Tips & Stories

Evernote Employee Inspiration: Meet the Idea Man, “Mr. Evernote”

Evernote Employee Inspiration: Meet the Idea Man, "Mr. Evernote"

Posted by Pamela Rosen on 18 Aug 2016

Posted by Pamela Rosen on 18 Aug 2016

 In this series, we spotlight employees and the clever and creative ways they use the product! Get some inspiration from Evernote insiders.

In a way, Josh Zerkel is “Mr. Evernote.” As head of the Evernote Community and Certified Consultant programs, it’s Josh’s job to spread the word about Evernote to groups around the world, and he designs programs to bring fans together to meet and learn from each other. It’s the perfect job for him. He’s such an organization expert that people who design Evernote come to him to learn new ways of using the product. In turn, Josh never stops thinking up and sharing innovative ideas.  

Josh Zerkel burger photo

Josh loves burgers so much he keeps a guide to the best hamburgers in the world in Evernote.

A connoisseur’s guide using Evernote

“I’m a bit of a foodie, and I love to travel,” Josh says. “I keep lists of every place I’d like to eat, anywhere in the world. I’m always looking at food resources and researching restaurants. It doesn’t matter where in the world they are. I’ll find a way to get there someday. And when I do, I’ll be ready.” Josh uses Web Clipper to pull together as much information about restaurants as he can, then merges all of the clippings together into a single note. That way, when he travels, he has a ready-made, personalized restaurant guide on his phone. “When I’m ready to go, I drag the notebook for that city into my Evernote shortcuts, so the information is front and center,” he adds. “That’s a huge time-saver.”

Sharing the love…through notebooks

But Josh doesn’t keep his curated lists to himself. Since his job (and his passion) is to evangelize Evernote, he sends his notebooks to friends and acquaintances who want them. “I’ve lived in San Francisco for a long time, and I’ve come to know the city well. I have a note that I call Josh’s Picks of favorite restaurants, activities, and things to do in San Francisco ready to go so that I can share it easily. I’m a burger aficionado, so I have a list of favorite burger places organized by price point.”

Burger restaurants organized by price point? What kind of person organizes to that level? A Certified Professional Organizer (CPO) does, and that’s how Josh came to Evernote in the first place. He was the owner of Custom Living Solutions—a company that worked with small businesses on productivity and organization, systems for managing time, tasks and organization. “That’s how I ended up at Evernote,” Josh relates. “I was a customer first. After awhile, I became the first Evernote ambassador, and I went around and taught people cool ways to use it. The app became a core part of my business. Eventually, I wrote a couple of books about Evernote. 

Josh’s pro tip: Keep all of your tasks in one long list. Evernote lets you put a checkbox next to each item, so you can mark it when it’s complete. Don’t go into details, just jot down the task. If you need more details to complete the task, you can add note links to your list. For example, if you need to send someone else to do some grocery shopping, just write a checklist and send it in Evernote. If a significant other isn’t sure which brands to buy, link the list item to a note containing photos of the products you can collect over time. That way, you’ll never get the wrong brand, size, or product again. Your list stays clean and simple, but all the details are only one click away.

Perspective and gratitude

Josh’s natural tendencies to organize himself and others around him has parlayed into a successful career that has taken him all over the world and made him one of the world’s premiere Evernote experts. It isn’t lost on him that he’s been very lucky, and has a lot to be thankful for. And to keep track of just how much, Josh, of course, turns to Evernote.

“I use Evernote to keep my gratitude journal,” he says. “At the end of each day, I write down things that went well or things that I’m thankful for. It’s the last thing I look at before I go to sleep. It helps to put my life in perspective.”

Another thing that helps Josh stay productive all day is to collect things in Evernote that bring him joy. He uses either the Web Clipper or the email function to keep a note full of pictures of cute baby animals. “It’s proven that it reduces stress when you look at them,” Josh added. “So I send the note to people who’re stressed out. They make people smile.” Josh encourages all customers to use Evernote for business and for fun.  “Anyone can start a similar note,” Josh advises. “Keep an archive of whatever makes you happy, and go to it whenever you need a pick-me-up. Aside from all your work and study and all the things that keep you busy and productive, Evernote can also be your Happy Place.”



