Genuine Curiosity

Author Dwayne Melancon is always on the lookout for new things to learn. An ecclectic collection of postings on personal productivity, travel, good books, gadgets, leadership & management, and many other things.


Evernote, convenience, and habits

I was recently catching up on some of my favorite blog stops, and just read an article from a few months back on the Success Begins Today blog, where John talks about the lovely marriage that is Evernote+iPad 2.  John and I are usually of like mind, and our fondness for Evernote is no exception.


I'm a long-time user of Evernote which, if you aren't familiar with it, is an excellent capture and recall tool for storing all kinds of digital information.  You can take pictures of things and add them as a note, you can type things in, you can forward emails and PDF's to it, and much more.

Everything you send to Evernote gets indexed and stored in your account on its cloud-based service.  Once the information is indexed, you can quickly retrieve it based on tags, location, or keyword searches (it will even convert text in pictures to a searchable form - it is awesome for retrieving pictures you've taken on whiteboard diagrams with lots of text on them).

Evernote offers a robust free account, as well as a subscription option (faster indexing of your files, and more monthly storage - most people will be fine with the free version).

Evernote makes it easy to collect and interact with this data - you can run desktop clients on your computer, access it in a web browser, or from mobile clients on most tablets or smartphones.  Very simple.


For me, the hardest things with adopting Evernote were:

  1. Developing the habit of using Evernote
    • The number of clients available for Evernote (see above) makes this easier but, like with any new process, it took me a while to develop the habit of entering my notes into Evernote.  I wish there were some magic potion that would make this easy, but I don't know of one.
    • One thing that can help is to ditch your paper notepad for a while so you are encouraged to take notes directly into Evernote.
  2. ZaggFolio iPad 2 KeyboardTaking notes directly into Evernote in meetings
    • There were a couple of problems in this area:
      • first, my computer was a bit bulky so I didn't carry it around to all my meetings;
      • second, the soft keyboard on my phone or iPad were kind of a pain to type on and I ended up spending more time concentrating on finger typing than I did on the contents of the meeting.
    • The best solution I found for this was to get the Zagg ZaggFolio for my iPad 2.  This is a combination iPad 2 case and Bluetooth keyboard.  When I use this in combination with the Evernote iPad app, I can use my touch-typing skills to easily take notes in my meetings.  The iPad's 10-hour battery life plus the long life of this keyboard (I charge it every month or two) makes this a much better alternative than my laptop.

So, if you're looking for a great way to centralize all your meeting notes, easily retrieve them, and you have an iPad, I think this is a great solution.