Done as a guest blog for Practical Paralegalism
Once upon a time there was a compulsive notetakerwho carried with him scratch pads of various sizes and colors to keep things organized. His briefcase was cluttered with these note pads to a point where he could only try to figure out what note went with what client or what project. His organized world was, in reality, only organized chaos.
I was this notetaker living in a world of sticky notes, legal pads, and even a few napkins here and there. One day a friend of mine asked me if I used a program called Evernote. Of course the name alone peaked my interest since I was using pretty much every other form of reminder. His excitement drove me to check out the website, and I was immediately downloading the program to my desktop, iPad, and iPhone. Evernote became a staple of my work life instantly and continues to help me keep things straight across many different tasks and obligations.
I work as the communications and marketing director for NALS…the association for legal professionals, a professional association for paralegals and legal assistants. My job requires me to work on graphic design projects, public relations efforts, website maintenance, strategic planning, and pretty much anything technical that walks through our office. You can imagine the number of tasks that come along with the many hats I have to wear.
To take things to another level, I also own a freelance graphic design and marketing consultation company, Letter 10 Productions. With Letter 10 I work with about 20 clients in 10 states regularly and have projects of all sorts to keep up with. Evernote allows me to create a notebook for each client and notes for each project to keep things all in one location. That is right…one location.
Evernote automatically syncs my notebooks and notes across all technologies. So if I get an email on my desktop I can save it to a note, and it will sync to Evernoteon my iPhone and iPad so I can access the information anywhere I need to. You can also set it up to store websites and pages as notes, in case you need to follow up on the information. I use this feature to flag information I might want to use in articles, blog posts, or presentations. You can tag notes to help keep them organized in case you need to search for something. Every note is searchable, and you can even save your searches to keep from repeating work.
Another great tool is the ability to send notes directly to my contacts’ email so that they can see my ideas. I can attach images if needed and even make video notes using the iSight camera on my desktop. I haven’t tried that mainly because I think it would be creepy to watch myself giving me a video message…feels like something out of one of those movies where you find yourself in the future. I do however see the benefit of video messages if you decide to purchase the premium version of Evernote. The greatest benefit that I see in the paid version is that you can share notebooks with others that are using the paid version. So you could leave video notes for other clients using Evernote or collaborators on a project. While I have only been using Evernote for a relatively short amount of time, I have certainly become a power user of the free version and will be purchasing the premium version shortly.
I was told once that DVR would change my life, and it certainly did. I have to say that Evernote has done the same for my work life. My briefcase contains zero notepads or sticky notes, thanks to technology and Evernote. This is no fairy tale, but if you are a compulsive notetaker or just someone that can not turn down work, then I think you will live happily ever after with Evernote - just like I am.