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17 Comments RSS

  • Gabrielle Fishman

    I love that Evernote can be your Happy Place! I hadn’t thought of that, and I’m making my happy place note now. Kittens and puppies, oh my!

    • Moe

      Hi Josh. I read this post and was wondering if you can please elaborate on the way you use EN for tasks. I find that if I use one note and the check boxes, I will have a mess with a list going on and on for pages… How do you do it all?

  • Daniel

    I communicated with Josh during my Evernote Certified Consultant process – he’s certainly a man on top of things – probably thanks to using Evernote 🙂

  • Brett Nord

    Great article. When I read about “Josh’s Picks” I was hoping that the note was hyperlinked…YAY! It looks great..thanks for sharing the info and the aggregated picks.

  • Ken

    Awesome post! Josh shared his baby animals link with me last year…

  • Mike

    This is my third attempt at posting after Firefox and chrome on android or and chrome on iPad wouldn’t work (keyboard playing peekaboo).
    Todo lists… But if you do a single list, how do you keep track of what you finished? I tag a task-based note with ‘todo’ and when it’s done, ‘todone’. That way I can easilly see a nice flat list, just as if I had a single note and I can retire, not delete, old tasks. This does also allow for sub-tasks with the task-based note.
    Does anyone else find grabbing links for notes a bit of a chore…? I am glad that feature is at least included in the android app, although combining notes is not…

    • Phillip

      That’s because if you are serious about productivity, a simple list is absurd. Linking items together this way just hides the mess and makes it more complicated to manage your items.

    • Richard Johnson

      Sounds like a great approach. Can you give us a link?

  • Geoff Short

    Thanks for the tips! I’ve started merging notes into one long note where it makes sense! Also love the idea of the Evernote Happy Place!

  • jeffrey cohen

    i am a very poor user of evernote..I love the idea Josh has on the to do list..but where do I set it up and store it?
    if this is really dumb, I am sorry:)

    • Karen McCamy

      @jeffreycohen: Evernote confuses some people because it is essentially a “blank canvas” and a lot of people I recommend it to don’t know where to start…

      My suggestion to you for implementing the To-Do Checklist Josh talks about is to create a Notebook called “Action” or “to-Do” — I keep my business and personal Notebooks separated, so in this case I would make 2 To-Do lists, one in each Notebook stack…

  • mike

    I love links also, I just wish there was some way to insert them on the iPad and iPhone.

  • DTLow

    I don’t agree with “Keep all of your tasks in one long list”
    I have many tasks
    – some are future dated, and I don’t want to see them until due
    – once completed, I don’t want to see the tasks anymore
    I need different views of my tasks
    – current task list
    – tasks by project
    I’ve found its better to keep each task as a separate note, and use tags and saved searches
    I can produce a single list by using the copy links feature

  • Deanna Ashby

    Hey Josh. I love the article but I wanted to let you know the link in the email from Evernote was dead. Fortunately there was a button on the dead link page that took me to your blog and with a little scrolling I found the article. I love the task list idea. I am actually suffering from a medication that claims to cause amnesia! I forget everything including where I wrote that down… I’m truly depending on Evernote to keep me sane.

  • Robert James Wood

    An old English teacher told me many years ago (50) that it is easy to write five lines a day. Sometimes you write more but if you make sure you write five lines every day you will be very surprised with the results. It improves your memory, typing skills, writing skills, and many other side benefits

  • Robert

    Great article. When I apprehend about “Josh’s Picks” I was acquisitive that the agenda was hyperlinked…YAY! It looks great..thanks for administration the advice and the aggregated picks keep it up.

  • Janine Sarna-Jones

    Josh, you always have such great ideas about how to use Evernote. I love thinking of it as a stress reducer!