If you look in the Mac App store under the “Productivity” category, you will find over 4,000 apps listed. (I don’t know the specific number for Android apps, but I imagine it’s in the same range.) With so many apps designed to help you save time and get more work done, it can be difficult to make a choice about which ones to use.
However, if I had to boil it down to one app that I consider absolutely essential, I would choose Evernote. Evernote is a popular note-taking app that has quickly become a favorite of anyone who deals with lots of information.
In this post, I want to share five specific problems you can solve with the power of Evernote:
1. Evernote solves the problem of paper clutter.
In the modern world where we seem to live on our computers and smartphones, we still deal with a large amount of paper each day. From handwritten notes and meeting agendas to junk mail and bills, you must figure out what to do with all the paper that comes your way. If you don’t have a system for dealing with it, you’ll end up with piles of paper that clutter your desk, briefcase, and kitchen table.
You can get rid of paper clutter by transferring information from the paper into Evernote. You can type the content, take a picture, or scan the paper and save it to Evernote. I personally use the Fujitsu ScanSnap s1300, a great little scanner that works perfectly with Evernote. You simply put the paper in the scanner, push the button, and it sends a PDF file directly into Evernote.
2. Evernote solves the problem of lost ideas.
Have you ever been away from your computer, and suddenly had a great idea for a blog post, song, or other type of content? Did you have a convenient way to record the idea before it slipped away?
Evernote is a great solution to this age-old problem. If you use a smartphone (and who doesn’t these days?), simply use the Evernote app to record your idea, and it syncs automatically to your Evernote account. You can record audio, write text, or take a picture. Then you can forget about it because you know it’s saved until you need it.
This is a simple yet elegant solution that gives you the peace of mind, knowing that your ideas will be there when you need to access them.
3. Evernote solves the problem of lost information.
What happens to all your content once you get it into Evernote? Fortunately, Evernote’s incredible search features will help you locate your ideas once they’re stored in the app.
I currently have over 5,000 individual notes in Evernote. I’ve been using the app on a daily basis for several years, so I’ve built up a large collection of data. This includes text, pictures, scanned documents (including handwriting), attached files, and other types of data. But I’ve almost always been able to locate what I needed within a few seconds.
In my day job as a Professor at a Christian college, one of my responsibilities is directing our Chapel services. We recently needed to change the air filter in one of our projectors, but I couldn’t remember how to change the filter. Fortunately, I had scanned the projector manual into Evernote a couple of years ago and was able to locate the PDF file within a few seconds on my phone.
This is only one example of countless times when Evernote has helped me save lots of time by allowing me to find an obscure piece of information quickly.
4. Evernote solves the problem of saving material from the internet.
The main Evernote app is a wonderful tool, but what makes it even better are various related apps and browser extensions. Perhaps the most powerful extension is the Evernote Web Clipper. This free tool allows you to clip material from any website directly into your Evernote account. You have several options for what to include in your clipping: the full web page, the main article, a link, a screenshot, or just the text.
In addition, you can do several other things with the clipping:
- Mark it up with various tools, icons, or text.
- Save it to a specific folder in Evernote.
- Add tags or comments.
- Share it on social material or via email.
Click here for a demonstration of the web clipper.
5. Evernote solves the problem of scattered information.
Consider the various types of information you deal with on a daily basis. There’s email, meeting notes, scraps of paper with handwritten notes, articles, documents, material from the internet, and other random content. Is there a way to organize this information in a way that’s accessible and makes sense?
With Evernote, there is. The foundation of Evernote’s organization is the notebook system. All your data in Evernote lives inside a note, which is similar to a document. Notebooks are the containers for notes. You can create as many notebooks as you need (up to 250), but you don’t need an endless number of them because of Evernote’s powerful search features.
The wonderful thing about Evernote’s handling of information is that you can dump almost kind of information into a note. For example, you can create a notebook for a specific work project and store all of the relevant notes inside that notebook. For example, that notebook could include emails, pictures, text, documents, audio files, web clippings, links, and almost any other type of information.
The beauty of this system is that you can collect all of the related data and put it in one location. Instead of having to hunt for information related to a project in various places on your computer, you can keep it in one place. This mirrors how your mind thinks and reduces the time you spend looking for important data.
In summary, it’s a rare thing to come across a digital tool that does so many things well you’d call it “indispensable.” However, Evernote has quickly become a truly indispensable tool in my digital arsenal, for all the reasons I’ve listed and many more.