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Published on October 9, 2018

Evernote vs OneNote: Which Improves Your Productivity Better?

Evernote vs OneNote: Which Improves Your Productivity Better?

Note-taking is useful in helping improve your memory and increase your productivity at work. By writing down notes, you have something tangible you can refer back to, remember what needs to be done, and regain control of your work throughout the day.

There are thousands of different note-taking apps you can use on your desktop or mobile device. The two most popular are Evernote and Microsoft OneNote because they are incredibly efficient and effective that each has a following of extremely loyal users and advocates.

So if it comes to Evernote vs OneNote, how do they improve productivity?

An overview of Evernote and OneNote

First, an introduction to the two platforms. Evernote is an app that lets you store content, take down notes, write lists, and organize all of them. While these are stored in Notebooks, the whole concept behind this productivity app is more like a Universal Inbox where you can save everything you’ve collected so you can quickly find it when you need them through the use of tags.

Microsoft’s OneNote, on the other hand, works very much like a digital version of the notebooks you used to carry around in school. Aside from storing all your notes and different types of content you’ve collected, you can also organize them into sections, pages, and containers.

Each of these apps offers their users a host of features to help them improve their productivity and memory. Also, because no app is perfect, each also has their strengths and limitations.

To get a better idea of which app will be your best choice, we’ll be comparing the two based on three key features most used by their users: collecting information, note-taking, and mobility.

Collecting information

Both the OneNote and Evernote come with their own web clipper extension that allows you to quickly collect and store information from different websites as you find them.

Both give you the option to choose whether you’d like to save the entire web page as is, a simplified version without the ads, or just a section of the page. You can also add some notes before saving them to make it easier for you to remember why you “clipped” that particular resource.

Since OneNote gives you more structure to organize your content, its web clipper allows you to choose not just which notebook to save the details, but also what section within the notebook.

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    Source: OneNote.com

    Evernote gives you the option to add tags to your web clippings before you save it, so it’s easier for you to search for it later.

    Premium users get access to Evernote’s Related Results feature located in its Options section. When you search on Google, Evernote will launch a secondary search that will show all the notes related to the keyword you used in searching for information.

      Source: Zapier.com

      This feature, according to Jeremy Skillings, President of Youcanbefound.com, is beneficial because it lets you know what information you already have stored in your notes.

      “In some cases whenever I do my research, I find out through this feature that I already have the exact information I need stored in my Evernote account. That alone cuts back a significant amount of the time I spend on projects.”

      Note-taking

      Both of these productivity apps allow you to create and format your notes to create rich documents. Among these features include changing the font size and color, adding tables, and inserting media files.

      Evernote’s note-taking features are very similar to a Word document in that it’s very structured concerning how you input your notes.

        Professionals who need to be able to build and access well-structured docs in the field make up much of Evernote’s loyal fanbase. One such 2-year user in the real estate field, Anthony Gilbert of RealFX.com, liked the formatting options, but admitted that there were still some downsides to the rigidly formatted approach.

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        While he enjoyed the features, his personal experience with using it in the field revealed that the formatting features,“mean that if you need to change parts of your notes around, it can get tedious”. He continued, “the formatting features are quite finicky, so you may need a bit of patience to get the end results you are looking for.”

        Professionals who need to be able to build and access well-structured docs in the field make up much of Evernote’s loyal fanbase. One such 2-year user in the real estate field, Anthony Gilbertof RealFX.com, liked the formatting options, but admitted that there were still some downsides to the rigidly formatted approach.

        Structuring your notes properly from the get-go can have an effect on your productivity. A blank slate can sometimes be puzzling. Evernote allows the ability to use battle-tested templates and workflows that save you time. They can provide inspiration and structure on what’s possible.

        On the other hand, OneNote gives its users more versatility and flexibility in the way notes are created. You can click at any area of the page and begin typing. If you need to move things around, you can drag and drop sections of your notes to the right place.

        On the other hand, OneNote gives its users more versatility and flexibility in the way you create your notes. You can click at any area of the page and begin typing. If you need to move things around, you can drag and drop sections of your notes to the right place.

          Source: Lifehacker

          Also, it gives you the option to create Templates that you can use to layout your page properly, so all you’ll need to do is to fill in the information.

