One App to Rule Them All: 30 Ways Evernote Can Improve Your Life

by Jeremy Anderberg on February 12, 2014 · 88 comments

in A Man's Life, Personal Development


Update: This article is NOT a sponsored post. We received absolutely nothing from Evernote in exchange for this post and have never communicated with anyone at Evernote. Even though we put this disclaimer below as well, we thought we’d put it up here too because some folks missed it and claimed this recommendation was paid for. Again, we’re just users of the app ourselves who sincerely think others will find it useful as well. Scout’s honor.

We don’t talk a whole lot about the specific tools of modern productivity here at AoM. We’re generally more interested in principles, skills, mindsets, etc. Every once in a while, though, we come across something so useful, we just have to share it.

Enter Evernote. It’s an app for your smartphone, tablet, computer, and even your Moleskine notebook. It’s just what the name implies: an application that serves as your notetaker, PDA, pocket notebook, to-do list, etc. The beauty of Evernote is that it syncs automatically across all your devices, and across all your operating systems. Never lose another post-it note, scrap piece of paper, or notebook that has important information on it. You’ll also streamline your desk from a jumble of notes and folders into a single digital storehouse.

The app is roughly organized into notebooks and notes. Just like in real life. You create a notebook for a particular subject/topic, then fill that notebook with notes. Besides syncing across devices and operating systems, there are some features that make Evernote really stand out:

  • The ability to share notes and whole notebooks with classmates, coworkers, family, etc.
  • The ability to take and attach pictures to a note right from within the app.
  • The ability to take and attach voice memos and audio to a note right from within the app.
  • The ability to attach files (spreadsheets, images, docs) to any note.
  • The ability to scan text in a photo using Optical Character Recognition technology.
  • The ability to set reminders for yourself for various tasks, goals, and projects from within the app.
  • The ability to create checkboxes that serve as virtual to-dos.
  • The ability to sync automatically between all devices, meaning you can access your notes even when offline. (This feature is somewhat limited in the free version.)
  • Best of all – it’s FREE! There’s a premium version that offers a few bonus features, but the freebie offers all of the above.

Evernote has been around for nearly five years now, and although the AoM team has dabbled with the app before, Brett and I have finally become full-blown evangelists for it. Before we get too far in, we should say upfront that this is not a sponsored post; we have no affiliation with Evernote whatsoever. We just really love the app and we think that every man could benefit from using it.

We don’t get into the specifics of how to set up Evernote or how to use its basic features in this post. For that, we highly recommend the book Evernote Essentials by Brett Kelly.

Utilizing even just a few of the ideas below will make you a more productive man. And please, add your own ideas of how to use Evernote in the comments!

1. Track your time. One of the most effective productivity systems out there is the relatively simple (but not necessarily easy) task of recording how you spend your time. Checking email, working on the spreadsheet, attending your sales meeting, even the 15 minutes you wasted on Facebook. At the end of the day, you’ll often realize just how much time you wasted. There are computer programs that will track time for you, but in our experience they just aren’t effective in tracking it specifically enough to mean anything. Use Evernote to track your productivity by stopping and making a note of what you’ve just been doing every 15 or 30 minutes. It may seem like a lot of work, but after a week, you’ll have a clear understanding of how you spend your time.

2. Write a note to your significant other. Many a husband and wife like to trade instant messages, texts, or emails with each other while they’re apart. Using Evernote is another option for sending your missives. Create a shared note between you, and send notes back and forth throughout the day. It’s less interrupting than a text, and more private than an email (especially if it’s a work email address).

3. Journaling. Did you participate in our our 31-day challenge and decide that you wanted to continue this journaling habit? If so, maybe Evernote could be a good digital option for making your entries. Create a notebook for your journaling, and a new note for each day (or entry). You can even create a template (here’s the one Michael Hyatt uses) so that you can use the same daily prompt and not have to come up with new journaling ideas every day.

4. Book notes. Use Evernote to take down your favorite quotes and jot down comments and questions while doing your reading for the AoM Book Club (and for your other reading as well of course!). Create a notebook for your book notes, and use tagging to categorize between fiction, non-fiction, business, classics, hobbies, etc.

We’ve also come across a brilliant little trick for saving and cataloging any highlights you make through the Amazon Kindle devices or apps. When logged in on, you can click “Your Highlights” at the top of the page and view any highlighted passage you’ve made in any book you’ve read on any Kindle device or app. You can click a specific book title, view all the highlights and notes you made in that book, and either copy/paste them into Evernote, or even use the web clipper and do it automatically. This feature is especially handy for doing research for college papers or work projects, and even allows you to use lengthy quotes without the hassle of transcribing. You can thank us later.

5. Collaborate at work. This is how we use Evernote here at AoM. Since our team is based in two locations very far away from each other (Denver and Tulsa), we don’t have a physical whiteboard we can all see each day. That’s where Evernote comes in. We use shared notebooks primarily for blog ideas and research, but the possibilities are endless.

6. Gift ideas. If you’re like me, you’ll come up with a brilliant gift idea for a loved one, jot it down on a sticky note, and promptly lose said note less than a week later. Create a notebook, with a new note for each person in your family. Share notes for your kids with your wife, for your wife with your kids, etc. Bounce ideas off each other, and never lose a good gift idea again. As a bonus, create a list for yourself of stuff you’d like, share it with your family, and they’ll never run out of ideas for you.

7. Grocery list. Our household goes through endless scraps of paper for meal planning and grocery lists. They end up lost more often than not. Create your weekly list in Evernote, share it with your wife or roommates, and everyone will be on the same page. You can each add items to the list as you think of them instead of risking forgetting and needing to make a return trip to the market.

8. Save articles and other interesting things for later. Use the Evernote web clipper to save all the articles and fun links you want to read later, but can’t go through during the day. So you saw the latest article on AoM while at work, but don’t have the time to read it immediately? Hit a single button and save it to Evernote; you can enjoy it on your bus ride home, even when you don’t have an internet connection.

9. Keep your clothing sizes and measurements handy. I know many a man who can’t remember their clothing sizes, especially when it comes to dress clothes that have specific numbers. Get yourself properly measured, and keep the numbers in Evernote. When you’re shopping, you’ll know exactly what you need. When you find that certain brands fit your body differently, you can note that as well.

