Two Perfectly Fine Ways To Use Evernote

Is Evernote an app for getting organized, or a way to avoid needing to be organized?

Dumptruck

My friend Nicholas Provenzano, The Nerdy Teacher, uses Evernote to organize all of his teaching materials and student work.

I use Evernote as a giant dumping ground for anything I might need to refer to in the future, such as CYA emails, teacher observations, meeting notes, photos of whiteboards, and anything else I might want to save. I don’t organize anything; I just search when I need to find something.

Nicholas organizes his notebooks meticulously, with several nested notebooks for each class, and shared notebooks for each student.

I just dump everything in, and don’t even bother to process my “inbox” in Evernote.

Either way you use it, Evernote is amazing. (Nick taught a workshop on Evernote a while back if you’re interested.)

Two keys:

  1. Stay crystal-clear on what you’re done with and what you’re not done with—I never need to “check” my Evernote account because I don’t send actionable information to Evernote. Anything I’m not done with also has a reminder in my to-do app or email, so for me, Evernote is just a file cabinet.
  2. Use Evernote consistently enough to allow you to find what you need—and by consistently, I mean both frequently and in the same way each time. For example, my walkthroughs are all named “Teachername Walkthrough YYYY-MM-DD” like “Smith Walkthrough 2013-07-04” which allows me to search for all the walkthroughs I’ve done for a particular teacher very easily.

Nick’s way of using Evernote as a much more organized system takes a bit of discipline, especially if you’re using it to manage to-dos, but this just got easier with the addition of Reminders, a feature Evernote rolled out a few weeks ago.

With Reminders, you can simply flag a note so it has a Reminder and it’ll appear in your Reminders list.
Evernote reminder

Or, you can set a specific due date and time:
Evernote reminder date

So I don’t use Evernote to its full productivity potential, and as a result I spend less time messing with it. Whatever you do, just make sure you’re paying attention to where your tasks really “live,” and make the tools work for you.

How do you use Evernote?

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About the Author

Justin Baeder helps school administrators increase their productivity through the High-Performance Instructional Leadership Network. Learn More ยป

Leave a Reply 1 comment

Chris Rogers - July 5, 2013 Reply

I’m definitely more of the “Dumping ground” type of user, but I’m pretty meticulous about tagging, so It’s pretty easy to find what I need. Evernote Web Clipper is nice too, because it embeds the webpage instead of just the link.

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