Wednesday, March 23, 2011

So noted: 20 things I'm doing with Evernote now

They say the more you use Evernote, the more you'll expand what you're doing with it. That's certainly been true in my case. I've been using it to help prepare speeches and presentations, as this CEO does (and I like his method of storing quotes, anecdotes and the like in their own notebooks, ready for searching later). I've been using my list of 8 ways with Evernote for communicators, especially for my client projects. But Evernote's becoming a bigger part of my utility belt, allowing me to handle more personal and professional tasks. Here's a sampling:

  1. Writing ebooks. I have a couple of ebooks in the works and I have a notebook for each one, with "notes" for the chapters, as well as for background material I want to include but haven't organized yet. When they're ready for copyediting and proofreading, I'll share the notebook with my assistant.
  2. Planners for customized media trainings. Many of my clients want a twist on traditional media trainings, with customization that might include specific examples of media interview gaffes in their subject area or field, as well as specific situations their company, university or nonprofit will be facing. Those notebooks include all the background they send me (from media coverage to internal memos), as well as video and audio examples I want to share, my slides, and any handouts or exercises we'll be doing.
  3. To-do lists. I don't make too many such lists, but I do keep a running list of client deliverables and deadlines in Evernote. And more important, I have a running to-do list for my virtual assistant.
  4. Shopping lists, so they're always in my smartphone--in fact, I dragged a link to this notebook to the main screen of my smartphone to save time in the store. I keep lists of staples I buy regularly, as well as a running list for what's needed now.
  5. Short audio records of things that I need to take note of, like how many miles I drove on a business task. This works great when you don't have an extra hand, let alone a pen, to jot something down. Evernote has partner services that will transcribe such notes, make them searchable or let you record Evernote audio by making a phone call. You could make your to-do list this way, or record the gist of a meeting by talking into your phone as you leave the building.
  6. Longer audio "notes" from interviews, conversations, and speeches I'm listening to. The option to have these transcribed or listen to them later is turning out to be very useful for me.
  7. Vital documents have all been scanned into Evernote. I never need to worry about having lost a passport, driver's license, birth certificate, whatever--they're all stored here, and are accessible around the world, as long as I can get to an Internet connection, or my smartphone. A great peace-of-mind option and one that means I don't need to be scattered in an emergency. It's all in one place.
  8. Contracts, estimates, invoices and administrative paperwork all have their own notebooks.
  9. Documents I want my virtual assistant to work on, from spreadsheets to reports, all are put in shared notebooks. It's a two-way inbox and library, all at once.
  10. Recipes. I don't share what I'm eating on Twitter. I share what I'm cooking. And I've never really liked clipping recipes or setting up recipe files on various cooking websites. Evernote has let me scan old paper recipes into notes, using the wonderful and compatible Doxie portable scanner, and anything I see online gets easily clipped with my desktop Evernote setup.
  11. Wine library.  Same deal with wine labels--I never liked soaking them off the bottle and saving them, or keeping a wine journal. Now, I use my Evernote mobile app to take a photo of the label. That's it. Any text on it is completely searchable, so I can find that odd varietal in seconds or remember what the label looks like when I'm in a store.
  12. Inspiration notebooks. Doesn't matter whether I'm redecorating a room in my house, working on a sculpture or coming up with a new content strategy for a client. These notebooks include photos, audio, articles, quotations, prices, sources, lists and more--they are where I "collect string" until I'm ready to work. Again, getting them into a notebook means I don't need to waste time looking for them later.
  13. Travel. I have a notebook for every trip, into which receipts, reservations and resources go. Places to which I travel frequently get their own notebooks that corral all the things that let me act like a local, from event calendars and running maps to which sushi restaurants deliver to which New York City hotels. If I have my eye on a restaurant for a client lunch or need a meeting room or manicurist when I'm on the road, it's in here. This notebook benefits from my ability to email things into Evernote, so if I get a travel offer or event notice in my email or RSS feed, it can be sent right into the notebook with appropriate tags and deleted from my inbox.
  14. Music. I've taken up learning how to play guitar, and when I can, I travel with a smaller-size guitar to keep my practice up. I have handwritten sheet music scanned into this notebook, along with models of guitars I'm looking at for my next purchase, tips my instructor has shared, a full list of specs for my guitar. All that means I can practice in a hotel room without toting additional books and papers.
  15. Panels and speaking gigs. In addition to the fodder for speeches noted above, I keep notebooks on panels I'm helping to organize--which can be shared with co-organizers--and on my own speaking gigs. Those sometimes include scans of room layouts, slides, information on the on-the-ground tech contacts, maps and other logistics information. When I've taken notes from conferences, I create them in Evernote and if needed, can share that notebook with friends, clients and colleagues.
  16. Coaching resources. When I'm coaching a communications staffer in writing, media pitching or public speaking skills, I often want to share specific fact sheets and resources based on her particular needs. I keep those "handouts" in notebooks based on the coaching topic, and can email them directly to my coaching client. My collection of good writing examples lives in the writing coaching notebook, too.
  17. Organization tools. I'm always on the lookout for coverage of new tools, software or gadgets that will help improve my productivity, and they go in this notebook. It's the one I'll read on a flight or train ride, when I have time and distance from my office to contemplate new workflow options.
  18. User manuals. For those user manuals that don't live online, I have a home here. For the online user manuals, I have a list with pointers and the actual model names and numbers.
  19. Medical histories. That might be for me, for my car, or for anything that needs repair and maintenance. The detailed services and checkups get scanned into the right notebooks, and then I have a searchable record of what happened when.
  20. Big-ticket purchases. When I'm considering a new computer, television, car or other major purchase, I send news and inspiration into this notebook, and ask my assistant to research and input other options. Then I can sit back and review them all. When I'm ready to pull the trigger on the purchase, I know what I want and why I want it.
What are you using Evernote for? Share your ideas in the comments. I'm an Evernote affiliate, and you can sign up for a free or a premium account by clicking on the "clip" button below.

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