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Sunday, July 1, 2012

Evernote Review (Part 2)

Part 2: How I Use Evernote for Personal Use

In the previous post I reviewed what Evernote is and why you should use it. Now lets talk about what to use it for. I have split my examples into two blog entry topics: personal and work use. I'll first cover how I use it on a day-to-day basis for personal note taking. I'll then follow-up with how I use it professionally in Part 3. Here are some specific examples of how I use Evernote every day for personal use:


Cookbook Notebook
Create a notebook to store favorite recipes.
(image courtesy of
Evernote works wonders for storing favorite recipes. I look up recipes on and other sites all the time. When I got my first Android phone, I started saving the recipes to an app (I believe it was Recipe Side Kick). The recipes usually needed tweaking per the comments on the websites, so it is almost required to save the recipe somewhere and adjust.

Since I needed to bring the recipe with me into the kitchen, my phone was a good choice for a more environmentally sound (not printing it out) and quick solution. I found I lost my adjusted recipes several times by going back to stock (when my G1 was starting to go bad), changing ROMs (thanks to my android nerd fiance) or switching phones (which I do more often than normal people thanks to my android nerd fiance's obsession with getting the latest and greatest then giving me the hand-me-downs).

Evernote eliminated loss of recipes. When I find a new recipe I want to try, I highlight the recipe and share to Evernote (on Android) or use Evernote Clearly to clean it up before sending to Evernote. I then tweak the ingredients/directions per suggestions in the comments and attach a picture from the site.  I like having the picture as I can quickly identify the recipe while on my Kindle in the kitchen. If I use Evernote Clearly, the url is added to the note automatically, otherwise I copy past the url on android. I then take notes regarding the recipe.

Notes may include whether I liked it or not, whether it was a hit at a party or with family, how I might try something else differently, alternate/optional ingredients/directions. I also sometimes take pictures and attach them as I make them. The format looks clean and it is stored in the cloud.

Cloud storage is great because it is easily accessible from multiple devices. I might be at my work computer and want to look at an ingredient list for writing a grocery list in Google Tasks. I might be at the grocery store coming up with ideas for a meal and looking at an ingredient list on my phone. When I'm in the kitchen, I'll follow the directions on either my phone or more likely my Kindle Fire.

Why not just look at the website? Well...
  • Not all of my recipes are on one site.
  • Recipes need to be tweaked.
  • Evernote is more convenient (it's just right there, don't need to load up the site, log in, go to my recipe list, locate the recipe, recall the tweaks... All typically on an Android powered device).
  • Evernote stores pictures, including those I take.
  • And Evernote provides a place to take additional notes regarding a recipe.
Another handy feature, that I haven't used often, but could, is sharing my recipes. It is a simple click to send a recipe to a social platform, email it to someone, etc.

Also, check out how The Crying Cook uses Evernote for Menu Planning. I've been thinking about adding menu planning to my Evernote repertoire. She read my mind! I'm definitely going to have to steal some of her ideas. :)


My Journals
On the left is my Kindle Fire, which I use for
journaling with Evernote. On the right is my
old school journal.
I started Journaling when I was 14 years old. I found I tended to journal more frequently when I was depressed and full of angst. As a young adult, I would take a look at my journal every now and then and feel obliged to update it. There are huge gaps in my journal during my twenties.

As a new years resolution for 2012, I decided to start journaling again. This was inspired due to the receipt of a Kindle Fire for Christmas and Evernote. Evernote makes it so easy to jot down a few thoughts about the day, note something eventful, and add some pictures. And with ifttt (read further for more details), I just need to add a hash tag to a Google calendar event to auto add it to my Evernote journal. Evernote has made journaling easy!

Digital Scrap-Booking

In my journal notebook, I have attached pictures to some of my entries.  These pictures aren't just pictures of an activity or event, but things I want to remember forever.  I took pictures of the flowers I received for Valentines Day, the card I received for my birthday, the presents I received.

