Organising yourself with Evernote

EvernoteEvernote is a nice little app that I have mentioned a couple of times before. It’s a note taking and organising tool, which exists in three main forms: a website, a desktop application for your computer, and an iPhone app.

This approach is becoming increasingly important for any service I use on a regular basis. It needs to be present in a usable form wherever I am and be accessible offline as well as off. It’s one of the reasons that Dropbox has become so invaluable too.

Evernote let you create pages on notes, using text, images, video or audio and to embed documents and even web pages as well. Notes can be collected into notebooks, enabling you to bundle things on similar topics together, and notebooks can even be published publicly, turning Evernote into a simple CMS.

For example, my default notebook, where note are stored if I don’t specificy another one, is simple ‘Stuff to sort’ and notes don’t stay in there for long. I have a notebook for blog posts ideas, one for  reports and documents to read, and another for project ideas.

I’ve recently started using it in another way – which I wouldn’t have really thought of before I found myself doing it! When I am at events, I pick up loads of business cards from people. Before, I would take them home in a big pile, then after a while I would go through them, trying to figure out who people are etc. Now, I photograph them on my iphone as soon as I get them, and send them into Evernote. I can then add notes to them, such as who they are, what they are interested in, where I met them etc all in one place. These all get synced up to a ‘business cards’ notebook so I can find them easily and it acts as a simple CRM.

I’m not the only fan of Evernote at Learning Pool – my good friend John Roughley uses it regularly too – here’s his take:

John RoughleyI found Evernote by chance when looking for a way to collect and organize the sheer amount of technical information I come across on a daily basis. I needed an easy way to collect text, images, and web pages. I looked at various options but found that Evernote offered the flexibility I needed. For me, one of the big advantages was the ability to tag information, making it easy to search for.

So what do I collect? In a word everything! Well, everything that is of use to me in my job at Learning Pool.  This mainly consists of information from, capturing text, sometimes long pieces or short posts on the forum. Anything that I think might be useful, it’s much easier than bookmarking every page that might (or might not) be useful in the future.  Plus you only capture what you need. Images are easily captured with a right-click, then tagged in the same way as you would with anything else.

Gathering all this information is great, but is of no use if you can’t share it with anyone. Another cool feature is that you can share the information with anyone, by simply entering their email address. They can then view the information through a web browser.

So there you have it. Evernote is dead handy.

Do you use Evernote in an interesting way you could share? Or do you use a different app? Would be great to know about it if so!

Bookmarks for April 5th through April 10th

I find this stuff so that you don’t have to.

  • Social Media Security – "We have found a huge lack of accurate information around security issues and awareness of social media. This website aims to help educate users of social media of the threats, risks and privacy concerns that go with using them."
  • E-government is not a financial cure-all – "Whoever is in charge after 6 May, I expect the drive towards "smarter government" (or whatever catch phrase replaces it) to continue. There are simply no other tools in the box. But whoever is in charge will avidly wish someone had made a bolder start while the going was good."
  • Bant Diabetes Monitoring App for the iPhone and iPod Touch – Interesting iphone app for diabetes management, via @robertbrook
  • Two models of open innovation – "Based on our recent experience of working on open innovation projects, and also building upon a great paper by Kevin Boudreau and Karim Lakhani, we have concluded that there are two distinct ways of doing open innovation – creating competitive markets or collaborative communities"
  • Let government screw up – "I have the opportunity to speak to groups across government about the benefits, challenges and potential costs of social media. In the face of institutional anxiety, I’ve argued that social media is a positive environment that encourages experimentation. In fact, online users are willing to accept mis-steps and stumbles from government organizati0ns simply because it demonstrates initiative and ambition, if not expertise."
  • Project Spaces: A Format for Surfacing New Projects – home – "The event format I'm calling Project Spaces has emerged from working with various collaborators to facilitate events for communities actively engaged and committed to finding better ways to do things."
  • Can Open Office Escape From Under A Cloud? – "I do see a future for Open Office in the enterprise — one that’s closely tied to integration with collaboration, content management, and business processes and facilitated by the likes of Oracle and IBM."
  • A democratic view of social media behaviours – Interesting action research post from Catherine – plenty to chew on here.
  • Digital exclusion, porn and games – "I wonder if – as with mobile phones – there’s a certain, influential generation that see the technology as being more than just a technology. And instead, a marker for a whole way of life they just haven’t accepted yet."
  • Social media measurement – Great stuff from Stuart Bruce – debunking a few myths and some marketing BS.

