Advertising
Advertising

Transition Painlessly From Paper To Evernote

Transition Painlessly From Paper To Evernote

For many people, the transition from paper-based notes, be they personal or professional, to an electronic note-taking application (such as Evernote) is a painful one. The discomfort is sometimes borne of the not-easily-dismissed stress of adopting a new approach to taking notes when an existing system has worked somewhere between sufficiently and superbly for many years and is familiar, comfortable, and reliable. And, with few exceptions, paper notes in a reliable workflow don’t end up lost or corrupted by data errors. In other cases, the discomfiture may be a result of too many available choices among solutions, and little desire to spend the money or time to investigate the options, weigh the advantages and disadvantages of each, and finally settle on an app to replace a paper system.

I’m going to suggest two solutions for avoiding this stress during the transition, and these solutions will allow you to return to a strictly paper-based note taking system any time you like without having lost anything along the way!

Advertising

Keep your paper notes

First, don’t eliminate your paper notes. They’ve served you well for years, presumably, or you wouldn’t still be using them. Continue to use them. Take notes, jot ideas, sketch designs, draw little connecting arrows to relate ideas to each other. Do whatever currently works for you, and do it on paper.

If you aren’t currently tagging notes when you take them on paper, consider starting now. They aren’t searchable, of course, using an electronic system (yet), but you can quickly skim the bottom line of pages in a notepad and look for tags far quicker than you can read the titles of multiple notes.  For example, if I had been drafting ideas for this note in my Moleskine pad, I might have tagged the bottom of the page with #lifehack #evernote #paper-transition or something similar. The use of the hash mark (#) to indicate a topical tag may be unfamiiar to you if you’ve never seen Twitter posts or content streaming from Twitter to a news site. Fear not; all the # sign does is indicate a topic tag follows it. You don’t need to use the mark as long as you always write the tags in the same section of the page and only use that section for topic tags.

Advertising

However, it would make me really happy if Evernote would figure out that converting such handwriting to actual tags for existing tags within Evernote is a really good idea. More on that in a bit…

Start using Evernote

Really. Just start using it. Download it to your smartphone or tablet, or browse to evernote.com from your computer. You can save pretty much anything you want in Evernote as a note:  an actual note, a list, a checklist, a photo, a web clipping, a set of URLs as bookmarks, etc. Steve Dotto has a great video demonstrating several awesome uses of Evernote in an easy-to-follow format. Play around with Evernote after watching the video. The app is free (unless you want to upgrade to premium for the astoundingly low price of $5 a month). You don’t need to stress at all about using the app instead of your paper notes. Just play with the app’s features. And, if you like Moleskine notebooks, Evernote and Moleskine have a great deal where you buy a Moleskine notebook for basically what you’d pay for it anyway, and it comes with three months of free Evernote premium. A bonus is the size of these notebooks is configured to be readily compatible with the Evernote photo-taking feature. Regardless, it is fully capable of taking whatever photos you want to upload.

Advertising

The following recommendations worked for me, and they’ve worked for quite a number of other people to whom I’ve made these recommendations. They don’t work for everyone, but with some modifications to suit your personal work style, they ought to work for you.

  1. Take your notes on paper, the way you’re accustomed to doing. Jot a quick topical tag or two at the bottom of the first page of a set of notes about a given subject or meeting.
  2. Take a photo of each note page with your iPhone or Android phone camera. You can leave it as a photo or convert it to a PDF using something like Scanner Pro for the iPhone, which is what I use. If I’m in a hurry, I leave it as a photo.
  3. Do whatever you would normally do with those paper notes to save them—file them, add them to a topical folder, or leave them in your notebook. Don’t do anything to change how you currently treat your paper notes.
  4. When you have time, preferably soon, use Evernote to add a new note about your note-taking subject (say, a meeting), and add the photos of your paper notes or the PDF of your paper notes to this new note. You can also add additional text. Take the time to tag the note with a few significant keywords. You can use them for search later. Evernote will also convert handwriting or text in your photos to searchable text. Title the note something meaningful for the way you take notes and refer back to them. You can always change this later, even by creating additional notebooks for major subjects, or personal vs. work, or however you segregate your major note groupings. Remember to include the page number (if your notebook has page numbers) for where you can find the paper note.
  5. If you need to find notes quickly, or even if you have some time, use Evernote first to search for them. You will locate them more quickly, and often Evernote will find other notes you may have forgotten about but to which you want to refer.

The result

Even if you never eliminate your paper-based note-taking system, you will have added one of the most reliable cloud-based backup methods available to your note-taking method, gained the ability to search your notes, and enabled the ability to find your notes from any internet-connected computing platform you may be using.

