Tips & Stories

5 Ways Evernote Maximizes Your Organizing Potential — Guest post by Lorie Marrero

Posted by Lorie Marrero on 07 Aug 2009

Posted by Lorie Marrero on 07 Aug 2009

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Lorie IMG 041 Name: Lorie Marrero
Profession: Creator of ClutterDiet.com and author of The Clutter Diet: The Skinny on Organizing Your Home and Taking Control of Your Life.
Blog: The Clutter Diet
Twitter: @clutterdiet

Part of Evernote’s Summer to Unclutter Series

I have always enjoyed figuring out ways to create shortcuts and live more practically and simply. I started working as a Professional Organizer in 2000, but I saved up my allowance to buy a label maker when I was ten, at about the same time the teacher started asking me to stay in from recess to help other kids organize their desks.

The Clutter Diet is like “Weight Watchers for your house.” We have helped thousands of people in nine countries to affordably get their homes organized for about the price of a pizza. Earlier this year our book was released, entitled The Clutter Diet: The Skinny on Organizing Your Home and Taking Control of Your Life, available in all major bookstores. Now on to the list!

5 Ways Evernote Maximizes Your Organizing Potential

It’s amazing how this one organizational tool reinforces so many concepts that we teach our clients. Here are a few examples:

1. Evernote gives everything a home

Quick—can you tell me where your underwear is? I bet you can. Most people have a special drawer for their underwear, and most people know exactly where their toothbrush is, because those things have a specific home. We teach people that virtually everything in your house can have its own parking spot so you can find things quickly and easily. Evernote provides a home for every piece of random information you run across. Now you know where to look!

2. Evernote is everywhere

We professionals teach a storage concept called “point-of-use.” The idea is that you put the laundry soap next to the washing machine, and you store the pot holders right next to the stove or oven. Evernote works because it is available at all of your points-of-use, unlike your paper filing cabinet or even your My Documents folder. You can add to or access your Evernote data from your own computer’s desktop, from your smartphone, and from any computer via the web.

3. Evernote is great for lazy people

I always tell people that I am organized because I am lazy—I create systems because I don’t ever want to do things the hard way! Organizing reference information in the traditional ways is difficult. With Evernote, you just throw things into your notebooks, tag them with all of the related keywords you like, and search for them later. No big decisions, no guesswork, no doubts.

4. Evernote Helps You Make Quicker Decisions

All clutter, whether it consists of physical items or mental distractions, is about delayed decisions and actions. Your ability to get and stay organized is directly related to your ability to make decisions!

Ambiguous reference information slows people down because they face these questions and decisions in order to do something with it:

  • Should I keep this? I don’t need this right now, but I might need it later…
  • Where should I keep this? Should it be printed out and filed in my drawer? Should it be a Word document or an image file?
  • What should I name this? Should I title it “Car insurance” or “Auto insurance” or “Geico?”
  • How will I find this later? How am I going to remember what I named it and where I put it?

With Evernote, these decisions are no longer obstacles. You title it, tag it and forget it.

5. Evernote improves over time

I teach that the mindset of continuous improvement is one of the hallmarks of an organized person. One thing I love about using Evernote is that nearly every time that I search, I find things that I forgot I had and am delighted to rediscover. I continuously improve my data by adding better tags to notes as I run across them again. As you learn and expand your interests, you realize that there are more tags that help tie things together. Traditional paper filing systems don’t have this capability, and those systems typically begin to deteriorate immediately.

I use Evernote to…

Some of my favorite uses of Evernote include: capturing gift ideas, books to read, phone call and meeting notes, web pages, articles, tips and recommendations from friends told to me in passing, favorite quotes, blog ideas…I could go on and on…

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36 Comments RSS

  • René Cum

    Evernote make me remember all the stuff i used to forget, helps me to keep me organized.
    It makes my live easier!

  • Monica

    I have always said I was organized because I was lazy, too. Just never heard anyone else use it.

    Thanks for your article.

  • Karen M

    I especially like point 5 – evernote improves over time.

