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How To Save All That Useful Online Content

How To Save All That Useful Online Content

Evernote is my favorite app, and I’m beyond excited to write about it for Lifehack. When you really get the hang of it, Evernote becomes an indispensable tool that’s far more than the note-taking app it’s most commonly billed as. One of its most useful features is its ability to save online content that you acquire either for fun or for professional purposes. Gathering research through the app has some limitations, but by utilizing other tools along with Evernote the service is a near-perfect way to save content online. Here are explanations of Evernote’s strengths and weaknesses, along with those of the app Pocket, culminating in what they can accomplish together.

What Evernote Can Do

Evernote is, at its core, a collection of notes that you’ve accumulated over time. You can create a note on Evernote manually, but what makes it really game changing is its ability to clip pages from the web or an app straight into your cloud account. With a browser extension it only takes the click of a button to save online content to your collection. If used properly, Evernote can house an encyclopedia’s worth of knowledge that’s all easy to access. You can assign topics you’re researching to single notes, notebooks, or stacks of notebooks, depending on how wide-reaching the subject is.

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What Evernote Can’t Do

Even though I’m a self-professed Evernote evangelist, I can recognize its imperfections. The biggest one when it comes to saving online content is that when you clip a web page, sometimes Evernote will send you more than just the text. Wonky formatting from the page you clipped it from might come with it, leaving you with an odd-looking note.

What Pocket Can Do

Pocket (formerly Read It Later) is a web service that “pockets” web pages for future reading. You can add a Pocket extension to your browser, making it simple to save a page you’re reading on your computer. It’s almost as easy to add content to your smartphones or tablets. If you copy a URL on your mobile device and open Pocket, you’ll be asked if you want to add the content from your link to Pocket. Thankfully, Pocket almost never includes formatting from the web page that you clipped. The contents of pages in Pocket are strictly limited to text, photos, and videos. It’s the perfect way to read something on a tablet, smartphone, or computer.

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What Pocket Can’t Do

Pocket doesn’t have a built-in file structure like Evernote. Sadly, organization is basically restricted to tags, and tagging is an acquired skill that not everybody is equipped with. I’m certainly not, which makes organizing my research in Pocket largely ineffective. You also can’t edit the contents of the articles you’ve saved into Pocket, which essentially limits the app to a read-only service.

What Evernote With Pocket Can Do

When you combine the services of Evernote and Pocket, things really start to take off. If you’re saving web content I recommend sending pages to Pocket first. Pocket is where you want to read the article before you get to editing. Once you’ve read it, use the Evernote web clipper to put it into your Evernote account. Once it’s there you can modify the text and add notes and annotations, as well as drop it into Evernote’s more organized Notes/Notebooks/Stacks file system. When it comes to collecting information on the web, whether it be for research or pleasure, Evernote plus Pocket is the perfect one-two punch.

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What Evernote With Pocket Can’t Do

As advanced as the features of Evernote combined with Pocket are, they can’t do your web browsing or research for you, so get to work!

Featured photo credit: The Unquiet Library via flickr.com

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More by this author

Matt OKeefe

Matt is a marketer and writer who shares about lifestyle and productivity tips on Lifehack.

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Last Updated on February 15, 2019

7 Tools to Help Keep Track of Goals and Habits Effectively

7 Tools to Help Keep Track of Goals and Habits Effectively

Now that 2011 is well underway and most people have fallen off the bandwagon when it comes to their New Year’s resolutions (myself included), it’s a good time to step back and take an honest look at our habits and the goals that we want to achieve.

Something that I have learned over the past few years is that if you track something, be it your eating habits, exercise, writing time, work time, etc. you become aware of the reality of the situation. This is why most diet gurus tell you to track what you eat for a week so you have an awareness of the of how you really eat before you start your diet and exercise regimen.

Tracking daily habits and progress towards goals is another way to see reality and create a way for you clearly review what you have accomplished over a set period of time. Tracking helps motivate you too; if I can make a change in my life and do it once a day for a period of time it makes me more apt to keep doing it.

So, if you have some goals and habits in mind that need tracked, all you need is a tracking tool. Today we’ll look at 7 different tools to help you keep track of your habits and goals.

Joe’s Goals

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    Joe’s Goals is a web-based tool that allows users to track their habits and goals in an easy to use interface. Users can add as many goals/habits as they want and also check multiple times per day for those “extra productive days”. Something that is unique about Joe’s Goals is the way that you can keep track of negative habits such as eating out, smoking, etc. This can help you visualize the good things that you are doing as well as the negative things that you are doing in your life.

    Joe’s Goals is free with a subscription version giving you no ads and the “latest version” for $12 a year.

    Daytum

      Daytum

      is an in depth way of counting things that you do during the day and then presenting them to you in many different reports and groups. With Daytum you can add several different items to different custom categories such as work, school, home, etc. to keep track of your habits in each focus area of your life.

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      Daytum is extremely in depth and there are a ton of settings for users to tweak. There is a free version that is pretty standard, but if you want more features and unlimited items and categories you’ll need Daytum Plus which is $4 a month.

      Excel or Numbers

        If you are the spreadsheet number cruncher type and the thought of using someone else’s idea of how you should track your habits turns you off, then creating your own Excel/Numbers/Google spreadsheet is the way to go. Not only do you have pretty much limitless ways to view, enter, and manipulate your goal and habit data, but you have complete control over your stuff and can make it private.

        What’s nice about spreadsheets is you can create reports and can customize your views in any way you see fit. Also, by using Dropbox, you can keep your tracker sheets anywhere you have a connection.

        Evernote

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          I must admit, I am an Evernote junky, mostly because this tool is so ubiquitous. There are several ways you can implement habit/goal tracking with Evernote. You won’t be able to get nifty reports and graphs and such, but you will be able to access your goal tracking anywhere your are, be it iPhone, Android, Mac, PC, or web. With Evernote you pretty much have no excuse for not entering your daily habit and goal information as it is available anywhere.

          Evernote is free with a premium version available.

          Access or Bento

            If you like the idea of creating your own tracker via Excel or Numbers, you may be compelled to get even more creative with database tools like Access for Windows or Bento for Mac. These tools allow you to set up relational databases and even give you the option of setting up custom interfaces to interact with your data. Access is pretty powerful for personal database applications, and using it with other MS products, you can come up with some pretty awesome, in depth analysis and tracking of your habits and goals.

            Bento is extremely powerful and user friendly. Also with Bento you can get the iPhone and iPad app to keep your data anywhere you go.

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            You can check out Access and the Office Suite here and Bento here.

            Analog Bonus: Pen and Paper

            All these digital tools are pretty nifty and have all sorts of bells and whistles, but there are some people out there that still swear by a notebook and pen. Just like using spreadsheets or personal databases, pen and paper gives you ultimate freedom and control when it comes to your set up. It also doesn’t lock you into anyone else’s idea of just how you should track your habits.

            Conclusion

            I can’t necessarily recommend which tool is the best for tracking your personal habits and goals, as all of them have their quirks. What I can do however (yes, it’s a bit of a cop-out) is tell you that the tool to use is whatever works best for you. I personally keep track of my daily habits and personal goals with a combo Evernote for input and then a Google spreadsheet for long-term tracking.

            What this all comes down to is not how or what tool you use, but finding what you are comfortable with and then getting busy with creating lasting habits and accomplishing short- and long-term goals.

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