10. Track goals. Make a notebook for your 2014 goals (and beyond). Within that notebook, create a note for each goal, and use that note to create action items, next steps, and progress reports. Check it out every week (or even every day) and make sure you stay on track.

11. Digital rolodex. Take pictures of all the business cards you acquire. Evernote’s OCR (optical character recognition) will read the text of the cards, meaning you can search for names and titles when you’ve inevitably forgotten things.

12. Track finances. While other apps (like Mint or your banking app) will keep better track of the minutiae of your daily finances, you can use Evernote to take pictures of work receipts or large expenses, tag them appropriately, and not have to save shoeboxes of receipts anymore.

13. Master meal list and journal. This is a fairly creative idea, if I don’t say so myself. When my wife and I are trying to meal plan (we plan a week at a time), we often have a hard time even remembering what’s in our wheelhouse and what we like. What we need is a master list of meals we’ve made and enjoyed. Can you see where this is going? Create a master meals list in Evernote, take notes on what part of the meal went well and what didn’t, and never be stuck asking, “What should we have for dinner?” again.

14. Fitness/weight journal. Diet and exercise remain the number one New Year’s resolution year after year. And for good reason; our fair country needs a healthy dose of getting our butts off of the couch. Unfortunately, most people give up on their resolutions between 45 and 60 days from January 1 (that date is quickly approaching!). To help motivate you, keep a daily note of your weight, what you ate, and any exercise. There are numerous benefits, especially to keeping an eating journal; the first of which being that in studies on the subject, people who keep a journal lose nearly twice as much weight. And it’s free.

15. Write a book. Looking to bone up your wordsmithery by writing a book? Use Evernote! Every writer knows how the best inspiration often strikes at the most inconvenient times: in bed, on the train, while out on a run, etc. Instead of trying to remember these flashes of inspiration until you can conveniently write them down, do it instantly! While a pocket notebook can do the trick, you risk losing your notes. Also, with Evernote, you have your notes wherever you go no matter what — a definite bonus.

16. Send yourself voice memos. If you’re in the car or on a brisk walk and can’t type in a note, use Evernote’s voice note feature to record yourself a memo. You can then email it to yourself and rest assured that you won’t forget to buy flowers for your anniversary.

17. Record interviews or other important meetings. For AoM, we do quite a few interviews for articles. When they end up being phone interviews, we want a way to record them so we can go back later and transcribe and pick out the highlights. Instead of paying for an app on your phone or computer, just use Evernote’s recording tool. It works surprisingly well, and when you record on your phone (just make sure it’s on speakerphone if you’re recording a phone call), you can just open up the computer and have it waiting for you when it’s time to transcribe. If you use an Android device, Evernote can even transcribe the audio for you (this also means the feature is likely soon coming to other platforms as well).

18. Master to-do list. Instead of keeping piles of sticky notes everywhere, why not keep your to-do list all in one place? You can even create a to-do notebook, with different notes for your different roles: employee, husband, hobbyist, father, etc. Use the checkbox feature to make it even more user friendly.

19. Distraction to-do list. Related to the above, but this version of the to-do list is intended to keep you from browsing the infinite depths of the web and instead keep you focused on your work. In our post about attention exercises, we mentioned how it takes, on average, 25 minutes to get back to work after you’ve been distracted online. Keep that from happening by using Evernote as your distraction to-do list. We all know how this goes — we’re working away when all of a sudden something pops into our head (“What was that company I saw on Shark Tank last night?”) and we immediately look it up, and then we’re lost in the rabbit hole of the world wide web. When you feel the urge to pop open a new tab to look something up, instead of doing it right away, file it in Evernote, and come back to it during one of your regularly scheduled breaks (you are using the Pomodoro Technique, aren’t you)?

20. Honey-do list. In this to-do list spirit, if you’re bold, create and share a honey-do list with your wife. She can add little things around the house she’d like you to get to, and you don’t have to worry anymore about being reprimanded because you forgot to fix the toilet. If you don’t enjoy the honey-do list (personally, I don’t mind tinkering around the house on weekends), we can keep this tip just between you and I.

21. Keep your insurance policy info and phone numbers handy. When an errant driver ran through our front yard fence a few months back, I had to scramble around the house and dig online to find our policy information and rep’s phone number. I learned my lesson, and immediately made a note in Evernote for that info. With just a policy number and phone number, you’re not storing anything too private.

22. Vacation itinerary and info. The Kayak app does a good job of this, but why not just use Evernote so all your info is in a single place? Also, Kayak just stores your reservations automatically — you can’t make notes or add comments about things like excursion or restaurant recommendations you got from a friend. Keep hotel reservations, flights numbers, car rental confirmations, etc. in a note. Also make a note for restaurants, event ideas, attractions, and other things you plan on doing with your family.

23. Bucket list. Similar to your goals notebook, but this is more of a life dreams list. Instead of checking this note every week or every day, check it every few months, or even just once a year and see how you’re coming along on any bigger things that you’d like to do or accomplish someday.

24. Class/meeting notes. In college, it seemed like everyone I knew (myself included) had experienced the dreaded hard drive fail, only to lose precious notes and papers. Protect yourself against that by using Evernote to keep your notes, and even write first drafts of a paper, so if lost, you have at least something to show for it. It’s also easily shareable for fellow classmates or coworkers if they missed a class/meeting.

25. Pocket notebook. While I still love my paper pocket notebook, I also keep a note in Evernote just titled “Notes.” This is sort of a dumping ground for anything that pops into my head when I don’t have my paper version on me. Always accessible, always synced across devices…it’s just too easy.

26. Resource organization. If you’re working on a big project, you likely have multiple different resources coming at you: papers, links, spreadsheets, meeting notes, etc. Organize it easily by keeping all this stuff in an Evernote notebook. It’s extra handy because you can share this notebook with the other folks on the team and all be on the same page at all times.

27. Remind yourself of the things you want to do. This seems a little silly at the outset; why do you need to remind yourself to do something you want to do? Well, it’s mainly because us humans are forgetful and a little lazy. Use the reminders feature to send yourself a wake-up call every morning with a nice message like, “Get off your butt and GO FOR A RUN!” or, “Sleeping in is for the weak, go work on your novel!” Pick a couple things that are most important to you, and use Evernote to help keep them a priority.

