4 Ways to Accelerate Your Leadership with Evernote

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[This is a post by Kent Sanders, who writes about creativity and the arts at ArtistsSuitcase.com. He is also the creator of the Take Note System, an Evernote course for artists, writers, and all content creators. You can connect with him via Twitter or Facebook.]

Special announcement: From now through Friday, April 18, Kent is offering 50% off all levels of the Take Note System. Use the code “TAXMAN” at checkout to receive the discount. When you purchase, forward your receipt to kent@artistssuitcase.com and you will receive a free copy of Dan’s book “The Leadership Mandate”! Visit TakeNoteSystem.com to check it out.

In 2010 movie “Buried,” Ryan Reynolds plays a truck driver living in Iraq. He is caught in a hostile attack and wakes up buried alive in a coffin. While you will hopefully never find yourself buried alive, I’ll bet you can relate to the idea of feeling overwhelmed. We encounter vast amounts of information every day: emails, blog posts, text messages, creative ideas, meeting notes, paper bills, and so much more.

As a leader, your success and your sanity are closely related to your ability to process and find information. Fortunately, the good folks at Evernote have given us one of the best organizational tools available to leaders today. Evernote can help accelerate your leadership in four specific ways:

1. Evernote helps you capture your ideas and information.

Have you ever been away from your computer and needed a way to record a great idea for a blog post, book, or other type of content? With Evernote, you never again have to worry about losing ideas. You can write text, record audio, or take a picture and save it into a note with the mobile app (or the desktop version). Everything is synced to your account, which is accessible on any device or the web. You can also send emails directly into your Evernote account.

One of the most helpful features is the Evernote Web Clipper browser extension, which lets you easily clip pictures, articles, and entire web pages directly into your Evernote account. You can add your own highlights and notes and share the note via email or social media. (Click here for a tutorial on how to use the Web Clipper.)

2. Evernote helps you clear your desk and your mind.

Although we live in a digital world, we still deal with lots of paper every day. If you have piles of paper cluttering up your desk or briefcase, you can easily transfer this information to Evernote. The easiest way is to use a scanner. I personally use the Fujitsu ScanSnap s1300, a great little scanner that works perfectly with Evernote. You simply put the paper in the scanner, push the button, and it sends a PDF file directly into Evernote. A cluttered desk usually represents a cluttered mind, and the simply act of cleaning and organizing your information has a powerful psychological affect.

3. Evernote helps you organize your content.

Once you begin using Evernote to store various kinds of content, you can easily organize it with notebooks. When you’re working on a project, you often have pictures, documents, handwritten notes, emails, and other related items spread across different apps and locations. Consolidate as much info as possible within an Evernote notebook and have it available in one place. This mirrors how we actually think and work. (Click here for a tutorial on how to set up your Evernote notebooks.)

4. Evernote helps you find your stuff.

What happens to all your content once you get it into Evernote? Fortunately, Evernote’s incredible search features will help you locate your ideas once they’re stored in the app. I currently have over 6,000 individual notes in Evernote. This includes text, pictures, scanned documents (including handwriting), attached files, and other types of data. But I’ve almost always been able to locate what I needed within a few seconds.

These are only four of the many ways Evernote can help you get organized and be a more effective leader. In nearly two decades of writing, teaching, and leadership, I can honestly say that Evernote is one of the most important tools I use. It has become an almost indispensable part of my daily life.

If you want to learn more about Evernote, join me next Tuesday, April 15 at 7:00 p.m. (CST) for a free webinar, “How to Use Evernote to Ignite Your Creative Life, Get Organized, and Focus on Work That Matters.” Click here to register.

Questions: Do you use Evernote? If so, how do you use it to be more effective in your life, leadership, or creative work?

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • kentsanders

    Dan, thanks for the opportunity to provide this post!

  • Wow. I’ve got to join the new world or buy stock in Bic!

    • You should check out his course and the free webinar. I think you would learn a lot.

    • Floyd, let me know if I can help in any way.

  • Great post Kent. I should use Evernote more then I do. I’m going to check my schedule and hopefully I can make it to the webinar:)

    • Thanks Zechariah! Would love to have you on the webinar. If there’s any way I can help before or after then, let me know. I definitely think Evernote has made my life easier.

    • Zech, you should check out his course!

  • I use evernote for my projects and to-do lists and just to save miscellaneous info. I love it! One of the best things it helps me with is when I’m writing a book. I create a notebook for each book and then make comprehensive lists of what needs to be done to finish the book. It makes it more manageable and less intimidating as I just need to look at the next thing on the list. I’ll have to try the web clipper. I haven’t used that yet!

