Notes from a Floating Life Thoughts about productivity, digital living, and leading a simpler life

3 Books That Can Help You Tame Evernote

Evernote is a useful and flexible tool for anyone. So flexible, in fact, that you can use it for just about anything.

I know people who use Evernote to organize their writing, plan trips, help run their small businesses, keep track of their collections, and more.

It can be a bit challenging to get up and running with Evernote. And, if you’re like me, you sometimes overthink things and that makes the process of working with a tool like Evernote a bit more difficult. A good guide, in the form of a good book, can help.

For the longest time, there was a dearth of books in English about Evernote, even though there seemed to have been a cottage industry of books about Evernote in Japan. That’s changed. There are a number of titles in English about Evernote. Some are good, some not so.

Here’s a quick look at three of the better books (in English) about Evernote that are on the market.

Evernote Essentials

Evernote Essentials by Brett Kelly was one of the first major English-language books about Evernote, and it’s still one of the best. If you’re new to Evernote, or need a refresher, this is the book to consider.

The book takes you through Evernote from the beginning — creating notes, organizing your notes using notebooks and stacks (a hierarchy of subfolders or subcategories for notes), tagging, using apps and reminders, and a lot more. The kinds of things that confound some users of Evernote, and which they’re forced to learn through trial and error.

What I really like about Evernote Essentials is the use detailed use cases that Kelly has added to the book. These include advice on using Evernote to plan and record your travel, archiving what you’ve posted to social media, and going paperless. The use cases show how to use the information in the book in a practical, rather than somewhat theoretical, way.

Work Smarter with Evernote

Aimed more at the business person or corporate employee, the thrust of Work Smarter with Evernote by Alexandra Samuel is productivity through the mechanics of using Evernote. It’s the shortest of the three books I look at in this post, but it’s also the most focused.

The book is divided into four main chapters that explain how to:

  • Capture the information that you need to capture
  • Organize what you’ve captured, and (to use a word I dislike) prioritize it
  • Share and collaborate
  • Set up Evernote in 30 minutes

You do that through careful tagging of notes and creating notebooks for specific tasks. But the key, as Samuel points out, is to develop habits and build a mindset that will help you use Evernote effectively. Something I’ve been telling people for years.

Untethered with Evernote

Untethered with Evernote by Stacey Harmon and Kristie Willis combines many of the best elements of the two books that I just discussed. It’s a combination primer and practical guide to Evernote that not only gets you started with the tool, but provides you with great tips and advice for using Evernote in your professional and daily lives. The main aim is to help you use Evernote to make as much of your life as paperless as possible.

Some of the highlights of the book include a list of hardware and software that you can use in conjunction with Evernote, advice on how to organize information in Evernote, and offering recipes that can help you get the most out of the tool.

Those recipes run the gamut of operating a business (planning, managing tasks and leads, and dealing with invoices and receipts), collaborating with others using Evernote, and using Evernote to organize your personal life.

You can tell that Harmon and Willis are very enthusiastic and experienced Evernote users. That comes out on just about every page. It’s that enthusiasm that’s really the main strength of the book.

Do you have a favourite book about Evernote? Feel free to share your pick by leaving a comment.

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