How I Got (More) Organized by Using Evernote

My application dock isn’t spare, but isn’t overflowing, either. There are a few applications I lean on as a core part of my daily workflow. Evernote is one of them.

What makes the Evernote service work for me is the notable lack of structure. You impose your own structure on your content with tagging, notebooks and search. Since reading David Weinberger’s Everything is Miscellaneous (which fully resonated with me as an information architect), I see the beauty in interfaces that adopt this principle. By giving organizational control to the user (after minimally implying a default order that would make sense to the majority of users), you maximize the usability of the experience for each unique user. This inspires a lot of the interfaces that I work on now, and is really easily recognizable to me when I encounter it.

Before I Installed Evernote

I started using the Evernote service to keep notes for web sites I was working on.

We had been using Stickies on our Mac, but they didn’t sync among our multiple computers and phones (at the time). We were always asking ourselves which computer had the information we were looking for. We had neon yellow notes on our bulletin board, but they didn’t travel well, and sometimes fell behind the cabinet. We had scraps of paper, Moleskine notebooks with random pages filled in, and a collection of other odd places to put (read: hide) information.

I started using the Evernote service to keep notes for web sites I was working on. Notes evolved into task lists, links to different staging and production environments and other salient details. Most importantly, the information seamlessly synced between all of my computers and my phone. Add in extensive use of tags, and I had a really nice way to retain content related to each of my projects.

Note-Taking, Evolved.

Randomness started to creep into my note-taking, which is the beauty of the Evernote service. These random things don’t get in the way of what I’m doing. Rather, they helped streamline things, because now I know where I “wrote that down”. Without further adieu, much like someone publishes a playlist of their favorite music, here’s what’s in my Evernote right now. It’s a potpourri of information to be sure, but thanks to Evernote, I know exactly where it is.

  1. Last year’s Christmas card list
  2. Code samples I want to keep track of from lynda.com
  3. Things to add to my personal web site
  4. Drink recipes (happy colada, anyone?)
  5. Lists of web sites on which I have registered as a user
  6. What recurring charges I have as an ACH to my checking account, and to my credit card
  7. A list of the James Bond series and which ones I have yet to see (I think Moonraker was outrageous and really quite funny)
  8. Gifts we’ve given and received
  9. My cholesterol numbers
  10. Sizes for each family member (immensely useful while out shopping)
  11. Airline, rental car and hotel loyalty program numbers and details
  12. My weekend warrior list – things to do around the house

Learn more at evernote.com. You won’t be disappointed.

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