Two Super Easy, Helpful Ways I Use Evernote Every Day

…“but I called you several months ago, and you were really helpful.”

Actually,  did remember – in detail.

I remembered exactly when she called, and how long it took me to call her back. I remembered what she needed, and the resources I’d given her when we talked.

I remembered it all because I had a record of the entire thing – in Evernote.

WHAT IT IS.

Evernote is a cloud-based information management tool that you can set up to to sync with all of your devices. Make a note on your phone, and it’ll be there on your laptop too.

It can be many things to different people. In fact, if you explore their site in depth, you could get overwhelmed just by what is POSSIBLE with this amazingly useful digital tool.

On the other hand, even at the still-free Basic level, there are simple ways you can use it to make your life easier right now. (And I’ll show you how.)

Evernote is easy to learn, because it has only three levels of organization: Notes, Notebooks and Stacks.

  • You start with a “Note”, on anything you want.
  • If you have several notes on one subject, you can group those into “Notebooks”.
  • If you have several notebooks about one thing, you can group THOSE into “Stacks”.

HOW I USE IT.

I use Evernote as a catch-all for any ideas or information I want to capture or keep. That includes anything from favorite recipes to car maintenance logs. I grab screen shots of websites I like, and keep a list of books to read.

It’s been a GREAT place for business brainstorming.

But there are two key ways I use it every day.

The first is Client Care.

I create a running “Note” for each client to track all of our work together: calls we’ve had (or missed), issues to address, their goals and homework.

Over time, this becomes an incredibly helpful history. I can easily review everyone’s progress, see where they’re getting stuck, or successes they might have forgotten.

The second is for a “DRE”, that is, a “Daily Record of Events”.

This is a “Note” I create each month, modeled after the “DRE” I once used in a FranklinCovey planner. I keep this open on my desktop during work hours, and use it every time I check voicemail or make a call.

Inside each note, I list the days of the month. Under each of those, I keep a running list of all of my calls (and sometimes, general to-do’s).

Click here for an example of what that looks like after the first week of the month. (More about that below.)

Of all the ways I use Evernote, these DRE files have been among the most powerful  – and useful – for me.

TIPS for SUCCESS

In case you’re worrying that this sounds like one big pile of digital mess, this is how you keep it all straight.

1. Group stacks in logical ways.

I have some stacks for business (DRE’s, blog ideas), some for home (gift lists, recipes, vacation plans), and others for reference files (resource links, receipts).

2. Create and use templates whenever possible.

At the start of each month, I go to my DRE Notebook. Inside it, I click on the note I’ve labeled “DRE – Template”, and copy and paste into a new note. I do the same thing with new Client Care notes.

3. Use consistent labeling.

All of my DRE files are labeled “DRE – Year.Month”, so this month’s is labeled “DRE – 2016.08.” That way, they’ll show up in order, and I can easily find what I want.

4. If you’re visual, use color coding.

As you’ll see in this example, I use this a lot in my call notes.

Bright blue means I haven’t taken any action at all yet. Black means it’s been taken care of. Red means I’ve called them back, but there’s unfinished business that I need to address.

5. Use formatting or abbreviations you prefer.

In my notes, r/c means “returned call”, and “LVM/TAL” means “left voice mail, try again later”.

That’s different from “LVM/WCB”, which means “left voice mail, will call back” – a signal to myself that I’ve tried enough and the ball is in their court. :)

6. Use TAGS to keep track of random information.

If you have 43 notes in your “Business Ideas” notebook, label each one with relevant tags as you go. It will be easy to find them later, whether they’re ‘organized’ or not.

7. Create an Inbox. 

Have one notebook where all notes are stored until and unless you file them in their logical place. (This is where tags will save you – trust me!)

READY to GET STARTED?

  1. Go to Evernote.com, and set up your Basic account.
  2. Create some basic notebooks starting with broad themes like Business, Personal, Reference. You can change this all later.
  3. Begin experimenting by adding notes under each one.
  4. Use, experience and adapt as you go.

If you want to learn more, you can find plenty of help here.

Do YOU have favorite ways to use Evernote? 


Photo Credit:  Wundering Moleskine on Flickr

 

 
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