28. Record DIY projects you’d like to do. Have a DIY/Projects notebook, and take pictures of the cool things you see that you want to do. When you see a restored axe at an antique store, snap a pic, and you’ll remember to look up how to restore an axe on AoM. Or if you see something online you’d like to do, like build a shoe shine box, use the Evernote web clipper to save it for later and you’ll be full of inspiration for years to come.

29. Learn your family’s history. Evernote can become your handy genealogy notebook. You can scan in old family photos, birth/death certificates, immigration records, and even family tree charts and PDFs. You can record audio of interviews you conduct with grandparents, or even long-lost relatives over the phone. When you come across new tidbits of family info, record it all into Evernote instead of that cumbersome notebook you tote around with you.

30. Commonplace book. This is perhaps the most handy benefit of using Evernote. The commonplace book, while no longer terribly common, was something that was incredibly popular in the 17th through early 20th centuries. It was basically a physical book where you recorded all the information you didn’t want to forget. Recipes, poems, quotes you liked, pieces of literature that spoke to you, things you learned at college, quips handed down from grandpa and dad…anything that you were interested in could go in your commonplace book for later reference. While the information age has largely done away with the practice, there’s still a benefit to keeping this type of “book.” Use Evernote as your modern commonplace book. Use tags, and make your book even more searchable, so you don’t have to flip through digital pages and pages of info.

So tell us, how do you use Evernote?

{ 88 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Brandon February 12, 2014 at 2:06 pm

And coming full circle, I just clipped this to Evernote..

2 C Jackson February 12, 2014 at 3:01 pm

Yes! Thanks for spreading the word! I have been using this app for over a year now and it’s pretty much become essential to me. I still take a physical notebook around because the act of writing helps me remember, but Evernote has become my digital backup brain.
For sure the best feature is the notebook categorization. I have customer notes, church notes, and yeah even man notes. I’ve told my boss at work how useful Evernote is, hoping he will implement it across the team soon.

3 Peter February 12, 2014 at 3:22 pm

I use it in place of bookmarks, I can send a bookmark to evernote, put tags on it, leave notes on it, etc. Pretty handy.

4 Tyler February 12, 2014 at 3:52 pm

I use Evernote for everything. It works very nicely with David Allen’s “Getting Things Done”. Make a quick note, save it in your Inbox, and then file into another notebook or add it to a next actions, waiting for, etc. list

Skitch is a great Evernote app for quickly adding text and marking up PDFs, pictures, maps, and screen captures. I use it all the time when e-mailing as it is easier to show rather than tell.

I even use the Moleskine notebook, which has made me more personable during meetings as I am not hiding behind a tablet/laptop. I can then snap a picture of my notes and still search the handwritten text within Evernote.

5 Troy February 12, 2014 at 3:54 pm

I use Evernote for literally everything. I stumbled across it a couple of years back, but recently really took it to task. I use it for keeping notes for various meetings. I helps me keep grad school notes organized. I use it to plan projects. It has become invaluable to me. Most recently, I got everyone on our team to use Evernote. This is how we conduct a staff meeting twice a month. Instead of meeting face to face, we do so via shared Evernote. Great stuff and great suggestions in the post. Stay manly!

6 Larry Johnson February 12, 2014 at 3:58 pm

Excellent article and definitely some things I’m going to implement.

A couple of things I’ve used Evernote for:
1. Job Search Activities – I created a tag for every company I was interested in and used a standard subject naming convention so I could keep track of where I was with each company. So, for example if a recruiter called me about a job with XYZ Co. I could tell them whether I had already applied and where I was in the process so we could know whether they could represent me.

2. Scan receipts from getting my car serviced or repaired and stored in a folder specific for my car. That way it’s easy to remember when I had work done, where and what was done.

7 Aaron February 12, 2014 at 4:07 pm

In addition to some of the mentioned uses, I also keep a list of household measurements (e.g. HVAC filter size, what size light bulb does the porch light use, etc.). It is also good for keeping track of when HVAC filters, smoke detectors, automotive oil, etc. need to be changed.

8 Brad February 12, 2014 at 4:52 pm

I use it to try to keep a paperless life. I take a picture of store receipts for safe keeping. I use IFTTT to log a daily journal of what the weather was like each day. I try to scan important papers in there. I keep a picture of my license plate numbers, and then add a reminder one month before the tabs are due. You should check out the blog by Jamie Rubin, called “Going Paperless”. He is an Evernote ambassador. Very handy tips!

9 Aaran February 12, 2014 at 4:56 pm

How perfect!
I have just subscribed to your RSS feed with IFTTT and have it create a new note in my “to read” notebook on Evernote. What’s the first article it adds? This one!

I use evernote for work, for personal time tracking, note tacking for side learning, shopping, and loads more.

10 Ron Toledo February 12, 2014 at 5:04 pm

Ron from Evernote here. Just wanted to drop by and say thanks for sharing this post. We really appreciate all the support. Glad to hear you guys are putting Evernote to good use.

11 Roddy Williams February 12, 2014 at 5:14 pm

I couldn’t live without Evernote. I’ve written half a novel since December on my phone, most of it on the bus or train, (sometimes in a bar), using Evernote, which is automatically available on my laptop when I get home to transfer to Scrivener. I have dozens of recipes on there which I can access in a supermarket to check what ingredients I need, and again in the kitchen when I’m cooking it.
It’s invaluable. Best app I’ve ever had.

12 archer February 12, 2014 at 6:28 pm

i’m not seeing how extraction of text from an image is accomplished. when i saw your mention of it i wondered how i could have missed it. just opened the app to check again and was unable to find this feature

13 David February 12, 2014 at 6:50 pm

Sounds like a free version of Microsoft OneNote, which is great for those who don’t have it with their office package at work/home. Being able to easily search through volumes of logs and project files is absolutely worth it.

I prefer the integration OneNote has to the rest of my work environment, but it is about time freeware has caught up to the tools Microsoft offers.

14 Dette Ramos February 12, 2014 at 7:29 pm

I use Evernote for scrapbooking Project Life (pages of family events activities per week). I have a notebook for the year, notes per week. I write down highlights – what kids said, activities, thoughts. When I’m ready to scrapbook, I just get my notes as my journaling

15 Charles February 12, 2014 at 8:04 pm

I use onenote as well, but the concept seems very similar. My suggestions: Use pages for scrapbook type entries where you can save notes on an event (for instance) with a picture or two and an image of the program; 2) I keep a page for most every book I read and include the image and summary straight from Amazon to help remind me of the synopsis; 3) I find the free form perfect for notes from various committee meetings where I can save the agenda (outlook has a terrific function to save an email along with all attachments to onenote), my notes from the meetings and scans of any handouts so I can throw away all paper immediately; (4) Someone else mentioned receipts, consider scanning all receipts over a certain threshold (I use $250) for insurance purposes and keeping them by year; (5) I keep individual pages for major purchases like cameras, tools or firearms that has a picture of the item, receipts, serial numbers, notes if I resell the item, maintenance notes and even notes on reviews and capabilities.
Paper (less) is best.

