August 11, 2014

My Conversion to Evernote

I've been a OneNote user for some time. For taking notes, especially during meetings and calls, and for capturing ideas quickly, it really does the trick. The integration with Office and the ability to access online notebooks from multiple devices--especially mobile phones--means I'm never far from my notes.

Happy with OneNote, I never understood the enthusiasm around Evernote. But count me among the converted.

It began, innocently enough, when I was looking for a better way to track projects and tasks.

The Getting Things Done (GTD) techniques kept appearing in searches. Eventually, I ended up on Lifehacker with articles galore about GTD and Evernote. Finally, I came across TSW--the secret weapon.  Reading through, I realized it was a good system for managing projects, and even though it could be done in a number of software (or "hardware" notebooks), the example used Evernote.

That's where it started to click. Evernote has a number of features and an ecosystem that makes it so much more than a note taking tool or web clipping utility. Notebook Stacks and tag hierarchies, along with search, index, OCR and a host of other functions turn it from utility software to the way to manage your own, unstructured, "big data."

(One curious fact, as I draft this in Evernote, the word Evernote is flagged as a spelling error.)

Which in many ways makes it even better than specific task and project solutions like Asana and Wrike. And even my favorite, Trello. These tools try, but don't really succeed, at letting you filter your views and lists as quickly as Evernote. Both the functionality and the UI of Evernote lets you get to what you want quickly. And it is a intrinsically a workspace for file and content storage. Whereas that always feels bolted on in task software.

At this point, I've only managed my own task and project list with Evernote. I still have to find out how it would work for a team of people to share projects, tasks, and workspaces. If anyone has used it in a collaboration environment, let us know how it works.

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