            Source: MakeUseOf

            This is a particularly handy feature that stood out to many of the people who shared their love of OneNote with me. Steve Lionais, longtime user and Co-Founder & CEO of Dr-Bill.ca, claims that this feature helped him build his business by affecting his memory in a powerful and helpful way.

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            “This [feature] is what makes OneNote great memory retention app,” he said of the templates. “I find that I remember things more when they are arranged in a certain way. OneNote allowed me to do that for my meeting and presentation notes, so I don’t have to spend a lot of time trying to find the next point!”

            However, what really makes OneNote the winner of this round is its ability to allow you to embed media files from other sources like Youtube. In addition to including the link, OneNote launches a media player, allowing you to watch the video or listen to the audio file directly from the page where you saved it.

              Source: Windows Central

              Mobility

              Evernote and OneNote can be used both on desktops and mobile devices. At the same time, they provide their users with the ability to sync the content from one device to the other.

              Judging which of the two productivity apps is best here is quite tricky because it greatly depends on several factors. One of these is the operating software you use.

              Many of the power users we asked were using iOS, and that put some points toward Evernote. Greg Reese of AmeriEstate.com found himself frequently using the built-in camera option (and other iOS integrations) to manage his daily duties as President.

                Evernote’s camera also integrates with Post-It, Moleskin notebook pages, and business cards. When you take a photo of any of these, the camera will capture the information and format this for Evernote so that it’s quick to find it when you search.

                OneNote, on the other hand, dominates the Android environment. In addition to the app, Android users will also find a OneNote floating badge on the side of the home screen. So you can take notes on the go very quickly.

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                  Source: MS Power User

                  Another factor to consider is the cloud storage you use. For you to sync OneNote across different devices, you’ll need to first set up an account with OneDrive, which is Microsoft’s cloud storage service.

                  “This is something that Evernote users like me don’t have to worry about,” according to Matt Willens, Head Attorney for Willens Law Offices. “Whether you use a free account or one of their paid plans, you can immediately sync your devices without having to get a separate cloud storage account.”

                  The drawback here is the amount of storage and number of devices that you can sync. Free users are only given 60MB of storage space and can sync up to two devices. If you need more storage space, you’ll have to get the paid plans.

                  Which app is better for improving memory and productivity?

                  The honest—and most straightforward—answer is:

                  It depends on you.

                  While Evernote and OneNote have their strengths and weaknesses, how well it will help improve productivity and memory greatly depends on what works best for you.

                  If you find that you’re able to work best and remember things more using visual cues, OneNote will be the best productivity app to use. However, if you consider the speed and ease of finding the information you need as your top priority, Evernote will be your best option.

                  Since both productivity apps have free versions, you can give both a try and see where you’re most comfortable. In the end, the right productivity app to use is one that complements the way you work and do things rather than dictating to you how you should get them done.

                  Featured photo credit: Yura Fresh via unsplash.com

                  More by this author

                  Dmitry Dragilev

                  Single-handedly grew a startup from zero to 40 million page views, Dmitry is a role model for aspiring entrepreneurs.

                  How to Be a Good Manager and Lead Efficient Teams Is It Possible to Repay Your Sleep Debt? Why Being Well Rested Matters 5 Steps to Master Networking Skills and Perfect Your Personal Branding Evernote vs OneNote: Which Improves Your Productivity Better? 5 Learning Management Systems (LMS) That Help You Help Others Learn

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                  Last Updated on March 21, 2019

                  11 Important Things to Remember When Changing Habits

                  11 Important Things to Remember When Changing Habits

                  Most gurus talk about habits in a way that doesn’t help you:

                  You need to push yourself more. You can’t be lazy. You need to wake up at 5 am. You need more motivation. You can never fail…blah blah “insert more gibberish here.”

                  But let me share with you the unconventional truths I found out:

                  To build and change habits, you don’t need motivation or wake up at 5 am. Heck, you can fail multiple times, be lazy, have no motivation and still pull it off with ease.

                  It’s quite simple and easy to do, especially with the following list I’m going to show to you. But remember, Jim Rohn used to say,

                  “What is simple and easy to do is also simple and easy not to do.”

                  The important things to remember when changing your habits are both simple and easy, just don’t think that they don’t make any difference because they do.

