Name: Philip Weiss
Profession: Chairman and Chief Hyperthinker ZN, co-founder of TEDx Brussels and Chairman of IABC Europe
Location: Brussels, Belgium
Personal Blog: http://hyperthinking.net/
While a student in Philosophy, Politics and Economics at Oxford University, Phillip Weiss had already launched two college magazines, started the first student radio station on a full FM license in the UK, and – last but not least – received the Young Achievers Award from the Queen of England. Back in Brussels he set up ZN, a leading eCommunications agency that works with companies, political institutions and other organizations, teaching them how to use the Internet to integrate and transform communication. His ‘Hyperthinking model’ was developed to enable the ZN team and their clients to manage rapid change and innovation, and to adapt their strategies and structures to the Internet age.
I Use Evernote, Everywhere
I’ve been an Evernote User from the Beginning. I have used Evernote from the day the app launched. At ZN we work on new communication challenges, and we are always looking for new tools to enhance and change the way we communicate and engage online. Evernote is one of these new tools, and we were quick to try it out.
Evernote is my external brain. From my personal to professional life, I have a lot of different things going on, and it all comes together in Evernote. Any kind of information, from photos to audio, I will put into my Evernote account. It’s my to-do list; my digital brain. It’s the central place for me to capture and access notes on any topic. Evernote stays open on all of my devices most of the time.
Evernote for Authors
Evernote was a key tool for me in the process of writing my book, HyperThinking: Creating a New Mindset for the Age of Networks. Evernote offers us an opportunity to organize our ideas, thoughts and projects differently. It provides us with amazing opportunities to keep track of more information and to do more with it. But to do so, we need an open mind and we need to experiment and continue to learn. This is part of the mindset I describe in Hyperthinking. There are many tools available but they can overwhelm and confuse us. In order to use these, we need to be open, to have the right mindset.
Step 1: Gathering
When I started writing and gathering content, notes and insights that would later go into the book, I worked in a Word-document, but that was far too complicated as it grew in length and content. Then I started to put the content straight into Evernote. The main advantage is that I can put all my ideas, photos, things I see on the street, or read in the newspaper, into one central place, using tags to organize them with minimal effort.
What I find very useful in Evernote is that when I thought of an idea for the book whilst I was travelling, I would record it with my phone, and then tag it in Evernote. I would then process it later. For this, I created a default notebook called ‘untagged’ where all the stuff I haven’t tagged goes, so I know it needs to be processed.
The same applies for the occasions when I read a story in a magazine or paper. I would take a snapshot on my phone and also tag it in Evernote. When I had a random thought that might be relevant later, I would note something, again with a tag. By tagging all these different types of content, I could easily find it again at a later date.
Step 2: Drafting
I kept each section or chapter heading in draft form in Evernote. By doing this, I could add notes and lines when I had time to write. Sometimes I would write an entire section as a note to be reviewed later.
Step 3: Planning
I use Evernote as a planning tool, so I added tasks and notes about what needs to be done: NOW, NEXT, SOON, LATER. I borrowed this approach from a site called thesecretweapon.org which combines the methodology of David Allen (known as GTD or Getting Things Done) with Evernote.
This is one of the best applications of GTD and provides a good and reliable structure to capture and act on your task list. It captures all the things you have to do into one system, and then helps you to prioritize it. I can also put important and relevant emails straight into Evernote by forwarding them and converting them into tasks. I now also use a script from IFTTT that coverts flagged emails into Evernote tasks automatically.
Obviously the topic of the book, HyperThinking, was all about using new technology and capturing different ideas to be more effective in the age of networks, so you could say Evernote was a native ‘hyperthinking’ tool.
A Tip for Evernote Users
Just use it! We are exposed to all this new information and with Evernote you can link everything you are doing. Notes, meetings, pictures, it brings it all together.
The way you use Evernote is very personal, meaning it can serve you in any way that works best for you – it’s up to you to find out how to get the most out of it.