Stop Handwriting Notes and Creating Endless Word Docs
As someone who requires order in my world to perform at my best, I’ve tried a zillion different methods for note taking and strategic/creative writing. First, there were legal pads. Usually yellow, sometimes white. Being a creative person, I preferred writing in Paper Mate® Flair pens in a wide range of colors — blue, red, black, green. This was fine early in my career but it wasn’t so great once I started my own agency. Taking notes using a magic marker in meetings isn’t that impressive.
Next, I moved to pad folios — the leather or pleather folders that contain a slot for business cards, a pocket for various materials and, of course, the handy dandy legal pad. I graduated to Uni-ball® pens — a more refined magic marker. I felt a bit more buttoned up in meetings with my pad folio and even ordered up some nice, real leather ones with our logo on the front that I used for a quite a while.
The thing I hated the most about all of this note taking was the time it took to type up my notes and then delegate the action items out to my team. It was like reliving the meeting all over again which took up a lot of time. Then, what was I supposed to do with all of these sheets of paper that my notes were on? I would put them in client folders, job folders and idea folders and when I needed to find something I’d have to remember which folder I put it in which was yet another time drain.
Fast forward to January 2013. One of my clients told me about Evernote, and being that it was a new year, I was particularly open to trying something new. I downloaded the free app on my laptop, created a notebook for the client I was working on at the moment and created my first note (I did this all on my own with no instruction— it was that easy). I typed away at my next meeting, organized my notes for a few minutes afterward and then emailed the note off to members of my team so they could get busy doing what needed to be done.
I know this doesn’t sound earth-shattering. It could have been a Word doc, right? Sure. But then, you have to organize and file multiple Word docs. (And then remember where you filed them later.) With Evernote, I have electronic notebooks for all my clients, and several areas of my life and business like Financial Planning, Marketing, Recruiting, and even the Pom Blog (which I am writing in my Evernote right now).
When a client has a question about something we talked about in our last meeting or even a meeting many months ago, I can easily go back into their notebook and find my notes and say, “A-ha, yes, I see that in October 2014 you determined that you would be revamping your intranet in Q2 2015.” Evernote lets me be fast on my feet and oh-so on-the-ball!
Think of Evernote as having electronic notebooks for all the necessary aspects of your work (and personal) life, and being able to access and share information with ease. It’s organization and efficiency like never before. And, for a creative person who does better with paper with no lines and magic markers, I’ve been surprisingly able to let my creativity free on Evernote. There’s just something about having order that releases me.
I should also mention that Evernote has a ton of different features and functionality that I’m still exploring. One really useful tool is the ability to record calls and take notes at the same time. This is extremely helpful when people on conference calls have heavy accents and you’re sweating about catching everything you need to do the job. I’m still using the free version of Evernote but you can get more functionality for a low monthly fee.
Check out Evernote! It will sync and run on all of your devices!