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Organize Your Digital Life With Evernote

Tech Talker explains how you can stay organized with a free digital app called Evernote.

By
Eric Escobar
February 12, 2014
Episode #112

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How to Use Evernote

First off Jordan needs Evernote. Luckily for her, there’s a version for every major smartphone, and a version for any computer she’s using. There’s even a web version of Evernote that she can use if she doesn’t want to install anything. Once she’s set up a free account, Jordan creates a Notebook with the title “New House.”

From here she’s ready to organize the mountains of documents that come with the purchase of a new house, from insurance, to deeds, inspections, bills, and everything in between. She uses a high speed scanner to get all of this paperwork into her computer. From here, she can move the images or PDFs directly into Evernote.

Evernote has a tagging feature which you can use to assign a word or phrase to associate it with a particular item or category. This is similar to hashtags used on Twitter, Intagram, and Facebook. Only in Evernote, the tags they help you search for and retrieve data later on. In Jordan's example, she might tag her closing statement as “New House,” “Taxes,” and “Documents.”

Later on she can search her tags. Say she’s doing taxes, she can search for the “Taxes” tag and anything with that tag in it will come up. So if she had other tax documents such as a W-2 and her paychecks scanned in and tagged, everything would show up instantly. What’s even more powerful is that she can include multiple tags and keywords in combination! So if she searched “Taxes” and “New House” she would see anything with those specific tags.

So let’s say Jordan is tired from all this organization and decides to take a break. She sits down to read a magazine and sees an awesome lamp that would be perfect in her new living room. She can snap a picture from her smartphone using the Evernote app and it would get added to Evernote! She could then tag it something like "New House" or "Home Decor."

She could even attach a voice memo or even a short video of anything on the go to jog her memory later!

As Jordan starts moving her stuff from her old house to her new one, she can take pictures of boxes as she packs them with the lid off and then save those pictures to her Evernote. Then, when she's in her new place and can’t find her toothbrush, she can quickly check the pictures and tags to find where she packed the bathroom supplies.

The power behind Evernote is that it's flexible enough for anything you can imagine. You can keep a list of recipes, notes for a research paper, your to-do list, or even a running diary.

You can even enable location services on your device if you want to keep track of where you made certain notes to help jog your memory.

I have a habit of capturing mountains of data using Evernote but not always organizing it. Luckily for me, Evernote does an excellent job of searching for text and even for text within pictures yo find what you're searching for. If you can think of it, Evernote can search it.

So in case you haven’t caught on yet, I love Evernote! I’ve used it to help plan my wedding, to move, and to pretty much keep my life organized.

The base app for Evernote is completely free to use, and it doesn’t have many limitations. If you wanted features such as sharing notebooks, more space,  offline notebooks, and better searching you can have it for $5 a month or $45 per year.

Now the one thing I will say is that Evernote is meant to be a nimble program. This is not something you would use to organize gigabytes of photos and videos. However, it can handle short clips and a few hundred pictures with no problem at all!

If you like this episode, I highly recommend Get-It-Done Guy’s podcast on Organizing Research Resources! Check it out and you'll see that I'm not the only fan of Evernote.

With that here are you three Quick and Dirty Tips for staying organized with Evernote:

  1. Evernote is great at sifting through all types of data so don’t worry about collecting too much!

  2. Use tags to help you keep track of groups of notes that are related to one another.

  3. Don’t worry about keeping a folder structure with Evernote. Let it do the heavy lifting!

Well, that’s it for today! Be sure to check out all my earlier episodes at quickanddirtytips.com/tech-talker. And if you have further questions about this podcast or want to make a suggestion for a future episode, post them on Facebook.com/QDTtechtalker.

Until next time, I’m the Tech Talker, keeping technology simple!

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