Evernote organizes my entire life. From work to school to family life, Evernote keeps me on track and keeps all the important information at my fingertips. Sometimes there are more balls in the air than even a circus clown could juggle. What’s my secret to staying organized?

Enter Center Stage:  Evernote.

Evernote is a free, easy-to-love and stress-free Organizing Wonder that automatically syncs across my two work PC desktops, my home Mac laptop, my iPad and my iPhone. No matter where I am or what I am doing, I have all my notes within a second’s search. No more frantic scrambling for that lost _( You fill in the blank)_  , Evernote has it under control.

The trick to using Evernote successfully is to hand over the keys to your life and never look back. Give Evernote everything you have and loose about ten stress levels. I have notebooks for work, school, career and family. Notes for recipes, libraries, and wish lists. It’s a wonderful life to have all of your information indexed and searchable across every platform you have.

So, you’re new to Evernote. You’ve written a few notes, but you aren’t sure about handing over the keys to your life? Let me show you some tricks to help you get started…

First Things First, Download Evernote on Every Electronic You Have:

The one thing that I love most about Evernote is that I know that I can access the same information on my work desktop computers, work PC laptops, home Mac laptop, iPad and iPhone. Evernote follows me everywhere I go and instantly updates on everything. No matter where you are, what device you are using, you can access and work on your notes.

Note: Syncing is not automatic, it’s done on a timer-basis, so if you are leaving your desk and need immediate access on your phone, be sure to hit the Snyc button!

A Place for Everything and Everything in Its Place:

Notebooks are groups of single  notesStacks are groups of  notebooks.

At first you may be tempted to keep the number of notebooks down to the minimum and put everything in one folder. But honey, let’s be honest. Real life does not fit into one notebook. Compare your Notebook hierarchy with the folders you have lined up in your Outlook Inbox or your computer files. If you are anything like me, your folders are carefully designed. There are a few select general main folders, tens of subfolders and then another ten sub -subfolders. Everything is carefully spelled out so that you know exactly where everything goes. Use this same strategy with Evernote. Mirror your Notebooks to match your Inbox Folders or your Computer Drive Folders. Do not be afraid to use more notebooks!

Any Way You Want It, That’s the Way You Get It:

Type it. Email   it. Scan it.   Clip it. Paste   it. Drag it.   Print it.  Record it. Photograph it.

Any way you want to add notes to Evernote, you can. If you don’t like typing, you can create an Audio Note and speak your mind (always nicely, of course). You can email a note to your Evernote Notebook from your Outlook Inbox. You can click-and-drag notes, paste images and scan PDFs to your Evernote Notebooks. You can drag-n-drop, click   -n-paste. EverNote’s optical character recognition turns your PDFs and word-Images into searchable text. No matter what type of creature or where it comes from, Evernote transforms it into a searchable note!

Evernote Web Clipper:

This is one feature that I do not take full advantage of often enough. When you want to save an article to read later, where you do save it to? Your browser’s bookmarks?….Where it gets lost, eventually forgotten and then deleted during a spring cleaning spree? If you use the WebClipper to save the article within Evernote, you can make notes on the article and save it with other related notes on that project allowing you to increase productivity without the browser favorite’s mess.

Searches and Tags:

Within Evernote, you can search everything—Including PDFs, thanks to  Evernote’s optical character recognition. This is one of the greatest features for me. I can save PDF articles into one notebook folder and the search a key term to immediately find the article I need.

Tags are helpful if you have notes that you think could fit into multiple notebooks – or are on the same subject – without getting things confused. Michael Hyatt says, “..think of stacks and notebooks as a vertical (or hierarchical) way of organizing, and tags as a horizontal (or lateral) way of organizing.” You can easily create a tag by typing them into the header area at the top of the note. Don’t tag every note, just the ones where the categories are blurred.

Note: Even Business cards become searchable with Evernote’s optical character recognition. You can upload all of your business cards to keep things searchable and easily accessible.

If you need to keep things organized and easily accessible across different platforms, you should consider Evernote. It’s free and easy, and it will grow on you! Spend less time frantically searching and more time ‘saving the day’ by having all your notes at your fingertips.

Resources:

“I’ve been Using Evernote All Wrong. Here’s Why It’s Acutally Amazing” by Whtson Gordon on March 12, 2013. Published on LifeHacker.com:  http://lifehacker.com/5989980/ive-been-using-evernote-all-wrong-heres-why-its-actually-amazing

“10 Ways to Get the Most Out of Evernote” by Katherine Murray on February 8, 2012. Published on TechRepublic.com:  http://www.techrepublic.com/blog/10things/10-ways-to-get-the-most-out-of-evernote/3032

“How to Organize Evernote for Maximum Efficiency” by Michael Hyatt on July 11, 2012. Published on MichaelHyatt.com:  http://michaelhyatt.com/how-to-organize-evernote-for-maximum-efficiency.html