This week’s Workbench Wednesday features the very tool that I’m using to write this week’s Workbench Wednesday: Evernote.
I’ve been using Evernote for years. It’s one of the countless tech-related tools I’ve used in an attempt to organize my unorganizable life. Although none of those tools have proven to be long-term solutions for cutting through the clutter of my mind, Evernote has stuck around and proven to be a valuable tool for helping me to survive the craziness.
Evernote is a note-taking tool. It aims to be everywhere and useful for everything. It can live on your phone, on your browser, or on your desktop. It can even be used in conjunction with actual notebooks. In fact, Evernote is structured like a collection of notebooks. With in each notebook, you can write note after note after note. Unlike your old spiral-bound notebook, you (almost) don’t have to worry about running out of paper. You can organize your notebooks into stacks and you can tag your notes based on the content the contain.
Yes, I know, this is very old news. Even the less tech-savvy among us know about Evernote. What I really want to talk about is how I use Evernote. Hopefully this will give others some ideas for being more productive.
I use several notebooks in Evernote, which I’ve organized into three main stacks: Personal, Ministry, and Work. In my personal stack, I keep track of items like ideas for generating income or recipes I’d like to try. I also keep a notebook just for taking notes from my daily personal time with God. I’m really bad at actually writing about what I’m reading when I study scripture, so having a notebook dedicated to just that area of my life is a great incentive to become more diligent.
In my ministry stack I keep notebooks for the various ministry efforts in which I participate. This is where Evernote gets really powerful to me. I recently started a notebook called “Preaching and Ministry Ideas.” The inspiration for this notebook was actually Facebook. So often, I’m scrolling through my newsfeed on Facebook and I see an article, picture, or video that would be a great illustration for a sermon. Now, I can share that material to Evernote, stick it in this folder, and have it for future use. Evernote also has various extensions that allow you as a user to “clip” anything you see on the Internet and turn it into a note on Evernote.
As if this isn’t a great enough feature, Evernote’s tag system takes it to a new level. I can add multiple tags to a note. So, for example, If I read an article with stats on church attendance that I know may be useful three months from now, I’ll tag it “church,” “church attendance,” and “stats.” The next time I’m preparing a sermon or a presentation that involves attitudes about going to church, all I have to do is check my “church attendance” tag. It’s a big chunk of research that’s already complete, and it saves me from spending an hour searching for something that someone else posted on Facebook.
Evernote is more than just stacked and tagged notes. You can use it to set up checklist or reminders. It can geo-tag your notes. You can share notes or use Evernote’s Skitch app to draw notes (or let toddlers practice making shapes). Evernote syncs to the cloud and now offers integration with Moleskin and Post-It. You can take a picture of your hand-written notes and Evernote will upload and analyze your note based on its position on the Moleskin page or the color of the Post-It note. Evernote is free, but some premium features do costs. For example, there’s a limit to how much data you can upload to the cloud in one month. I’ve never hit this limit, however.
- Tool name: Evernote
- Description: An electronic note-taking app
- Recommended for: Preachers, bloggers, ministry/organization leaders, and anyone who needs to keep track of thoughts
- Where to get it:
- How to use it: Create notebooks and stacks of notebooks that are relevant to you. Tag notes with multiple tags that will help you find them later on. Every now and then, review your content to keep it organized.
What do you think? Have you used Evernote? Do you find it useful? Share your thoughts on this week’s Workbench Wednesday in the comment section below.
You can also send questions or suggestions for future Workbench Wednesday features to me by email at email@example.com.