Another app? Really?

I don’t need another app do I?

Why am I downloading this?

That’s what ran through my mind as I clicked the download button on Evernote‘s website. But you know what, this app is JUST WHAT I NEEDED. It has saved me so much time and allowed me to focus more than any other thing I’ve purchased in the past few years and I’M USING THE FREE VERSION.

I am notorious for having notebooks scattered around the house and in all of my bags. I’m the type of person that can’t leave the house unless I have a pen and a notebook. If an idea strikes I want to jot it down immediately before I forget it. I am also a chronic list maker. Lists keep me sane and help me feel in control when work/life get a little crazy. The only problem is that sometimes (okay, all the time) I can’t find which notebook I wrote things a particular idea in, or I misplace my list (ugh, that is the worst!). This is where Evernote shines for me and saves me lots of time – NO MORE LOSING LISTS, IT’S SEARCHABLE, and no matter where I am I can access or write a note on ANY DEVICE!

Basically, this is how it works for me:
I create a notebook and then I have the options of either putting more notebooks into that notebook (they call it a stack) or creating a note. I like to think of the notebooks as binders and then within each notebook I can create folders for different subtopics and put my notes into each category.

I’ve used Evernote for:

• clipping recipes

• travel (research, itinerary planning, clipping restaurants to go to, routes, hotel information, packing lists)

• to-do lists (and pretty much any other kind of list imaginable)

• planning and drafting blog and newsletter content

• journaling

• making long emails not so overwhelming (Example: If a client has a lot of feedback I’ll take their email and paste it into Evernote. Then I assign check boxes to their different points and check them off one by one so I make sure to resolve each topic/change or respond appropriately.

• general idea collecting and research (Example: I’m working on creating a best practices guide for small businesses/marketer managers on how to work with a designer. Every time I have an idea I write a note. It can be a simple one-liner or it can be a more developed idea where I will write a few paragraphs. Or it could be some article that I want to reference online – you can clip articles!)

And that’s just the beginning. I know that there are so many more things you can do with it that I haven’t even tried. Like setting reminders, sharing with a group, recording audio notes,  taking snapshots, attaching items to your notes… and I’m sure there are many more that I’m not even aware of yet.

But wait, how does it help control my monkey brain?

Here’s what I mean by that:
I tend to have lots of random thoughts. While working on one project I’ll see or be inspired by something that I think would work great for another project. (Or most likely, I’m on social media for business but then get distracted by some kind of delicious recipe that I have to look at right away!) I used to let the distraction take me away from what I was trying to focus on, but now I just write a quick note or save the article with web clipper and then I can put it out of my mind because I know it will be waiting for me later, when I’m ready to work on that project. I don’t really know why this works for me. I guess there’s something about acknowledging the distraction that allows me to not let it take over.

I do still jot down notes by hand. I am still in love with tactile objects – nothing feels better than a good pen and paper. But I sometimes take those notes and put them into an Evernote notebook if I think it’s something I will want to reference later.