Like most busy people, I often have trouble maintaining a balance between the multiple facets of my work life and my personal life. As a college instructor, I need to prepare for classes and contribute to campus life through service to the university. As a family man, I coach my daughter’s softball team, work alongside my wife to maintain a busy household (with 5 kids still living at home), and cultivate a healthy marriage. I also do extensive service work in my church, taking several hours a week. And in the midst of all of those responsibilities, I still need to find time to myself for personal maintenance–both mentally and physically.
For many years, my efforts to juggle all of these responsibilities has met with limited success. When I would focus my efforts on work, my family life would suffer. When I would focus on church, my personal life would suffer…and so on. I would feel defeated by my inefficiency, and eventually, all these areas in my life would fail to meet the levels of expectation that I had for them.
Three years ago, I was introduced to Evernote by Michael Hyatt, a successful blogger, speaker, writer, and productivity expert. My busy schedule pales in comparison to Hyatt’s. His level of productivity is off the charts, having authored multiple New York Times best-selling books, creating a weekly podcast, writing multiple blogs each week, and growing a 7-figure business, all while leading an active personal life as a husband, father and grandfather.
Michael has written extensively about the uses of Evernote, so I had to find out how this software app could earn a raving fan in one of the busiest people that I follow. I downloaded the free version of Evernote, gave it a try, and was hooked.
A simple Google search will reveal thousands of videos, blogs, podcasts, and articles about how to use Evernote, so I’m not going to add to the vast content already available online. I’m just going to share a couple of ways that it has revolutionized my productivity and then provide you with a list of ideas for how you might choose to use it.
Simply put, Evernote is my digital brain–an electronic filing cabinet for storing anything and everything that I need to keep track of. When someone hands me a business card, I quickly use my phone or iPad to take a picture of it and save it to Evernote. Optical Character Recognition (OCR) software translates the information on the card into text that I can easily use to call or text the person. If I find a webpage that I want to read–but I don’t have the time (or the interest) to do so at that moment–I use the web clipper feature to save the page to Evernote. My most recent project has been to go through years of files–notes, journal entries, and other assorted paperwork–and scan them into Evernote.
The space this has saved is astounding. Going paperless has been a slow but steady process. But the upside is that I have fingertip access to vast resources that I have procured throughout the years. The information is available across all platforms. And since it’s web-based, I can even access my Evernote inbox from someone else’s computer, if necessary.