Finding a way to stay organized can be hard.
I’ve probably read more things on the Internet about how to get organized than the average person and I always walk away from them thinking, “Oh hey, I am going to do that.”
For a period of time, I do exactly that…. and then I stop.
See, finding something that works for me to stay organized has been difficult.
All of these articles say you need to use all of this different stuff to get organized: Pocket, documents, to-do list managers, Google docs, all sorts of apps. It doesn’t matter how good the web app is or how good the mobile app is, and how they “sync up” together. I just want to use one damn thing!
One of my friends had been on me to give Evernote a try. I kept thinking, “I don’t need to use a cheap word processing software to get organized.”
I’ve tried Quip, Google’s suite of apps, the iCloud stuff. They all worked well enough, but they just didn’t meet my needs. I wanted one application to work for everything, and I wanted it on every device. Is that really too much to ask for?
All of these apps kind of did what I wanted, but it wasn’t enough.
I finally caved into my friend’s peer pressure and used Evernote to collaborate with him on a project. Okay. After a few weeks of trying it out and seeing how it worked so easily on all of my devices (iPhone, MacBook Pro, iPad), I had a great idea.
I’m not going to use a bunch of apps anymore. I’m going to use one app and make it do everything I want. One app to rule them all.
That app for me was Evernote. Now Evernote may not be your jam, but I’m going to show you how it works for me. You can try it and if it doesn’t work for you, there’s something else out there that will.
But the first step is to get Evernote (click here to get it). It’s literally free to download and won’t cost you anything.
If you’re anything like me, you find interesting stuff to read on the Internet all the time. I was trying to use Pocket to organize all of my web links for stories and Buzzfeed articles I wanted to read, but just hadn’t gotten to yet. It’s a really great app that saves the links you want to look at later, but I need everything in one place.
I’m a big user of Flipboard. I’ve got it set up to show me a variety of articles about productivity, technology, startups, Grumpy Cat, and other things that I care about. When I see a headline that catches my attention, I’ll spend about 10 seconds reading the first few lines of the article. If it seems like something I could read, I will immediately fire it over to Evernote by hitting share and saving it to a notebook I called “Read It Later.”
When I have more time later, I’ll start at the bottom of the notebook and read them.
I also try to save things that I learn. They say that knowledge is power.
When I learn something new I try to save it to my “Second Brain” notebook in Evernote. I save everything here that I want to remember. I tag everything I save in this notebook so I can find it again later.
I store everything I can in this space. Stuff I learn about money, startups, fun facts and more.
I’ll go more in to effective use of a “second brain” in another piece in the future.
Evernote can be an amazing to-do list. Every single day I work through a To-Do list. Evernote has the ability to create to-do lists right inside of a note or even entire reminders and lists.
You can try the reminders feature but I find the checkboxes at the top of Evernote to give me anxiety.
I create a daily note and put my list in that for the day. I can go back and look at it but it isn’t in my face giving me anxiety that way.
You can try whatever works best for you.
Traveling can suck sometimes.
You have to remember to bring every thing you will need, you have to keep all your documents together and sometimes even keep an agenda.
Create a notebook for your trip.
Take screenshots of your boarding passes and put those in a notebook. Need to pack a certain outfit? Make a note or even take a picture and put it in Evernote.
Meeting with someone new but have some background information on them? Put it in Evernote.
Sensing a pattern here?
Keep notes from important phone calls in your Evernote. Take notes while on a call so you can look back at them later.
Sometimes, before an important call I will even write out a few topics that I want to remember to discuss and then check those off as I go.
The real power of Evernote for staying organized is lots of tags.
Tag everything. Pull out keywords and make them tags.
Later when you search you can find certain things that are tagged.
Evernote can search everything but sometimes tags make sense.
You don’t need to use a set of preset tags before tagging your items. As you tag items you’ll have another way to search your documents.
Now you’ve got the power of Evernote at your fingertips.
Give it a try for a week and see if this method works for organizing your life.