I'm sure everyone has heard of Evernote, especially if you have a business, but do you know what it is and just how powerful of a tool Evernote can be for your business? I have been using Evernote for years to organize my life and my business, it's really made a huge difference in my productivity and organization. Many business owners have been singing the praises of Evernote for many years and I'll show you just how you can put this tool to use for your business and life.
The Fundamentals of Evernote
Stacks & Notebooks
In Evernote, stacks are where you keep your collection of notebooks within a category. Think of a stack as a shelf in a bookcase that holds a certain category of books. Take the below for example. In this example "Recipes" is the stack and the items below that are the notebooks.
Notes are exactly what they sound like, they're notes that are within the notebooks. Evernote now has a feature that organizes your notebooks alphabetically so they're easier to find if you are browsing through and know what letter your note begins with. Take the below for example. These are the notes within the "Breakfast Recipes" notebook, notice how the notes are categorized within the notebook by letter.
Tags are ways that you can find notes quickly and easily by searching on Evernote. You simply create a tag and organize your notes by tagging them with the appropriate tag. This will make them searchable so you can quickly find them when you're looking for them. These are some of my tags, excuse the fact that I haven't finished tagging all of my notes as of yet!
If you notice, some of the tags have a number and arrow next to them...the arrows will then take you to sub-tags that are categorized under that particular tag to organize them even further. I find this feature of Evernote to be one of my favorite features. The tags and sub-tags make my life and business 100% easier and allows me to find exactly what I'm looking for within seconds.
To be honest, everyone has their own system of organizing but I will let you in on my Evernote organization secrets.
The first thing I suggest doing before even jumping into Evernote is to write down the main categories that you want to organize in your business, these will turn into the main stacks that you are going to add first. Once you write down the main stacks that you want to organize, you can go ahead and create those so you can further organize.
The second thing I suggest doing would be to take each stack and brainstorm notebooks that you would want to keep under it. These would be anything that would be branches of the main category.
I would highly suggest making the following notebooks:
- #Inbox - This notebook would be where you put all notes that you haven't yet categorized. Every business owner is incredibly busy and on occasion, you have just a few seconds to write a note. This will where you will come first when you have the time to organize your notes into the appropriate notebooks. I use the "hashtag" in front of Inbox so that this stays on the top of your list of notebooks for easy access.
- To-Do - This notebook would be where you dump your running to-do lists. Every business owner has many, many to-do's and categorizing them into running to-do lists on Evernote has been such a Godsend for me. I can easily find my to-do lists because they're all in one easy-to-find place and from there I know what I have to do every day, every week or every month.
What Else Can Evernote Be Used For?
Organizing receipts with Evernote is incredibly easy. I use Evernote to organize my business and personal receipts so I can easily find them and pull them up if I need to reference them or use them for tax purposes. I simply take a photo of the receipt (or you can scan it) and I import it into Evernote. I tag the receipt with the appropriate tags and voila! Organization. If you have a place that you frequent more than others, I make that place into a notebook and organize my receipts under that particular store. This makes it even easier to find the receipt that you are looking for.
When tagging a receipt I do use the date of purchase as one of the tags. That way, you can easily find the particular receipt if you can remember the date of the purchase. I use this if I have to find the receipt for returns or if I need to send this receipt to a client or associate.
Evernote allows you to create voice recordings or voice notes within the app. This is great if you're on the go, don't have time and need to create a note or a reminder. I use this frequently if I need to create a quick note or reminder to reference at a later time. You can also add actual reminders to your reminder so you can be notified at a certain time.
Filing Important Emails
I use this feature of Evernote every single day because it's such an important and useful feature to me. Once you sign up for Evernote they will assign you an email address that you can use to send notes or forwarding e-mails. Once you send anything to this particular email address it will automatically send it to your Evernote account. I use this to save important emails that I will want or need to reference later.
You can send a particular note or e-mail to a certain notebook by using the @ sign. You would simply type @_________ and after the symbol, you would type the name of the notebook that you want it sent to. If you don't type the @________ then your note or e-mail will be sent to any notebook that you set as primary.
If you want to tag a note or email that you are emailing to your Evernote email address you would use the # sign. You would simply type #________ and after the symbol, you would type the tag or tags that you want on your note or email.
You can forego all of the above and categorize your notes/emails at a later time, but this will help you to quickly organize them on the spot and not have to worry about cleaning out your primary notebook at the end of the day.
I hope that this has helped you to understand the wonders of Evernote and what it can do for you and your business. Go ahead and download Evernote on all of your devices (Yes, it's cross platform!) and start organizing!