About a year ago I decided to release the environmentalist inside me and try to live my life as paperless as possible. While searching for a tool to help with the endeavor, I discovered Evernote, the “Remember Everything” application. Evernote doesn’t just remember everything, it organizes material in a searchable format that puts everything at your fingertips.
Evernote (evernote.com) is a FREE service; sign-up takes all of two minutes. Once an account is set up you can begin organizing your life. Evernote allows you to create notebooks, which can then be filled with notes. Each note can be tagged to allow the assignment of keywords which makes future searches a snap. For example, I have a notebook for my staff meeting notes. For each staff meeting I add tags that represent what we discussed that day, i.e. budgets, conferences, etc. Then when I want review all my staff meeting notes in which we discussed budgets, I only have to search the term “budgets” and all of appropriate notes pop up.
One of the greatest features of Evernote is the ability to sync information across multiple devices. I use an iPad and iPhone with the Evernote app installed and love the ability to share my notes instantly on any of my devices—including my PC. By syncing data across devices using the cloud, all of my data is backed up, greatly reducing the fear of losing those important notes. A great example of the power of syncing is when I go grocery shopping. I will create my grocery list at home on my PC and leave the note up for my kids to review while I am gone. If they notice something missing on the list, they just enter the item and hit sync. While shopping, I review the list frequently and the kid’s items automatically appear, ensuring that nothing is forgotten.
Evernote allows me to insert pictures or audio into notes, creating further opportunities to go paperless. When I receive hand-outs at meetings, I create a note for the meeting and while within the meeting snap photos of any handouts or whiteboard sessions. These photos along with my typed notes give me a robust record of the meeting’s proceedings. Additionally, the Evernote Web clipper allows me to capture web pages for future review or insertion into existing notes.
Last, one of the coolest things about Evernote is the Trunk. The Trunk is a collection of third party apps which interact with Evernote. For example, I can use the Penultimate handwriting app on my iPad to take notes during a meeting. When I am done using Penultimate I can hit the “send” button and put the notes I just took into the Evernote notebook of my choice. To me, the Trunk is to Evernote like gadgets are to Batman—indispensable and extremely useful!
- Easy to Use
- Syncs across multiple devices
- Allows for Audio & Pictures to be captured in notes
- Searchable notes
- Share-able notebooks
- Premium version required to allow others to modify documents
Give Evernote a try, you won’t be disappointed and don’t forget to visit the Trunk while you are there.