16 Eli February 12, 2014 at 8:09 pm

I have been using Evernote for a few years as well. I use it on my phone, taking picture notes of things in stores or of my stuff so I know what I have. When I am looking for what ink to get for my printer, it is in Evernote. What spark-plug to get for the riding lawnmower, it’s in Evernote. I take a picture of the serial numbers, stickers, boxes, etc. I also use the web-clipper to keep articles to read later. I write blog posts to upload and polish later. I even use to work with Evernote and other products to automate a lot of things.

17 Will February 12, 2014 at 8:16 pm

This (as always) is a great article. I use Evernote for a few of the above mentioned as well. I will have to try a few more to use it to it’s full potential.

18 John Freeman February 12, 2014 at 8:19 pm

The Secret Weapon is a system implementing Getting Things Done using Evernote:

I use Evernote for this and bucket lists.

19 Night Writer February 12, 2014 at 8:24 pm

I’ve been using it almost since I got my iPad 2. It’s invaluable as my handwriting has become unreadable even to myself. At work I have folders for various aspects of my job and create and file notes from meetings and project updates (I use my pad for meetings and it’s great to return to my desk and access those notes on my office PC). At church I take notes from sermons and use these in preparing for a Bible study I lead at a local prison. My wife and I also invest in rental properties and I use Evernote to record thoughts and photos of property we look at, and as a way of documenting the condition of our properties when tenants move in. When my wife was in an auto accident, Evernote was a great place to keep a central resource for keeping track of accident reports, insurance information and contact numbers, hospital bills, etc. It really is my “helper brain”.

20 Brandon February 12, 2014 at 8:31 pm

You should all read:

Evernote + Getting Things Done

21 Mike February 12, 2014 at 8:41 pm

I love Evernote! It’s tax season, I’ve found no better way to organize all my tax documents than to scan them and save them to Evernote. It’s great for tracking investments too (I just scan my year end statements and save them to a notebook for each investment). I also use it to keep track of all my training certificates, meeting plans/agendas and event fliers for my son’s Cub Scout Pack (I’m the Pack Committee Chair). That’s just the tip of the iceberg, I use it constantly. I can’t recommend it enough!

22 Daniel February 12, 2014 at 8:53 pm

Having already used google docs & drive for similar functions I tried evernote in conjunction with GD and found myself double handling the same info. I moved away from evernote and just continued with GD.

I’d be interested to hear of AoM team had tried GD and preferred one over the other?

23 Todd February 12, 2014 at 8:59 pm

One big application for me that wasn’t mentioned is packing lists. We run a restaurant, and have lots of events that we have to go to. Each type of event has similar requirements, so I have a packing list made for quick reference. Evernote is definitely the fastest way to reference saved notes via computer or smartphone, so it’s the best choice when we’re in a hurry to get out the door and need to make sure we didn’t forget anything. I use the free version because other free apps can take care of the paid features and I haven’t needed them bundled in one app yet.

24 Spencer February 12, 2014 at 9:18 pm

I used to use Evernote, but didn’t put in the effort to use it to full capacity so ended up using Google Keep due to its incredible simplicity. I think it may be worth coming back to Evernote for the heavier stuff. I’ll keep using Google Keep for the throwaway notes – grocery lists, short term tasks, etc. Thanks for the post!

25 John February 12, 2014 at 9:44 pm

I personally believe OneNote is far superior to Evernote. Just sayin’.

26 phreebie February 12, 2014 at 10:15 pm

I use it to record the name & tint recipe for each paint color I’ve used through the house.

I use it to record the dimensions of things around the house – room sizes, window sizes etc – if looking for window treatments etc.

I have a notebook dedicated to custom motorcycles I see pics of on the web for when I finally get to build that dream.

I use it to track my daily workouts/rest days.

I upload study timetables & course materials for any course I’m doing, so I can check due dates etc from anywhere.

I add plane tickets/travel itineraries to it.

I have a notebook dedicated to cooking recipes.

I’ve also clipped a number of seminal AOM posts :) – in fact a quick search shows 8 going back to 2011 :) – the 1st being the life blueprint in 5 steps, and the latest being the how to pitch. Thanks team.

27 Kate McKay February 12, 2014 at 11:29 pm

I think Jeremy did an awesome job with this post and I love that he and Brett are both big fans of Evernote and put it to great use.

However, I’d like to add a voice of respectful dissent to the Evernote love fest.

I bought my first Mac a year or so ago after years of being a PC and OneNote person. I bought OneNote to put on it and then realized to my horror that you couldn’t put OneNote on a Mac. Brett told me that Evernote would make a fine substitute, but, at least when it comes to research and note taking, I have found Evernote to be disappointingly inferior, for a few reasons:

1) You can’t highlight your notes. In OneNote you can “highlight” your notes with different colors. Not a huge deal but it is handy.

2) There is no undo button. I repeat, there is no undo button! This is kind of insane and I still have trouble believing there’s no undo button on something designed for writing and note-taking; I keep looking for it, sure it will show up. But no, there is no undo button. This means that if you put an important note on there, and save it for years, and then one day accidentally delete it with a little click, it is gone forever. Insanity I tell ya, insanity.

3) Say you’ve got a bunch of notes on one notebook and you’re trying to read through them. As you do, you hit a quote you want to copy and paste into a second notebook. So you click over to notebook #2 and paste the quote and then click back over to notebook #1. Do you find yourself right back at the place where you took the copied note from? No, you’re at the very beginning/top of the notebook. You then have to scroll through the text again and hunt down the place you left off reading. If you’ve got a huge notebook of notes that you’re working through and want to then break up and stick parts of it into various other notebooks, going back and forth between notebooks and always starting at the beginning of each of them and having to hunt down where you left off again and again is time-consuming and kind of infuriating.