                  In fact, they are the only things that make a difference.

                  Let’s see what those small things are, shall we?

                  1. Start Small

                  The biggest mistake I see people doing with habits is by going big. You don’t go big…ever. You start small with your habits.

                  Want to grow a book reading habit? Don’t start reading a book a day. Start with 10 pages a day.

                  Want to become a writer? Don’t start writing 10,000 words a day. Start with 300 words.

                  Want to lose weight? Don’t stop eating ice cream. Eat one less ball of it.

                  Whatever it is, you need to start small. Starting big always leads to failure. It has to, because it’s not sustainable.

                  Start small. How small? The amount needs to be in your comfort zone. So if you think that reading 20 pages of a book is a bit too much, start with 10 or 5.

                  It needs to appear easy and be easy to do.

                  Do less today to do more in a year.

                  2. Stay Small

                  There is a notion of Kaizen which means continuous improvement. They use this notion in habits where they tell you to start with reading 1 page of a book a day and then gradually increase the amount you do over time.

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                  But the problem with this approach is the end line — where the “improvement” stops.

                  If I go from reading 1 page of a book a day and gradually reach 75 and 100, when do I stop? When I reach 1 book a day? That is just absurd.

                  When you start a habit, stay at it in the intensity you have decided. Don’t push yourself for more.

                  I started reading 20 pages of a book a day. It’s been more than 2 years now and I’ve read 101 books in that period. There is no way I will increase the number in the future.

                  Why?

                  Because reading 40 to 50 books a year is enough.

                  The same thing applies to every other habit out there.

                  Pick a (small) number and stay at it.

                  3. Bad Days Are 100 Percent Occurrence

                  No matter how great you are, you will have bad days where you won’t do your habit. Period.

                  There is no way of going around this. So it’s better to prepare yourself for when that happens instead of thinking that it won’t ever happen.

                  What I do when I miss a day of my habit(s) is that I try to bounce back the next day while trying to do habits for both of those days.

                  Example for that is if I read 20 pages of a book a day and I miss a day, the next day I will have to read 40 pages of a book. If I miss writing 500 words, the next day I need to write 1000.

                  This is a really important point we will discuss later on rewards and punishments.

                  This is how I prepare for the bad days when I skip my habit(s) and it’s a model you should take as well.

                  4. Those Who Track It, Hack It

                  When you track an activity, you can objectively tell what you did in the past days, weeks, months, and years. If you don’t track, you will for sure forget everything you did.

                  There are many different ways you can track your activities today, from Habitica to a simple Excel sheet that I use, to even a Whatsapp Tracker.

                  Peter Drucker said,

                  “What you track is what you do.”

                  So track it to do it — it really helps.

                  But tracking is accompanied by one more easy activity — measuring.

                  5. Measure Once, Do Twice

                  Peter Drucker also said,

                  “What you measure is what you improve.”

                  So alongside my tracker, I have numbers with which I measure doses of daily activities:

                  For reading, it’s 20 pages.
                  For writing, it’s 500 words.
                  For the gym, it’s 1 (I went) or 0 (didn’t go).
                  For budgeting, it’s writing down the incomes and expenses.

                  Tracking and measuring go hand in hand, they take less than 20 seconds a day but they create so much momentum that it’s unbelievable.

                  6. All Days Make a Difference

                  Will one day in the gym make you fit? It won’t.

                  Will two? They won’t.

                  Will three? They won’t.

                  Which means that a single gym session won’t make you fit. But after 100 gym sessions, you will look and feel fit.

                  What happened? Which one made you fit?

                  The answer to this (Sorites paradox)[1] is that no single gym session made you fit, they all did.

                  No single day makes a difference, but when combined, they all do. So trust the process and keep on going (small).

                  7. They Are Never Fully Automated

                  Gurus tell you that habits become automatic. And yes, some of them do, like showering a certain way of brushing your teeth.

                  But some habits don’t become automatic, they become a lifestyle.

                  What I mean by that is that you won’t automatically “wake up” in the gym and wonder how you got there.

                  It will just become a part of your lifestyle.

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                  The difference is that you do the first one automatically, without conscious thought, while the other is a part of how you live your life.

                  It’s not automatic, but it’s a decision you don’t ponder on or think about — you simply do it.