  • Ann Landau

    Great post! You covered all the things that I do or don’t do…

    Can I scan stuff to my old desktop PC and send it to Evernote? That is where my Scanner Printer is connected. My Evernote Premium resides on my MacBook but if I am going to organize, I need to use my scanner. I think I would send it to my Evernote email address, right?

  • David

    @Ann
    No need to send via email. Check out the Evernote blog post on 7/7 regarding Snapscan. Even if you don’t have a snapscan you should be able to set up your device to send the PDF right into evernote! You can install Evernote on you PC and your Mac. The document will sync with your online account and all of your devices! Mac, PC, smartphone, iPhone, etc.

  • Mario

    My picture should be next to the word “lazy” in the dictionary. I use Evernote to organize all of the information I find on the web for my various interests: photography, digital image processing, and travel. I used to keep paper notes with this info and I could never find it when I needed it. Now I have it everywhere I go: home, office, Blackberry. Laziness pays.

  • Howard

    Evernote is the best “organization” tool I’ve ever used. I now know where all my: software licenses, tips & tricks articles, reading lists, quotable quotes, recommendations for doctors, service providers and maintenance reminders are. Speaking of where they are, they’re wherever I am – Mac, iPhone, even my PC.

  • Alex

    Symbian support is needed for the point 2 – “everywhere”. N-series and E-series are great tools that would fit into this philosophy perfectly.

  • Dan

    Here something I love – I am going on client site and keep a list of preparation details, outstanding issues, etc to resolve before on onsite. I also have a set of procedures I build, test and will us onsite. All these are perfect to create and edit on the big screen, but carry around and use on my iPhone. On-the-go getting those last items resolved – it’s with me. A knee-board when I’m checking off those procedures – yup, got it with me. AND, I love this – I feel safer. If I lose my phone, it’s a web page away.

    Needs Improvement – don’t like that when I format a document nicely on the web, I can’t edit it on my iPhone. Better editor there please :)

  • Mathew A. Koeneker

    Great post and tips. I agree that the more that I have used Evernote; the more that its organizational system has jelled for me.
    mak

  • Ross LaRocco

    I’m from Wisconsin, and I used Evernote at an Apple Store in Las Vegas to remember a solution to a problem that I was having with an external hard drive connected to my MacBook Pro. I didn’t even have it with me, so I quickly jotted down what the Apple Store employee told me. Came home pulled the note up and it fixed my problem!

  • Sumocat

    “I always tell people that I am organized because I am lazy” — I’m always telling people the same thing too! There’s some misconception that organization equals being a hard worker. I say organization makes my life easier, which is great because I’m lazy.

  • Funny t-shirts

    disorganisation and procastination make me my own worst enemy! thanks for the tips, very helpful

  • Ruchi

    point 5 is the best, thanks for this

  • Wes Williams

    Great advice, we need to remember to reduce clutter, even in a virtual world.

    ~wes

  • Jack

    I use evernote to keep organized It’s the best tool to keep organized that i know of

  • Beth

    I use Evernote for my favorite recipes. I can bookmark Evernote in my Kindle internet app, and have all the ingredients handy when I’m at the store! I don’t have an iPhone :(

    I don’t exactly know how it works, but it works great with a Kindle!

    • Tony

      Hi Beth, do I understand it well, that you open just thi Evernote’s webpage in Kindle? Or do you use something more sophisticated?

      • Steve UK

        Would be really interested to know if I can use Evernote on my Amazon Kindle (Christmas pressie permitting!) This, I have to say, would be bloomin’ brilliant, especially if you can assign tags and do basic viewing/moving etc.

        Do tell us more, Beth!

      • Courtney

        Yes! I’m new to Evernote and loving it! I just got the Kindle Fire for my birthday and have Evernote on it already. Downloading the Evernote app and widget for Android to try out on my smartphone next.

  • Nick Hurd

    The story is interesting and really very informative…Thank you…

  • Dave M

    WOW amazing tool.
    It certainly is helpful for my daily very busy multitasking day.

