I am a big supporter of tools that help me be more organized, efficient, and effective, and the one tool I use the most for this is Evernote. If you haven't heard of or used Evernote and you often find yourself struggling to find old documents, articles, websites, or ideas, then this is the tool for you.
Evernote works on computers and mobile devices, and allows you to capture, store, find, and mark up almost any document, whether it is an online article, the deed to your house, a research paper, or a link to an interesting website.
Evernote lives on all your devices and makes it incredibly easy to capture everything you might want to access later. I think its power is best explained with some case scenarios:
You are researching end-tidal CO2, and want to create a brief review for your department. While browsing online you find 12 relevant articles, and clip each one using the handy Evernote web clipper, which you installed onto your browser. Using the web clipper, not only can you automatically store the text (and not the ads), you can also highlight the specific paragraph that was the key piece of information from the article, and add a tag to your clipped article, “end-tidal CO2.” When you are ready to put together your slides, just open Evernote, click on the tags section and then on “end-tidal CO2,” and easily find all the highlighted paragraphs, all organized with links showing where each was found. While reviewing one of your clipped articles, Evernote notifies you of related notes, showing you that you captured a great review article on the same topic two years ago (an amazing feature).
You are at a critical meeting and your team is devising a complicated strategy with all sorts of to-dos, but you can't seem to keep up with the conversation and take notes at the same time. You open up Evernote on your laptop, click on “new note,” and click on the microphone, allowing you to record the audio for the meeting while you focus on engaging in the conversation. You can then go back to your audio notes later to organize the action plan.
You find a website that helps you devise amazing vacations to impress your spouse, and you clip the homepage using your web clipper. Six months later you are on Google trying to remember the name of that travel website, and you type “travel website, need help impressing spouse” into the Google search box, and your search results include documents from your Evernote account, showing you the website you had previously stored. This is one of Evernote's power features that you can turn on, allowing you to search your Evernote documents using the Google search box, and I highly recommend it.
These are just some of the many things you can do with Evernote. I recommend buying the premium plan that includes the ability to search text within PDFs. Note that Evernote is only as powerful as what you put into it. The more you use it, the more helpful it will be.
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