Ayatomo, a single parent of 3 children, is the Kyushu Representative Director of NPO Fathering Japan. He writes a newspaper column about parenting and uses Evernote to manage details about work, housework, and parenting. Ayatomo refers to his parenting style as “cloud parenting,” because of the role that Evernote plays in his everyday life.
I use Evernote, Everywhere
Evernote For Work and For School
I initially started using Evernote to draft my newspaper column because I wanted to save drafts online and access them from anywhere. Then I started scanning all the important papers my kids were bringing home from school using Fujitsu’s ScanSnap scanner. I realized I needed a tool to organize all the paperwork, and Evernote was the perfect solution.
Now, I save everything to Evernote: school notes, recipes, pictures, written drafts, presentations, holiday cards, lottery tickets, home appliance manuals…every piece of paper I come across. I automate the process as much as possible. Appliance manuals are often available online as PDFs, so I have set my computer settings to automatically send these PDFs to my Evernote account. I first save everything to a general notebook and later, when I have time, sort my notes among different notebooks such as “Kids,” “Cooking,” and “Drafts.”
Most recently, I started scanning my children’s old textbooks because there are precious doodles and notes inside that I want to keep. I plan to start scanning in their notebooks and summer projects as well.
Keeping Evernote at the center
At our house, we have an iPad in the kitchen on the fridge. It is very convenient for managing our schedules together via Evernote. We used to have papers and notes all over the fridge; those are gone now.
When cooking, I search for recipes in Evernote as I look for whether or not I have the ingredients in the refrigerator. If I happen to have all of the ingredients for a particular recipe, I bring up that recipe to use right in the kitchen. I maintain a shopping list that I can pull up from the iPad on the fridge, too, so I always have an accurate list of what is needed. Since I started doing this, I never forget to buy things anymore and have decreased duplicate purchasing of things I already have. Having Evernote up on the fridge has been incredibly useful. I assure you that anyone can do this; we actually just use tape to hold up the iPad!
Search in Evernote
Evernote is like an online scrapbook. You don’t have to organize everything you put in there, and since there is no limit to what you can upload, you don’t need to pick and choose. That, and the excellent search, are two of the most valuable aspects of the tool for me. For example, you can do ambiguous searches (like search for the letter ‘O’) that may uncover notes you have probably forgotten about. Most of the files I save I probably won’t ever retrieve, but the time I do need something, I know Evernote will always find it for me.
I’ve tried many different online photo-sharing sites, but they were all hard to use. I found that Evernote, with its strong search functionality, is the best. Since I take most of my photos using my iPhone, I use EverPicture to automatically put my pictures into a photo stream and upload them to Evernote. I then add tags or captions. I tag each picture with the name of the child that is in the photo. I also use these photos in my column on parenting, so being able to quickly search and find the photos I want to use saves me a lot of time.
For Evernote newbies
Instead of using many different services that do one thing, I focus on Evernote, which lets me do many things. The more I put into it, the more useful it becomes. It really is my second brain. For those just starting, I recommend saving anything that comes to mind. How that content becomes useful will become apparent later.