Tuesday, July 19, 2011

I Love Evernote So Much, You Don't Even Know...

I have just about the worst memory in the world.

Okay, that's probably an exaggeration. but it's not that far off.  My grandfather has a terrible memory, my dad isn't too far behind him, and I can tell that it won't be long before I'm in the exact same boat.

I think it's accelerating with each generation.  If I ever have a son, he'll probably have Alzheimer's before college.  It's depressing!

Does this sound familiar...you think of something you need to do, and then NO MORE THAN 5 SECONDS PASS and you've completely forgotten what that was.  No matter how hard you try to remember, it's gone.

Welcome to my life.

I tried a lot of different ways of keeping everything in one place...I tried storing files on Dropbox (which I love, btw).  I tried emailing myself everything I wanted to remember.  I tried calendars.  I tried all of the different to-do lists online and nothing quite seemed to work for me until Evernote.

Rather than go over the features like a step-by-step tutorial, I'll just tell you how I use it...let me know in the comments if something doesn't make sense or if you have questions.

I spent about an hour and a half per day in the car driving back and forth from work.  I have a LOT of thoughts during that time.  Since I'm driving I can't exactly send myself an email or write anything down, but that's where the Evernote Android app shines.  I just tap an icon on my phone and it starts the voice recorder.  I just say whatever I want (keeping my eyes on the road) and when I'm done I tap the Save button.  It's instantly uploaded to my inbox for me to review later.

It also has a one-tap button to take a photo, and any text in the photo becomes instantly searchable in Evernote.  If you either don't have a scanner or you don't have one handy, a quick photo accomplishes the same thing since you can search the words in photos.  If you see something in a store that you want to look into later, just snap a photo into Evernote, it will be there next time you open it up.

For me, I spend all day putting things into Evernote (voice notes, photos, text notes, emails, etc) and then the first thing I do when I get home is look in my Evernote "inbox".  Anything that requires action I do or put in a queue, everything that's for future reference gets tagged and put away.

For example, anything I buy, I'll download the user manual for it, tag it as "user manual" and forget about it.  That way if I need to find a part number or something 2 or 3 years from now I'll be able to find it with no problem.

Another handy use is anytime I have to call into a company, whether it's my cell phone provider, the local electric utility, or scheduling an appointment with the vet for my dog, I just open up Evernote and start typing the details of who I'm speaking with, what time it is, and what we discussed.  Then I tag it and forget it.  If I ever need that information, it's right at my fingertips wherever I am, thanks not only to the desktop app but all of the mobile apps they offer.

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