September 22, 2014 by Beth
If you read the first post about why you should join the Evernote cult and drank the Kool-Aid, it’s time to activate your account and and take the plunge into the world of Evernote. All four of the posts in this series are part of a recap on the “Becoming An Evernote Ninja” session I offered at the 2014 Arkansas Women Bloggers conference.
Those of you who have already dipped your toe into the water may want to skip ahead to the next post on starting to maximize Evernote. For new converts, here’s what you need to know:
What IS Evernote, anyway?
- Evernote can be described as a cloud-based filing cabinet for ALL your stuff. I often compare it to the days I had giant, four drawer metal filing cabinets in my office, but I had all sorts of random objects besides just files and file folders stuffed in the drawers: documents, binders, photos, floppy disks (gasp!) and CDs and even the random piece of kids’ art or medical records. Evernote can handle all of this and much more, which means that all your information across all your devices (Mac, PC, tablet, smartphone) is accessible all the time.
- Evernote is also a highly-capable and intuitive virtual workspace. Truthfully, if it were just a place to store files and information, it wouldn’t stand out that much from other solutions in the marketplace. Where Evernote really shines is the ability to be the place where work is accomplished as well as stored. I ran my entire business in Evernote – templates, proposals, client files, meeting notes and even marketing assets such as logos and photos were stored and easy to reference. For me, this means that I never find myself in a meeting without the notes that are in a notebook I left at the office – everything is with me all the time, from my phone to tablet to laptop.
- The most convincing, game-changing factor for me in deciding to be “all in” with Evernote was my strong desire to find a tool for leading a paperless life. By 2008, I was frustrated with the feeling that I was drowning in paper and could never find anything. I like keeping information and files “just in case,” but I want it hiding in the background for that one time I really need it instead of cluttering my life. This journey is never complete, but today you’ll rarely find me with a piece of paper in my mobile office (i.e. giant bag). I scan, shred, recycle and dispense with paper just as fast as I can, and I try to prevent it ever coming into my life. Love pretty notebooks? Don’t fret – Evernote can work just fine with your process. I had a hard time giving them up at first and Evernote was still incredibly useful to me.
- Perhaps best of all, Evernote is the ultimate personal search engine. If I put it in Evernote, I’ll be able to find it, period – and very fast. If you’ve ever searched your inbox for that one file and nearly gone mad because you know it’s there, get ready to dance a jig. From emails I forward into Evernote for reference to my family’s social security numbers when I’m filling out another form to a photo of my car’s license plates when checking in at a hotel to a list of books I want to read, everything I need all the time is in Evernote. Evernote’s cutting-edge OCR (optical character recognition) makes searches lightning fast, and you truly won’t believe what that means for you – it’s mind-blowing. More on this in another post.
Ok, Ok. I’ll join your stupid Evernote cult just to shut you up. Now what?
- Join here. Yep, that’s an affiliate link, but it only gets me brownie points from the team at Evernote – they’ve never paid me a dime. I enthusiastically rant about them because (gasp!) I truly believe they are changing the world with the savviest product available today. Once you feel like a wizard for being able to find all your information all the time, you’ll know why I’m such an evangelist. As they say at Evernote: forgetting sucks.
- You’ll need to choose between a basic Evernote subscription (always free and more than sufficient for the average user), Evernote Premium ($5 per month or $45 per year and worth every penny – I’ve used Premium since 2010) and Evernote Business, which is best for small to medium companies looking to adopt an enterprise-wide solution.
- If you need a little help getting started, don’t hesitate to let me know. I respond to lots of emails and tweets with quick questions, and I often do classes or introductory sessions for individuals and teams that need help implementing Evernote. For teams, I can also assist with training and implementation – I’m in the process of becoming an Evernote Business Certified Consultant to help teams adopt Evernote internally. Also, Evernote has FABULOUS support, and you can find copious information on their support site and blog.
- Finally, you’ll find a Basic Introduction Here. This will get you a very high-level overview of how Evernote works, with far fewer words than I have used.
For the record, there are hundreds of fabulous posts littered across the internet about how to use Evernote. Sometimes, you’ve just got to find the one that speaks to you. Here are a few of my favorites:
Jody Dilday: Top 5 Ways A Working Mom Uses Evernote
The Art of Manliness: One App To Rule Them All – 30 Ways To Use Evernote To Improve Your Life
Family Sport Life: 23 Reasons I Can’t Live Without Evernote
Anything by Jamie Todd Rubin, Evernote’s Paperless Living Ambassador
Carley Knobloch: How Evernote Works for Moms, Business & Everything In Between
Brett Kelly’s ebook, Evernote Essentials (worth every penny!)
I’ve also been known to wax poetic a little bit in the past as well: Evernote Forever