Evernote, a free software tool, can really change the way organize and save all sorts of things – from saving articles and links for sermon notes to scanning and archiving papers you don’t want to lose.  Evernote is a virtual filing cabinet, and combined with a scanner it can dramatically simplify and improve your workflow. 
The software tool has several parts…all of them are free.
 
1.  There’s the desktop application, available for Mac or PC.  All of your notes are stored here and you can use folders and tags to sort them.
 
2.  There are apps.  Android or IOS.  You can capture audio, video, pictures and text in many different ways.  And anything captured in Evernote on your smartphone is automatically synced to your account and available on your other devices.
 
3.  There’s the website.  You can access all of your stuff via the web from any computer by just logging in using your username and password.  Everything is stored in the cloud with local copies synced with your devices.  
 
Here’s how I use Evernote to keep track of everything:
 
  • I created a folder called !Inbox, and whenever I send things to Evernote, they go here by default. Once a week, I go through the !Inbox folder, tag items, and send them to their regular folders. 
  • Getting stuff into Evernote is simple.  I highlight text and use a keyboard shortcut to send it to my Inbox.  Evernote also gives you a unique email address, so anything sent to that specific email address is dropped in my Inbox folder.  If I want to save an email, I just forward it to my unique Evernote email address.
  • All of my notes are synced across my iPhone, iPad, and computer, and are also accessible from any computer.
  • The search feature is powerful – it searches inside PDFs and recognizes handwriting
  • When I’ve got a dry erase board full of meeting notes, I simply snap a picture with my phone and email it to Evernote. Evernote even searches handwriting inside pictures.
  • I use a document scanner to scan bills, statements, artwork from my kids and save it all in a folder labeled “home.”  It’s a huge step towards being paperless, a great way to save stuff I don’t want to throw away but don’t want to keep, and a faster way to find stuff.
  • I pay $5 a month for the premium version, allowing me to store PDF, Word documents and other types of files.  You can start with the free version if you like, but the affordable upgrade is worth it.
  • I put everything into the Inbox folder and organize and tag it in bulk. 
Evernote is one of those tools that gets better with time.  The more you use it, the better it will work.  Once you make it a part of your workflow, you’ll be amazed at how easy it is to save and store information, recalling it when needed, and staying organized in the process.
 
I HIGHLY recommend you download  Evernote Essentials, by Brian Kelly, is a fantastic eBook on how to set up and use Evernote.  It’s the unofficial guide and well worth the small price tag.

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