I'll admit I was a late adopter to the Evernote game. I never really saw the need for it and since I was a big notebook user (still love my Moleskines) I figured I could get by without it. I tried something like 3 or 4 times to get into it, but each time I'd grow bored and give up. On my last attempt to make it work for me, I finally figured out ways to make it work for me and prove itself useful and it did just that. Evernote has a pretty good BlackBerry app (but it could be helped out with some enhancements likes its iOS and Android counterparts) that works great when on the go as well as an app for the BlackBerry PlayBook. You can also use their awesome Windows and Mac apps or their website to keep yourself synced across the board. Keep reading for some of my favorite ways to use Evernote.
What is Evernote? It's pretty much just a note taking tool. You have your own account to which you can add notes and notebooks. Think of it as your virtual filing cabinet -- you can sort your drawers with various folders (notebooks in Evernote) each containing your files (notes). Create notebooks for bills, to-do lists, expenses, recipes, scrapbooks, shopping lists, personal information -- the list goes on and on. Evernote provides a ton of features like tags, text recognition, audio notes and much more. What's not to love?
I use Evernote for various things I want to keep track of. Some of my tops are for recipes (add in a recipe or simply clip it from the web, then I can pull it up on my PlayBook when in the kitchen), my wine journal (complete with photos), expenses, family scrapbook and my bills. Let's check out how it all breaks down.
Perhaps my favorite Evernote use is for keeping track of my recipes. I'm not only a geek, but I also love spending time in my kitchen. I have plenty of recipes stored that I can pull up in an instant without having to fumble through a cookbook or index of notecards. Each of my recipes is tagged with the dish type and/or ingredients, so if I'm looking for an entree or appetizer, chicken or pork, I can simply search my tags and see what my options are.
I can easily enter a recipe manually using Evernote on my BlackBerry, or if I'm feeling lazy I'll just snap a picture of it and toss it in a notebook. The best part is that Evernote has text recognition, so even if I take a photo of the recipe itself, I can later search for words it contains without an issue. Sometimes I'll add a photo to the recipe after so I know what the dish looks like, and unlike some recipe systems, you always have the option to edit your note without writing in the margins or even delete it all together if you aren't a fan of how things turned out. I have one main notebook for all my recipes, but if you're a big cook, you can create specific notebooks for entrees, appetizers, desserts etc. Evernote for recipes -- win win.
My second on the list of favorite evernote uses is definitely keeping track of my bills. Most of my bills are e-bills at this point, so those pesky paper statements never make it to my mailbox. However I do have a few things like my mortgage statement that I still like to have a physical copy of. Evernote is perfect for keeping these organized without the clutter. Instead of a file folder in a cabinet full of paper, you simply scan the document into Evernote or just snap a photo from your phone or PlayBook, add a few notes if you wish, then file it away (or shred it like I do). You'll have the document ready when you need it and never have to worry about clutter. You can easily search for it in a moments notice without having to dig through piles to get what you need. If for some reason you need a copy of the document later, you can print it from Evernote or even email it right from the app. Gone are the days of overloaded file cabinets.
I don't travel too often for work, but when I do I use Evernote to keep track of my expenses. It's quick and easy and all of my items are saved where I know I won't lose them. When I get a receipt, I can easily snap a picture of it and send it off to Evernote. Usually I'll note the date, location and amount in the title of the note for easy reference down the road. If I don't have time I'll save the receipts, then when I return to my office I'll drop them in my scanner and load them up into Evernote. This way I can keep all my receipts filed away much like my bills and without the clutter. They are searchable and as opposed to just having a list in a spreadsheet, I can view the actual receipts should the need arise.
Another of my favorite uses for Evernote is as a journal. You can apply it to nearly anything, but personally I like to use it as a wine journal. This one only takes a few steps but can turn out pretty cool if you're a wine lover. Each time I try a new bottle of wine I'll snap a photo of the label from my BlackBerry. I toss the image into Evernote along with the location, date and type of wine. This lets me keep a running log of wine that I've tried and I can always go back and see what I've had or reference a bottle I want to have again. Tag the notes with red or white and they can easily be searched and sorted. This works well for beer, food, movies, books and whatever else you can think of.
A scrapbook is a great way to keep track of travels or family memories. Evernote provides you many easy ways to save photos, notes and more and that makes it great for scrapbooking. Whenever I take a family trip, I create a new notebook in my Travel notebook. Here I can put in notes about places we visited, the food we ate, where we stayed and even add photos and captions. You can fully document your trips so you'll always have a record of what you did.
This works much the same for a family scrapbook. I'll put in details about special events (holidays, birthdays, family memories etc) complete with images, each in their own notebook, then I can always have them when I need them. You can reference them later or keep them locked away for story telling down the road.
Ultimately there are tons of ways you can use Evernote. Be it a journal, scrapbook, recipe list, shopping list or you name it -- it truly is ony of my favorite apps. I find new uses for it every day and find myself pitching friends and family on it from time to time as well. With both a phone and PlayBook app you can have Evernote with you no matter where you are as well, so pulling up anything you have stored away in a notebook is never a problem. Find that recipe, pull up that family photo or check your last water bill.
So what do you use Evernote for? Let us know your best ideas/uses in the comments!