My desk used to be piled high with notebooks, folders, mail, receipts and other important pieces of paper.
Not only would it be difficult to find a specific piece of information I was looking for, but most of the paper I had stored would never be needed again.
Not too long ago, you’d keep your notes in a diary or notebook and then have to frequently update the notes, copy them and keep them safe.
These days there is a much simpler way to store virtually any information, in almost any media format, in a way that not only keeps the information safe, but also makes it easier to find. There are a number of note-taking and archiving apps and programmes available, but my favourite is Evernote.
Evernote is an online data storage service that offers amazing note-taking functionality, as well as powerful archiving, sorting and search capabilities.
For example, instead of saving a file in a folder you could upload or email it to your Evernote account.
Not only will it be stored there, but you can also save it to a specified notebook, tag it, add notes or comments, and find the information via a search.
Evernote can find text in PDFs or even a photo – which are part of the premium version’s features. I like to store my eBooks in Evernote because it is also a great way to back-up documents as well as being a good way to find a note that I wanted to remember.
With Evernote you can save plain text notes, upload documents and photos, business cards, and record and save voice messages.
The service even offers a reminder function so that you can use it as a task manager. The possibilities are almost endless.
Here are some creative ways you can use Evernote:
Take photos of receipts for electronic goods so that you can have a copy for any warranty claims.
Store serial numbers of assets in your office in the event of an insurance claim.
Take a photo of your parking spot so you can remember where you parked. Particularly useful at airports!
Blind carbon copy emails to your private Evernote email address as a way to store important emails and attachments.
Take photos of documents instead of scanning them.
Save webpages with interesting articles, recipes or instructions.
Use the free Penultimate app to store handwritten notes or drawn diagrams using your iPad or tablet.
Evernote’s smartphone apps and widgets are very easy to use, work quickly and even offer basic security with a pass-lock option. Synchronisation occurs across all devices, so you can access your information easily and quickly from your computer, phone or tablet.
An especially useful facility for teams and groups is the ability to share notebooks and documents with other Evernote users, so that you can store and share notes, ideas, meeting minutes or records with colleagues or family members.
The basic free service that Evernote offers will be sufficient for most users, although the premium version is well worth the cost of a subscription. The software works on all major operating systems, smartphones and tablets.