How to Organize Your Life in 4 Easy Steps

If you haven’t heard of Evernote, you’ve probably been living in a closet. It’s time to come out, admit that you don’t know what Evernote is and then prepare to be amazed. In four easy steps you’ll be a certified user and what I don’t explain, I’ll give you links to some great information. No need to waste your time looking for information; I’ve done the work for you.

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Evernote is an app that stores information. It can store website articles, pictures, audio recordings, anything you think is worth saving. It will simplify your life and the learning curve is small, so it’s worth learning how to use. Best of all, it’s free!

I will only be discussing the free version because this is all I use. If you go looking on the internet for advice and resources on Evernote, be aware that many sites fail to tell you which version they are talking about. You could find a feature that you’d like to try and then realize that it’s only in the paid version.

Choose which  version is right for you.

I think that the average person would find the free version to be more than enough. You are allowed 60 mb monthly upload with a 25 mb note size. The storage is unlimited. I’ve been using Evernote for over a year and have never come close to reaching my limit, and that included storing my research for my ebook. The two paid  plans, $24.99 and $49.99 per year offer more features and higher data upload.

How Evernote Helped Build My Strawberry Garden

To get you started using Evernote, I would learn how to:

1. Clip a website article,
2. Take a picture, and
3. Create an audio.

If you’re a visual person, the following illustration will show you one way to use Evernote. I used the first two features in my latest DIY project.I wanted to grow strawberries vertically because we didn’t have any room in our garden for a strawberry patch, and we have southern exposure on the back of the garage.

The first thing I did in Evernote was to create a notebook and call it DIY. I plan on having many DIY projects in the future, so I created another notebook, Vertical Strawberry and “stacked” it under DIY.

DIY

 

Then it was time to hit the world wide web for ideas with pictures. I found the perfect solution (note #1), a picture of what I wanted and clipped it. I decided that we would make it easier by substituting plastic boxes instead of building wood ones. I then put together a shopping list (note #2) by typing a list as a note. Next I decided on the type of strawberries I wanted (note #3) and took a picture from the catalog of where to buy the berries.

 

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While looking for  vertical gardening examples, I came across another picture (note #4). This picture was a part of an article, so I clipped the whole article (note #5) because there were some other ideas that I might use in the future. When completed I took a picture of what our finished project looked like (note #6).

I hope you see how incredible this tool is, and did I mention it was free? You can clip recipes, user manuals, DIY instructions, articles, you name it. Record measurements for that DIY project so it’s with you when you go to the store, prescriptions for when you go to the doctor, pictures of receipts you’ll need at tax time, and serial numbers for your appliances when you need to order a part.
The possibilities are mind boggling.

What about sensitive information?

I do want to caution you about entering sensitive information, such as bank statements or account numbers. I would encourage you to read Michael Hyatt’s article about security to judge for yourself.

If there is something that you want to keep in Evernote and you’re concerned about security, you could save it on one device and not have it sync with other devices. That information will remain only on that device and would be in a local folder.

How can I possibly get organized in four easy steps?

Now that you’re ready to simplify your life, here are the four steps I promised you.

1. Download Evernote on your computer. I would start with the free version to gauge how much you’re going to need. So far, I’ve been satisfied with the free version. The free version allows you to sync Evernote across all your devices. I have my computer, my Kindle and phone synced together. Using Evernote on each device takes a little patience because you use them differently, so I recommend downloading on the computer first. It’s much easier to see a full screen and use a mouse to create notebooks and change settings.

2. After downloading Evernote, you’ll want to get the web clipper extension. This is the confusing part. Think of Evernote as your filing cabinet and the clipper as your file folder. If you want to clip something from the internet, you’ll need this extension.

My favorite use for Evernote is clipping articles from the web. I used it extensively when I was researching and writing my ebook. Because I read so many books looking for the best resources, I clipped pictures of book covers so I could keep them all straight.

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I clip from Chrome because when I started using Evernote they didn’t have a clipper for Explorer. Today, I have so many problems with Explorer I rarely use it, so I’m happy with Chrome. But, if you like Explorer, you’re in luck; you can click the “Get Evernote for Windows” button, download the app for Windows and then get the clipper for Windows.

