02. Evernote Basics

The Basics

The best way to think about Evernote, is to imagine a searchable notebook. You get all the benefits of writing on a page, but you're able to edit the text, add images and PDFs seamlessly, and search for all your notes quickly. Evernote can be used for so many different things, that often, people stop using the app just because it gets overwhelming. The solution to this is to start out with an organized process. First, you need to learn the basics of Evernote.

Evernote is broken up into three basic levels; Notes, Notebooks, and Stacks. Just like a sheet of paper in a notebook, Evernote can be organized in a similar way, with the advantage of search, unlimited space, and formatting. Evernote has a ton of features that can really make it into your extended brain. With tagging, search functionality and sharing options, you can run an entire business from the one program.

Before we jump too far into the features and usability of Evernote, I want to give you a quick list of some of the tasks I use Evernote for, as something to build on yourself and look forward to. There are a thousand ways you can use Evernote, but if you don’t have an effective organization system or you can’t find the note you’re looking for, Evernote will not be helpful.

  • Self Improvement and Habit Tracker
  • Daily Journal or Prayer and Gratitude Journal
  • Digitize your notes and notebooks 
  • Organize School projects and class notes
  • Write and Share Guest Posts with bloggers
  • Track your fitness goals and plan workouts
  • Save and organize receipts
  • CRM or Contact Management System
  • Digital File Cabinet (Going Paperless)
  • Distraction free writing
  • Research Database
  • Workflows and System Planning
  • Budget and Expense Planning
  • Storage for resources, eBooks and worksheets

Set Up Process

So now that you have the basics down, let’s get some notebooks set up. There are 4 notebooks I recommend:

  1. Inbox
  2. Dashboard
  3. File Cabinet
  4. Self Improvement

Of course, you can pick and choose which ones you want to use and you can always alter these later to better fit your needs. At the bare minimum, I recommend setting up an Inbox. You’ll need a default folder for your notes to live in until you put them in their proper place.

You can make your folder the default option by right-clicking on the notebook you want as your default notebook, choose "Notebook Settings" and check the "Make this my default notebook" option.

The original set of notebooks I started with were the following:

  1. To File / To Save / Inbox (This will be your catch-all for notes on the go, things you need to file later, and important tasks that need to get done)
  2. To Do / Working On (A running list of tasks can go in here, this is the notebook I check every morning)
  3. Dashboard (A great place to store all your thoughts and ideas and plans for the coming days)
  4. Daily Fill (Running to-do lists, routines and prayers for the week can be stored in here)
  5. File Cabinet (Your digital files so you can go paperless at home)

So, you can see how my system has evolved. Your system will likely change over time too, as you figure out what you need and use and what you don't.

Menu & Settings

The Evernote menus are fairly straight-forward, but I know how frustrating it can be to find the setting you need when you're not familiar with the program. Below are images of each menu so you can quickly find what you're looking for.

You'll also want to set up your default notebook for emails, web clips and your app to auto-save notes. You can do this by right-clicking on the notebook you want as your default notebook, choose "Notebook Settings" and check the "Make this my default notebook" option.