Evernote makes it easy to keep things that you may one day lose or throw away.  In addition, taking pictures of notes and messages from my fiancĂ© will become searchable!

Other ideas for digital scrap booking is to organize the digital scrap-book in a notebook based on subject.  Have a digital scrap-book of your childs artwork or school work.  Have a notebook with ideas on how you want to decorate a room in your house.  Take pictures of your collection (stamps, comics, etc.) with notes on each item such that it becomes a catalog of the collection.

Documenting a Hobby

Screen shot of my jewelry projects notebook.
Similar to a digital scrap-booking, this could be used to take notes on a hobby and document your progress. For instance, I use Evernote to document my jewelry making hobby. I have taken a couple jewelry making classes, which I afterwards wrote out what I learned in Evernote and took a picture of what I made during the class. I have a notebook of project notes where I attach pictures (found on the web or taken with a camera) of projects I would like to do, sketch out ideas using adobe sketch book mobile, intermediate steps and my final product.

Another use of Evernote is to use it as an inventory mechanism. I want to eventually sell my jewelry, so I take photos of my tray that has all the beads based on price and the receipt. I then listed out what I bought and how much each item costed. This will help me get a sense of how much it cost to create a piece of jewelry which in turn will help me price a piece for resale. I could also use Evernote to keep a catalog of pieces and my asking price and how many I have in stock. I could then display this catalog on a laptop or my kindle when showing someone what I have available for resale or give them ideas for custom pieces. I also am blogging about my adventure into this hobby, so using Evernote to document this is the first step prior to blogging.

Using ifttt to Auto Archive to Evernote

Evernote and ifttt
Use ifttt to create tasks to auto
save content to Evernote.
(image courtesy of
Ifttt (if this then that) works wonders with Evernote for automatically archiving. Every time I post to Facebook,
twitter (read my ifttt review, including how ifttt has decided to stop supporting twitter triggers due to twitter's 3rd party app policy) or Google+ or pin something on pinterest, my posts are auto archived to Evernote in a "Social Networks" notebook. How many times have you wanted to find a link or YouTube video that you posted on Facebook or twitter and can't find or have to dig through so much rubbish? Google+ allows you to search, but even it can benefit from being conveniently stored in one place with your Facebook and twitter posts. Evernote generates easy search and ifttt auto tags them with a Facebook, twitter or Google plus tag. I also add a hash tag in Google calendar events to add entries to my journal notebook (discussed above). Entries include special events that I want to remember. I sometimes add pictures from the event. Here is a list of my ifttt to Evernote recipes:

  • Google Calendar to Evernote - Using a hash tag it sends the calendar event to Evernote after the event occurs
  • Gmail to Evernote - label an email "evernote" and it saves the email to Evernote.
  • Facebook Status to Evernote - when I post a status update on facebook, it sends a copy of the post to Evernote
  • Facebook Links to Evernote - when I post a link on Facebook, it sends a copy of the link to Evernote
  • Google+ to Evernote - saves posts to Google+ to Evernote using the Google+ user RSS feed
  • Twitter to Evernote - saves my tweets to Evernote - ifttt no longer supports twitter triggers due to twitters strict 3rd party app policy. Read my ifttt review for more information.
  • Pinterest to Evernote - saves links of my pins to Evernote using the pinterest user RSS feed.

Check out my ifttt review for more information!

Noting Websites

Web Clipping
Clipping websites
(image courtesy of
Of course, I use Evernote to clip web articles and take notes for future referrence.  I might see a great DIY project or research item that I might want to reference later, so I save the image, screenshot or text to a note, add a link, and maybe a tag.

Works wonders instead of searching and trying to remember exactly what it was I had seen. The Evernote webclipper with Evernote Clearly can expedite sending these to Evernote. One tip about the Evernote webclipper: you should always select what you want to save to Evernote, then press the webclipper button. This saves the headache of trying to use the direction arrows to select the right information. If you want the whole article, then Evernote Clearly is the way to go.  It keeps all the relevant text and images and gets rid of the menus and advertisements.