    • Thanks Barb. That’s a lot of how I use Evernote also. I have tried to keep my notebook names memorable so that I can easily forward emails to specific notebooks. I think I use the Web Clipper almost every single day – it’s amazing.

  • “1. Evernote helps you capture your ideas and information.

    2. Evernote helps you clear your desk and your mind.”

    These two points are the main reasons I love Evernote.

    Ideas is always an uninvited guest inside a person’s mind – they will knock in the most unlikely of time. Although, Evernote didn’t help me to clear my desk but it did help me to clear my mind because I know that my ideas, thoughts, and observation will be captured by Evernote anytime I want.

    I still have problems organising my notes and making them easily searchable but that’s more towards my weakness in organising stuff.

    Anyway, thanks Kent for writing this post and Dan for publishing it in this blog. I appreciate that you guys are helping to convince others to use Evernote. It definitely helps to create more leaders who cherish their ideas and capture them whenever and wherever they come uninvited.

    • Wan, thanks for commenting! You know, I struggle with keeping my desk clean also. There is a pile of paper waiting for me to go through about 6 inches from my keyboard … but I try to keep it clean as much as possible. I don’t worry too much about over-organizing all my notes in Evernote. I just have notebooks for lots of specific things, then dump ideas and other stuff in there. If there’s any way I can help, let me know.

  • So true. Note-taking programs are awesome!

    However I don’t use Evernote. I use OneNote. I think it’s easier, faster, and more beautiful. But to each his own!

    I just wrote a post about it. Funny timing.

    • Thanks Ludvig. I used OneNote a long time ago when I was in grad school and it was helpful. Does it have a mobile version? Although I don’t use it, I like to be at familiar enough with other systems to be able to know the similarities and differences with Evernote.

  • I absolutely Love evernote so much. I use it daily for note taking, picture taking and keeping track of my next steps. I have a friend of mine that is coming out with a new evernote eBook. I will need to connect you both.

    • Me too! You should attend @kentsanders:disqus free webinar! I think you would learn a lot. You should connect them!

    • Lincoln, thanks for the comment. I would love to hear about the eBook when it comes out. Who is the author?

  • DS

    That’s a fitting discount code for this week. I have evernote, but really haven’t spent much time with it. I am a paper-person, but I like the idea of my papers not getting old/acidic and still keeping the resource. Your points are intriguing.

    • DS, thanks for commenting. Evernote does take a bit of time getting used to, but the benefits are well worth it. Here’s a link to the webinar replay if you’re interested: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Nep3SMOgJM&feature=youtu.be&a

    • DS, thanks for commenting. Evernote does take a bit of time getting used to, but the benefits are well worth it. If you check out my Twitter feed there is a link to the webinar (I put a link in this reply, but it automatically includes a big video graphic, so I took it off, LOL).

  • I’ve heard lots of great things about Evernote but I’ve never used it. Another thing on my to-list.

  • Love using evernote for capturing ideas for my presentations. Main points. Creative illustrations. Videos clips. Pictures. Evernote is awesome for speakers!

    • Kent, have you seen the post Michael Hyatt did on Evernote tips for speakers? It’s an older post but has some good info – I’m guessing you probably do all or most of them! http://michaelhyatt.com/how-to-use-evernote-if-you-are-a-speaker-or-writer.html

      Another question that’s kind of related: What are you thoughts on using an iPad to speak from? Do you do that, or prefer paper notes (or no notes)?

      • Thanks for the link, Kent.

        And NO NOTES, especially for keynote presentations. I teach a system at the Boot Camp that can help any speaker speak with nNO NOTES.

  • One of the main ways I use evernote is for my speaking notes. I started putting my notes for speaking into evernote after I started to speak from a tablet. Now I can very quickly have access to all my notes and I never have to worry about fiddling with paper when I speak.

    • Caleb, that’s exactly what my brother does when he speaks (he’s a pastor). When you speak, do you use the text inside of a note, or do you use a PDF of your notes that’s stored inside Evernote?

      • I found pdf’s to be cumbersome, it works much better for me just to go full screen with the text directly in Evernote. It also allows me to make last minute changes if needed.

        • That makes a lot of sense. Do you ever use the offline notebooks in case you lose wireless access? I am considering using an iPad or tablet for my teaching beginning this Fall, and am getting some feedback on how others do it.

          • That’s a good point. I don’t pay for Evernote, so I just have the free version which doesn’t have offline notebooks. If there’s no wireless available where I’ll be speaking I make sure to open the note while I still have internet. So far that has worked fine for me but it could be a problem if I wanted to access something else on the fly.

            • I guess that’s true. :) At our college we’ve had a couple of spots that have had spotty wifi so I’ve always been a little afraid to have my stuff on a device that depends on the internet. But I think is increasingly becoming less of a concern since wifi is just about everywhere these days.