I spent several hours this weekend setting up my Evernote account. I can’t lie — I’m a woman obsessed.
What is Evernote? Well, basically, it’s the best way I’ve found yet to keep track of all the shit I look at online.
Here’s the thing: I’m plugged in to a lot of devices. I’ve got the work computer, home computer, Android phone, and iPad. And while it’s so convenient to always be able to access the web, staying synced across all those devices is really challenging. I’ll read something on my phone or iPad (where I typically read blogs for pleasure) and then I’ll waste a ton of time looking for it on my home computer because I can’t remember exactly how I saved it. Did I bookmark it? E-mail it to myself? I don’t knowwwwww!
Up until this point, I’ve been using two systems to bookmark content I want to access on all devices: starred items in Google Reader and Pinterest.
Starring items in Google Reader is a great solution…except it doesn’t work for items I don’t read via RSS — a considerable amount.
Pinterest is fabulous for creating inspiration boards of related items…except the app and mobile experience just doesn’t work, making it impossible to use on iPad or on my phone. Pinterest is also a more public experience, and some things I bookmark I don’t feel like sharing with the world. Also, Pinterest is great for sharing pictures, but text and links? Not so much.
That is the view from my Evernote dashboard on my home computer. I also have it installed on my work computer and I have the apps on my iPad and my phone.
How I use Evernote:
1. I set up different notebooks for everything imaginable. Recipes. Fonts. Weddings. Christmas. Lots and lots of notebooks! I’m always adding more.
2. When I find something I like, I create a new note in the appropriate notebook and add the item. I can add entire blog posts (there is a toolbar plug-in that makes it easy to do from your desktop), links to blog posts, pictures I see online, pictures I take (this is great when I take a picture on your phone of something I want to remember for later!), Tweets, text notes I type, notes I write on the iPad with a stylus…pretty much anything and everything I could ever want to revisit later.
3. I tag the note. Tagging is a great feature and it’s key to staying organized. You can have tons and tons of specific tags. So when I want to find something, I can just search your tags. Where is that cute serving tray I saw last year? Searching through tags like “at home” and “entertaining” and “dishes” will help me find it.
OK, still with me? Let’s break it down even more.
Sometimes I put similar items in one note. My Christmas notebook could have one note that is a bunch of pictures and links to Christmas recipes. But I probably won’t do that because I know that I’m going to have a ton of Christmas recipes and it would be too messy to have it all in one notebook. If that’s the case, I have two options:
Option A: I can create a new Christmas Recipes notebook and make each recipe an individual note.
Option B. I could create individual notes in the Christmas notebook and add tags like “recipe,” “cookies,” “Christmas cookies,” “recipesthatgetyouwifed,” or “I get fat just looking at this but OMG!” Then come December, I can just go to those tags to easily find all the recipes I’ve been saving.
The best part?
It’s all stored in the cloud, so no matter where I add a note, it’s automatically there on my other devices! So I’m no longer left searching for something I read on my college laptop a year ago when I’m on the go.
Even if you’re not a multiple device person — even if you only use one computer and still have an AOL e-mail address (hello, Mom!) — it’s still worth it to have one place where you save things. It’s way more organized than any bookmarking system can be, and when you eventually get a new computer/switch from AOL to Firefox/lose your phone/get an iPad, you won’t lose all your stuff.
You can also share notes with people via e-mail and social media. So if you’ve got a sweet “recipesthatgetyouwifed” notebook, you can just click a button to share it with your friends, and you have the option to let them add to it too. Yay collaboration!
There are also tons of Evernote apps, so once you start using it, you can find apps that help you do even more specific things that may be exactly what you need while in college or working in your industry. They are posted on the Evernote blog and there are some pretty amazing ones.
Evernote is free up until you start uploading too much content. Putting a ton of high-res pics into notes will use more space, but even if you have to upgrade, a premium account is only $5 per month. $5 per month!!!! So cheap for what you get.
I’m no early adopter; they have like 10 million users already. But I never knew exactly what it was, so I just got on board.It’s so nice to have a visual scrapbook of everything I want to remember that I do online. I don’t have to print stuff, e-mail it to myself, or wonder where I bookmarked it. I spent a large chunk this weekend cleaning up all my old bookmarks on all my devices and getting them into one place. Nerdy? Yes. But organization + great design + technology gets me off.