Tuesday, December 1, 2009

My Digital Brain

Do you have as much trouble saving and organizing all of the inspiring goodness you come across on the interwebs as I used to? Are you frustrated by having notes scattered everywhere? Boy, have I got the app for YOU! Everyone loves Evernote! You'll have fun organizing up a storm with your new notes and at a moment's notice, find exactly what you're looking for!
How's that for my infomercial pitch? But really, I have found Evernote so helpful. The first time I tried it was when I downloaded the iPhone app, and I didn't really get its usefulness and ended up deleting it off my phone. (Green elephant, I'm so sorry.) When I ran across some articles about its functionality, I gave it another try and am so glad I did - I feel like I finally have a system to keep notes for everything in my head: to do lists, decor inspiration, recipes, gift giving ideas, shopping finds I want to remember for later...

Some of my fave features:
  • Notebooks and tagging

    I've always saved some shelter mags and pages from catalogs, but wedding planning was when my need for some kind of organizational system to store ideas exploded. I ended up using Google Notebook to store all of my wedding p0rn, as opposed to saving images to my hard drive and then trying to decide what to name the file so I could find the website where I got it from again as well as which folder to store it in so I could even find it. (Which led to the creation of whole folders for crazy things like "Reception Decor - Cocktail Napkin Ideas", full of personalized, mouth-wiping goodness. Never mind that I never got around to ordering said napkins.)

    I liked having the ability to access my notes from wherever I was browsing, but it's hard to move them around and quickly view them in G-Notebook. I've tried tagging and starring things in G-Reader as well, but also found them cumbersome to remember/retrieve. (Google, I still love you.) Evernote has the same concept as these, but it's easier to look through everything because you can see the preview of all notes for a given notebook or tag as well as search across your notes. (Since Google is no longer developing Notebook, If you're an existing user, here's a tutorial on how to import existing G-Notes into Evernote.)

  • Clipping website content

    This is where the real genius comes in. You're browsing a website and you want to save off an image and/or some text. You use the clipping feature, and voila, your note is auto-created with a title and a link to the original website. This is great for blogging, where you want to provide credit back to the source. Here's a video of how it works:

  • Image text extraction

    If an image has text on it, Evernote somehow magically extracts this and makes it searchable. The example they tout is taking a photo note of all of your business cards. You can then search through your contacts and recycle the cards. Geek Sugar just did a post on using Evernote to track your spending by taking photos of your receipts. I don't think I'll use that in terms of tallying expenses (Quicken, you're my main man for that), but I think I'm going to start trying to snap photos of my receipts for item returns, warranties on big-ticket items, and come tax time. You can sort chronologically to find the newest one, and there's less worry about losing an important one. (And many can go straight to recycling!)

It's a free service, with a monthly upload limit usage (I've never reached it), or you can pay a nominal monthly or yearly fee for the premium version. You can download the desktop version and one for your phone, as well as just going straight to the website, so you can enter something on your computer and bring it up on your phone later. If your phone is GPS-enabled, it will capture your location, so if you're out at your favorite restaurant and want to bring up the pic you took of the bottle of wine you had last time so you can order it again, it will find you the notes taken in that location.

Right now I have 3 notebooks: a general one (my default), Decor Inspiration, and Recipes. (You could accomplish this just as easily with one notebook and just use tags to find everything.) I'm trying to figure out how to better categorize everything so the tags don't get out of control.

How do you keep your life organized? What kind of categorization do you use?

(By the way, I'm not being compensated in any way to promote Evernote, but just wanted to pass on something I've found helpful. Let me know what you think if you try it out. Here are some tutorials to get started.)


Nicole said...

ooh... I have been meaning to try evernote for a super long time... I love saving off things online (& ripping items out of magazines), but definitely need a better way to organize (right now = no organization at all!). Thanks for the info!

Niya said...

reat stuff.

clipping path