Workflows evolve. A few years ago I was hesitant to use Evernote because of its proprietary nature. I was using plaintext to capture everything, but had to work out a complex syncing system to be efficient. Over the last year, I’ve overcome my fear and have increasingly built Evernote into my life. I started using it in so many ways, I finally subscribed to thePremium service. I’ve found Evernote to be a flexible and reliable tool readily available on all my devices — both for capture and to find information when I need it.
Here are a few ways I’m using Evernote:
The first thing I installed when I started using Evernote was the Mac Clipping Tool. Using the clipping tool I easily capture, attach keywords, and annotate pages from the web. Using the “Share” menu in the web clipper, I copy a link to the note directly as a reference in OmniFocus or Calendar entries. When I’m on my iPhone or iPad I use the Action Button (the square with the arrow emerging from the top) to get items into Evernote.
Emailing notes directly into an Evernote NoteBook (premium feature)
I have transitioned my personal email client to Postbox. Postbox, unlike Mail.app, has an Evernote clipping tool embedded into the interface. Sometimes, I’m unable to use either of these methods and will choose to email a note into Evernote. To learn more about this premium feature, read the excellent overview of Evernote email features (including naming the file, placing the file directly into a specific notebook, or tagging the file with a keyword or reminder time).
I most commonly use this method when I’m answering an email, placing my unique Evernote email address and Omnifocus MailDrop Address in the bcc field of my email. Using this method, I can kill 3 birds with one stone (responding to the email, keeping the reference material, making an Omnifocus entry to keep up with the item).
Linking to reference material for Omnifocus or Calendar
Once information is captured Evernote, each note has its own unique URL. I use this feature extensively to link reference material to OmniFocus and my Calendar. I have different ways of linking depending on the situation.
By control-clicking on a note in Evernote and then selecting “More Sharing” I copy the web-based URL to my clipboard. I then paste the URL into the note field of Omnifocus or into the appropriate field of my Calendar. Then, even when I change devices, I have access to my reference material.
Another method of grabbing URLs is with Launchbar. As I mentioned, I now use Launchbar extensively. I can select a note in Evernote and then invoke Launchbar, then I select “Evernote – Copy Link of Selected Note.” This copies the URL of the slected note to my clipboard to be pasted into any other app.
Capturing Ideas in Evernote using Drafts
Evernote extends its great power by linking to many other applications. I’ve found capturing snippets of text into Evernote is even easier than the method I described a few years ago using plaintext.
I use Drafts on my iphone and iPad to capture / brain dump just about everything. Drafts is an essential program on my iPhone. Drafts allows me to capture without thinking about what app I need to open. Once the text is captured, Drafts routes the information wherever I choose. I wrote about one way I use Drafts to capture and process meeting notes.
When I want to capture an idea, I merely open Drafts and type or dictate my idea into the app. When I’m done, I route the information to Evernote using the following custom action:
The action automatically derives a title from the first line of the text and appends the date and time. Furthermore, it files the note in my “Ideas” Notebook in Evernote and tags the note with the keyword “Ideas."
The note ends up in Evernote looking like this:
When I get to Evernote, I append further information in the note as needed. I use IdeaX in the header so when I search for a list of my ideas, they are not mixed together with information I’ve gathered from other sources. If I search for a keyword(s), I not only see my ideas, but all the information I’ve gathered in Evernote—very useful.
Capturing Blog Ideas, Lyric Ideas, Quotes, and other Snippets in Evernote using Drafts
I use a similar scripts in Drafts to capture a whole host of other information on the go. Each class of information is filed into it’s own Notebook in Evernote. For example, here is the action I use to capture information for my blog:
By incorporating Evernote, I’ve greatly simplified many of my capture processes. I highly recommend giving Evernote Premium a whirl and trying out a few of these workflows on your own. You won’t be disapointed.