How to Use Evernote

How to Use Evernote

by on 18/03/2014

How to Use Evernote
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If you don’t know how to use Evernote, then this video is for you.

I use it in two major ways. Firstly, to store all sorts of reference material that I want now, all that I might want in the future.

Think of it as having a massive filing cabinet, which also has, incredible, built-in, searching and filtering abilities.

Evernote’s search lets you find absolutely anything you have stored away, blisteringly fast.

Time Management

The second major way I use Evernote is for time management.

If I want to know what I’m doing for the day – I look at Evernote.

If I know I need to do something, but it’s not quite top priority – I put it into Evernote, and add an appropriate tag.

“Tag”, you say? Yes, tags are at the heart of using Evernote to manage your time.

I have a couple of dozen tags that help me manage my time brilliantly.

In fact, using Evernote I manage my time better than I ever have done with any other system.

It’s easy to use, easy to learn, and very portable – it’s on all my devices.

I strongly recommend you give it a try. It is definitely one of the favourite programs I own.

Read Transcript

How to use Evernote

What you will learn

  • How it works
  • Why it’s one of my top 5 apps
  • How to use it:
    • As a filing Cabinet
    • For task management
    • For project management

How it Works

A free version of Evernote is available, which has most features described here. The paid version has a few more useful features, notably you can edit your Evernote notes on your smartphone or tablet, which is very useful. I’ll be assuming you have the full features in this presentation.

The major features of Evernote are its:

1. Notebooks, 2. Notes, 3. Tags

First of all, let’s look at the notebooks.

Notebooks

Evernote consists of scores, hundreds or even thousands of individual notes contained in notebooks you create.

Each one of these notes can be tagged with tags which, again, you create and which help you group together certain notes.

EN is very flexible, and users vary in the number of notebooks and tags they create.

Personally, I find that fewer of each is definitely best.

“Fewer” notebooks

I like to have a fairly small number of notebooks: I mainly use 3, one for all my miscellaneous filing, and 2 which I use for time management. They are called:

  • Filing
  • To-dos
  • Completed

A new note goes into one of these notebooks. You can choose which one. You have a default notebook for new notes to be added to: but you can change this.

So, that’s notebooks, pretty much.

Some users use different notebooks for different subjects, or different businesses. But I find that tags are best for that.

I’ll tell you how I set Evernote up, but feel free to come up with your own implementation.

Now let’s look at the second Evernote feature: notes.

Notebooks, Notes, Tags

Notes

Notes are at the heart of Evernote.

Anything added to Evernote goes in as a new note, or you can add it to an existing note.

You can add a note directly into any version of Evernote – desktop, smart phone, or tablet versions.

There are so many ways of adding data to Evernote that I have found it leads you to brand new ways of working. It’s really that powerful.

You can get notes into Evernote either

Directly

…by typing, or copying and pasting, into a new note.

Also, if you have EN open in a smartphone or tablet – you can take a picture or record audio…

Type, Copy/paste, Take picture, Record audio

…from within a note which is added directly to the note.

Additionally, you can send data to your EN from a

Browser

… such as Firefox by using a “Send to Evernote” button which is available as an add-on.

Outlook

…by clicking the “add to Evernote” button

(Addons allow you to do the same from Gmail)

You can also send data by:

Email

…to your dedicated EN email address. This drops it into your EN for you, because every Evernote user has their own Evernote email address linked to their EN.

An email sent to this email address is added to your Evernote as a new note. This is useful when you want to save information in an email for future reference. And sometimes it’s useful to be able to send data from one of the many device applications which, more and more, have sharing capabilities.

… or you can add data to EN by using hotkey combinations on your desktop. To do this, select any content in any document and then press the:

Hotkey – “Ctrl Alt V” …

…which pastes your selection to EN as a new note

This immediately creates a new note in Evernote containing the data you have highlighted.

These are some of the ways you can add data.

After using EN for a while, you will choose your favourites – which you’ll probably use every day.

Other features of “Notes”

Simple formatting

You can use bold, italic, bullets etc

Check boxes

Which you can tick when things are done

You can also use…

Hyperlinks

…either to other Evernote notes – or to documents on your hard drive.

This is brilliant – especially when you have one central project note in which you link to all the main Notes and documents which relate to that project. Now, let’s look at the third Evernote feature: tags.

Tags

Each note in Evernote can be tagged with as many “tags” as you like.

But in general:

Less is more…

As with my recommendation to use few notebooks, I also advise you use as few tags as you can get away with.

