7 Ways to Use Evernote to Organize Your Life
Learn seven smart ways to use Evernote to organize your life and significantly increase productivity!
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I recently had someone ask me the question, “If you could only keep 3 apps on your phone, which ones would they be?”
The very first app that came to mind was Evernote. Evernote is like my second brain. It holds all of my most important information and helps keep me organized in all areas of my life. Evernote makes me more productive and helps me to stay focused on the tasks I need to accomplish.
Donnie and I started using Evernote more than 10 years ago now, and we keep finding new helpful ways to use it all the time. If you’ve never heard of Evernote before, I am so excited for you because you are about to gain an incredibly powerful tool that can do wonders for productivity and organization!
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My Favorite Ways to Use Evernote as the Ultimate Organization Tool
I use Evernote in so many different ways. Here are my top seven.
1- Scan your paperwork and create a digital filing cabinet.
This was the reason Donnie and I started using Evernote in the first place. And it’s exactly what Evernote was designed to do.
Rather than keeping our medical paperwork, insurance information, bills, financial papers, and more in an overstuffed filing cabinet, we scan it all using an app on our phones and file it digitally in Evernote.
(You can learn more about the scanning apps we use, along with the other tools that come in handy when maintaining our digital filing cabinet, in this post.)
Not only does our digital filing cabinet completely eliminate paper clutter from our house, it also allows us to securely access all of our most important documents anytime, from any location, in just a few clicks.
If I’m at the doctor’s office and realize I’ve forgotten an important piece of medical paperwork? I can pull it up in Evernote and email it to the doctor within seconds.
If I’m at the mechanic and don’t have the correct insurance card in my glove compartment? I can pull up my current insurance information in Evernote and get it to the mechanic right away.
(Both of those scenarios have actually happened to me, by the way. Evernote to the rescue!)
We did tons of research and tested many, many apps and solutions for maintaining a digital filing cabinet, and Evernote was our favorite by far. It had all of the features we were looking for and has stood the test of time– we’ve been using it for over a decade now!
2- Use a streak in Evernote to start a new habit.
I admit, while Donnie was all in on Evernote from the beginning, it took me a little longer to get on board. I am a pen and paper girl at heart, and so it was harder for me to get into the habit of opening an app and using it consistently.
But the thing that finally caused me to become a daily Evernote devotee is when I figured out that I could use Evernote to keep track of my hobbies and interests, not just boring paperwork. (Sorry, Donnie! 😉 )
One of the ways I do that is by using Evernote to track my habit streak.
The Jerry Seinfeld Method of Productivity
When I want to add a new habit into my routine, one of my favorite strategies for doing so is what some people call “the Jerry Seinfeld method.”
The story goes that Jerry wanted to get into the habit of spending at least 5 minutes per day writing new jokes for his stand up comedy routine. So he grabbed a blank calendar and each day that he spent time writing jokes, he would draw an X over that day.
Eventually the Xs started to add up and he got a little streak going. Once that happened, he always made sure to do his joke writing because he didn’t want to break the streak he had going.
Applying the Seinfeld Method in Evernote
I did something similar using a list in Evernote. Sick of being so sporadic with my workouts, I decided to see how many days in a row I could work out without missing. I pulled up a new note in Evernote, and each day I worked out, I would write down the date, the workout I did, and how long it was.
After a while, no matter how busy my day ways, I always made sure I fit in a workout because I didn’t want to break my streak. It worked– I ended up working out for more than 500 days in a row without missing! (Don’t worry– at least one day per week was always light yoga/stretching so I could rest!)
3- Create your grocery list and meal plan in Evernote.
Another way I use Evernote is to create my grocery list and meal plan. There are several advantages to doing it this way.
First, it makes it SO easy to look back at past plans to get meal ideas. I have all of my lists tagged as “groceries” in Evernote, so I just pull up that tag and I can see past grocery lists/meal plans for years– the meal ideas are endless!
And if I need to get to the store but am in a hurry, I can just pull up an old list and shop from that! We always have similar breakfasts and lunches, and I can just follow the previous meal plan I made for dinners.
Keeping my meal plan in Evernote also makes it easy to see what I have planned for dinner each day. When I’m making my breakfast in the morning, I will just pull up my current grocery list/meal planning note to see what’s for dinner, and then I can set out meat to thaw or double check that I have all of the ingredients I need.
4- Use Evernote to track what you’ve accomplished.
In the same vein as writing down my workouts for my streak, it can be really gratifying to be able to look back and see exactly what I’ve accomplished when I write it down in Evernote.
I love to read, so it’s fun for me to keep a list in Evernote of all of the books I’ve read in a particular year. The first year I tracked my books in Evernote, I read 200 books!
(Granted, it was 2020 where we spent a lot of time in quarantine so I had more time on my hands, but still! Keeping a running list definitely helped motivate me to keep reading.)
You could track just about anything, but here are a few ideas:
- How many miles you’ve run
- How many bags of clutter you’ve removed from your house
- Number of volunteer hours you’ve completed
- Acts of kindness you’ve done throughout the year
- Significant projects you’ve finished at work
- House projects you’ve completed
If it’s something that’s important to you or something you’re trying to do more of, track it! You’ll be amazed at how much more you get done!
