I should explain - I am a bit addicted to things, apps in particular, that are geared towards organization and productivity. In Part 1 of my Email warrior series I explained that I like to keep my email inbox(es) empty, so that the only emails in my inbox are those that I need to reply to, and how I use Boomerang for Gmail for this purpose.
We are all inundated with emails every day, but as a speech-language pathologists I find that I get a lot of emails from various organizations, forums, blogs, companies (and more) that I follow for my profession. Most of the time I will skim and either delete or archive those emails, however, some emails contain information that I may want to read later or save for some other reason. For those emails that I want to save, I have found that Evernote is a great tool to make sure that I can save, organize, and find information from those emails at a later date, when I need it.
When Evernote first came out I saw it as a featured app in the App Store. I downloaded the Evernote app at that time, but I didn't initially see how I could use it and deleted it. But then I kept seeing it everywhere. My curiosity got the better of me and I thought surely if it is this popular it must be for good reason - and (in my opinion) it is.
First of all, if you've never used Evernote before, you will need to create an Evernote account. This can be done on the site or from within the app. Once you have your account created, login to the site and then click on your user name (currently this is at the top right of the screen). A drop down menu will appear, click on "account settings". On the screen that follows you will see your "account summary". Look further down that page and find "email notes to", beside this will be a unique email address that you can use to send anything directly to your Evernote notebook via email. Copy this email address and then add it to the address book of any email accounts you use (note: don't share or CC this email address with anyone, unless you want them to be able to email notes into your notebook).
I have entered this email address, like a contact, in both my home and my office email address books. Whenever I receive an email that contains information that I want to save or refer to at a later time, I forward it to that Evernote email address. Emailed notes will go into a "default" notebook. The next time you access your notes, using the site or one of the apps, you can move it to a different notebook depending on where it makes the most sense to you (e.g., "to read", "research", or "conference travel").
What really turned me into an Evernote addict is how seamlessly it works for syncing across apps, and with other Evernote products and plugins. There are Evernote apps for your (apple or android) phone, tablet, and (mac or pc) computer. Two of my favourite add-ons are:
- Powerbot, which allows you to forward an email from within Gmail to Evernote with the click of a button. With this, you do not need to use the email address mentioned above, if you are on the Gmail site, you will still need it if you are using the Gmail app on your phone, for example.
- For Chrome users there is Evernote Web Clipper, a plug-in for Chrome which allows you to essentially "clip" information from articles you see on-line and input those clippings directly into an Evernote notebook of your choosing.
I have tried to keep this post to how I use Evernote to keep my email inbox empty. There are many more ways to use Evernote plus additional Evernote products that are just as wonderful. If you are interested in learning more about how you can use Evernote, then I recommend checking out this guide for getting started with Evernote.
If you are already an Evernote user, let me know if you use it to keep your inbox empty or how you use it to increase your productivity.