Why you need Evernote

Why you need Evernote

betty ming liu Money, Writing how-to's 2 Comments

If you’re overwhelmed by clutter created by paper, word documents and too many email reminders to yourself, take heart. As a busy reporter, I’ve reorganized my note-taking with a website called Evernote. You can get it free — but the paid versions offer more storage space and useful tools.

Evernote.com keeps all my stuff on a cloud, which means it’s stored online and not on my computer. That means I can access my account from any computer, just the way I would check my gmail or Facebook. But unlike those two websites, once I downloaded Evernote on my laptop, I can use it anytime. No need for wifi if I’m simply typing. There’s even an Evernote iPhone app that I use for accessing existing notes and adding new ones.

Why you need Evernote

My notes are now filed into categories of my own choosing. I tag them too. And even when I forget to do that, no worries. Most of the time, I can punch in a phrase, a word, an address, a name — and Evernote will instantly pull up everything I’ve ever written that mentions it, with the information that I’m looking for highlighted.

So far, I have more than 750 notes on this cloud filing system, which can also store pdfs, photos, as well as audio and video. Even though I don’t use all the fancy options offered by the website, it’s nice knowing that they’re there.

There is also a competing filing system called dropbox.com. It’s supposed to be very good but I can’t bare to look at it because the website is so incredibly utilitarian-ugly. By comparison, Evernote is visually jazzy, a pleasure to access. Plus the elephant logo is just too cute.

As a college prof, I turned a bunch of students onto Evernote. And I just shared it with a journalist friend who gratefully told me it is a lifesaver. That’s what made me realize that I should mention this great website to you.

Two things before I go….

The site is free but I was piling so much crap onto it that I signed up for the $45-a-year premium package that gives me almost bottomless storage.

Secondly, remember you’re online with Evernote. Whatever your standards are for Internet privacy, they apply here. There are some things I would never, ever put online, not here or anywhere.

Beyond that, all I have to say is that Evernote has been such a calming force in my life as I barrel through hectic days. Maybe it’ll help you too.  :)

Note on Evernote, added Sept. 25, 2017: Everything I wrote here five years ago still holds true! I still love Evernote. Additional features I now depend on include the ability to highlight notes, the Evernote clipper that lets me save stuff directly from the web and the option to create multiple notebooks (folders).

And I love the fact that I can work on it offline. My Evernote Premium now costs $69.99 a year. Students can get a 50%-off deal. If you have questions about how to use this wonderful site, just ask! (P.S. —  In case you’re wondering, I got nothing from Evernote for doing this post. I just like what it offers me)

Comments 2

  1. Evernote sounds like a very practical system for working files. There is however, still something to be said for paper – mainly on behalf of posterity. In 1934, my grandparents on my mother’s side suffered a terrible tragedy. Both their sons died in the same week – one by drowning while on a deep sea fishing trip and the other 3 days later of pneumonia. I never heard them talk about it or even mention it. They were not the sort of people who display emotions lavishly – but it haunted the rest of their lives. Some time ago when going through a box of misc. papers in the attic that included my grandmother’s diaries, a grocery shopping list fell out. It had been written on the back of a dated store receipt so I could see it was from 1939 – 5 years after the deaths and for the same month. The list itself was ordinary – milk. bread, chicken, etc. – but a heavy line had been drawn through it so hard the paper was a bit torn and on the margin was written “NO – can’t think about food this week. Don’t care if eat. Oh my poor boys.” Nothing is more ephemeral than a shopping list or less likely to be preserved as a document of family history but this one conveyed a wealth of suffering and emotion in those few words that in life I had never heard from grandmother and I was able to feel a connection with her on a deeper level and across a gulf of many years.

  2. thanks, betty — your organization puts my disorganization to shame! & i am such a technophobe that i’ve had evernote on my phone for ages without using it. i promise i’ll do better! happy holidays! xj

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