Your brain is at stake.
In both my professional and personal circles, I’ve always been the early adopter. The guy who tries the new tech and shares what works. While not a doctor, I’m confident in my diagnosis and prescription; your brain needs Evernote.
How can I be so confident? Because I live in the same world you do with paper, email, texts and social media simultaneously coming at us from work, family, friends, business and hobbies. I’ve also learned how our brain tries to cope from neuroscientist Daniel Levitin’s, The Organized Mind: Thinking Straight in the Age of Information Overload.
Evernote is currently the best technological answer to one of our brain’s biggest problems – Information Overload.
The Information Overload Problem
Levitin mentions that by some calculations, humans have created and shared more information in the last 10 years than all of prior human history! Let that sink in for a moment. Information overload impacts every area of modern life.
Increasing flow. It’s reported Americans took in 5 times more information per day in 2011 than in 1986. Professionally, organizations are struggling to make meaning of ‘big data.’ Personally, we’re facing a world where everyone creates “content” and “shares.” Even granny tweets and has a blog.
Endless channels. Do you remember when ‘news’ came from a few sources? Now, dozens of newsfeeds, cable and social networks beckon us. The web bursts with sound, video, infographics and podcasts all inviting our limited attention.
24/7 lifestyle. I’m old enough to remember a world before email; when we said “fax it.” Not only do we now have phones and email in our pockets, but texts, tweets and endless alerts. You can find and be found anywhere, anytime.
Rising Demands. Easy anytime access to information has increased expectations socially and professionally. Surely, you check work email on the weekend? Immediately text the landlord a picture of that broken appliance? Coordinate the soccer team BBQ with 20 people without a single phone call?
While this flood of information indeed has its benefits, most of us have suffered 3 major consequences:
- Chronic distraction in the sea of potentially relevant information;
- Poor judgments due to an inability to locate the “right” information when needed; and
- Increased anxiety and stress from rising demands and difficulty meeting them.
While exponential increases in tech have fueled information overload, Levitin indicates our systems have evolved little to handle it. He mentions the importance of “external memory mechanisms” in overcoming the limitations of our brains. In essence, if we are to prevent the negative consequences of information overload, we need tools made for the job.
The Evernote Solution – Sidekick for your brain
While Evernote is certainly not new, many are still confused about its unique value. Despite over 150 million users, most of its growth has been by word of mouth. Add to that, an apparent move away from the founder’s original idea, including changing their slogan from “Remember Everything” to “Workspace for your life’s work”. They’ve even changed their CFO, COO and CEO in the last 6 months.
All of this has meant new confusion about Evernote’s direction and unique value. Some see Evernote as a digital notepad, others as a work collaboration tool and still others as cheap file storage. Evernote does all these things, but that’s not why your brain needs it. Evernote provides the most flexible, integrated and accurate storage available for exactly the information overloading you.
Evernote vs. Your Brain
Instead of a digital notepad or file storage, think of Evernote as EverIdea or EverMemory. Once you realize you’re storing ideas, not just “notes”, you begin to see Evernote’s immense usefulness as a sidekick for your brain.
In our age of information overload, how many potentially worthwhile pieces of information flow past your desk or flow through your mind each day? Do you capture them? If you do, do you know where they are? Can you find them if needed in a week, month, 5 years? With Evernote as its sidekick, your mind can focus on using ideas without the “mental overhead” of remembering them.
Your mind is for having ideas, not holding them.
David Allen, Author of Getting Things Done
How Evernote makes you better
Using direct input, a web clipper and automation, Evernote captures ideas quickly from all your modern sources, including websites, email, snapshots, scanned docs, sound, video, social network posts and more. It works on all the desktop and mobile platforms you use and syncs everything in the background. It’s integrated with dozens of software and hardware tools. Literally, the more information you put in Evernote, the greater its value as a sidekick for your brain.
Once in Evernote, your ideas are automatically tagged with date/time, location and any text in images is indexed using optical character recognition. Evernote’s uniquely flexible organization then lets you create the structure that works for you using stacks, notebooks, notes and tags.
Most importantly, the real magic happens when you need to find something. Incredibly powerful search allows you to quickly find your ideas when you need them. Of course you can search by title, but almost anything else too. Location, date/time, OCR text in images, file types. With thousands of “notes”, I can usually find things in 5 seconds and always within 30. You get the same great results on all platforms and even when offline (Premium subscription required for offline access).
All your ideas – One location
Check out these 10 examples of how Evernote gives you real-time access to volumes of relevant information just when you need it most.
Getting Things Done by being connected
While Evernote is incredibly flexible storage, dedicated task apps and calendars are often better suited to organize our daily tasks.
TaskClone is a simple service that extracts any checklist items within Evernote and sends them to your task app. It’ll even turn items marked “sch:“ into scheduled events in your calendar.
Zapier can take Evernote Reminders and add them to your calendar or send them to many task apps.
In the battle against information overload, your brain needs a sidekick like Evernote. That was the original idea and it’s still desperately needed today. Of course, getting started with something so flexible and powerful can be daunting, but certainly worth the investment. Like any good early adopter, I’ve got you covered below with great resources in multiple formats.
Give your brain a gift, then share the good news with your network – you’re an early adopter for someone too.
- Evernote | Getting Started Guide – From the elephant’s trunk
- Jeff Sanders | Evernote Basics Podcast – Close your eyes and listen
- Stacey Harmon | Optimizing Evernote Settings Guide – One organized lady
- Jason Frasca | Evernote Success – eBook to set up your Evernote environment
- S.J. Scott | Master Evernote – eBook with 75 ideas for getting started
- Steve Dotto | Evernote Made Easy – Fantastic course with engaging video content