To sum up, while Evernote may indeed by handy for a wide range of tasks, for research and notes, I find OneNote to be greatly superior and I miss it dearly. I keep hoping they’ll make it available for mac. Or perhaps my mac will have to have an unfortunate “accident” that allows me to switch back to a PC.

28 Caz February 13, 2014 at 4:35 am

I love Evernote. I’ve used it for four years now, and it seems to find its way into more and more areas of my life.

I use it to OCR PDF texts for school, creating searchable databases of articles, to compile offline travel guides, as a journal, a recipe book, and to compile information on jobs, housing, and language learning resources. I recently began using it to store every article that I read online after losing the link to an important piece last year. It’s a great program.

29 Nikola Gjakovski February 13, 2014 at 5:49 am

I just download it and I’m doing your list step by step. Thank you for the information

30 Tyler February 13, 2014 at 7:59 am


I know under Edit, there is an undo button for text (Ctrl+z just like Word) and that there is a Trash which holds all deleted notes that you can restore in the event something is deleted.

There is also a highlight feature but the only color option is yellow.

31 Sally February 13, 2014 at 8:08 am

I have had just the opposite experience. I tried both OneNote and Evernote and I find so many feature in Evernote that either don’t exist in OneNote or I have been unable to find them that I have now used Evernote for about 4 years. So in response to your concerns I have the following suggestions:

1) You are so right. I have frequently contacted the powers that be in Evernote to request the ability to highlight notes. So far there has been no indication that they are working on this. Maybe if enough of us request this option they will pay attention and do something about it. However, there as so many other things I can easily do in Evernote that I will happily continue to use it. In particular, the ability to easily merge notes together.

2) There is an undo option…if not a button. Just click on Edit and Undo.

3) An easy way to work between notes in Evernote is to pop one or more of the notes to its own window. Then you can copy and paste to another note without losing your place.

Personally…I would never give up my Mac….

32 Sally February 13, 2014 at 8:21 am

Please excuse me for sticking my nose into your conversation, but I clicked on this post from FaceBook because I am a diehard early adopter of Evernote and I could not live without it. I have been able to go almost completely paperless at home and at work using it. Here are some of my favorite uses:

I organize all of my insurance information on notes. I attach PDFs of policies and statements and attach reminders for payments.

I forward important emails to myself using my Evernote email address. By add the tag in the subject link of the email, I can send the email directly to the appropriate notebook. This is invaluable because any email attachments are also added to the note. I am an academic librarian and I recommend that students use Evernote and email articles and records from databases directly to Evernote to organize research. Any articles they are using is attached to the note in PDF format.

I have run out of time to enumerate more ways I use Evernote. So I will just say thank you for this great post. I got some great tips and ideas.


33 Dave February 13, 2014 at 8:22 am

I do love Evernote (I mainly use it as a recipe repository), but the majority of the things that you list above, I handle with *.txt files in dropbox (or in a shared folder if it’s something that multiple people need to access).

34 Dennise February 13, 2014 at 9:20 am

This article is especially timely for me. Just yesterday I loaded Evernote on my PC, laptop and phone.

35 Jerod February 13, 2014 at 9:41 am

I am using Evernote as I build my first electric guitar. I have a “guitar build” notebook with individual notes on body design and woods, electronics and wiring, finishing, and every other aspect of guitar building. I have collected ideas and tool from across the web all in one place. I also created a table of expected costs versus actual costs so I can keep track of exactly how much my dream guitar has cost me. It has been a great tool and replaced my “pile of guitar notes” that I had accumulated in the years I was planning my guitar. Evernote has been an efficient, effective, and easy tool for me to track and plan my guitar. I’m only halfway done with my build, so it also great to see how my guitar idea has evolved as I have progressed.

36 Mattoomba February 13, 2014 at 9:59 am

Jerred at “End of Three” fitness (who wrote an article or two here on AoM…in fact, that’s how I found out about him) has a detailed post on how he uses Evernote to track his fitness regimen. I recommend that anyone who wants to do the same head over to his blog at endofthreefitness for ideas.

37 Brian Bustos February 13, 2014 at 10:21 am

I use evernote to keep track of my car fixes and home improvements. For example, any time we buy a new light fixture (one of those crazy ones with R-20 light bulbs), I create a note in the “home” category with the tags “downstairs”, “lighting” and add the following in the note:
- photo of the packaging of the light fixture
- photo of the max-wattage and bulb usage instructions

later, I add to the note the following:
- target does not carry “R-20″ lightbulbs
- Home depot sells 2 for $8.99
- photo of lightbulb packaging for easy finding next time

Evernote is my most used app. warning: you cant take evernote with you when you die.

38 Alex Wilson February 13, 2014 at 10:26 am

I use Evernote for many different things.

1. Store resumes / bios to send to clients.
2. Store class outlines and pricing to send out to clients.
3. Store research notes for new classes I write.
4. Store meeting notes.
5. Store important reference information I might need.
6. Dump for anything I want to remember to look at later.
7. I am my municipality’s Emergency Management Coordinator. I use Evernote to record my status reports during disasters and when I do damage reporting, I collect the pictures and data through it.
8. Storage for software license codes and purchase information.
9. Project management notes for the various projects I lead.
10. Home project management – shared with spouse.
11. Travel plans when I am on the move including copies of the latest train schedules.

My list keeps going on and on…

39 Michael February 13, 2014 at 11:12 am

I use it to catalog my daughter’s outgrown toys/clothes. I take pictures of each item and tag them with descriptions. I’ll even take a picture of the box I put them in. Later if I ever need that item again I simply search for say “crab shaped mirror/rattle” and I know exactly which box to pull out.

40 Scott King February 13, 2014 at 11:16 am

Since Evernote is not exactly created as a To Do list manager like Outlook Task or others, you can use it to apply David Allen’s Getting Things Done (GTD) approach. There is a set-up guide on his website ( under products. There is also another set-up guide at

41 Tink February 13, 2014 at 11:25 am

It’s a dandy app for sure. My preference is constant toward physical notebooks and folders, however. I find it more meditative and easier on my eyes.


42 Kent Sanders February 13, 2014 at 11:34 am

Great post! Lots of great info here!

I almost hesitate to mention this because I don’t want it to seem like I’m spamming the discussion with a sales pitch. However, I’m a regular AOM reader and love the site, and this is directly relevant to the discussion.

