When it comes to workspace organization tools, it always seems to come back to Evernote. It’s got a great fully-functional free version as well as premium version, it integrates across multiple devices, it’s easy to use, and it’s versatile.
Wow, is it versatile.
And yet, lots of people who use Evernote every day don’t use half of its features.
Of course, it’s nice that you can customize Evernote to your own use by utilizing select features — but don’t overlook these simple ways to organise your life with Evernote:
5 Ways That Evernote Will Make Your Life Easier
1. Email to Evernote
So much of our lives is channeled through email, from payment confirmations, to project notes, to contracts.
Forget downloading, screencapping, and uploading to Evernote — you can send any email directly to Evernote in a couple of clicks.
You can even assign them to the destination notebook(s) of your choice, right from your inbox.
The first thing you need to do to use this feature is locate your unique Evernote email address, which you’ll find in the Account Area (it’s located on the Sync tab on iPhone and iPad, Settings on Web and Android, and Account Info on Mac).
Copy it and paste it into your address book, and you’re ready to go.
On its most basic level, all you have to do is forward a message to your Evernote email and hit Send. Your email will go directly to a default folder.
However, there’s a simple trick that will send it to any folder you like: On the subject line, type the @ symbol followed by the folder name.
So, if @Invoices is in the subject line, it will go right to your Invoices folder.
You can add tags, too. After specifying the destination folder(s) (yes, you can specify more than one), add tags to the subject line following the #.
You can use this feature for more than forwarding messages.
Jot down quick notes in email and send them to Evernote. Send items from sites like Pinterest or Youtube via the Share option, and use it to import photos and videos from your phone to Evernote.
2. Scan to Evernote
With paperless becoming a way of life for many professionals, Evernote makes a fantastic file cabinet. You can easily import your receipts, business cards, and documentation in PDF form, and clear the clutter.
What makes importing PDFs to Evernote any different from keeping them in a folder on your hard drive?
Aside from the fact that you risk losing them if they’re not backed up on a cloud like Evernote’s, PDFs on your hard drive have the disadvantage of being non-searchable.
So, if you should forget the name of that colleague who gave you his card a few months ago, but you remember the town he does business out of, you can’t search by the town name — only the filename.
Not so on Evernote.
When PDFs are imported using the Scan to Evernote tool (a Premium feature), they become automatically searchable.
This is even the case with images that include text. You don’t have to scan the documents directly into Evernote (a Premium feature for Mac users) — any PDF on your hard drive will become searchable on Evernote.
To add PDFs to Evernote, simply open the notebook you want to keep the file, locate the PDF(s), and drag-and-drop into the notebook.
To scan future documents directly to Evernote using a Mac, select Evernote as the destination in Image Capture when configuring the scan — the Evernote plug-in was automatically added to Image Capture during installation.
3. Chrome Clipper Extension
Sort of like a cross between a bookmarking tool and a screencapping tool (but with far more functionality), the Chrome Clipper extension makes it super easy to save and organize anything from the web, from news articles to videos.
Clipper integrates with web pages to allow you to select part of a page to save, save a copy of the entire page, a screenshot, or a bookmark — it even has a feature that will simplify an article for you by getting rid of all extraneous text (such as ads) before saving.
If you’re big on notes, you can add comments and markups to the page before saving or sharing.
Other nice features include the ability to save emails that have been cleared of ads, and the option to save the page or selection as a PDF.
To use Clipper once it’s installed, click on the Evernote elephant icon on your extension bar.
The dropdown box will display your options. Choose the destination folder and add comments or tags, and click Share.
Once the save has been processed, a new window will appear that allows you to share the item instantly, either directly or on social media (or both).
This is a tool you might not think you need, but once you start using it, you’ll wonder what you did without it.
4. Photograph it With a Smartphone
You have one of your most powerful organizational tools right in your pocket — assuming you’re not using it to read this right now: Your smartphone.
Or, to be more specific, your smartphone’s camera.
If you only access your phone for holiday snaps, you’re not using your phone — or Evernote — to its full potential.
What sort of things should you be photographing and filling in Evernote?
Things like gas receipts and dinner bills, which clutter your pockets or bag and get lost easily, are simple to copy with your phone — and it’s quicker than scanning (you can still convert the image to PDF to benefit from the Scan to Evernote features).
But where your phone can really change the way you work with is by using it to capture things that inspire you.
If something — anything gives you an idea, shoot it and send it to Evernote.
A product that could be improved, a design detail, a billboard for a company you might want to do business with. You no longer have to rely on a good memory when you utilize the camera you carry with you literally everywhere.
5. Using tags and stacks
Tags are one of the simplest ways to organize your notebooks. When you think of tags, you probably think of hashtags on Twitter. That’s a good way to look at it.
If you want to see tweets about a certain topic, you search the hashtag keyword.
On Evernote, the same method can be used on a smaller, more organized scale. It allows you to easily find and view items in your notebooks without adding a lot of time for sorting.
Tags sort themselves.
If you think the few seconds to add tags isn’t worth it, give it a try for a few weeks, enough time for to fill a notebook with a good amount of items.
Not only will you be glad you did it, you won’t be able to go back. Skipping the tags is like throwing documents into a file cabinet without sorting them alphabetically.
Stacking notebooks allows you to keep similar notebooks together, whether they’re different parts of a single project, different projects for the same client, or notebooks that have the same theme, such as Travel or Family.
This makes for a less cluttered dash, and makes notebooks easier to find.
To create a stack, simply click and hold the cursor over a notebook and drag-and-drop it over another notebook to stack it.
Some people prefer a stacks-based method. Others to keep fewer notebooks that are organized by tags. A combination of both can be very effective, especially as you accumulate more and more notes and notebooks.
What’s best about Evernote is that you can evolve your organization style as you go.
How do you use Evernote? Share your tips and tricks in the comments.
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