal). Plus it doesn’t make one dependent on the “cloud” should the internet or one’s computer crash. Thanks for the lead, tho. I still keep praying for discernment and wisdom. Peace+