Tag Archives: Time Management

My Experience with the Evernote Smart Notebook by Moleskine

Evernote MoleskineI tweeted a few weeks ago asking my followers what they thought about the Evernote Smart Notebook by Moleskine. I didn’t hear from anyone on their thoughts about that notebook specifically, so I decided to make the purchase and decide for myself. If you buy one of these notebooks on the Moleskine website, they’re $29.95 for the bigger size. I bought one on Amazon for $19.77. By the way, I don’t do affiliate links, so if you click any of these links and buy something, I don’t get paid.

A lot of you who are reading this blog are probably thinking to yourselves, “that is a lot money for a notebook”. And you would probably be right – if a notebook was all you received . If you’ve ever bought a Moleskine before, you know that they are not cheap by any stretch. But you also know that they’re worth the extra cost. They hold up extremely well, retain a classic and professional look, and they’re trendy too. And trendy counts for something, right? The Evernote Smart Notebook by Moleskine is exactly like a normal Moleskine, except for the following:

  • The cover is decorated with Evernote-branded artwork and the Moleskine-standard band is green (It’s detailed up close but looks black from far away)
  • The notebook comes with a unique validation code for 3 free months of Evernote Premium, which costs $4.95/month (more on why that matters below)
  • Stickers are included that are specially coded to match up with Tags on your Evernote account

Those extra features only cost you about $8 on Amazon, since a normal Moleskine notebook costs around $12.

EvernoteNow, when I’m working, I can write down notes in a meeting, snap a picture of the page with my iPhone (which has a feature that fits these notebook pages in the frame perfectly), and rename the note something that will be easier to search for later. In a matter of minutes, the written words that I wrote are searchable on my Evernote account, so next time I’m rifling through pages trying to remember where I wrote that one specific thing that I can’t seem to find, all I have to do is perform a simple keyword search and the note will turn up – on every single device that I sync my account with. That’s called OCR technology, which I’ve discussed before, and it really is the best feature of Evernote that most people don’t know exists. My written notes are now filed in subfolders on my Evernote account, so I can easily find things that I need most of the time without even having to perform a keyword search.

But why do I need an Evernote Premium account?

  • You may not. But I’m finding many reasons to use my account now that I have more space to upload information than I did when I was worried about reaching my monthly maximum. The other day, I cataloged some recipes that my Grandmother left behind in various church cookbooks. Now, they’re searchable and archived for years to come.
  • You can search within PDFs and iWork documents, which is a feature I have not used. I don’t have much to say about that, except that it sounds like something that could be very useful, especially if you’re studying for a test or project using large-volume PDFs.
  • You can also take notebooks offline. Again, not much to say about this beyond the fact that it’s a great feature.
  • You can read about more features here.

In short, I recommend the Evernote Smart Notebook by Moleskine. A normal Moleskine would work just the same for some of the features I pointed out, but the stickers coded for tagging and the free months of Evernote premium make the cost difference completely worth it. I will point out that this Notebook is only for someone who is genuinely interested in getting their notes organized across devices. If that sounds like something that’ll put you to sleep, don’t waste your money. If you’ve been wishing you could be more organized but can’t quite give up written notes, this is a wonderful solution to your problem that I think will help you in your noble quest to be more productive and save time by being organized.

Related Insight from People Who Are Smarter Than Me:

Craig Jarrow, the Time Management Ninja offers:

Brett Kelly has a great book about Evernote too, which I intend to read soon. I read his free chapter though, and it definitely intensified my interest in the app.

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Your Today List

Boom. That’s the word I use when someone puts me in my place. Chris Brogan really knows how to put me in my place.

Instead of a todo list, make a today list. Make the word “today” synonymous with how you live your vision. Make your view of the future your lifestyle, not a project.

We spend so much time talking about what we’re going to do. We love to tell ourselves that – at our age – we can wait. Here are a few examples:

  1. I’ll start going to church when I get a wife/husband.
  2. I’ll save for retirement when I make a little more money.
  3. I’ll work out more when I can afford a gym membership.
  4. The housing market isn’t going anywhere, I’ll save for a house later.
  5. My job is o.k. now, I’ll wait until “blank” before I look for a new job.

