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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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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Last Updated on December 30, 2018

18 Best Time Management Apps and Tools (2019 Updated)

18 Best Time Management Apps and Tools (2019 Updated)

No one can dispute the countless benefits technology has brought us. It’s undoubtedly allowed us to connect, perform, improve and leverage our resources beyond what was once imaginable.

If you’re not taking advantage of one of the hundreds of time management apps and tools out there, you’re definitely missing a trick.

But with so many apps to choose from, how do you know which ones to use? Well, this will depend on your needs, but we’ve put together a list of 18 of the very best time management apps that can help you with the most common time management challenges.

Let’s dive straight into the list…

1. Rescue Time — Use your time wisely

    If you have doubts that you’re using your time sensibly, this app will send you weekly reports to indicate what things are stealing your time. You may be shocked to discover how much time you’re actually wasting.

    Download Rescue Time

    2. Remember The Milk — Keep on top of all your tasks

      If you’re struggling to manage everything you have to do, and you work with many different devices, then this is the app for you. It’s a great free tool which is compatible with your mobile, computer, Gmail, Outlook, etc. It helps you to manage your tasks easily, and reminds you of them – wherever you are.

      Download Remember the Milk

      3. Focus Booster – Boost motivation to complete tasks

        This app is based on the principles of the Pomodoro Technique, and is aimed at individuals who procrastinate and feel overwhelmed by tasks. It’s designed to enhance your focus and remove any anxiety you might have with time pressures.

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        Download Focus Booster

        4. Toggl – Keep track of time spent on projects and tasks

          This is a great alternative to time-sheets, if you need to track how much time you spend on different projects. Effective time management starts with being clear on exactly how much time you actually spend on your projects and tasks, and then through analysis, working out how you can manage them more effectively.

          Download Toggl

          5. Dropbox — Store and send large files easily

            There are many apps that allow you to transfer content from your computer to other devices – but Dropbox is free and easier to use than the others. With the Dropbox app, you can even access and share important files on the go.

            Download Dropbox

            6. Evernote — Keep all your notes in one place

              Evernote is a free productivity tool that allows you to capture all your ideas, thoughts and images in many different ways (e.g., with voice, notes or images).  You can even record your meetings, interviews, speeches and ideas, create lists, add voice or text attachments, and share your files with friends. You can also sync Remember The Milk with Evernote to really optimize your time.

              Download Evernote

              7. Mind42 — Focus on tasks at hand with mind mapping

                Mind mapping is a great productivity technique, and Mind42 is the best free mind mapping app currently available. It helps you to become more organized by focusing your thoughts – thereby gaining clarity on what needs to be done.

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                Download Mind42

                8. SyncBackFree — Back up and sync your files effortlessly

                  This free software allows you to back up, restore and synchronize your files easily. It not only saves you time now – but also in the future. If you have never backed up your files before, you should definitely take a look at this pivotal tool.

                  Download SnycBackFree

                  9. MyLifeOrganized (MLO) — Manage your to-do lists effectively

                    Check this out if you find it difficult to manage all your tasks, to work with your to-do lists, and to organize your goals. This task management system helps you to target what you should be focusing on to reach your objectives. It automatically generates to-do lists, with priority actions for your immediate attention so that you can track your progress methodically.

                    Download MyLifeOrganized (MLO)

                    10. 1Password — Have all your passwords remembered

                      This app allows you to keep all your passwords in one encrypted database, protected by one password. This saves you time when you forget your passwords and need to retrieve them. It also allows you to use various passwords for different accounts so you don’t compromise on security.

                      Download 1Password

                      11. Pocket — Keep your eye on the ball

                        When you’re surfing the web, it’s easy to get distracted by enticing and fascinating websites. Use this tool to save your ‘finds’ to access and read later on at a convenient time which will not impact on your immediate work.

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                        Download Pocket

                        12. [email protected] — Boost your attention span

                          This amazing app combines neuroscience and music to boost your productivity. According to the developers, it’s possible to increase your attention span by up to 400%! Ideal for those who find it difficult to focus while studying, working or reading.

                          Download [email protected]

                          13. Launchy — Interact with your computer in a smart way

                            This small and simple tool allows you to launch your documents, project files, folders, and bookmarks with just a few keystrokes. This makes life so much easier as you don’t need to go through the start menu to access what you want.

                            Download Launchy

                            14. Forest — Boost your focus by growing a forest

                              This unique and fun app helps you stay focused and on-track. The concept is simple: whenever you want to focus, plant a virtual tree. If you stay focused, the tree will grow. If you lose focus, the tree will die. As the app’s name implies, you can grow multiple trees to create a virtual forest!

                              Download Forest

                              15. Trello — Track your projects in a highly visual way

                                This is a hugely popular app that you may already be familiar with. It works by allowing you to create cards for tasks that you need to complete. Each card moves across the Trello board (which is typically broken into columns such as To Do, In Progress, and Completed) as your start, work on and complete the associated task.

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                                Download Trello

                                16. Wunderlist — Digitalize your to-do lists

                                  Purchased by Microsoft in 2015, Wunderlist is an easy to use, feature-packed to-do list app. From planning a holiday, to sharing a shopping list with a partner, or managing multiple work projects, Wunderlist will keep you on top of all your tasks.

                                  Download Wunderlist

                                  17. TimeTree — Have a shared calendar with your family

                                    This app allows families or teams to share multiple calendars and appointments. So, whether you’re planning a party, or run a local sports team, Time Tree can keep everyone up-to-date with all current and upcoming activities and events.

                                    Download Time Tree

                                    18. Todoist — Capture and order all your tasks and activities easily

                                      Todoist is close to being the ultimate digital to-do list. It’s available via browsers and apps, and lets you schedule all your tasks and activities. Each item can be flagged for priority as well as given a due date. There is also a neat option to add notes to any of your tasks.

                                      Download Todoist

                                      The above list covers what we consider to be the very best time management apps and tools. And the good news is – that many of them are completely free of charge! So, what are you waiting for? Select the ones that will be the most valuable to you – and begin boosting your productivity now!

                                      Oh, and one more thing… Take a look at a couple of our other articles that will help further streamline your time management:

                                      40 Top Productivity Apps for iPhone and 20 Quick Tips For Better Time Management

                                      More Recommended Productivity Experts on Lifehack

                                      • Leon Ho — The Founder and CEO of Lifehack, which he share productivity hacks to make life easier
                                      • Carl Pullein — A renowned productivity and time management coach
                                      • Mark Pettit — A Business Coach for ambitious entrepreneurs who want to achieve more by working less

                                      Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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