They say an elephant never forgets.  But in today’s world how well would the average elephant fare trying to keep up with all the information he receives and needs to keep track of….appointments, to-do’s, books to read, articles to reference, and the list goes on?  I’m glad I am not an elephant (on so many different levels:-), but there is a tool that gives me an elephant like brain and allows me to save as well as organize and access information whenever and wherever I need it – Evernote.

On a basic level Evernote is a note-taking tool.  But on a higher level, it’s so much more than that.

  • Evernote captures text, voice, web clippings, and photos.
  • The information you record in Evernote is accessible on your PC, Mac, iPhoneBlackberry, or the web.
  • You can enter information into Evernote via e-mail, web clipper, copy and paste text, or send a photo or screenshot.
  • Evernote is FREE!  Although there is a premium service, the free version works fine for most people.
  • Evernote has a very powerful search feature that makes finding your notes when you need them seamless.  It even recognizes handwriting and text within photos.
Uses for Evernote and How it Help Me To Be More Efficient:

Travel – When planning a trip, I clip all my airline and car reservations directly to Evernote.  I also clip information on activities we are scheduled or planning to do.  I then tag them “Travel” so they are easily found.  When we are on our trip, I have all the information readily accessible on my iPhone.

Resources, Tips, and Tricks – There are certain websites, e-mail settings and resources that I like to share with clients during one-on-one sessions.  The information is saved in Evernote so I can share it with clients without having to say, “I’ll e-mail that to you later.”

Decorating and Remodeling Projects – I recently did a bathroom remodel and Evernote was a great tool for capturing fixture and tile ideas.  If I found a product online, but wanted to see it and feel it in a store, I captured the information in Evernote on my PC and later accessed it from my iPhone when at the store.  Or, if I was at a store and found a product I liked and wanted to further research, I snapped a picture of the product (including the store label) and saved it to Evernote.  Later I had all the information I needed to do a more detailed web search on the quality and price.

Articles and Information – Reading on your computer screen is not always convenient.  Clip or scan interesting articles to Evernote and then read them while you’re waiting in line or have a few minutes to spare before your next meeting.  It also captures information from Twitter Tweets.

Lists – Packing Lists, Shopping Lists, Books to Read, Movies to See, Gifts to Buy; create these lists in Evernote and then edit and access them when and where you need them.

Meeting Agendas – If you receive a meeting agenda via e-mail, saving the e-mail and attachment only clutters your inbox.  Copy the agenda directly to Evernote and have it ready and available when you arrive at your meeting.  Often after the meeting, you no longer need the agenda, so delete the note.

Passcodes and Account Information – Evernote allows you to encrypt text within a note so that it is secure.  I use this feature to store things like my kids’ savings accounts.  When they receive birthday and holiday money that they want to deposit, the account information is stored within Evernote on my phone and available when we go to the bank.

Consolidate To-Do Lists – If you have not found a to-do system that works for you, try this tip from Evan Kline editor of 40tech (my comments are in parenthesis).  He has a rudimentary to-do list in Evernote that consists of a “Do Now” list, a “Do Next” list, and a “Do Someday” list.  They are marked as Favorites in the Evernote iPhone app (Only notes starred as “Favorites” are accessible when you do NOT have an internet connection.), and then easily accessed and edited when on the go.  Using a secret email address (provided by Evernote) he emails reminders to himself in Evernote, and adds them to one of the to-do lists the next time he’s at his computer. (It’s a bit quicker than trying to edit an existing note on the go.)

Remember A Product – Have you ever tried a wine or food product at a restaurant or friend’s house and wanted to remember the name so you could order it again or buy it yourself?  Evernote let’s you take a photo and tag it for easy searchability later on.  You’ll never forget those healthy crackers your kids tried and loved or that great bottle of wine you shared with your spouse.

Cooking – If I’m making a recipe, I’ll often snap a picture of the ingredients page and save it to Evernote.  When I’m at the store, I have easy access to everything I need to buy without having to transcribe it to another list.

These are just a few practical uses for Evernote.  For me it’s been a lifesaver in helping me reduce overwhelm from incoming information as well paper overload (I print and file much less).  Share your favorite uses for Evernote by posting a comment at or sending me an e-mail.