Saturday, August 21, 2010


This month I tried a new mobile productivity program called Evernote to keep up with my ideas, ramblings, desires, and tasks. So far I really enjoy it and can see it becoming useful in certain situations (and not as useful in others). The great thing about Evernote is it syncs online automatically so whatever notes I create on my phone are automatically on my home and work computers when I sit down at my respective desks. And using the iPhone I can take photo notes or audio notes for future reference as I explore. These functions are wonderful for noting gift ideas (such as you are at a store and see the perfect gift for someone in 6 months, take a photo of it to remember) or if you hear a song you like but don't have time to figure out what it is (record it and use Pandora later).

Since I always have my phone on me I know if I come across something I need to remember, or just have a random good idea to follow up on at later time, I can open the app and note it for later. It also recognizes text in images so if you take a photo of an sign (such as a UPC code of a gift item) you can run a search for it later to easily recall the note. Some of the notes I've created so far:
  • Gift ideas for others and myself (if you see something you want or someone else will enjoy, photograph to use come the holidays)
  • Conversation reminders for the next time I call a person ("oh, I need to talk to them about that")
  • Document the changes in my To-do list dry erase board each week
  • Photo of a restaurant that I should try the next time I am in the city
  • Note a website link that I want to access when I am out (such as a specific computer to buy at Fry's)
  • Photos of artist names in movie credits to look up their blogs
  • Take a photo of an outfit that may look good on me the next time I go clothes shopping
  • Note animation ideas and possible dialog pieces to analyze
  • Photo of my car in a large parking lot to easily find it again
  • Website links for blog topic ideas
  • Photo of my printer so I can remember exactly what type of ink to get next time I am in a store
And others as well, but you get the idea. The one thing that I hoped Evernote could help with but has let me down on is a comprehensive To-Do list. The tagging feature of Evernote is great for grouping common themed notes, but since the notes are all "live" until you delete them there is no easy way to sort your To-Do items into separate groups for "Completed" and "Pending". Instead you have to tag the items as "To-Do" and each time you search for the tag it brings up everything you have done in the past too. You could probably add other tags for "completed" tasks but then it just becomes tedious to track them all. And there is no date sensitive option for reminding you of notes on specific days. You do get the option of adding check boxes to notes but those features are not available on the mobile version, you can only add them on the computer.

As a note taking option Evernote is awesome. If I were still in school it would help immensely for research papers and other project tasks. It is great for documenting ideas that you have on the spot, and a good resource to remind yourself of specific details when you are away from home. But as a day to day task manager it doesn't quite meet my goals, so instead I had to turn to another program which I will post about later after I've tested it more. If you constantly find yourself coming up with ideas and are nowhere near a pen and paper (or computer) to jot them down, I highly recommend adding Evernote to your repertoire of productivity suites!

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