You can find all my bookmarks on Delicious. There is also even more stuff on my shared Google Reader page.

You can also see all the videos I think are worth watching at my video scrapbook.

Gmail gets better with labs

If you are a Gmail user, you’ll be used to the many benefits that this webmail service provides, like massive storage, great search, powerful filtering and labelling of email, inbuilt instant messaging and voice calls over IP, and the ability to access your email anyway you like with POP and IMAP controls.

However, for a while now Google have been sneaking extra features into Gmail, which you can find by clicking Settings on the top right of the Gmail screen, then on the Labs tab on the settings screen. You’ll then see a big list of extra features you can add – some useful, some silly. Here are the ones I have enabled:

1. Tasks

The Tasks feature is great – building in a simple task list to Gmail, which makes it a doddle to create as many lists of stuff that needs to be done as you like, and attaching emails to them is made really simple: just select the email and then click on ‘Add to tasks’ under the ‘More Actions’ menu. I’m using this at the moment to list all the emails I need to reply to.

2. Quick Links

Adds a box on the left hand side of the Gmail screen allowing you to add as many bookmarks as you like. I’ve got things like admin link for the various blogs I am managing at the moment listed on mine.

3. Superstars

Superstars enables you to click through different types of stars to add to emails to make them stand out a little bit more. Makes things a little more colourful if nothing else.

4. Default ‘Reply to all’

I’m always forgetting to choose the Reply to all link when responding to group emails. This, as it says, makes reply to all the default. Must be careful with this when being rude about people…

5. Forgotten attachment detector

Not perfect, but this scans emails for words like ‘attachment’ or ‘attached’ and, if there isn’t a file attached to the emails, pops up with a warning when you click send. Useful for avoiding those occasional d’oh! moments.

6. Custom label colours

Just like Superstars, helps you differentiate between the different labels you give to emails with colours.

7. Mark as read button

Dead handy this, let’s you mark emails as read with a single click rather than the, er, two clicks it took before. Seriously, I save nanoseconds with this.

8. Google Docs gadget

This gives me a sneaky peek at my Google Docs, letting me open them from within Gmail, which is quite handy.

There are a few other gadgets I don’t use, but which, like the ones I have outlined above, help to make Gmail a kind of portal (I  know I’m not meant to use that word…) to all your online organisational stuff. For instance, there’s a Google Calendar gadget which gives you a preview of what you have on that day. So if you are a user of all these Google services, you can make Gmail your home page and not worry about the rest.

What – if any – of these gadgets are you using? And how do you feel about your inbox becoming the hub of your online life?

2 screens = more work done?

I’ve just dug out an old 15″ flat screen monitor from a box and plugged it into my MacBook:

2 screens

The way I have it set up is to have email and twitter on the flatscreen, while having the actual work I am meant to be doing on the macbook screen. I’m finding it certainly helps my concentration to keep the comms stuff to one side!

Anyone else work with two (or more!) screens? How do you have yours set up?

Be More Productive with Web 2.0

Here’s a little presentation I have cobbled together to try and show what’s possible with a web browser these days. It certainly isn’t intended to be comprehensive, rather to give folk an idea of where they can go to start experimenting. Feel free to use it, edit it, do whatever you like with it.

[slideshare 175910 be-more-productive-with-web-2-1195739427150628-3]