CTR: Evernote

Today I am going to tell you about another tool that can increase your productivity and save you some time. Hopefully you have taken advantage of Dropbox from my last post. I really can't say enough how that tool has made things easier. Now let me tell you about a tool called Evernote. The goal of Evernote is to help you remember, organize, and find things when you need them. What things you may ask, pretty much anything you want to remember for later. Keep notes from your meetings all in one place. You can create to-do lists, jot down random thoughts, or leave voice memos. Search for notes by keywords, titles, and tags. Evernote also makes printed and handwritten text inside your images searchable. Everything you "capture" is automatically made searchable. You can add tags or organize notes into different notebooks. Sounds great right!

Let me tell you how I use it and for a real life example. If you didn't know it, I lead a small group of youth for my church. Part of what I do is develop curriculum or a message to give each week. If you are like me, ideas don't necessarily come when you sit down to prepare the message. I often am in the middle of something else or listening to a sermon or other podcast when I get the idea. I pull out my iPod, open up the Evernote app and write it down (no Internet needed).  Another way ideas come to me is through the reading of the Bible (actually this is the most common way). I am such a geek I read my Bible on my iPod as well, so I come across a verse or passage and I add a note right in my BibleReader app (still no Internet needed). Now, when I get home, or am in the presence of any other hot spot I commonly use, my iPod picks up that Internet signal and syncs my notes from both apps to my Evernote account. Now, when I go to prepare, I open up my Evernote account on-line or the desktop app they provide and my ideas are all there. I pick one and add more content to it.. occasionally clipping an image or something else right into the note and BAM! Mission completion.

"But Josh, I don't prepare messages every week." I encourage you to check all the other apps and services that work with Evernote. For instance, all those file folders you have in your basement filled with old school notes and other stuff you don't look at but insist you need. Would you really know where to find what you wanted even if you did want to refer to it again? Services like OfficeDrop and Shoeboxed make it easy to mail this stuff off and have it scanned and appear in your Evernote account. Guess what, it is searchable as well. Remember that term paper you wrote in college, I don't either, but if you have it scanned and placed in your Evernote account, when you search your stuff it may just pop up again.

Did I mention how such a service could be useful for your church or organization and that you can get a basic Evernote account for FREE! That is a hard price to beat. You have nothing to lose and a lot of organization and time to gain. By the way, this blog post was originally an idea placed in my Evernote account.

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