What I love about Evernote

EvernoteI’ve been earning a reputation as an Evernote “Junkie” lately due to my constant use and sometimes overuse (if there is such a thing) of Evernote.

Rather than describe what Evernote is, I thought I’ll share what I actually love about the product and how it helps me in a practical way.

Tagging Notes

Every note can be tagged and filed away with useful terms, that not only aid organisation but also searching. I tag note with information such as what a document is about (invoice, receipt, letter, etc), who it is from (supplier name for invoices, doctor’s name for medical receipts), the type of expense if it’s a receipt, the name of the project or client if it is work related, and so on.

The beauty of tags is that it can be anything as long as it makes sense to you and you can use as many tags as is practical.

Searching Notes

The most useful functionality as far I’m concerned is the ability to search through all notes inside Evernote. As I understand Evernote indexes all the text it can find/read, making searches a breeze. Premium users can also search through PDF text, be it from a converted document or a scanned document.

Editing Notes

Evernote has become my default note taking and editing platform. I write most things in Evernote and if it’s something I want to send out, I email it from Evernote or copy it to another medium. Examples include this blog post which I drafted using Evernote.

Shortcuts

The ability to create shortcuts to notebooks, tags, notes or even search criteria means that you don’t have to repeatedly keep looking for the same thing. I only have a few shortcut items but these are things that I refer to atleast once a day, if not more frequent. These include, the current project I’m working on, my “follow up” tag, and my “inbox”.

Multi-Platform Capability

The fact that Evernote works very well across multiple platforms and devices is a blessing. I no longer need to carry a laptop or even a tablet around as all my notes are accessible via my phone, with all the same capabilities.

 

It does take a bit of investment in terms of time to tag notes and file them in different notebooks, but that’s just what works for me. You could simply have one notebook, and let everything collect in there without putting any additional effort and still get the same benefits. I just like things being organised.

If you haven’t tried it already, I encourage you to go sign up and start using Evernote straight-away. It’s uses are limitless!

Recent Improvements to Evernote and Xero

Since I wrote about Working in the Cloud and the applications the we love using at Adaptive Consulting, there has been some significant improvements made across two of them. Below is a summary of what I love about these improvements and some additional information about them.

Files in Xero

As mentioned in that article, we love using Xero for our accounting needs. One new major improvement that was recently announced is the ability to store files in Xero (not just attachments). This feature in my opinion adds a tremendous amount of value to a business as it increases collaboration between small business owners and their financial advisors via a single tool.

Another feature which has been flagged as coming soon is the ability to email files to Xero and create bills from them. I’m eagerly looking forward to getting hold of this new functionality as it will be a massive time saver!

Read about the announcement on Xero’s blog at http://blog.xero.com/2013/10/attach-files-financial-data/.

Files for Xero from Xero on Vimeo.

Evernote 5 for Windows Desktop

Ever since Evernote announced that Evernote 5 for Windows Desktop was being released I’ve been looking forward to trying it out. When I finally was able to download and install it, it didn’t disappoint. There are a whole bunch of features that I love about it, including the new UI, the Shortcuts, the Smarter search functions, etc.

 The downside (and the single biggest gripe I have) with Evernote 5 for Windows Desktop is that it has a tendency to crash a fair bit. As with most things, I’m confident that this will be resolved as this new version matures.

 I also love this little graphic titled “100 Reasons to Love Evernote for Windows” to describe the core features http://blog.evernote.com/blog/2013/10/17/100-reasons-to-love-evernote-for-windows/.

Going from Digital to Paper

digital_to_paper_200xA couple of days ago I saw a medical practitioner for a regular treatment of my back. During the conversation he mentioned that they were dumping their software application and going back to paper based record keeping. He also mentioned that the professional association he and his colleagues belonged to actually recommends that paper records be kept!

This really surprised me. Firstly, in this day and age, all medical practitioners use electronic record keeping of their patient details and patient notes. Why would ANY professional body advice against using a software application? I am no legal person but there is greater protection for collecting and storing information in digital form than ever before.

Secondly, these same practitioners had a nasty fire last year where they lost a lot of their belongings. Given the losses and the insurance challenges they’ve had, collecting more paper is probably the one direction they should avoid taking!

Given that I’ve been working in the space of Document Management & Electronic Record Keeping as well as being an advocate for going paperless, I couldn’t help myself but try to convince him that it wasn’t a great idea in the long term. It appeared that he and his colleagues had already made up their minds.

 The Public Record Office Victoria website provides some guidelines on retention and disposal of documents for anyone who is interested.

Have you experienced similar situations where businesses are so fed up with their software applications that they would rather go back to paper? Let me know if you have any advice I can pass on.

Working in the Cloud

cloudcomputingI’ve been asked a few times recently about using Cloud based services for businesses. Personally, I am a big fan of it, especially as it helps me “travel light” and not have to have all my applications installed on every device I have. It also means I can run my business from anywhere I choose to, as long as I have connectivity to the internet – Yes, connectivity to the internet is the key!

Some examples of how we use Cloud-based services at Adaptive Consulting are described below.

Accounting Software (Xero)

We’ve been using Xero for nearly two years to run our business. For a small business, it has all the tools you need to make managing the business a lot simpler. Given Xero is a relatively new product (compared to applications such as MYOB), it’s got a few loose ends as well.

Note Taking and Research Platform (Evernote)

I’ve been using Evernote for a few years but have extended it’s use to Adaptive Consulting since the start of this year. Not only has Evernote made all the business documents easily accessible to me on the go, it’s also given me a very simple way of taking notes and saving and sharing our research and ideas.

File/Document Storage (Dropbox)

There are a few choices on this front – Dropbox, Google Drive, iCloud & SkyDrive seem to get the most attention. We use Dropbox to store our files and also to share them with our partners who don’t use Evernote.

Project Management Software (CorePM)

We came across CorePM last year and have been progressively moving our clients’ projects onto it as the opportunity arises. We like CorePM for it’s easy to use interface and strong ties to the PRINCE2 framework which we adapt to our projects.

Mind Mapping Software (Mindjet)

Mindjet is an application I came across a few years back and have been using it for personal and business projects for a while. Now that maps can be stored online, on a cloud application, and shared with others for collaboration, mind mapping becomes even more enjoyable for me.

These are some of the Cloud based applications we use at Adaptive Consulting. Do you use cloud based services in your own businesses and if so what do you use and how?