Use Evernote to Streamline Processes and Increase Productivity

I use Evernote to increase productivity and  simplify the processes for my ever expanding projects. The work flow includes writing blog posts, articles, the great American novel, client-intake, white-boarding processes or just jotting down ideas and to-do lists (the afore mentioned novel).

Streamlining the Process

Prior to Evernote, I was using notepad++ Windows based desktop text editor to record quick notes and blog posts. I also used Google Docs and email (saving as draft) for similar functions with cloud based storage. I even scribbled quick thoughts on iPhone‘s native Notes application.

But they all had significant shortcomings. I had to use Dropbox to sync documents on my hard drive to the cloud and although the first bit of storage is free, the bytes can quickly add up, requiring premium services. Google is convenient as an online program but fails miserably as a desktop application with sync functionality. Both of these options also require third party mobile applications.

Have you ever successfully located your iPhone Notes during a miserable iTunes tether? Neither have I.

I tried the application two years ago on a Mac and it lacked the functionality and ease of use of today’s Window’s version. Enter Evernote for Windows. I haven’t tried the latest Mac version, but after two years, I’d imagine it’s up to speed.

Getting Evernote

  • Download and install evernote on your computer.
  • Create a free account.
  • Download application to your mobile device and login.

That’s it!

Increasing Productivity

Open the application on your desktop or mobile and click on “new note” and start typing. Evernote has basic word processing functionality like fonts, tables and spell-check (note to Evernote: Update your dictionary). Create a to-do list by inserting check-boxes.

There is no “save” feature since everything you type is saved as you enter it. A huge benefit. We’ve all lost documents in progress. No more.

Instead of folders or categories, Evernote uses tags. Organize your documents by assigning each new note a tag. The first line of each new note is recorded as the title for easy identification and retrieval. For instance, I have a “Lawyerist Blog” tag, so when I open Evernote and click on the tag in the left column, I get a list of blog posts I’m currently working on.

Forget to tag a new note? No worries, there’s a robust search feature built in.

Have multiple documents open. I have on average 20 web browsing tabs open at any given moment. Being able to work on multiple documents at the same time and within the same application is essential.

Evernote auto-syncs between your mobile devices, computer, and on the web at evernote.com. Doesn’t get more foolproof, accessible and productive than that.

Evernote wish list

Word or character count – especially useful for size based projects like blog posts, articles and book-writing, chapter by chapter. To compensate, I use web-based tool, Charcount.

More productivity tools

Additional features include Web clipping services which is especially useful for more significant research projects, and tracking finances by taking pictures of receipts and uploading or emailing to a designated folder. Quite sure I’ll discover many more features to increase productivity and streamline processes as I use this application more extensively. Please share your helpful tips and unique insights below.

Did I mention that Evernote is free?

Legal Technology

, , , ,

  • http://evernote.com/ Ronald

    Hello Tim, this is Ron from Evernote. I came across your post and really enjoyed your rundown on Evernote. Thanks so much for putting this together and sharing it. If you have any questions or feedback let me know.

    • Tim Baran

      Thanks, Ron! Chatting with others who use this, I’ve discovered that I’m not alone in checking out Evernote, testing other programs and coming back to it. The prodigal son is now a believer :-)

      I look forward to using the more advanced features and will def hit you up if questions arise. Thanks for the offer!

      • http://evernote.com/ Ron Toledo

        Great to hear. Be happy to chat anytime or trade emails. I’d be interested in hearing about what you think after you’ve been using it awhile especially in a law context.

        • http://lawyerist.com/author/samglover/ Sam Glover

          You know what the internet really needs? An Evernote tutorial for GTD. I’ve had Evernote for a while—Premium, even—but I just can’t figure out how to integrate it into my productivity system. It winds up being one more inbox I’m not sure I really need.

          • Tim Baran

            Sam, I had the same experience and only found Evernote useful after coming back to it. Of course I still use Google Docs, Dropbox (a little) and other applications, but Evernote has emerged as the “go to” application for a few repetitive tasks where accessibility is essential (across devices) and am slowly working it into my productivity system.

  • Joe

    From a firm level I use Evernote for 2 main items. 1) We scan all paid invoices and then shred so we can reference latter if needed. 2) notebook for all CLE material from conferences, seminars, or periodicals. most come on a stick drive now and we have a scansnap for hard copy conversion.

    • Tim Baran

      Thanks for sharing your tips, Joe. This review is intended not only for lawyers but for ventures that provide services, like continuing legal education, so I particularly appreciate your sharing about CLE and invoices.

  • http://www.texas-truckaccidentlawyer.com/ greg Baumgartner

    I also would like a video how to- on evernote- I am willing to try anything and love things like dropbox and textexpander but have not found a way to really use Evernote.

  • http://shawnetuma.com/ Shawn E. Tuma

    I have had Evernote for a couple of months and had *tinkered* with it just enough to send a couple of uploads to it but was not sold on it by any means. Then, I read your article and, shortly thereafter, came across another article entitled “A Better Filing System for Public Speakers (and Writers)” ( http://ht.ly/40Anc ) and became sold on the value this could bring to my writing, law practice, and information management life in general so I committed to learn more about it. I have. I spent much of this evening digging into the features and how to use it effectively and now I can say it was time very well spent. I work on a desktop computer tied into our firm network at my firm, a laptop at home, and use an iPad and iPhone regularly, depending upon which one is closer to me at the time. In addition to my legal work, I am now trying my hand at blogging and also writing several law review articles on various substantive legal topics — and am always running across information that “would be great” but never really had a unified system for keeping track of it. Now I do — regardless of what system I am on! The part that really makes this invaluable to me is how I can use it with my iPad which, as many of us know, is not the easiest of devices to get documents and data loaded onto. This service is awesome and, in my opinion, can be a true difference maker in our productivity. Great work to Tim on bringing this to my attention and kudos to Evernote for developing such a wonderfully powerful, yet simple enough to actually use, kinda service!

  • http://getascreenshot.com Lorenzo

    Another Evernote tip: add the Evernote web clipper to any devices that you use. Since its cross-browser, it will work on your PC, Mac, and even mobile devices like an iPad or iPhone.

    I’ve used iCloud to transfer it from my Mac to my iOS devices.

  • Carolyn Woodall

    Evernote would be wonderful for pretty much everything, including case management, if it could handle templates. Right now I am using OneNote, and it’s great except that the mobile app will not sync directly to my desktop aps. That has to be done in the cloud and is very limited as to what can be done.

    • http://lawyerist.com/author/samglover/ Sam Glover

      You actually can do templates with Evernote. It just isn’t straightforward. Here’s one possible way to make them happen more easily: http://kustomnote.com/