                  It will become easy at a certain point, but they will never become fully automated.

                  8. What Got You Here Won’t Get You There

                  Marshall Goldsmith has a great book with the same title to it. The phrase means that sometimes, you will need to ditch certain habits to make room for other ones which will bring you to the next step.

                  Don’t be afraid to evolve your habits when you sense that they don’t bring you where you want to go.

                  When I started reading, it was about reading business and tactic books. But two years into it, I switched to philosophy books which don’t teach me anything “applicable,” but instead teach me how to think.

                  The most important ability of the 21st century is the ability to learn, unlearn, and relearn. The strongest tree is the willow tree – not because it has the strongest root or biggest trunk, but because it is flexible enough to endure and sustain anything.

                  Be like a willow, adapting to the new ways of doing things.

                  9. Set a Goal and Then Forget It

                  The most successful of us know what they want to achieve, but they don’t focus on it.

                  Sounds paradoxical? You’re right, it does. But here is the logic behind it.

                  You need to have a goal of doing something – “I want to become a healthy individual” – and then, you need to reverse engineer how to get there with your habits- “I will go to the gym four times a week.”

                  But once you have your goal, you need to “forget” about it and only focus on the process. Because you are working on the process of becoming healthy and it’s always in the making. You will only be as healthy as you take care of your body.

                  So you have a goal which isn’t static but keeps on moving.

                  If you went to the gym 150 times year and you hit your goal, what would you do then? You would stop going to the gym.

                  This is why goal-oriented people experience yo-yo effect[2] and why process-oriented people don’t.

                  The difference between process-oriented and goal-oriented people is that the first focus on daily actions while others only focus on the reward at the finish line.

                  Set a goal but then forget about it and reap massive awards.

                  10. Punish Yourself

                  Last two sections are pure Pavlovian – you need to punish bad behavior and reward good behavior. You are the only person who decides what is good and what is bad for you, but when you do, you need to rigorously follow that.

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                  I’ve told you in point #3 about bad days and how after one occurs, I do double the work on the next day. That is one of my forms of punishments.

                  It’s the need to tell your brain that certain behaviors are unacceptable and that they lead to bad outcomes. That’s what punishments are for.

                  You want to tell your brain that there are real consequences to missing your daily habits.[3]

                  No favorite food to eat or favorite show to watch or going to the cinema for a new Marvel movie- none, zero, zilch.

                  The brain will remember these bad feelings and will try to avoid the behaviors that led to them as much as possible.

                  But don’t forget the other side of the same coin.

                  11. Reward Yourself

                  When you follow and execute on your plan, reward yourself. It’s how the brain knows that you did something good.

                  Whenever I finish one of my habits for the day, I open my tracker (who am I kidding, I always keep it open on my desktop) and fill it with a number. As soon as I finish reading 20 pages of a book a day (or a bit more), I open the tracker and write the number down.

                  The cell becomes green and gives me an instant boost of endorphin – a great success for the day. Then, it becomes all about not breaking the chain and having as many green fields as possible.

                  After 100 days, I crunch some numbers and see how I did.

                  If I have less than 10 cheat days, I reward myself with a great meal in a restaurant. You can create your own rewards and they can be daily, weekly, monthly or any arbitrary time table that you create.

                  Primoz Bozic, a productivity coach, has gold, silver, and bronze medals as his reward system.[4]

                  If you’re having problems creating a system which works for you, contact me via email and we can discuss specifics.

                  In the End, It Matters

                  What you do matters not only to you but to the people around you.

                  When you increase the quality of your life, you indirectly increase the quality of life of people around you. And sometimes, that is all the “motivation” we need to start.

                  And that’s the best quote for the end of this article:

                  “Motivation gets you started, but habits keep you going.”

                  Keep going.

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                  More Resources to Help You Build Habits

                  Featured photo credit: Anete Lūsiņa via unsplash.com

                  Reference

                  [1] Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy: Sorites paradox
                  [2] Muscle Zone: What causes yo-yo effect and how to avoid it?
                  [3] Growth Habits: 5 Missteps That Cause You To Quit Building A Habit
                  [4] Primoz Bozic: The Lean Review: How to Plan Your 2019 in 20 Minutes

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