Evernote: Remember Everything

Evernote is one of the coolest time-saving applications I’ve come across in a long time, and I wanted to do a quick overview of why it’s a must-have in your digital toolbox.

Evernote is one of the coolest time-saving applications I’ve come across in a long time, and I wanted to do a quick overview of why it’s a must-have in your digital toolbox.

For one, Evernote is by far the easiest and most versatile method for capturing information I’ve ever seen.  Are you more of an auditory person? Fine, record an audio note.  A list-maker? Perfect, add a text note.  A visual thinker? Excellent, take a photo.  No matter which way you capture the information, Evernote will store it in your notebook, and save it for later.

“But Allen,” you may be thinking, “why not just carry around a pen and paper?”  Glad you asked!  Like so many of my favorite tools, the real beauty of Evernote lies under the hood.

Here are my favorite features:

  • Completely searchable archive of all your notes
  • Picture/photo text recognition and searching (you have to see the video to appreciate this better)
  • Web clipping (copy images/text/anything from your web browser and add it instantly to Evernote)
  • Available for Mac/PC, iPhone/iPod Touch, Blackberry, Palm Pre, and Windows Mobile
  • Synchronizes quickly to every version of Evernote
  • Accessible directly through their web portal
  • Tag-based organization

It’s hard to understand just what all those features mean, so let me break it down:

Real-World Examples

  1. Book/Music/Movie Recommendations – At least once per week, a friend or business associate tells me about this great book they are reading.  With Evernote, I quickly pull out my iPhone and add a new text note of the title of the book, and give it a “books” tag.  Later that week, when I’m sitting at my laptop trying to remember the name of the book, I just fire up Evernote, type in “books”, and there it is.
  2. Product Verification – A couple months ago, we are at the store staring at about a dozen car seats, and completely lost about which one to pick.  Marce and I picked out the one we thought looked best, but rather than buy it right away, I snapped a couple photos with Evernote on my iPhone.  When we got home, I pulled up Evernote and had the exact brand, name, and model number of our pick.  We then checked other customer reviews and safety ratings online, and fortunately, confirmed our instinct about the best choice.
  3. Sound Recordings – I have to say that the one thing for which I will forever be grateful to Evernote happened during our Mia’s first ultrasound.  Marce and I were there, still wrapping our minds around the idea that we were going to be parents, and out of nowhere, the technician flipped a switch and turned on the speaker.  Thumping along at around 150 beats per minute was Mia’s tiny heartbeat, and at that instant, I knew it was real.  I wanted to find a way to capture that moment forever, and in a flash, I reached for my iPhone and launched Evernote.  Within 10 seconds, I was recording an audio note of my daughter’s heartbeat, which I have played back for friends and family (and even fallen asleep to) on several occasions.

For those of you Harry Potter fans out there, I like to think of Evernote as my pensieve (the memory collector that Professor Dumbledore uses to archive his thoughts for future reference). Now, wherever I go, I have a searchable record of random bits of information that I’ve collected.

Despite it’s subtle flaws and shortcomings (like occasionally crashing on my iPhone, especially on a slow connection), Evernote is simple, elegant, and most of all, free.  You really can’t ask for much more…

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