Advertising

I’m going to suggest two solutions for avoiding this stress during the transition, and these solutions will allow you to return to a strictly paper-based note taking system any time you like.

Take care, and enjoy life,

Andrew

More by this author

Transition Painlessly From Paper To Evernote Increase the Benefits from Meetings You Can’t Get Out Of 8 Ways Your Assistant Can Make You More Effective 9 Critical Common Sense Success Factors for New Employees How to Use Siri with a Third Party iPhone Calendar

Trending in Technology

1 5 Killer Online Journal Tools That Make Journaling Easier and More Fun 2 10 Best Task List Apps Out There for Getting Stuff Done 3 20 Google Search Tips to Use Google More Efficiently 4 8 Most Effective Games and Apps to Learn to Type Fast 5 18 Best Time Management Apps and Tools (2018 Updated)

Read Next

Advertising
Advertising

Last Updated on August 29, 2018

5 Killer Online Journal Tools That Make Journaling Easier and More Fun

5 Killer Online Journal Tools That Make Journaling Easier and More Fun

Journaling is one of the most useful personal development tools around. Not only does it help us process emotions and experiences, work through internal conflicts and improve our self-awareness, it also provides us with a way to keep a day-to-day record of our lives. Traditionally an activity limited to pen and paper, the expansion of consumer technology has enabled journaling to go digital.

Saving your journaling entries online enables you to access them from anywhere, without having to carry a notebook and pen around, and provides you with digital features, like tagging and search functions.

Here are a list of five online journaling tools you can use to bring your practice into the modern age:

1. 750words

Advertising

750 words

    750words is a free online journaling tool created by Buster Benson. The site is based on the idea of “Morning Pages”; a journaling tool Julia Cameron suggests in her creativity course The Artist’s Way. Cameron advises aspiring creatives to start each morning with three pages of stream-of-consciousness writing to clear away the mental clutter, leaving you with a clearer mind to face the day.

    750 words is the three-page digital equivalent (assuming the average person writes 250 words per page) and lets you store all your journaling online. Each morning, you’ll receive a prompt asking you to write your 750 words, and the site keeps track of various statistics associated with your entries. The site uses a Regressive Imagery Dictionary to calculate the emotional content from your posts and provides feedback on features like your mood, and most commonly used words.

    750 words is simple to set up and is ideal for anyone who finds it challenging to maintain a consistent journaling practice. The site uses a number of incentives to motivate users, including animal badges awarded to journalers who complete a certain number of days in a row, leader boards, and opt-in monthly challenges.

    2. Ohlife

    Advertising

    ohlife

      Ohlife is designed to make online journaling as easy as possible. Once you’ve signed up for your free account, the website will send you an email each day asking “How did your day go?” Simply reply to the email with as much or as little detail as you like, and your response will be stored on your account, ready to view next time you log in.

      Ohlife’s appeal lies in its simplicity: no stats, no social sharing, no complicated organisational systems—the site is designed to provide you with a private, online space. Simply respond to the email each day (or skip the days you’re busy) and Ohlife will do the rest.

      3. Oneword

      oneword

        OneWord is a fun online tool that provides you with a single word as a prompt and gives you sixty seconds to write about it. The concept’s aim is to help writers learn how to flow, and the prompts range from the everyday mundane to the profound.

        Advertising

        Oneword is not a private journaling tool: if you sign up, your answers will be published on the site’s daily blog, which contains a stream of users’ answers, and might be used by Oneword in the future. If you’d rather keep your answers to yourself, you can still use the tool for fun without giving out any personal details.

        4. Penzu

          Penzu is a journaling tool that allows you to store your journaling notes online. The service also offers mobile apps for iOS, Android and Blackberry, so you can journal on the go and save your notes to your account. The basic service is free, however you can upgrade to Penzu Pro and get access to additional features, including military-grade encryption and the ability to save and sync data through your mobile, for $19 per year.

          With either version of Penzu, you can insert pictures, and add tags and comments to entries, as well as search for older entries. You can set your posts to be private and viewable by you only, or share them with others.

          Advertising

          5. Evernote

          Evernote isn’t a purpose-built journaling tool, however its features make it perfect for keeping your journaling notes in one safe place. With the ability to keep separate “notebooks”, tag your entries, include pictures, audio and web clipping, Evernote will appeal to journalers who want to include more formats than just text in their entries.

          Available online within a web browser, and as a stand-alone desktop app, the service also comes with a series of mobile apps covering almost every device available. These allow you to make notes on the go and sync between the mobile and browser versions of the app.

          For additional features, including text recognition and the ability to collaborate on Notebooks, you can upgrade to Evernote’s premium service, which costs $5 per month.

          Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

          Read Next