Or on a smaller scale:

  1. I can clean my bathroom later…I’m the only one that uses it anyways.
  2. I’ll make that budget next week…this week is an exception to my normal schedule.
  3. I’ll wake up early tomorrow…I had to work late last night.

I think you get it.

We have to get out of the mindset that the future is in our hands. As we all have probably experienced at least once in our lives, the future isn’t promised to anyone. Turn that To-Do list you’ve made in your head for the “you” that you want to be into a Today list.

Me? I need to work out. I need to find a church with my wife. I put these things off every week, assuming I can work on them when I have more time. The truth is, there just isn’t any time quite like the present. In fact, I probably have more time right now than I will ever have until I retire. What are you holding yourself back from this week?

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Evernote: 3 Tools You May Not Know About

EvernoteI have a bad habit of downloading a new app, using it once or twice, and then never giving enough thought to how the app could help me improve my productivity or simplify my life. When I first got an iPhone in 2010, Evernote was one of the first apps I installed. I had heard that I needed to have it because it was new, innovative and cool. I also had heard I could install it on my Macbook, so I did that too. I used it once or twice, mostly as a way to bookmark sites and also as a way to take some notes. It is really good for bookmarking sites and taking notes, but there is much more to this app than that. Over the past several weeks, I have started hearing more and more about people who use (or wish they used) Evernote to its fullest capabilities. The best example of someone who gets Evernote is Brett Kelly, author of “Evernote Essentials”. This eBook gives you the basics of Evernote for a small price and Kelly will even e-mail you a free sample. He also offers a 100% money-back guarantee. If that doesn’t stimulate your interest or your pocketbook is empty, check out Craig Jarrow’s advice on 10 ways to save time using Evernote. The things I’m about to tell you about are likely already covered in both of the posts I’ve already mentioned, but I’m showing them to a new audience.

Before you read the rest of this message, download Evernote, create an account and make some notebooks based on the types of articles, sites and ideas that you’ll want to hang on to. A few of my favorites include: Recipes, New Projects, Read Later, BeTwentySomething.com, For My Wife, For Work.

Once you’ve downloaded the App and are getting familiar with it, here are three things you may not have known about Evernote that can help you simplify your life and improve your productivity:

  1. Did you know that Evernote has “OCR” capabilities?
  2. The Google Chrome Evernote Webclipper is awesome.  The webclipper is a small elephant icon that sits just to the right of my navigation bar on Google Chrome.  It looks like a bookmark, and it is a bookmark, except it is a special bookmark that we refer to as a bookmarklet. A bookmarklet is a bookmark that has a function. The Google Chrome Evernote Webclipper’s function is to help you save time and increase productivity by allowing you a unique opportunity to save things you see on the web that you may need later. But, hey, isn’t that what bookmarking is for? Yes. You can bookmark pages and that will work well, too. However, does bookmarking a site allow you to easily organize your thoughts into specific folders (Evernote calls them notebooks)? Does bookmarking a site allow you to search by keyword later? Does bookmarking a site sync with every single one of your devices? No, it probably doesn’t. The Google Chrome Evernote Webclipper will really take your Evernote-usage and the effectiveness of this tool to the next level because it’s so easy to use.
  3. I can e-mail notes to my Evernote notebooks and tag them – even when I don’t have access to an Evernote-enabled device. Many big companies are fearful of services like Evernote, because they do not necessarily want sensitive documents to be sitting in some “cloud” somewhere, accessible by every device that may “sync” with your work computer. While I don’t like the limitations this has on my ability to use new tech tools, I completely understand the thought process and “I get it”. So, at work, when I cannot access Evernote, I just e-mail notes to myself that I want to read later. If I’m using LinkedIn for a work project and see an article I’d like to read (or write about) later, I can e-mail it to my custom Evernote account e-mail address, add @ followed by the notebook I want it filed in (i.e. @MyRecipes), and the note will be there when I need to get ahold of it. To see this e-mail address for yourself, open up Evernote, click the elephant on the top left hand side of the screen, click your name on the top, then, under General Settings, click “Evernote email address”. This will list your email address and even give you the capability to add the address to your contacts.

How are you using Evernote to simplify your life and increase productivity? Is this a cool app for 20-somethings to use? Have you moved beyond just bookmarking webpages to genuinely using this app and its vast array of features? Let me know!

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