I carry around a backpack just about everywhere I go. It’s a mobile office of sorts. Packed in it is at least one laptop; sometimes two, a wireless mouse, an iPad, chargers, headphones, and whatever book I’m reading. Until about a month ago, also packed away in my backpack was a black leather binder with a legal pad that represented my to-do list. That was until I decided to give Evernote a trial run: an app to designed to remember everything. I haven’t written in a legal pad since.
When I started using Evernote, it was specifically to replicate digitally the to-do list I already had. I was tired of carrying around a big binder and notepad. I generally had one list with two sections, personal and professional, separated by a fat line I drew with a Sharpie. The system I’d developed was relatively effective. Tasks went on the list when I remembered them and off the list when I completed them. Pretty straightforward.
Except that I didn’t always have my list or easy access to add items to it. At a business lunch, the legal pad was usually in my car. And if I had it, it’s awkward whipping out a legal pad at the restaurant table to writer a reminder to pick up dry cleaning. On the plane it was stuffed under a seat or in the overhead. Not convenient. Ever carry a legal pad to the restroom with you? Or try jotting down a few things you remember you need to get done while pretending to listen to someone drone on about a dream they had the night prior? It’s just rude when you make it obvious you’re not listening.
It’s a hell of a lot easier to add things to your to-do list as you remember them, and Evernote makes that easy peezy. Within days I had Evernote on my phone, iPad, laptops, desktop, and Mac mini, which is hooked up to my main TV. My legal pad was now literally accessible everywhere I went because I am rarely without an electronic device not connected to the Internet. Except the shower.
Even better, though, Evernote was my legal pad on steroids. Being a creature of habit, I initially just replicated the to-do list I was using with an Evernote list. Then I separated the personal and professional to-do lists. Then I separated the professional to-do list by each of my different business interests. Then I learned that Evernote went well beyond to-do lists.
I’ve recently added an ongoing grocery list I share with my fiancé and can reference at the grocery store, thus replacing the system I had in place of perusing aisles seeing if anything jogged my memory. I’m now using Evernote to share task lists, documents, and ideas with employees that all of us can add to, edit, and delete notes from. Yesterday I used the Evernote web clipper, an extension built into a standard web browser, to take and share screen shots of products on Amazon I needed feedback on before purchasing. Throughout the week I’ve been using Evernote’s Outlook plugin to save emails that are really tasks that need to be done. And most recently, I became addicted to the feature that allows me to automatically load contacts into my address book and connect with someone on LinkedIn simply by taking a picture of someone’s business card. It’s pretty damn impressive.
Occasionally I come across something that I just have to share with everyone, getting nothing in return. This is one of those times. Most of you have heard of it. Some of you may have downloaded it and never used it. But I’m telling you, if you give Evernote a chance, there aren’t many people I know that couldn’t use this to simplify or organize their mind.
With its flexibility, Evernote is the kind of product that has enormous potential to be used creatively. If you’ve used Evernote to make life more manageable or to creatively solve a problem, chime in and share. I’m looking for more ways to integrate this handy app into my life.