If anyone is interested, last week I just released a full Evernote training system. It’s video-based, and includes a workbook, 12 speciality mini-courses (for writers, pastors, speakers, artists, musicians, etc.), and other bonuses. You can check it out at

But aside from that, I hope everyone checks out Evernote – it’s incredibly powerful and I use it every single day.

43 C. Wallace February 13, 2014 at 11:37 am

IMO, Evernote is a great product. It’s ubiquitous and feature rich.

However, as with any “cloud” application, security and privacy should be a consideration.

Your personal data is not encrypted on Evernote’s servers by default. Encryption can be enabled on a note-by-note basis but questions have been raised regarding the strength of the encryption method.

In the event of a security breach, all of your data would potentially be accessible, in clear text, to the attackers. What they do with it at that point is up to them.

My point here is, if you’re not comfortable with your data being “public” information, which the whole world can read and make use of, you should carefully consider how you use any cloud application.

Maybe it’s OK that your data is not secure, maybe it’s not OK.

Either way, I recommend carefully reviewing and researching the security and privacy policy of any company to whom you upload personal information like this.

Hope this helps.

44 Doug February 13, 2014 at 11:41 am

Glad to see AoM post about Evernote. I’ve been using it for several personal needs, but most heavily for programming for my personal training clients. The boundaries to what you can do are endless!

45 Jeff Stormer February 13, 2014 at 11:41 am

Also an early adopter of EN.
And all of the ideas above really just scratch the surface–EN is sufficiently flexible that the biggest challenge sometimes is the limit of my imagination for using it!
Use it to teach classes, take classes, run a business, change jobs/careers, sermon notes (pitching and catching),rough draft ebooks, write/archive blog posts, copies of user manuals (ditch the paper), software titles/purchase codes, recipes (excellent tie in w/ EN Food app), receipts, music/movie/dvd titles (got SO tired of buying copies of titles I already own… the list goes on.
Between the web clipper & attachments, it’s hard NOT to use.
Haven’t gotten into the “tag” thing as much since the SEARCH function is mind boggling!
Hit up the EN site ( & check out the EN Ambassadors for ideas on how professionals in your skill set(s) use EN for their business/personal lives.
NO, I don’t get a kickback for singing the EN love song. Sure wish I did though!

46 Jon February 13, 2014 at 11:48 am

I been intrigued with Evernote for years, especially as it’s gained a substantial level of use in our company. However, as the founder of a security company, I just can’t get over the substantial level of risk in this application.

Please note the following disclosure in their privacy policy: “Does Evernote Review My Notes?
As a rule, Evernote employees do not monitor or view your personal information or Content stored in the Service, but it may be viewed if we believe our Terms of Service have been violated and confirmation is required, if we need to do so in order to respond to your requests for user support, or we otherwise determine that we have an obligation to review it as described in our Terms of Service. Your Notes also may be viewed where necessary to protect the rights, property or personal safety of Evernote and its users, or in order to comply with our legal obligations, such as responding to warrants, court orders or other legal process.”

Given Evernote’s apparent policy of saving all of your data in the clear (in a format that can be read by their employees), there’s simply no way that I would store anything more than recipes, fun facts, etc…nothing critical or sensitive, which greatly reduces it’s effectiveness for me. Anyone using it for a broad array of data, as suggested in the article, opens themselves for a significant level of risk. You’d have to trust that Evernote has better network and service level security than most financial services companies, and that ALL of their employees are 100% trustworthy. It’s simply not a risk I’m willing to take.

47 Nestor Alvarez February 13, 2014 at 12:13 pm

Excellent article! I barely started using Evernote last year and have kicked myself for missing out on such a handy tool. Aside from standard notes, contact info., etc., I also use it for my CPA studies. For any students or otherwise, anybody going through an exam process, here are the two tips I offer that have kept me sane:

1 – Keep the amount of folders to a minimum.
2 – Go liberal with tags.

48 Kate McKay February 13, 2014 at 12:26 pm

Thanks Tyler & Sally. I figured in writing my comment that there would be some folks more tech-savvy than myself that could resolve my issues. Appreciate it! I’ll still always have a spot in my heart for OneNote though…. :)

49 Mark Frisco February 13, 2014 at 12:36 pm

Prior to becoming an Evernote evangelist a year ago, I used to be a big Franklin-Covey user. The problem with that system is when (not necessarily if…) you lose your binder, you lose everything. Evernote, being cloud based, when you lose your computer, smart phone, and tablet in one catastrophic event you don’t lose any of your previous information.

I’ve found, though, that Evernote does not do a very good job of creating a prioritized task list (other than making a simple to-do list). For cloud-based prioritized task list, I use (it’s TOTALLY FREE). You can customize it into the ABC123 system so you can focus on what is most important, but never lose track of everything else.

50 Haryaksh February 13, 2014 at 12:39 pm

Great post.

I am definitely considering getting Evernote. But I already use my pocket notebook for a lot of the stuff listed. And I don’t really need to collaborate my notes with other people, which seems to be one of the main features of Evernote.

But I’m still considering it because I am planning on writing a book, and this could be a useful tool for both writing and research/brainstorming notes. The voice notes could also be of use to me.

51 cj February 13, 2014 at 3:03 pm

I find evernote useful for long term notes. Anything under 3 months and I use Google Keep. To me evernote’s interface of compartmented windows does not work for scrolling through and reading notes like you can on Google keep. It’s great for large long term things that I need a good way of sorting and searching for though. If they combined with Get Pocket I would be in love.

52 John February 13, 2014 at 3:28 pm

Forgive me for intruding on your party, but after using Evernote for a long time, I’m now restricting my use.

Evernote is too much of a closed system and I’m afraid that many years from now I’m not going to be able to access files in there.

I rather use filing systems that use formats that – hopefully – will survive and that don’t depend on the support of one company.

As such, I now only use it for things that I know I won’t care about in the long term.

53 Woelf Dietrich February 13, 2014 at 5:31 pm

I love Evernote. While I use Scrivener for writing fiction, I use Evernote to organize my research, compile my blog entries, and general musings–all nicely divided into stacks of digital notebooks. The Evernote Clipper makes it easy to just clip articles and images from the net so you can sort them to the appropriate notebook. I’ve been using it for two years and I don’t see myself using anything else anytime soon.

Thanks for the article, though. It reminded me why I love Evernote.

54 Amber February 13, 2014 at 6:02 pm

I have a note set up to track any orders I place, and can add in tracking info whenever I get a link.

