My Tools: Evernote for iOS

It’s that time which sometimes happens in our house when we need a few things from the shops. I’m the designated shopper for this trip. We only need a couple so I don’t bother to write down a list. Then a member of the family adds something extra to the list, three things, my brain can cope with that. Oh, but while you are there could you also look for another thing. I’ve now got to four things to remember and I don’t know about you, but four is about my limit. It’s time to make a list.

My daughter’s car is in the garage for some work and she wants me to phone up to see what the progress is. I’m asked to do this because I supposedly know more about what they are about to say, that’s debatable. I know I’ll need the car registration but there’s something about the registration number of this car that means that I can’t remember it consistently.

These are just a couple of examples where I use Evernote for iOS on my iPhone. Back in 2012 I described how I used Evernote as one of my daily productivity tools which it still is (It’s interesting to read how my writing style has changed a bit since then). Evernote has all sorts of information in it having those that information on my iPhone makes them significantly more mobile.

Now is a good time to talk about Evernote for iOS because it’s recently gone through a significant interface overhaul which I must say I approve of. For one thing, making ad-hoc notes like a quick shopping list is much simpler. It’s also much cleaner and easier to read.

This is my All Notes screen from this morning:

20170120_134853000_ios

Creating a new note is as simple as clicking the plus sign at the bottom.

The integrated scanning has also removed the need for Scannable simplifying the workflow of scanning things into Evernote.

I’m not sure there’s much more to say than that:

My Tools: Scanabble

There was a time when a scanner was a precision piece of equipment that required it’s own dedicated supporting PC. They weighed about the same amount as a rugby player and were as temperamental as a rugby player who’s just emerged from a scrum with half his ear missing.

Times have changed. We all carry cameras in our mobile phones that are at least as good as those early scanners, but we don’t want a picture of a document, we want what the scanner used to give us, a readable scan of a document. That’s what Scannable gives me.

Scannable comes from the Evernote team and this is how they describe it:

Scannable captures the paper in your life quickly and beautifully, transforming it into high-quality scans ready to save or share. Whether on the go or at the office, send paper on its way and move on.

That pretty much sums up how it works.

The process is really very simple:

1. Show a document to the app:

Scannable

2: Once the app has found a document it will take a scan of it and save it. There’s no need for lining things up and clicking take. Once it recognises a document it takes the picture:

Scannable

3: You can take multiple pages in the same scan. Then give the scan a name and share it:

Scannable

4: Naturally the best place to send it to is Evernote, which give you the option to pick a notebook:

Scannable

Done!

My Tools: IFTTT – Automating Your Life

Why do it yourself if you can get a computer to do it for you.

IFThisTHENThat

It really is that simple:

  • IF I favourite a tweet THEN create a note in Evernote
  • IF I go to the gym THEN update a log of gym visits in Evernote

In IFTTT terms the This is a Trigger, the That is an Action. A Trigger with an Action is known as a Recipe. The sources of Triggers and Actions (like Twitter, or Instagram) are known as Channels. There are currently 164 Channels.

Imagine a service on the internet and it’s likely that there will be a channel for it which is likely to have a set of triggers then start thinking about what you could do:

  • Every time I go to the gym I could post on Facebook.
  • Every time I leave the office I could email my wife.
  • Every Saturday I could send an email of the day’s weather.
  • Every time TIME.com posts in a particular section I could get IFTTT to phone me and tell me.
  • Every time it’s sunset I could turn on my Philips Hue lights (not that I have any).

I only use a few channels, but that’s all I need for now. It’s amazing what you can do with a few recipes:

  • IF I favourite a tweet THEN create a note in Evernote with the tweet details in it.
  • IF I write a tweet THEN create a note in Evernote with the tweet details in it.
  • IF I post a picture to Instagram THEN create a note in Evernote with the picture in it.
  • IF I write a Blog post THEN create a note in Evernote with the text and picture in it.
  • IF I mark a blog as Save for Later in Feedly THEN create a link note in Evernote with a subset of the post text in.
  • IF I arrive at the gym THEN amend a log note in Evernote with time and date.

My recipes all use Evernote as the target; it’s the place that I use to record my online life, and some of my physical life too, but that’s a post for another day.

If you are wondering how you say IFTTT then the advice from the makers is to image GIFT without a G.

if-this-then-that

My Tools: Evernote

The simplest way to describe Evernote is to call it a note taking and organisation tool, but that’s selling it a bit short.

Brockholes SunsetNote taking and collecting is incredibly important to the job that I do, and if that was all it did it would still  be very important.

I used to carry around all sorts of piles of paper. These comprised things I was reading, things I should be reading, thoughts, scribbles, diagrams, etc.. I still carry around a moleskin notepad which I use for taking notes in meetings, but for all of the other notes there’s Evernote.

My job involves me working with all sorts of pieces of information. Sometimes I need to read it, at other times I just need to know where it is for future reference. All of it goes into Evernote where it’s classified and organised.

One of the great things about Evernote is that it has been built from the ground as an internet application. It has client applications for all sorts of platforms, but these all replicate information with the central service.

I’ve also introduced it to my son who is studying at University and it works well for him too, quite frankly I’m a bit surprised that it isn’t promoted more by educational establishments

I’m not going to say much more because I really need to write a post about the ways that I process information and the way in which I use a number of different tools to collect, filter and organise. Evernote is a big part of that, but it’s only part of the journey.