The reason for this is that the search filtering in Evernote is usually sufficient to find what you are looking for – without having tons of extra tags to sort through.

In fact, too many tags just end up confusing things.

Free example, if you save something relating to a holiday, did you tag it holidays? Trips? Argentina? You can soon end up with multiple tags for the same thing.

Many people – including me – have ended up with hundreds of Evernote tags which are just overkill.

I deleted all those and now I’ve ended up with about 50 tags plus the ones I use for time management.

After using Evernote for a little while you will begin to learn when you can rely on search and when adding a tag would be genuinely useful.

For example, some tags I find useful are:

For personal use:

  • Local dining
  • London dining
  • Recipe

…and for business:

  • Hosting
  • Video
  • Website Speed

These are some of my 50 or so non-time-management related tags.

How do you choose when to tag and when not to? I’ll go into that detail elsewhere: but, basically, you will learn by using Evernote yourself.

Now let’s move on to time management. Most people do not use Evernote for managing their time.

But quite a few people do, and have written about it.

Personally, I have found it has been revolutionary for me in managing my time.

This is made possible by a specific set of Evernote tags just for time management.

Time Management tags

Evernote tags lend themselves to be used for time management.

To do this, a note is created for each Task, or To do, and then tags are added.

Eg: To do =  “Make an outline plan”

Then add a

Tag for Priority eg “Now”

Tag for Project “HeyMalc Project”

Easily see the tasks you want..

…now you can easily see the Tasks from the project “HeyMalc Project” with the priority “Now”, by clicking two tags: the Project tag and the Now tag.

Pressing control on a desktop computer allows you to click on two or more tags.

I will look in more detail at using Evernote for time management later in this presentation.

Evernote: a top 5 app

If I had to start my Internet marketing career from scratch Evernote would be one of the top 5 programmes I’d want. Maybe the others would be Firefox, Excel, Word, Illustrator.

What do I like about Evernote?

  • It will store any random data I need

…each piece of data is stored in its own “note”.

  • I can retrieve any data rapidly

…because Its search facility is blisteringly fast and its filtering is second to none

  • It’s on smartphone and tablet

… which means that I can add and look up data anywhere, any time.

I can also use downtime – maybe on a train journey – to read reference material I have filed in EN, or do any “housekeeping” tasks, such as checking my tags, and deleting any I don’t need any more.

Admittedly, Evernote on devices is not quite as easy to use as on a desktop. But it is still very useful, and constantly improving.

It is perfect for time management

I use EN to manage both my tasks and my projects. It is brilliant for this.

You may have heard of David Allen’s excellent time management system, Getting Things Done. I tried to apply this for years but only had success when I combined it with Evernote – in a system I call Timology.

Next, let’s have a look at Evernote’s commonly used features.

How to Use Evernote

It can be used as…

A filing cabinet

You can store data in many forms

Examples of data I typically capture, include:

  • Web pages
  • Random notes out of my head
  • Films I want to see
  • Places to go locally, or in London
    • … which is close to me

You can easily find anything

…in EN, if you either make sure key words you are likely to search for are within the notes,

…or you use appropriate tags.

Many people only use Evernote as a filing cabinet. And it is a very useful one.

But an additional use for Evernote is to use it to manage your time. Let’s have a look at how Evernote can be used to help you manage tasks you need to do and projects you are involved in.

For Managing Tasks

If you create a few, specific tags in Evernote, this makes it very easy to prioritise your tasks. You can also change those priorities easily as your needs change – simply by changing the tag.

Task priority

What you do, in summary, is:

  • Create each task as a note
  • Assign it a priority, using a tag

The priority tags I use are:

  • Now
  • Next
  • Soon
  • Later
  • Sometime

Keep adding new notes until you have added all your to dos and prioritised them with one of those tags.

So every to do, or task, needs one of these priority tags.

I like to have about 5-6 tasks tagged “Now” at any one time…

Keep “Now” to 5-6

.. to help me maintain focus. If I have more than this, then I switch the “Now” tag for the tag “Next” or “Soon”.

Most important tasks?

When you are ready to get down to work, you just need to click on the “Now” tag in Evernote’s tag tree, and you will see all the to dos which you have marked as being most important.

View all “Now” tasks

…and

Work through them

When you have completed a to do, either delete it or move it to a “Completed” notebook, if you wish to keep it for reference.

Keep “Now” topped up

During your working day, if you run short of “Now” items, then simply add some more by changing the tag on some of your tasks tagged “Next”, from Next to “Now”.

