Glen Stansberry is a web developer and writer who has been blogging about creativity and organization since 2006. He currently writes about finding creative balance with productivity at LifeDev, a website devoted to helping creative people create.
| Name: Glen Stansberry
Profession: Writer and web developer
Why I Use Evernote
Like many creative professionals with multiple roles and job titles, keeping track of the day-to-day things necessary to keep my life running was a nightmare…until I found Evernote. Prior to discovering Evernote, I was completely spread out using way too many different tools in far too many places.
My workflow looked something like this:
- Voice messages of random thoughts recorded using my iPhone were stored in my voicemail
- Things I wanted to reference or read later were saved across social bookmarking sites
- Random ideas were spread around various paper notebooks
- Drafts of business plans were stored as text documents in a bunch of different locations on my computer
When I actually needed to find what I was looking for, I would waste entirely too much time just trying to figure out where I’d put the stuff. My thought process was nearly the same each time “Did I record that idea on my phone, or was it in a notebook somewhere?” This was followed by me searching in a bunch of different places until I finally found it. Evernote takes the guess work out of my day. It’s comforting knowing that everything I might need in the future is searchable, always available and stored safely in one place.
Here are a few ways that I use Evernote to manage different aspects of my work.
1. Design research
Design projects require a lot of research. I’ll create a notebook with the project’s title, then collect inspirational sites and text documents of design ideas. I can also easily snag screenshots with Evernote, then I add some annotations to the note with relevant thoughts. I’ll use text notes to add client feedback, or I can simply forward emails straight into that specific notebook for future reference.
2. Idea generation
When I’m drafting ideas for new businesses or web applications, I’ll often use a regular paper notebook. As much as I love the way pen and paper feel when drafting ideas; paper notebooks aren’t that great for archival purposes. To get around this, I simply take a snapshot of the paper and upload the photo to Evernote.
Ideas can also come when I don’t have a notebook handy. When that happens I’ll use Evernote’s voice note feature to record quick ideas on the go.
I’m funny when it comes to writing. Oftentimes, I’ll outline a post in a text editor, while other times I’ll just make a note in Evernote with the title and maybe some bullet points for ideas. Regardless of where I start my writing, I’m always sure to have a copy in Evernote, backed up and available to work on whenever I’m ready.
4. Finances tracking
Before Evernote, I would try to hang on to receipts in a physical folder. This didn’t work out well. Now, I snap a picture of the receipt and upload it to Evernote in my “Business Expenses” notebook. If it’s an online purchase, I’ll email the receipt straight into that folder as well. Simple and easy.
5. Daily Planning
Lately, I’ve been using traditional paper notebooks to plan my day. I love the way it feels to write, and how I can do expressive things with pen and paper that I can’t do on a computer. But (again) as good as pen on paper feels, you sacrifice a lot of versatility when you use it to plan your day. It’s not easily stored, you can’t back it up or search it, and most importantly for me, you can’t track your progress over time.
So here’s how I use Evernote for daily planning. I still use my paper lists throughout the day and mark items off as they’re done. At the end of the day, I’ll take a snapshot of the list and upload to Evernote with the date as the title. If I want to know what I did on July 23, 2010? I just search for that date in Evernote.
Make Evernote Work For You
If you’re looking for ways to improve your Evernote workflow, check out Evernote Essentials. It’s a fantastic resource for getting under the hood of Evernote and getting the most from the service.
While my system is far from perfect, it’s a huge improvement over the way I used to work. Evernote just simplifies everything and it works great for me, give it a try and see if it works for you.
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