Search on Google for “Evernote web clipper” to find the way you want to accomplish this, Chrome or Explorer. If you’re using Chrome, I would recommend using the Chrome webstore.

web_clipper

Once in the store follow these steps:
1. Type in Evernote web clipper.
2. Click the extension box.
3. Click Add to Chrome. Your button should show Add to Chrome as in the second example. Mine doesn’t because it’s already added and now wants me to rate it, so make sure you chose the Evernote extension when you download yours.

It’s time to start clipping

Check out this video for a quick overview.

3. Download Evernote on your phone. To create a note on an Android phone click the green plus sign. Choose camera and take a picture. Click the green check mark, and you have a saved a photo.
4. Creating an audio file is a little trickier. Click the green plus and chose text note. In the top right corner you should see a microphone. Click the microphone to start recording. Click the green box next to the time to stop recording and then click the green check mark to save.

Microphone

 

That’s it. You can now clip something from the web, take a picture, and create an audio file. You are officially an Evernote user. Welcome to the club!

Notebooks: Not just for school any more

Once you get the hang of saving items, you’ll probably want to start organizing them into notebooks. I’m constantly reading other blogs, especially if they are about writing. I break them into separate notebooks: freelance, blogging, content marketing.

Keeping separate notebooks works for me at this point, but Michael Hyatt writes about organizing by tags because you get 100,000 tags and only 250 notebooks. I can’t imagine needing more than 250 notebooks, but if you think that you’ll go over, consider checking out Hyatt’s article about organizing by tags.

References you can’t live without

Once you get the hang of Evernote, you might want more information on how to use it more extensively.

  1. Michael Hyatt is a big fan and has been writing about Evernote for years. He kindly wrote an indexing blog so you can find all 12 Evernote blog posts. If you highlight in Kindle be sure you read his post on how to transfer those into Evernote.
  2. The Evernote website has many tutorials on using the application.
  3. I did come across this resource in my research. Mark O’Neil posted an extensive blog titled the Unofficial Missing Manual and offers it in a PDF format. I admire the time it took to put this all together and then offer the information for free, but I have a few exceptions to my recommendation. The article is over a year old so all the information may not be up to date, e.g., the reference to Skitch, an annotating app that is no longer available.  Also, he uses an iPhone, so that is his focus. If you have an Android, you’ll probably want to stick to the Evernote tutorials.

Have I convinced you yet that you can’t live without Evernote? Well, I suppose you could but your life would be a complicated mess. If you want to barely get by, end up on the corner singing the Blues for handouts, then continue as you are. I won’t get in your way.

Now, organizing can be fun. With these four easy steps, you can start to get your life in order. If you’re not convinced that you can’t live without Evernote, then let me know why. Or maybe you’re using something even more awesome. Let me know that too.

Learn to Blog the Right Way

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I hate wasting time.  Standing in line? Uh uh, no way. Watching commercials? I tape all my programs, saves 20 minutes per program. Podcasts? Send me the transcription.

In an effort to help budding bloggers not waste any time, I decided to write this book.Book cover final

When I started this endeavor in April, I wasted a lot of time  reading how-to books on creating a website and blogging. I found most of what I read a waste of time. Too many “authors” call themselves experts because they put up one website and started blogging. It was difficult finding worthwhile books.

If you have ever perused the Kindle books on any given subject, you’ll soon realize how much junk is out there. The Kindle program allows anyone to publish, and I mean anyone, even yours truly.  And with any program there are positives and negatives.  What you need is probably available, but you have to wade through the sludge to find it.

While I was wading through the sludge, it dawned on me that I could compile this information in a book to help the next newbie blogger.  I give you, Blogging the Right Way: Reference Guide to Save Time and Money Building Your Website and Blog. 

Update 9/22/2017

If you’re interested in the book, please sign up for my newsletter, and I’ll send it to you at no charge. Just send me at email at: writer@jaynebodell.com to ask for the book. Or, you can wait for the updated version which I’ll let my readers know in their newsletter Many things have changed in the blogging world, and I need to update the contents.

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