When I was searching for a task management solution over a year ago, I read a lot of different advice from various different sources before finally settling on Trello. I’d read about and tried Bullet Journaling, I’d used Toggl a little to track my projects, but at the time, Trello was simple enough and powerful enough to cover everything I needed.
A few articles I read described how they used Evernote for everything, some to manage their entire business, from property development to professional writing. I’ve tried out Evernote a few times but always felt like you needed to be really organised yourself to make the most use of it, and for a long time I haven’t really been an organised person.
Now though, I am almost a changed man and take pleasure in organising many things in my life, even my emails to some extent! With that in mind, a few days ago I started using Evernote for a few different things.
I’ve tried journaling on a number of occasions and rarely felt like I was achieving anything from it. I managed it in my teens for a little while, but since then only in fits and spurts that lasted a month at the most.
I think the problem I really had with journaling, was that I didn’t know what my goal was, I didn’t have a goal except to just write something.
When I decided to take it up again, it was because I’d been talking to my wife and lamenting that I didn’t seem to have an easy way to keep track of the different things I had tried or done each day. If I wrote them down in a paper journal it wouldn’t be searchable and I wasn’t likely to go back and re-read page after page to find a single insight. That’s when I suddenly remembered Evernote and my journaling habit was reborn that day with a goal; recording the highlights of each day, conversations, searches, thoughts, ideas, accomplishments.
I don’t like keeping bookmarks in my browser and for a long time I would bookmark something, never to look at it again. This is partially because the bookmarks don’t give away enough information on what they’re about, being mainly text and the site logo, so I lost interest in viewing them again.
With Evernote, you can use the webclipper to grab a section of the page (or the whole thing) and save it to a notebook on any topic.
While looking for a new flat, I clipped about ten properties I liked into Evernote and if I needed to see any more detail then I could click through back to the site itself. It’s a very handy and visual way to manage bookmarks, I can see myself using this tool more often.
I’ve also clipped some articles under a Commercial Analyst notebook, which describe market research methods and analysis.
Although I am developing the daily journaling habit, I also sometimes have thoughts or ideas that aren’t really fleshed out, which I would like to revisit and develop further later on.
I dump these into the First Notebook that Evernote starts with and add more detail to them as more thoughts occur to me. Being the first and default notebook, it is almost seamless to swipe open the app, jot a note and close it, safe in the knowledge that I can check it again later. I will probably figure out a way to file these better later once the ideas in the notes are further developed, but I’m happy to start small and build my way up.
There are many more ways of using Evernote to increase your productivity and be organised, I’ve barely even begun. Others are using it with GTD systems, you can attach images and PDFs, I think you can even make to do lists with due dates, which could potentially usurp Plan as my random task app of choice.
Anyway, I’m going to provide updates on my progress with Evernote and how helpful I find it as things move along. Stay tuned!