My Ultimate Sidekick for Life: Evernote. And Over 100 Ways of Using it

My Ultimate Sidekick for Life: Evernote. And Over 100 Ways of Using it

I started to use Evernote for clipping Web pages. I am using Web Clipper for Chrome and Firefox. I have written earlier about it, here

Evernote is a great research tool.

Today, I cannot imagine anymore not using a database program to save and retrieve Web pages.

But that is not all.

Evernote is also a cloud-based note-taking and note-retrieval system. It lets you store text, images, Web pages, and anything your cell phone can photograph. Even name cards!

You can sign up for Evernote here

And here is a tutorial, a series of short screencast videos on how to get started with Evernote.

Cloud Software is the Future

Evernote is in the cloud. Your clippings will not disappear if your hard drive dies, and you don’t have a backup.

Evernote is available on all my computer devices: desktop, laptop, smartphone, etc. etc. I’m always on the move and never at my desk. My good ideas always come to me at the wrong time. Time to write them down before I forget them.

Evernote allows you to connect your Bluetooth headphones to the app and use them to record audio and transcribe voice-to-text notes. As long as your headphones are connected, Evernote will now route audio from the headphone’s microphone instead of the smartphone.

I use search terms (“keywords”) for my notes. Evernote lets me use as many as I want. It allows Boolean searches to narrow down the selection. You add keywords for future retrieval. There will also be all of the words in your saved document, including words that are in the form of images.

How does Evernote make money? By charging $7.99 monthly, or $69.99 annually, and Evernote comes with more monthly storage space, unlimited devices, and more. If you save mostly text, this will not be a problem.

This is for what I am currently using Evernote, on a daily basis

1. cooking recipes + notes about cooking
2. all of my invention ideas
3. to plan my future: my obituary
4. to plan my future: my 70th birthday speech
5. to plan my future: my bucket list
6. to write what I’m grateful for each day
7. to write up people I want to follow up with
8. my planned travel schedules
9. thoughts and adventures from my travel trips, memoirs of my adventures
10. my daily prayer requests
11. checklists
12. books that I have read/I am reading list
13. my to-do lists
14. grocery lists
15. regular errands
16. business ideas
17. job ideas for retirement
18. online articles about man-made global warming flaws
19. online articles about peak oil flaws
20. plans for things that I am going to build: from welding projects over electronics projects to electric bikes
21. electronic repairs list and code ideas for programs
22. documenting the lives of people that never retire
23. online articles about evolution theory flaws
24. hardware store shopping lists
25. daily, weekly, monthly, yearly and lifetime goals. If it’s written down it’s hard to forget
26. Tip-of-the-Week ideas
27. Ideas for my courses
28. Vocabulary and grammar. I’m in a constant language school of six languages, and field notes are crucial
29. Places. I’d fill it with story ideas, sketches, and random notes. Names that are linked with these places or events
30. Thoughts and analysis about my home countries and their politics
31. Marketing ideas for my law firm
32. Important news about countries that I am watching: Singapore, Bavaria, Germany, EU, USA, China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Malaysia, Japan, Australia, Brazil, Thailand, Indonesia
33. articles about the decline of the print media

For what I still use paper notebooks

Although Evernote is a great piece of software, I am still using paper notes, mostly for very special occasions where it is not practical to use a smartphone:

1. exercise logbook, to record my barbell lifts and my workout routine
2. a journal for discoveries in the lab
3. Ideas that hit as I go to sleep or wake up. This way, kept on a nightstand, a man can keep thoughts that might be otherwise be lost the next day

Army notebook 1/2

I recommend a paper pocket notebook for military service. We always need something sturdy to write on. And paper notebooks do not run out of battery. I recommend a pencil, and not a ball pen. Pencils even write when it is -30°C. Pencil on paper also withstands water. I sharpen my pencils with a nail file which is also a versatile tool.

Important: in this first notebook never write down any name of a person!

Take notes of what is important for your service, and let others see that you take these notes.

1. Abbreviations
2. Data that is important to remember for your job: meaning of insignias, calibers, speeds, weights, SOPs, checklists, time tables
3. Sketches of marching choreographies
4. Song texts
5. Todo lists for standard situations (getting up, phone battery is back to life, when we get back to the camp, Alarm!, …)
6. Sources (what manuals are you using for your current job?)
7. Planning and debriefing of exercises
8. Tactical maps sketches

Army notebook 2/2

I recommend having a separate second Army pocket notebook that looks identical to the first Army notebook.

Write down the names of the persons that you meet only in this second notebook, plus their rank, their phone numbers and email addresses.

Because the second Army notebook looks like the first Army notebook and because you let others see when you take notes of what is important for your service the first Army notebook, nobody will easily notice it when you write down personal information in your second Army notebook. You should nevertheless make sure that nobody watches you when you write up personal information in your second Army notebook.