It’s also great for process pictures/notes while working on long projects that may take a lot of steps or days between steps…it helps me remember what I’ve done and I usually put together a list of concerns or things to fix in the future as I’m working more on the project.

55 David February 13, 2014 at 6:39 pm

I couldn’t survive without my Evernote Web Clipper! A place to keep great ideas and information organized in to relevant groupings.

56 Peter Bloemendaal February 14, 2014 at 2:44 am

I use Evernote as a tool to store reference material for my Facebook-page on Old Arnhem (a city in The Netherlands). The site contains historical material of the city (photo’s, movies, stories). All the relevant facts I need to know for providing info with these pics and movies are stored in Evernote. E.g. a list of license plate combinations over the years helps me to determine appr. the year of a picture (when car on pict of course). E.g. a note with the URLs of all history sites I use to collect info. Very handy tool, this Evernote. In case you are interested, you can find the Facebook page here:

57 Nate S. February 14, 2014 at 10:30 am

I have been using Google keep and pocket but it looks like this one app will fulfill both of those functions and more Started trying it yesterday.

58 Asher February 14, 2014 at 10:36 am

Seriously, the trick the Evernote is using it for everything. Once I dove head first and started using it for everything, it has become the one app to rule them all.

59 Alonso February 14, 2014 at 5:00 pm

Very a la Art of Manliness, I keep a note called “Heirloom” where I record all of life’s revelations I want to share with my kid when he can understand them. I write down things no one told me and strike me when I first understand things… about women, job, motivation.. you know, all the things a dad has to offer to his son.
I also Have a note titled I.O.U.,there I keep track of all the things I borrow and lend, and since i cand do pretty handy list on Evernote, I do entries with name, date, what changed hands, whend did it return and some other details, and check the box when its settled (I don’t erase them just in case my friend doesn’t remember I already paid him back, I can remember when and where did I)

60 Ryan Dumphy February 14, 2014 at 5:01 pm

I’ve had Evernote a for a couple of years now, and this post made realize that I’m using it to its full potential. That you for a informative and insightful post. I plan on using it even more now that I see that it has extreme potential.

61 Chet February 15, 2014 at 9:32 am

Being a student, Evernote is by far the best note taking utility. There are many apps that sync with it and has a descent text editor. I just upgraded to premium and for the money, it is worth it to me. I can upload pdf’s, pictures and articles, no hassels. And, I will be adding this article to my evernote notes.

62 Bill Hyatt February 15, 2014 at 11:06 am

Looks almost too good to be true.
No one does this much work for no reward. What does this company get from the free app?

63 Pam Dupuy February 15, 2014 at 11:55 am

This is great – thank you! Evernote is my constant companion. A couple of things to add:
1) I use Penultimate for handwritten notes, then it syncs automatically with Evernote – and is searchable!
2) I interviewed a relative and on ONE note, recorded her, took a picture of the book she was discussing and made text additions. Amazing.

64 Jimmy Brown February 15, 2014 at 9:40 pm

I was pretty excited by this article and went over to the B&N site to download it for my Nook Tablet. There I encountered a reminder of why I don’t use such programs: It is incompatible with my tablet, though they would be happy to sell me a newer one. So I’ll save the email and dig it out one day when I can use it.

65 Alex February 15, 2014 at 10:04 pm

I also use it to keep manuals, user guides, etc. for all my gear, electronics, appliances and such handy.

66 Chris Porto February 15, 2014 at 10:24 pm

Great post! Evernote is a really important resource in my life. I like all of the suggested uses. Using it as a reference system for all my musings online is probably the best feature in my mind (using the Web Clipper).

I’m actually in the process of putting together a comprehensive training system (much like Kent @ Artist’s Suitcase). It’s called Evernote Mastery and will cover a full embrace of the whole ecosystem across mediums. Here’s the link if people would like to stay tuned:

Thanks again for the post!

67 Jason RT February 16, 2014 at 7:44 am

I’ve been using Evernote for a while now but this post encouraged me to further expand my usage of it. It’s really a great way to keep all my thoughts and important information at one page. I especially like how well it syncs between my computer and iPhone. And thanks a lot for the trick with Kindle Highlights. That was exactly what I still needed. Unfortunately most of my ebooks are not from Amazon and thus I won’t see my highlights on the amazon page. However, I just found out that you can easily access all of your highlights through the Calibre Application. It works pretty well. Check it out:

68 Rizzi February 16, 2014 at 8:59 am

Thanks for a great recommendation. This app is a game changer.

69 Daniel February 16, 2014 at 1:23 pm

Fantastic. I use Evernote everyday to keep track of the to-do’s in every principal facet of my life.
Additionally, it’s become an ideal platform for songwriting. I put all the terrible (er, ‘working’) song ideas and sketches in one notebook, and export to a notebook that’s shared with bandmates when they’re complete and ready to begin rehearsing.

70 Jason February 16, 2014 at 3:38 pm

I love Evernote! I have been using it for a couple of years now but just last year I went back to school online. I have a note for every week of class which has a list of all my assignments due and when. I can set reminders for each assignment. I also attach all of my books so my note is the one stop for that class. I could not get along with out it!!!

71 Adam Gernhard February 16, 2014 at 8:13 pm

Emacs > Evernote | OneNote
* Org Mode can do all the above + more
* Emacs is truly free, not just provided without charge.

If you want truly ‘manly’ software read The GNU Manifesto.
Remember: millions for defense, but not a cent for tribute!

72 Troy in Vegas February 16, 2014 at 11:22 pm

I will often use the app to keep a general list of things to do. Also I like to use it to dictate blog posts and or other various notes and reminders that I need to have transcribed later.
I only wish that there was a way I can encrypt notes

73 GerryO February 19, 2014 at 8:52 pm

I work in several different buildings and each one has a dizzying variety of codes to get into different labs or sections or departments and they change frequently. I use Evernote to keep track of all the different passwords and combination codes.

74 Chad Newton February 20, 2014 at 5:33 pm

This may be a bit OTT and it’s something that I’ve been working on a long time but I keep all my recipes in Evernote, as Evernote’s search feature makes things so much more practical! I’ve typed up one recipe a day for a long time (including from my physical recipe books), tagged them according to cuisine and whether they’re vegetarian or vegan etc, and now if I look in my fridge and think “Oh, I really ought to use up that aubergine, I wonder what I could do with it?” I can now type in “aubergine” into evernote and every recipe that uses it comes up. Plus if you know what you want to make it’s easier typing it into the search than thumbing through a book.