5- Plan out your next action steps in Evernote.
Along with looking back and tracking things that I’ve already done, I also use Evernote to plan out things I want to do in the future.
For me, so much of productivity is simply knowing what I need to work on next, so having lists in Evernote of tasks I want to do helps me to make sure I always know what to work on.
I keep a list of blog posts I want to write or revamp in Evernote. I have a list of house projects I want to work on. And I have ideas for Instagram posts I could create. I keep a list of upcoming book publish dates and books I want to read, too.
Whenever we finish one task, it is SO helpful to have a list of next steps so we don’t waste time trying to figure out what to do.
6- Use Evernote as a catchall for thoughts and ideas.
I tend to be fairly scatterbrained, so I’ve found it to be helpful if I have one central location to record any ideas I have or tasks I want to complete.
The Problem with Paper Planners
I used to do this in a physical planner– I am a pen and paper girl at heart, after all. But I would continually run into the problem that I didn’t have my planner with me all the time. It just wasn’t practical to carry it everywhere I went.
There would be times that I would think of an idea or something I needed to remember to do and say to myself, “I need to write that down the next time I have my planner!” But, of course, I would forget by the time I had my planner in hand, and that method became really inconsistent for me.
Using Evernote to House My Ideas Instead
But since Evernote is on my phone, it is with me all the time!
If I’m at the store and I think of a great blog post idea, I can pop into Evernote and add it to my list.
If I’m helping one of the boys with their homework and I think of items I need to pick up the next time I go grocery shopping, I can write it down in Evernote.
Or if I’m waiting at a doctor’s appointment and get to thinking about some house projects I want to tackle, I can use Evernote to plan them out while I have a few extra minutes.
Like with any new system, when I first started using Evernote, it felt weird. I was so used to using pen and paper that I didn’t know if I would actually be able to make the switch to going digital.
But as I used it more and more, going into Evernote became a habit, and it got easier and easier to do it consistently. Once it became part of my routine, I started using it all the time, and I’m so glad I did!
Having one central spot for all of my thoughts and ideas has saved me so much stress in frustration! I’m no longer trying to remember things until I can get back to my paper planner or collecting thoughts on random sticky notes.
It’s all in Evernote, and I know exactly where to find it when I need it.
7- Use it for daily encouragement.
Finally, I use Evernote for encouragement too! Since I tend to run a bit on the anxious side, I keep a list of encouraging truths in Evernote that I can read over when I feel that anxiety creeping in.
I keep a list of people I want to pray for so I can remember to lift up those requests.
Evernote is a great place to keep a list of inspiring quotes or Bible verses that are encouraging to you. Or you could use it to keep track of things that make you happy or awesome things you see/experience throughout your day.
I am not exaggerating when I say that Evernote is the #1 tool I rely on most for keeping me organized and being more productive. It has truly been a game changer for me, and I hope it will be helpful for you as well!
Learn More with Paperless Made Simple
Evernote has been a total game changer for our family because it has allowed us to completely ditch our physical filing cabinet, eliminate paper clutter, and gain easy access to all of our most important documents with just a few clicks on our smart phones.
Our course, Paperless Made Simple, has helped thousands of students ditch their paper clutter and create their digital filing cabinet with Evernote, walking them through the entire process step by step.
We only open up enrollment a few times per year, so if you’d like to be notified the next time Paperless Made Simple becomes available, be sure to join the waitlist by clicking on the button below.
Do you use Evernote? I’d love to hear about your favorite ways to use it in the comments below!
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Thank you so much for following along! Have a wonderful day!
I have a Windows phone which I cannot put Evernote on. I am going tomorrow to buy a new smartphone and need advice if there is any phone you would recommend? Thanks.
Hi, Kathleen! Sorry for the delay in my response! Any current Android or iPhone will work. We are big iPhone fans ourselves. I hope this helps! Have a great day!
I would agree that Evernote is really a great app and it’s also a life saver for me! I’ve been using this app to organize my meetings, plan and save new ideas that came across my mind and on the web. This is one of my favorite apps so far!
Yes! It’s great… so many ways to use it! Hope you’re having a great week, Jennifer! <3
First thanks for introducing something new to me. I kind of got interested in this app and gonna try using it. The way the app made you do things really inspired me.
So glad it was helpful for you! Have a great week!
Thanks for all your ideas and especially this one regarding Evernote.
I’ve been using Evernote for awhile to keep track of my craft items that I have. I’m a cardmaker and I have lots of stamps, inks and such and I needed a way to keep track of them when I go to the store so I wouldn’t buy the same items again. lol.
I never thought of going paperless using Evernote. You have really caught my attention. My paper clutter is bad and it needs to get under control before my husband throws everything out the window. lol. I’m a pen and paper girl and file all your receipts. I get that from my mom. So I’m going back and looking up your posts on Evernote and how you manage. I hope to convert here really soon.
Oh that is such a smart idea to use Evernote for your stamps! There are so many helpful uses for it! 🙂 Hope you’re having a great week, Judy!