  • Ariane Benefit

    LOL Lorie! I have always said I was organized because I was lazy, too. I don’t want anything to take more steps or be more complicated than needed. And if I can say NO to it…even better! Great tips on Evernote…Sounds like an evolution of VulcanNotes…which I have used since windows 95! I will check it out and maybe upgrade!

  • Bobby

    Great post! I use Evernote in many of those ways. I have my lazy tendencies, too, but even with my GTD system, Evernote makes it easy to navigate and, well, Remember Everything… I don’t even need a filing cabinet anymore — it’s entirely in one (heavily tagged) notebook (you can check out my implementation here: http://www.40tech.com/2009/08/25/getting-things-done-gtd-in-evernote-with-only-one-notebook/).

    The point about constant improvement is also spot on. I have been using Evernote for about a year or so now, and it has improved leaps and bounds (especially in its mobile interface for Windows Mobile) and continues to do so. I found the earlier implementations of Evernote (pre 2.5, I think) and it is like night and day. Not only did Evernote cause me to throw out the insanely over-complex OneNote, but I have literally badgered everyone and my mother to sign up too.

  • Liverpool FC

    Great post, although I always seme to be eager to discover more about how people organise with Evernote.

    I try to keep my tags to a minimum to allow me to view all notes for specific tags. Is that what everyone else does, or do you prefer a scattergun approach for search purposes?

    Also, I try to avoid the quick capture method for web pages as this just stores the url of the page and not the actual content on it. Not only does this mean that its not accessible on an offline device but I’m also wary of websites going offline.

    • Shane Phillips

      I usenvernote to take a pico f my work schedule so I always have it. If there is a change n my schedule I make a note of it. I am shredding all the paper I don’t need too trying to organize my room

  • Saunders Jones

    Imagine if Evernotes automatically tagged items!! Say you are looking up Iphone info on the web. Evernote would scan all your existing tags, and if there is a match with any word in the web clip, it would so tag it! Some mis-posts would happen, but it sure beats having to tag every clipping.

  • laura

    Saunders,
    when i use my spotlight search (on mac, but i’m sure there’s a windows equivalent) it searches my evernotes. a big time saver.

  • Christian

    laura,

    Evernote integration with Spotlight search is a godsend. The more closely Evernote is integrated into the Apple ecosystem, the better. And so far, no other app of its kind comes close.

  • Donna

    I love Evernote because I read and research lots and take lots of notes. I used to use paper notebooks, but the problem is the more notes you have, the harder it is to find what you are looking for. I would love to see better integration with the Flock browser though. Currently web clipping, which I make heavy use of doesn’t work with Flock. The iPhone app needs lots of work too, in order to make it really useful. But I hope that this will come in time considering how popular the iPhone is.

    Thanks for your great article, I love to hear how others use Evernote, especially a pro! Makes me feel like I’m on the right track with my own usage.

  • Keith Chastain

    Thanks a bunch for sharing this… it was truly inspiring! I would be very interested in learning how you use Evernote for phone call and meeting notes? Thanks again!

  • Lorie Marrero

    @Keith Chastain: Hi Keith, I just take notes on my Evernote desktop application while on the phone, and on my Blackberry if I am in person meeting with someone, and I tag them “phone notes” and “meeting notes.” I can search for the person’s name or whatever. It’s automatically date and time-stamped, which is super-handy. Does that help?

  • Sandra Gulland

    I use Evernote for research, but am discovery its personal uses. For example, I take photos of business cards and put them into Evernote. Handy after a conference.

    Sandra Gulland

    *****
    Website: http://www.sandragulland.com/
    Blog: http://sandragulland.blogspot.com/
    Facebook: http://tinyurl.com/3xzbgv
    Twitter: http://twitter.com/Sandra_Gulland

  • GisliM

    Very cool now I can organize ,=) weird smiley, whatever.

  • Shane Phillips

    I use Evernote to take a pic of my schedule at work so I will have it forever

  • Victoria

    Why can u not expand the print size ? A la iPhone finger squeeze expand/contract…so valuable to Save the Eyes!!!