I signed up for Evernote a year and a half ago, shortly after getting my iPad. I got it mainly because it promised to organize my life and had solid reviews in the App Store. Amidst its potential I never used it much. I could see the attraction, everything you want to save is accessible on almost any device, but I never utilized it to its full potential. I was able to keep track of a lot of stuff in my head and almost prided myself on that. But at some point I realized I was losing stuff without even knowing it.
The way I learn new techniques, technologies, and ideas is largely through reading books, blogs, and my twitter feed. Many of these ideas are snippets of great tips and ideas. But, if you don’t snag them and save them they will leave your brain as quickly as they came. It took me awhile to realize that I needed to be cataloging all of this if I wanted to implement it.
Last March my wife and I had our first child and so my brain became even less reliable. The upside to this is that it’s forcing me to be more organized. This summer I have started really utilizing Evernote. The first thing I did was create a new contact in my iPhone’s address book. His name: “my assistant”. Under the email address for this contact I put the Evernote email address which allows you to email a note directly to your Evernote account. Now, if I find a link on Twitter or in my Feedly, I simply email it to My Assistant and then organize it into one of my notebooks. I can also tell Siri to email “My Assistant” which makes saving ideas I have while driving incredibly easy. (This idea came from Cory Peppler. I encourage you to give him a follow and thank him for such a great idea!)
I am reading a book on creativity called “Zig Zag” by Keith Sawyer and he encourages people to keep track of all their ideas, whether they seem great at the time or not. So one of my notebooks is just for ideas. I also use Skitch if I have an idea I need to draw and want saved. Now my thoughts, the good and the bad, are archived in one location. Another one of my notebooks is “Ted Talk Tuesdays”. This school year every Tuesday I will be showing a different Ted Talk. When I find a Ted talk that I want to use for this I just paste (or email) the link to my Ted Talk Tuesday Notebook.
Since I spend a lot of my “learning time” online Evernote is perfect for storing anything that I want to remember and keeping my self organized. I don’t spend any time trying to decide where I am going to put ideas or resources anymore. I strongly encourage you to try it out if you haven’t already (I realize I may be a bit late to the party…).