These are the basics of managing your tasks using Evernote and my system called Timology.

There are other refinements to the system which I will go into elsewhere.

But for now, let’s touch on another vitally important topic for time management – managing projects

For Managing Projects

Most people in small businesses are working on multiple projects at any one time.

Keeping track of these can be a real challenge.

But it is an essential part of any time management system.

Tags come to the rescue

To help keep track of projects using Evernote, the best way is to create one Evernote tag for each project.

You might like to start it “P” so you’ll know what it is.

Then, you tag everything you add to Evernote related to that project with its project tag. These can be:

Filed project support material

…which is kept in the Filing notebook. Or…

Tasks relating to a project

… which all get tagged with the tag you have created for that project.

Using EN, you can easily filter out all the filing relating to a particular project; all the tasks belonging to the project: or everything relating to a project – filing and tasks.

Filtering just takes a couple of clicks: I’ll cover this shortly.

Next, more detail about your project support material.

Filed Project Support Material

When you find something in your researches that will be useful for a particular project, you need to file it somewhere. The “Filing” notebook of Evernote is often perfect for that purpose.

If you have found something useful information for your project, simply capture it to EN and tag it with the project tag.

Tasks relating to a project

Have you suddenly had an idea for a new task you have to do for a project?

Enter it in a new note, tag it with the tag for that project – AND add a priority tag.

Because all tasks need one priority tag, such as: “Now” or Next”.

If you add a task to EN, then tag it appropriately.

Now let’s look at:

Managing project-related tasks

…You need to be able to know exactly which task you need to do, and in which order.

You can simply select all the tasks you have in EN relating to the project, and adjust their priority tag to suit your schedule.

I said I’d look at filtering EN by combining tags. This is how you do it.

  • Combine Tags
  • Click on the To-do notebook
  • Click on your Project tag
  • Press Control and click the “Now” tag

Now you have filtered out all the To dos, or Tasks, for that project which have the Now tag.

Now, by combining project tags with priority tags you can see exactly what the most important tasks are for each project. With a bit of practise this will soon become second nature.

A final benefit of using EN for managing projects is to get up to speed after a break – because you have been concentrating on other projects or perhaps you have been away on holiday.

Getting back up to speed quickly

For every project I recommend you have a…

Project Master Note

This records exactly where you got to with that project. It also links to the main documents I am using to manage the project.

When you want to pick up a project from where you left off, then look at your Project Master note to quickly get up to speed.

Of course, this relies on the fact that when you have finished with the project for a session, you

 Make a note of where you left off

…in your project master note of exactly where you have left off.

This is very well worth it as it will save you loads of time when you return to it.

Keeping a note of exactly where you are with a project, and noting down all the documents relating to that project enables you to utilise what I call:

Project switching

In other words, having the ability to switch from project to project when you need to with hardly a pause for breath.

Extend Evernote – with Apps

Because of its popularity and widespread acceptance many companies have created apps which integrate closely with Evernote and extend its abilities.

Apps for business and productivity

These range from business and productivity to lifestyle and travel. Whatever you want to do, there’s an app to help you which works together with Evernote. There are literally hundreds of apps in total – for PC, Mac, smart phone and tablet.

For example

 SwiftKey

… for iPhone and iPad.

This offers suggestions for your typos, and it learns to be more accurate, based on your selections. Excellent. And…

 Primadesk

… for Android, which lets you link Dropbox, Facebook, Flickr, and half a dozen other online services with your Evernote.

Apps for lifestyle and travel

LikeWhere

for example, is a desktop based app which learns to tells you where to go in a new city, based on what you like in cities you already know.

MySMS

… is for all devices and will save every new text message you receive to Evernote.

More Apps

For more ideas, check out the Appcentre at

http://Appcenter.evernote.com

Evernote is Perfect

Evernote is perfect for storing any type of random note which you want to find later.

Store NOTES about anything

As well as…

Images, video, audio… and…

Manage your time using Evernote too

Evernote, when used with relevant tags, will enable you to manage both your tasks and your projects highly effectively.

Then, you can…

Extend Evernote with Apps

After you have worked with Evernote for a while you will find some of the apps will make using it easier and faster.

Other apps will add functionality to help with your work and your other interests.

Evernote is for everyone!

It’s not exaggerating to say that Evernote is at the heart of my online life.

Whenever I want to record something, plan something, or remind myself of something, it’s almost certainly in Evernote.

Evernote is such a useful program that I think absolutely everybody could benefit from using it.

 

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