You can make entries into this secret book about the following:

1. Names, names, names, ranks, phone numbers, email addresses
2. Date of photos taken, and link them with names
3. Diary: what I have done when, and with whom

General George C. Marshall always kept a small notebook with him. Wherever he went, he carefully observed the men he met and encountered. He would jot down the names of those he considered promising candidates for future leadership positions, making notes of the men’s strengths and particular characteristics. When WWII broke out, to find the men ready for top commands, Marshall had to simply flip open his notebook and look over his notes. He became known for having a “gift” for putting the right people in the right positions. But it was a gift born of preparation … and a pocket notebook.

Advice from an old infantry military engineer who served during the Cold War: before you get caught, destroy this second notebook first. This may save you a lot of trouble.

Gideon Bible

I have a pocket size Gideon Bible which I like very much. It comes with the Psalms, the Proverbs, the four gospels, the Epistels, and the Revelation. I write a date next to the verse that jumps at me on that particular date. I enjoy going through the Bible and reading verses that somehow impressed me before.

Data that I handle differently, outside of Evernote

What I do not store in Evernote are phone numbers and addresses. I keep these in my smartphone address directory, and they are saved to the cloud.

I also do not keep business name cards in Evernote. I use the free CamCard tool for that. I have written about it earlier, here

Using a separate tool for my name card collection allows me easily give other people access to my name cards. I would not want others to have access to my Evernote account.

And I do not keep passwords in my Evernote account. I am using a safe password vault on my smartphone for that. I have written about it earlier, here

What I do not write up, but what is useful for others

In the following, I have compiled ideas for data that you could write up in a notebook. These are good ideas, but I cannot possibly write all this up. The following list goes back to a collection that I found on the Internet, here

1. how to get better every day
2. daily thoughts
3. quotes that speak to me
4. notes about my weekly planning (e.g. if something worked or didn’t work)
5. advice for my children when I drop dead
6. ideas for sermons
7. bible verses for memorization
8. wise teachings of my mentors to share with other men
9. things that I want to remember to do with my 2 1/2-year-old son as he gets older
10. to help plan my day
11. jot down music ideas
12. ideas for blog posts
13. passing thoughts
14. people I meet
15. ways to show my wife how valuable she is to me
16. my wife’s honey-do list so I don’t forget…
17. things I’m grateful for.
18. recap of the day
19. things I learned that day
20. to write date/gift ideas for my wife
21. to write random things I want to do with my sons when they get older
22. quotes from my 3-year old son
23. keeping a journal
24. for notes to my future son/daughter due in October
25. documenting daily virtues (the Ben Franklin idea)
26. flowcharts for online accounts
27. notes about people I meet to aid
28. ideas in achieving financial independence early
29. to write about all the things my two young daughters need to know about their dad before they were born
30. I’d make a cartoon. Funny cartoon. Then I’d film it. With my phone. The same phone where I keep my notes.
31. to write the notable facts and summaries of books I read
32. to jot down jokes for the sketch show I write for
33. thoughts for meditations
34. notes from bible studies
35. hunting and fishing journal
36. to write the lessons I’ve learned as a parent, then pass it on when the time is right
37. little, funny moments in my kids’ lives that I never want to forget
38. my own kind of Proverbs for my son, then give it to him when he’s of age
39. keeping track of my diet routines
40. write about my love for *tacos* (placeholder).
41. write down memories of my children
42. allusions and quotes from classical literature that help illuminate the many stations of manhood
43. track daily debit card transactions. Help control spending
44. to translate and write out selected Psalms from the Hebrew text to read with my son and daughter before bed
45. names and history of random people I will help, just because…
46. to trace the story as we start a church in Los Angeles
47. my script ideas
48. random musings
49. better ways to improve myself
50. how to improve *the Muppets* (placeholder)
51. random thoughts and inquiries that come to me as I go about my day.
52. stuff I can look into later
53. my budget
54. to write my “to-do” from my Sunday brainstorming sessions
55. the outline and random ideas I have to further the novels I’m writing and plan to write.
56. currently planning 100 things to do/achieve before I’m 30. Notebook would be great for planning/tracking some of them
57. the ephemeral thoughts that come with a new baby and a life of the mind.

What I Would Never Record in a Notebook

I found two applications that I do not recommend to write up:
1. my angry thoughts
2. enemies list

The reason for not writing these up is that I do not want to have this negative ballast with me. I rather tend to forget what bothers me and to forgive those that caused damage in my life.

How Taking Notes Helped Others

And here is an article about what great people have achieved by writing their notebooks

Do thou likewise.


Martin “Note” Schweiger

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