Evernote is a “cloud service” that lets you store stuff online, and then retrieve it quickly and easily from a computer, phone, or tablet. What if you could put all your personal information in a secure online service and then search it as easily and quickly as you use Google to search the entire web? You can with Evernote.
The value of Evernote increases exponentially everytime you upload more information. Evernote is free if you only upload 60 Mbs of data per month. If you want to upload 1 Gb per month then it’s $45 per year. There is no charge for the data storage once it’s uploaded.
What can you upload to Evernote? Well, any file that’s not more than 50 Mbs large (which is a lot), or 100 Mbs if you pay the $45 per year for the Premium service. Beyond the limits on size, you can upload ANYTHING. Photos, audio clips, videos, PDFs, web-clips. And you can create text notes, or audio notes from your iPhone or Android phone. Take pictures from your phone using the free app and have them automatically upload to Evernote.
Once your files are uploaded they’ll automatically become searchable, even if you didn’t OCR them. Don’t know what “OCR” is? Doesn’t matter. Just remember that you can search for anything by entering words that might appear in the document.
For example, the other day I was signing a contract to get solar panels installed in my house. The solar guy needed the account number for my power company (Entergy) so he could set me up for energy credits that would lower my bill. I pulled out my iPad and tapped on the Evernote app. Then I searched for “Entergy” and found the latest bill (which I had scanned in using my ScanSnap scanner). From there I found the account number, and read it to him. At that point he lost interest in his sale. He was more interested in how I was able to find arcane information in less than 30 seconds.
Once you find a note you can then quickly email it to anyone. Like I did when my daughter called me one day to say that she had been pulled over by a police officer in Atlanta and he accidentally took her car registration. She asked if I could send her a copy of the registration to keep in her car temporarily, while she tracked down an original. I searched Evernote for “Hyundai” (her car type) and found a scanned copy of the registration in about 20 seconds, and then emailed it to her (which took about 15 seconds).
My daughter got the document in less than 2 minutes. Her response email said: “Thanks, Dad. You totally ROCK!”
How often do your kids tell you that “you rock”? Obviously I’m happy to get any compliments from my kids, especially such effusively positive ones. But the truth is I’m not the one doing “the rocking.” It’s Evernote that’s amazing.
But remember: its “amazingness” depends on the amount of information you put into it. The more you put in, the more amazing it is (I put all of my personal information into Evernote using my scanner, or using the web-clipper). If you have lots of information in Evernote, then finding your stuff quickly with a phone becomes a life-changing benefit —one that you’ll never want to be without again.
Evernote might not be a good place to put client-related information, or any files that need to be saved in nested folders. Evernote does have a business class service, which might work for lawyers (I haven’t tried it so I can’t say), but it doesn’t allow for nested folders either (so I’m not interested in using it for client data for that reason alone). Once you try Evernote for your personal information you’ll have a better idea of how it works, and how you might use it in other contexts.
Here are two online resources for learning more about the power of Evernote:
- I’ve been Using Evernote All Wrong. Here’s Why It’s Actually Amazing. — by Whitson Gordon
- Index to Michael Hyatt’s Evernote Blog posts — excellent tutorials from a CEO of a publishing company who uses Evernote extensively.
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