7 smart ways to make Evernote your best buddy

Updated to Business, Productivity on January 3, 2023.

There are few things in my day I invariably rely on, like my 5 AM cuppa tea, yoga at noon, and, in the digital world, Evernote. My catch-all, composite of random notes, project lists, scraped web sites, and gluten-free recipes is the clever app called Evernote.

In this previous post I explained why this nifty tool has quietly replaced so many other ways I keep track in my life. This time I want to share some ninja tricks to make your Evernote experience even better.

If you are wondering what-the-hell-is-an-evernote? Head on back to read my first post. If you’re on board and ready to go one step further, let’s jump in with 7 ways to make Evernote your best buddy.

1. Grab that web site

Woah! Before we get into refined tricks, let’s make sure you’re using the absolute best feature of Evernote – snagging web sites.

There you are – looking for a yummy vegan dessert recipe to impress your dinner guests. You stumble upon Angela Liddon’s Oh She Glows Chilled Double Chocolate Torte (made it 3X and it’s a winner).

Angela Liddon’s Chilled Double Chocolate Torte

Boom! You click the green elephant head on your browser window, the Evernote menu pops up (Evernote strips all unwanted advertising off the page), you select your “Recipe” notebook, add in the tags: “vegan”, “dessert”, and “cake”, click “Save” and head back to vacuuming.

Later, in the grocery store, you pull up that note and are reminded to pick up avocados and pecans. Back home, you flip open your laptop (Evernote syncs notes between your tablet, phone and desktop as often as you tell it), pull up the note and start cooking.

For all this magic to happen (and enjoy that Torte), you need to add the Web clipper/extension to your favourite web browser. This will help you save anything from the web (text, link and images) into your default notebook – with one click.

2. Stay focussed with check lists

Because I’m going to Evernote throughout the day for articles, templates, and speech writing content, I might as well make it my go-to for planning. Evernote makes it easy to create check lists.

Once created, you can share your plans with colleagues, contractors, virtual assistants and your team. You can also search for all your lists (see Super Searches, below.)

3. Share notes

In our business we don’t yet use Trello, Asana, or Slack to communicate between our team. We do share certain notes in Evernote.

Our main project planning notes (essentially a big check-list) and personal Flight Plans are shared. When I meet with Sarah, in our office (or over the phone when I’m traveling,) I have her Flight Plan open and I’m taking notes – it’s the only way I’ll ever remember what we talked about and her commitments. Next meeting, I simply open the note and pick up where we left off.

Sharing is simple – click the “share” button in the top-right corner of your note, enter the name (or email) of the person to share with and select either: can view, can edit, or can edit and invite. Add a quick message (optional) and you’re off to the races.

4. Set reminders

This is an easy one. Once you have your list, image, written or audio note, it’s time to add a reminder. Click the alarm clock icon to select the date and time. This is a pretty basic tool – no reoccurring reminders or pop-ups that serenade you with “It’s a beautiful morning.”

I use reminders to prompt me to check-in by email with my coaching clients one day before our next call. Slick.

5. Super searches

After you’ve been using Evernote a while, the notes will be piling up and finding the one you want can be a problem. No worry – you can quickly create a refined search, like this:

Find notes created recently (this is my fav. search):

  • “created:day-3” – returns notes created in the last 3 days
  • created:20151218 returns notes created on or after December 18, 2015.

Find specific words in the title:

  • “intitle: coffee” – searches for notes whose title contains “coffee”.

Find specific words in the content:

  • “any: pizza beer” – will return all notes containing either “pizza” or “beer” (removing “any:” returns notes containing “pizza” and “beer”).

Find notes with specific tags:

  • “tag: medical” will return notes that have the tag “medical”.

Find any note that has a checklist: “todo:*”

6. Audio notes and written notes

Audio Notes:

When I’m walking Riley I always listen to podcasts. It’s a great way for me to learn about the latest social media hack, follow the start-up story at Gimlet, or be entertained by Terry O’Reilly’s brilliant “Age of Influence.”

And, of course, ideas start popping up I want to capture. This is where I can use Evernote’s audio note taking. Open a new note, click the microphone, capture that gem and I’m back to dog walking.

Written Notes:

This is one of my favourite tricks – after a coaching call, I grab my phone, open Evernote, snap a pic of my notes, and then toss my notes in recycling. Now I have an organized record of all our calls that I can quickly pull up before the next call. No typing or filing, plus it’s all backed up in the cloud.

Evernote even picks up the name of the coaching appointment from my Google calendar and pre-loads the name of the note!

7. Email into Evernote

Here’s a neat trick few people know about (until now) – you can forward emails directly to Evernote. Client emails, competitor’s emails, or correspondence to do with an upcoming event can now quickly be stored for future reference.

First you have to find your unique Evernote email address.

When you’re ready to forward an email to Evernote, you can reference it with some neat additions in the email subject line:

  • send to a specific notebook – @[name of notebook] (like: @clients)
  • add a searchable tag – #[tag] to add a searchable tag (like: #coaching)
  • be reminded when you need to revisit that note – ![date] (like !tomorrow or !2016/03/15)

If you’re being fancy, a fully decked-out email would look like this:

re: February convention @clients #speaking !20161105

There you have it, 7 ways to turbo-charge your use of Evernote and look like the smartest one in the room.