I have one note where I brain storm what I want to blog about and develop a list of topics. I then create a note on an individual blog topic and start brainstorming, outlining, researching and rough drafting. I polish it up and add images in WordPress. I found this article immensely helpful for getting me started on blogging and using Evernote as blogging tool: How to use Evernote as a Blogger.

Electronic Filing Cabinet

Electronic Filing Cabinet
Use Evernote as an electronic filing cabinet
(image courtesy of
Take pictures of or scan a document, then save them to Evernote. Take notes about things you need to keep handy. Could have an automobile notebook with a picture of the license plate, vin, scans of receipts and work that was done, log your oil changes, keep track of mileage etc. I have a health and fitness notebook which I have taken photos of my insurance cards and contact numbers, list out my prescriptions, keep track of my exercise/nutritional challenges (30 Day Fitness Challenge), routines and note down things that were discussed at my annual doctors visit.

Another way to increase your efficiency in using Evernote as an electronic filing system is to get a document scanner that shares directly into Evernote. Document scanners are pretty inexpensive and can be extremely handy for simplifying your life. Evernote makes everything accessible and searchable, which is far superior to your filing cabinet back in the office.

Your information is safe with Evernote, however you should still abstain from posting more security sensitive documents into your Evernote. I don't put my social security number or images of my birth certificate in it. There is just no point. These are items that belong in your filing cabinet or a safe. However, your contact numbers for insurance companies is a great thing to have with you in case of an emergency.

Here is a great article from the Evernote blog about How to Do Your Taxes With Evernote and is applicable for other types of filing.


I have several ongoing lists for books, movies and other lists. If I hear about a good book or see a trailer for a movie I want to see, I note it down.  I also have lists for goals (Top 10 Ways to Stick to your Resolutions this Year), things I want to do (examples: take a jewelry making class, start a blog, do yoga), gift ideas, things I need to do for the blog, things I need to do before my stepson arrives for the Summer, etc.


We looked at why you should use Evernote for your note taking and how I use it for personal note taking. Next up we will examine how I use Evernote for professional use.

How do you use Evernote (or a competitor note taking app) for personal use?  Post your thoughts in the comments below!


  1. Didn't know Evernote is so powerful, though I have heard enough buzz around it.

  2. I'm quite addicted to it! There are several great note taking apps out there. I'm impressed with Evernote's continued upgrades to the platform. I always mark a good app by the continued development of that app.

    When I first looked at Evernote, I wasn't really sure if I would be interested in using it. After reading how other people use Evernote, it inspired me to give it a go. Thought I would share to help inspire others. :)

  3. [...] Evernote Review (Part 2) This entry was posted in Development, Resources, Uncategorized and tagged Evernote, Facebook, Google Calendar, Recipe, Search Engines, Searching, SMS. Bookmark the permalink. [...]

  4. I found your blog from IHeart Organizing. We are of the same organizational mind! I love Evernote and use it in all areas of my life. I wrote about it too, specifically for menu planning:

  5. Great minds think alike! This is awesome! I've been collecting recipes in Evernote for about a year now. I've been trying to work on a good way to menu plan to help with budgeting and shopping. I am planning on also doing it in Evernote almost exactly like how you have it laid out! I really like your database of meals too. I usually just browse my cookbook notebook, but having a table of contents note for it is a great way of using this feature!

    Guess what? This is almost to the tee how I organize my blog! I have all my rough drafts and ideas as separate notes in one notebook, then I have a schedule and a list of brainstormed posts. I then use the brainstormed list of posts to start a schedule for the next few weeks.

  6. I just added your link to the body of the post. I really like how you set this up and am going to have to steal it. Thank you for sharing it! :)