10 Evernote Tricks to Take You From Apprentice to Master

"Intentionality fuels the master's journey." -George Leonard. Photo of a computer and coffee cup in background. Here are several Evernote tricks to help you master productivity.

Evernote Tricks for Creating Productivity Mastery

For years I wasn’t using Evernote to its full potential.  I used to the web clipper function to use Evernote as a backup bookmark application.  Evernote is a simple application with a lot of hidden features that can help you become a productivity ninja.  Today’s post features some of my favorite Evernote tricks.  If you want to learn more about Evernote, consult the Evernote support page for tips and tutorials or Brett Kelly’s book Evernote Essentials to learn even more ways to use Evernote to increase your productivity.  I also link three of my favorite resources at the bottom of the post.

1. For maximum productivity consider Evernote Plus or Premium

The benefits of the paid versions of Evernote are worth it.  I have Evernote Premium.  You get 10 gb of uploads per month and you can sync with unlimited devices.  Even better is the ability to search within attachments.  I consider Evernote an extension of my brain and having the search capacity to look into Word files is great.

With Evernote Premium, you can also annotate pdf files.  I mark most of my reading.  While I am a great fan of physical books, I do try to reduce my footprint.  Having the ability to digitally highlight articles helps reduce my  personal paper load.  Evernote Premium is $69.99 per year which isn’t much considering how much the application has to offer.

If you aren’t sure if you will use Evernote enough to call for the Premium version, consider Evernote Plus.  You get 1 gb of uploads per month, unlimited device syncing, and the valuable email to Evernote function (see below).  You don’t get the valuable annotation capabilities of Evernote Premium.  Learn more about Evernote pricing here.

2.  Use Web Clipper to annotate websites

After you have installed Evernote on your computer and devices, the next step is to install Evernote’s Web Clipper extension.  Web Clipper is the first step in using Evernote to its full capabilities.  If you find a blog article interesting, clip it into Evernote.  As you import more information into Evernote, Evernote’s search capabilities will link related articles.

You can also clip selections of webpages as well if you don’t need the full article.  Want to read an article without a ton of advertisements?  Under the Clip menu, select Simplified article.  After you have the article you want to clip selected through the Web Clipper, you have the ability to highlight any important passages.

You can also clip screenshots.  If you clip a screenshot,  you can also make highlights and notes on the screenshot through the Annotate menu that will appear after you have clipped the screenshot.

3. Use note history for version control

Evernote Premium has a great feature for writers and bloggers.  If you use Evernote to make notes for writing or to draft blog posts, you can access past versions of your note by going to Info>note history> backups of notes.  This is a great feature if you have made changes and then decide that you want to go back to a previous version of a note.

4. Don’t use your inbox for storage, use Evernote

While I have yet to achieve Inbox Zero, I do try to maintain an Inbox with fewer than fifteen messages.  I used to keep all of my important information in my mail client.  This made my mail server slower and was not the best way to manage information.

Now I keep all the information that I want to access in Evernote.  Did you know that you can forward an email directly to Evernote?  In Evernote’s desktop client, go to Tools>Account Info.  Here you will find your personal email address that you can use to email information directly to Evernote.

Instead of taking up space in your inbox, send receipts, long reference emails, bank account statements and any other information to Evernote.  You can also send a message to a specific notebook using the @notebook tag or add a reminder using the !date tag.  You can use the #tag function as well to add appropriate tags to the note.

Here’s an example:

Notes for Webinar @Productivity !2016/08/03 #selfdevelopment

5.  Set up your iPhone for Evernote

Don’t limit your Evernote usage to the desktop client.  Evernote has great apps to access all of its features even when you are away from your computer.  You can send webpages, photos, and documents to your phone using the Evernote app.  Make sure that you are signed into the Evernote app.  If you want to send a webpage to Evernote, swipe up in Safari and hit the share button. Swipe left to access other apps. Click More and choose Evernote and Done.  Evernote will appear in the Share menu.  Click on the Evernote button and the Evernote menu of options will pop up.

You can send photos to Evernote using the same procedure.  This is great for taking photos of whiteboards.

Add Evernote to your iOS Notifications Screen

Want to make a note in Evernote without logging into your phone?  Add Evernote to your iOS Notifications screen and you can quickly access Evernote at any time.  At your login screen, swipe down to access notifications.  Click the Today button and scroll down to the bottom and select Edit.  Add Evernote using the green + sign.

Now you can quickly access Evernote on your notifications screen.  This is a great feature if you want to make a quick note.

6.  Use Evernote to Create Your Captain’s Log

Evernote is great because it integrates well with so many other applications.  I use IFTTT (If This Then That) with Evernote to create a personal Captain’s Log to start my day.  My Captain’s Log starts with the weather forecast which is created in a new note for the day at the start of the morning.  All of my Tweets, Facebook posts, and Instagram pics are automatically added to the log.

My Captain’s Log is a great start for my daily journal entry.  I have instant access to what I was reading and doing and where I went throughout the day.

7.  Create an offline reading list for longhaul flights

Use the Simplified article function along with a to_read notebook to create a reading list for long trips.  Set up a notebook labeled to_read and make sure that it is selected to be available offline.  Add any interesting articles (Medium is great for this) to the notebook and you have an instant reading list to keep you entertained during longhaul flights.  Use the Simplified article function to save articles that are spread over multiple webpages.

You can also link Pocket with Evernote for the same function using IFTTT.

8.  Create your own guidebook using Evernote

For my trip to Japan, since I was going to several places that were off the beaten track, I created my personal guidebook.  I clipped articles from blogs about Japan, comments from reddit/JapanTravel, restaurant writeups from Happy Cow, travel Japanese phrases, my hotel and flight info, and train schedules.  Having everything in one place made my trip go smoothly and I have a great souvenir of my trip as well!

9.  Use Evernote as your personal yellowpages

At the risk of aging myself, there used to be these giant paper books known as phonebooks with a section with yellow paper that contained listings for local businesses sorted by topic.  This section was referred to as the yellowpages. Kidding aside, Evernote is great for saving important phone numbers (like that of your plumber) to find quickly in the case of an emergency.

I also keep takeout menus, advertisements that I think will be useful, and recommendations from friends in this notebook as well.  This has replaced the paper drawer in my kitchen, and it is so much easier to find numbers now.

10. Back up your Tweets and Blog Within Evernote

Having multiple backups of your social media and blog posts is very important for bloggers.  Using IFTTT, you can automatically send Tweets and blog posts from WordPress and Blogger into Evernote.  This function works with both self-hosted and WordPress.com blogs.  You will have to give your username and password to use the function.  If you have security concerns, you can generate an application specific password if you have two-step authentication enabled.

If the idea of any third-party application makes you uncomfortable, you can also backup by clipping your blog articles using Web Clipper as well.  I keep my finished blog posts in a folder labeled Blog Backup to separate the finished posts from my drafts which are also written in Evernote.

Do you use Evernote?  What is your favorite Evernote trick?  Let me know in the comments!



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Intentionality fuels the master's journey. --George Leonard

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  1. andrew
    August 3, 2016 / 6:12 pm

    I really like the “Captain’s Log” idea. Never heard of that before!

    • August 3, 2016 / 6:54 pm

      Thanks for the comment Andrew! It’s a great way to get my journal entry for the day started. 🙂

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