75 mgb February 22, 2014 at 1:58 am

Evernote’s voice memos functionality is kind of ass. particularly if you have more than one voice note that you want to attach to a single evernote. Maybe not an everyday user’s use case, but it has come up a bunch of times for me. I would encourage them to keep on tryin, but at the moment, the system needs work.

76 Gareth February 22, 2014 at 7:07 am

Besides much of what you’ve written, I use Evernote as a repository for the myriad of articles that get thrown at us from the internet. It is impossible to read everything I find interesting, but I clip each one, organize it by category, and read up on some of it later. Also if every I need to use research a particular topic, I find I look to Evernote a fair amount, away from Google. Tis a fact that the more you use Evernote, the more useful it becomes

77 Alex February 23, 2014 at 12:18 pm

In addition to everything above, it is a great place to keep a digital copy of user / instruction manuals for all of your appliances and gadgets.

78 Steve Smith February 24, 2014 at 8:14 am

Many people love Evernote, as this article and the comments demonstrate. More power to Evernote and its fans!

However, to each his own. I tried, really tried, to like Evernote. But I found the interface ugly, the menus confusing, and the file structure non-intuitive. I also have no need to collaborate with others on files or to sync files between different devices.

For my purposes, I find iDailyDiary to be much more suitable for my needs, and friendlier to boot. I did spring for the premium “Professional” version in order to get the “sticky tabs” feature. I think it was 30 bucks. (I have no connection with iDailyDiary other than as a user, BTW.)

79 Erin February 24, 2014 at 6:12 pm

I have a couple of other suggestions for you gentlemen.

First: Owners/instruction manuals and preventative maintenance schedules. Where did I put the manual for the microwave? What model air filter does my fridge need? Who was that guy who did our gutters last year? It’s all in my Evernote account, tagged and organized.

Second: Keep a Captain’s Log. I use IFTTT to funnel all of my social networking activity automatically into a single Evernote note that is automatically generated every day with a daily weather forecast. To the weather, I add a list of my daily goals for 2014 (to come back to and flesh out my daily progress later). After that, anything I do on Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare, Instagram, Goodreads, my blog, you name it, it all gets appended to this daily log. If I have a random thought I want to remember, I tack it onto the end of the Captain’s Log. Comments about my day as a whole? Captain’s Log. Hey, it worked for Captain Picard, right?

Finally, if you’re looking for a productivity solution, some task managers, like Remember the Milk and Gneo, sync with Evernote’s Reminders feature and allow you to use your Evernote account as your project management tool.

80 Scout March 1, 2014 at 7:47 am

I discovered EverNote a few years ago and was very attracted to it because I am constantly saving bits of different materials form different sources together with my own notes in Word or PDF.. HOWEVER I did not take it much further because it is not secure. (Ref others comment son the matter) A glance at the headlines tells one very clearly that the WWW may become unavailable very quickly and your privacy is not at all important to those in power.

81 Jordan March 3, 2014 at 3:19 pm

Membership Numbers!

Nobody likes carrying around a wallet full of loyalty program cards and membership numbers. I just take a photo of the front and back of the card in EN. The sales associate can even scan the barcode from the photo.

82 Terry March 4, 2014 at 8:11 am

First off, thank you guys for writing this post. Second, thanks to Evernote for inspiring you. Since I read this about two weeks ago, Evernote has basically become my brain. I use it for everything, literally everything, for a few reasons. I’ve tried tons of other apps for reminders, notes, finance, work, personal things to remember, and none have been able to do everything I’ve wanted from them, until I read this post. One, I’m in short cycle sales, so keeping up with all of my accounts, prices I quoted, etc, on a daily basis is challenging to begin with. Second, over the course of the last year or so, I went from living on my own just having a girlfriend, to being married and helping raise a kindergartner. That adds a lot to the mix, Third, the new misses and I are head to Ireland on Thursday, so keeping track of car rental and hotel confirmations has been great with Evernote. And finally, I have full blown ADHD, which for a salesman is about the equivalent of a truck driver being blind. So if you could see inside my brain, it would look like a bowl of scrambled eggs…Evernote has helped keep some semblance of order in what is normally fully blown chaos. Once again, AOM hits the nail on the head, so thanks to you guys, and of course to the creators of Evernote.

83 Chris March 9, 2014 at 12:42 pm

Great article! I love evernote for its webclipper alone. However, lack of reliable clipping apps for android devices makes clipping articles pretty frustrating (apps crash device, simply do not work, etc.). I’ve recently started using Pocket on my android phone and tablet and love it. Works just like evernote’s webclipper, but designed for mobile, although also works on desktop computers. Pocket is part of’s suite of apps. I also really like’s daily planner/checklist app. Very user friendly and highly recommended. I hear they recently released a calendar app as well, but I’m pretty glued into Google Cal for the time being.

84 Allen M March 25, 2014 at 12:39 am

I don’t understand #17′s part about andriod. It can both transcribe and save the audio file simultaneously? When I tried to click on the mike to transcribe when evernote was already recording, I got the message that it couldn’t access Google at the moment (until I stopped evernote recording)

85 Allen M March 25, 2014 at 12:40 am

^I forgot to mention that I’m running stock Andriod 4.4.2 (latest) on a Google Nexus 7 (2013)

86 Howard Hirshfield March 29, 2014 at 10:09 am

What a great app. I’m feel happy to read your well written article. I got some fantastic info for my research project. Thanks for sharing with us!

87 Madeline April 9, 2014 at 5:13 pm

Why isn’t there a calendar integrated with the note writing structure??

(as it’s name suggests: “Evernote”)
I wanted an app to use primarily for WRITING; moreover as a journal | diary with option for calendar, list, or category view w/ option for images, voice, and clips.

I haven’t seen any documentation that links Evernote “notebook’ entries to a calendar

- and I’ve downloaded it to my PC. It seems ‘awkward’ and more like a ‘diigo’ type app-tool that for “writing notes”.

88 Matt Ellis April 15, 2014 at 8:14 pm

Now that Evernote has purchased Penultimate, I take “hand written” notes on my iPad in Penultimate.

They synch to a Penultimate notebook in Evernote.

If I write neatly, the hand written text in penultimate is even searchable!

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