Jeremy Statton

Living Better Stories

How to Get Your Ideas into Evernote

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You are capable of great ideas that can change the world.

You have to develop your ideas so that they can mature into books or gadgets or companies or charities, and this requires work and organization.

But you are capable.

The best ideas are not ones that pop into our minds all at once. Brilliance doesn’t hit us like a flash of lightning. It is a process that takes time.

The best ideas come from a good idea, made better.

Through time and hard work, good ideas give birth to great ideas. And if we are lucky, great ideas give birth to genius.

Keeping track of all these ideas can be a struggle. We live in the information age, which means that we are always processing.

Every day you are being bombarded with information.

  • There is project at work with a mountain of paperwork that casts a shadow on your neighbor’s desk.
  • Your spouse’s surprise birthday party turned into a cake with half broken candles, as the details of planning got lost in the shuffle.
  • What about all the details about your kids? Birthdates? Social security numbers? The number of children you have?
  • All of this in the middle of tax season and that pile of receipts staring you down every time you walk into your office.

No wonder our ideas rarely make it to the surface. They drown in the deep end of the pool of information of our lives.

photo by Ali West (Creative Commons)

When we are unorganized, life is confusing and inefficient.

  • Organization helps us safely store the important information in our lives.
  • Organization saves time, giving room to develop our ideas.
  • Organization decreases stress, making it easer for our ideas to mature.

I have found Evernote to be the best way to help me keep track of all the information I have to process.

Evernote can help you win the battle against chaos.

I use it to keep track of everything. Notes from meetings. Notes from reading books. My life plan. My ideas of what to write. Important numbers to remember. The locker combination at work.

Everything.

One of the first steps in using Evernote is getting our ideas into it.

Here are 5 ways I get my ideas into Evernote.

1. Type directly into Evernote. This is the most obvious. You can type directly into a website or desktop application, which is available in both MacOS and Windows.  Go to their website. Set up a free account, download the app, and start typing.

2. Smartphones. Evernote also makes apps for smartphones on both the Android and the iOS platforms. Download the app to your phone. Enter your account information, and then the app will already sync with your account. Your notebooks and previously written notes will already be in place. The mobile version is great for getting ideas logged on the go.

3. Email. When you set up your account, Evernote will create for you a unique email address that will send information directly into your Evernote account. This email address can be found under account info. Whenever you receive an email worth remembering, forward to this address and it will be waiting for you when you need it.

4. Internet browser extensions. These are available for both Safari and Chrome. The extension show up as a button in your toolbar. Whenever you come across a webpage you want to remember, just click on the button, and Evernote will save either the url or the entire page for you.

5. Scanners. Not everyone has caught on to the digital age. For those who choose to keep sending you information on paper, you can also scan the information directly into Evernote. I do this using a Fujitsu ScanSnap scanner as demonstrated by Michael Hyatt. This method costs more since you have to buy a scanner, but it is a tremendous asset when trying to declutter.

Two resources on effectively utilizing Evernote are Michael Hyatt’s blog and an eBook called Evernote Essentials by Brett Kelly. I recommend both.

The more organized you are, the better you will be at developing your ideas.

Now go do something brilliant by allowing your good ideas to mature.

How do you organize and keep track of information? Share in the comments.

About Jeremy Statton

Jeremy is a writer and an orthopedic surgeon. When not ridding the world of pain, he helps you live a better story. Follow him on Twitter or Facebook or Google +.

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7 Replies

  1. ahoak

    Got Evernote on a recommendation from you…has helped me keep track of different things and declutter my desk from miscellaneous notes, though I don’t use it extensively yet.  Thanks for the tip!  Another way to add info from a website to Evernote if you’re not using Chrome or Safari is to highlight the portion of the page you want, right click and select “add to Evernote.”

  2. Awesome! If you check out these other resources, they give very in depth descriptions on how to utilize it better. Thanks for the tip on right clicking. Sorry for those of you using Internet Explorer in more ways than one.

  3. By the way, was that your desk in the picture?

  4. For me, I’ve found that flashes of brilliance do occur at random moments. These ideas come at sometimes rather inconvenient moments, such as when I’m driving, in the shower, or just out and about. I think a critical part of my Evernote strategy has been to think of ways to input data on the go. You mentioned smartphones, but I find sometimes that’s too involved during the day. I have a notebook and pen in my pocket, and I can jot down notes very quickly and conveniently. Then, I can transcribe them into Evernote later when I’m back at my computer. I also keep a tape recorder for recording when I’m driving. (Ideas come to me all the time when driving for some reason).

  5. Great points, Loren. I agree that some of are better ideas seem to come at random times. This is an important reason to be able to gather them so that you can expand on them later. If I don’t, then they often leave me. If you like writing things down, you can also scan these notes into Evernote. The great thing about his is how easy it is to organize them and all of these documents are searchable making it convenient to find an old note.The key is to use whatever works for you. Evernote also has the capacity to store audio files, so it can help here as well. But you are right, smartphones can be a distraction. It is better to get work done, than allow distractions.

  6. ahoak

    Um, no.  But I did install Chrome today…pretty slick.  

  7. yes. If you were using Internet Explorer before then all I can say is sorry.

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