I was searching for a perfect note-taking app for quite a while. I tested many but always found some obstacles keeping me away from calling it the one note-taking app. Until I came across Evernote a couple of years ago. And I have to say; it's one of my favorite tools that I use daily since then. It’s my external brain, where I keep all the needed information related to my business and private life. Evernote is beside Notion and Airtable, one of the systems that I use daily to stay organized and store the tremendous amount of information you come across as a Digitial Entrepreneur and human being in 2020.
My journey with Evernote
I started with a Basic (free) plan. Shortly after, I wanted to add some premium features, so I upgraded to the Premium plan, which was pretty decent, but I realized that for my needs Business plan would be a better choice. With a Business plan, you can use different ‘Spaces' that you can share with your team, making collaboration and information sharing much easier. What I didn’t like with the Premium was the sharing feature. You need to invite your team members to each document, and after doing so with a couple of team members, it became very messy over time. But fortunately, Evernote solved this with a Business plan where they introduced unlimited Spaces.
I deal with different projects daily where Evernote helps me to separate them; it enables me to share any information, create to-do lists, notes, tutorials, daily journaling, and add my team where necessary. I am a lifetime learner and doing a lot of research, collecting data from different sources, and it’s easy to dump all in the dedicated note, tag them and have them accessible for when the time comes. Here their web-clipper makes it easier as well (more about it below).
Another practical way to use it is to do voice to text transcriptions. This feature incredibly reduced the time spent on converting my voice memos and automated the process by automatically saving them to my notes. Recently I started with 10,000 steps per day challenge (over 100 days in a row now). I use this time to listen to audiobooks, refine my ideas, think about the existing projects, and use Evernote to note down my thoughts on the go, especially with the phone app working like a charm.
I am producing content/notes through various applications; Evernote’s blogging platform, postach.io, is one of them. Another interesting and very convenient feature, where you can write a note, add a specific tag on the note, and it's automatically published to the website you created. You can customize your blog appearance with different pre-set themes. It’s quite basic and minimalistic but great for microblogging, getting your content out there, and a big time saver.
Features, features, more features
Besides all mentioned above, let me list down some other features that make Evernote the tool of my choice:
Powerful Search Options (search through your hand-written notes)
I have to say that Evernote has by far the most advanced search option. After entering your search query to the ’Search notes’ field, Evernote runs through all your notes, including scanned documents, PDF files, hand-written notes, and all other attachments and files that you ever saved to your notes. This was one of the first things that convinced me that I need this tool in my life. It saves so much time and makes accessing your data much faster.
You can bring the search to the next level and save your search options by using different tags and criteria, which helps you access your notes under certain criteria at any time. For example, let’s say you are writing a daily journal, where you plan your days using to-dos for the tasks/projects you need to complete. At the end of the month, you want to quickly check if you completed all the tasks in the month that is ending. You can create a 'saved search’ containing the tag ‘august’ ‘2020’ and contains ‘Incomplete to-do’s.’ You will get a list of all daily journal files for August 2020 containing open to-do’s; in this way, you get a quick overview of the tasks that are still open, and you need to tackle them to finish your project.
One thing that you need to know is to use this feature. You must create a proper tagging system from the beginning, which will enable you to organize and create searches in the best way. If you don’t do that, saved searches will not help you much.
Web Clipper is a convenient open-source extension that helps you save web clippings to your notes or other platforms. The last time I checked, the support platforms were Yuque, Github, Notion, Youdao. You can choose from different clip formats: Article, Simplified article, Full page, Bookmark, and screenshot. You can tag it, add a remark, and save it. Very straight forward functionality and gives you way more contexts than simple copy-pasting URLs or screenshotting website’s parts.
Saved and Customizable Templates
You can create different fully-customizable templates. I mostly use them for daily journaling and planning, content planning, etc. Again, it saves a lot of time since you don’t need to start from scratch every day, no copy-pasting; you can use the templates you created for your needs or use one of the pre-set ones.
Every time, when you open a new note, you have an option to click on the template tab and access the collections.
Syncing notes between different devices
I use a couple of different devices, and I appreciate that I can sync all my notes on all of them. So it doesn’t matter if I’m on the road and I only have a phone, or I’m sitting next to the computer, I can use it, without any interruptions. They offer well designed native apps for Android and IOs.
Adding Scanned Documents to your Notes
Another cool feature that I briefly mentioned earlier is adding scanned documents. I find it useful for saving invoices, contracts, and other important documentation that you need to archive. I scan them with the phone, and they are automatically added to my dedicated notebook. Again, I appreciate it the most because it saves time and improves the process, especially when you are doing your bookkeeping, as it makes it easier to find your needed docs without going through a pile of papers. Great for the digital nomad way of living, since you can have all the papers with you in one place, easily accessible.
Am I a sales rep for Evernote?
No, I’m not, but the more I write about it, the more I see how I like it. I tried to come up with some cons, so I don’t sound like a sales rep, but nothing that I can point out. My goal with all the projects that I do is to refine and automate my daily processes, and Evernote is one of the tools that fit well with the direction I'm going. It is definitely one of the most thought-through note-taking platforms.
If you have any questions or want some advice on improving your note-taking processes, or if you want to share your experience, drop a comment below!