I love Evernote! I love it because it works, and it works well for me. Evernote is the place I store nearly every piece of important information that comes my way. While I could give a list of the top fifty or a hundred uses of Evernote, I want to share how Evernote has made me more relational, intentional and prepared for some of life’s curve balls.
If you have never given Evernote a try then begin with a couple of these suggestions. I don’t think you will regret the time invested. In fact, if you are like me, the more time you invest with Evernote, the more possibilities surface for its usefulness in managing the daily barrage of information that comes our way. Give it a try, and you just might find yourself managing less, and creating more!
Giving Thoughtfulness Substance
Before Evernote, I relied on my memory to remember when family and friends expressed an interest in a product, piece of clothing, or some event. That part of my “memory” failed me nearly regularly. Now, I use Evernote to help me create thoughtful and memorable gifts for others. If I am out with my wife, and she points to something she really likes, I take a picture of it. That picture goes directly into Evernote geotagged so I know exactly where that item is physically located. Later on in the day, when I have time, I quickly tag and file the picture as a gift idea for my wife. I continue to collect these gift ideas the moment she expresses interest in them. When it is time to give a gift, all I do is look at all the gift ideas tagged in Evernote and pick the one I want to get. Thoughtfulness with substance!
Turning Ideas into Innovation
The problem with great ideas is that they not only come but they also go. Before Evernote, ideas became like empty wishes that I would never fulfill. The principle reason for not following through with these ideas was because I would eventually forget them. With Evernote, I never forget an idea. As soon as an idea occurs, I enter it as a note on my phone. That note automatically gets filed into an idea log on Evernote. I now regularly review my ideas to decide which one I want to act on this month which often becomes my “One Thing” for the month.
I now have a number of different idea logs. For instance, when I am reading or listening to something, I am often inspired with an idea for a blog post. I quickly enter the basic information of the idea, where I received it, and then file it away as an idea for a post. When it is time to compose a post, I check my idea log and pick from the dozens there. No more scrambling for ideas!
I often thought that I didn’t have any good ideas. Now, I realize that it wasn’t a lack of ideas, but rather that I never recorded my ideas. If you believe that you don’t know what you want to do in life—or even for the next month—keep an idea log and be persistent in its use. You will quickly realize that you have a bounty of ideas for a more meaningful, purposeful, and passionate life! What you need is to become aware of your ideas by recording them.
Making Recreation Intentional
“What do you want to do?” “I don’t know. What do you want to do?” Hours have been wasted with friends and family with this give-and-take game of “recreating to nowhere.” Now, with Evernote, I record every recommendation someone gives me—whether a book, restaurant, band, music, movie, wine, event to attend, or any other suggestion. When someone says, “Hey, have you ever seen/heard/been to/tasted…” I immediately get my phone and begin to type the recommendation. This goes directly into Evernote with a screen click and is automatically filed as a recommendation. When the question, “What do you want to do?” comes up, I check my recommendations on Evernote, and I immediately have a list of great suggestions.
On Christmas Day of 2014, my wife and I received our great blessing for the Boettger family—the birth of our son. (The best Christmas present ever!) Since that day, we’ve been trying to keep memories which we never wand to lose. While all the pictures and videos are managed through Photos on my Mac, both my wife and wanted to keep up with all the “firsts” of baby life. While I’ve tried a number of stand alone applications, I kept returning to Evernote because of its simplicity. Whenever there is a moment to remember, I simply record it on my iPhone and send it directly to Evernote with the appropriate tags. If our son makes a super cute sound, I record it on my iPhone with one tap, and send it directly to Evernote with one more tap. When my wife and I want to review all those great firsts (and even listen to them), I open Evernote and select the “memories” tag and filter by our son’s name and year.
Embracing the Unexpected
In the summer of 2013, my wife and I were privileged to spend two romantic weeks in Maui. At the same time, we were on the cusp of closing on our new home. About midway through our holiday, we received an urgent phone call from our mortgage company stating that they were missing a critical document which would disqualify us from the loan if not received within 24 hours. In addition, they quoted an interest rate that was higher than what they initially gave us. Fortunately, before we left for vacation I had scanned every possible document needed by the mortgage company into Evernote. In addition, I kept a call log, including the actual recorded conversation, in Evernote with a record of every important conversation pertaining to this matter. Instead of ruining our holiday in paradise, I calmly found the document in Evernote within 30 seconds, sent it to them along with the recording of them quoting me the original interest rate. I politely commented that this should be more than enough information to correct their errors. Everything was resolved on our end within three minutes—on their end within an hour.
While the demands for documentation can be unnerving, scanning every document into Evernote keeps an ongoing communications log for all important documents and phone calls. With thoughtful tagging, everything becomes easily and quickly accessible. My Evernote call log has saved me countless hours and thousands of dollars. Most importantly, I have significantly reduced the stress of the “unexpected” in my life, enabling me to live more in the present even in times of urgency.