Getting organized- A review of Evernote for educators and professionals

Since I am a thorough tech junkie, when I find a tool that excites me, I feel an impulse to share it with the world. This app is close to my heart as it brings us closer to sustainability and green practices that we can implement in our daily lives. Evernote has not only improved my life but may transform the planet’s life expectancy if embraced by more professionals and students worldwide. 

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Let me start by stating that I understand an educator’s fondness for stationery. I recognize and shared the love until I grasped that every time I buy charts/paper or notebooks to make notes of meetings and workshops, I am slowly but surely destroying the planet. I pride myself on being organized and cannot believe that once upon a time, I was delighted to wield my handy ‘Yearly Planner’ while I frantically jotted down notes daily. I was content, even though it was a battle to find old tasks and notes since I had to flip numerous pages to find the information I wanted. I understand that this is doable, and it hardly makes a difference, that is, until you find something much better.

My old ‘Yearly Planner’

My struggles with traditional notebooks-

  • Not enough space for all the information in miniscule compartments
  • Finishing a notebook before the year was over and having to buy another.
  • The fact that notebooks that would go into the trash eventually.
  • Not being able to customize the notebook to my needs.
  • My biggest pet peeve is that buying notebooks/paper hurts the planet in the long run.

I finally called it quits with conventional notebooks when I found Evernote. It allows you to create many notebooks which you can organize as per your preferences with the appropriate tags, attachments, and to-do lists.

Evernote plans- these may change over time
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Which plan is best for you?

The ‘Freemium Plan’ is probably enough for most professionals who want to take notes and organize their work. With Evernote, you can take notes seamlessly while on the laptop, but you cannot access the notes offline unless you opt for the Premium Plan. I thought the Premium Yearly plan was a small price to pay to go paperless and have all of my work at my fingertips. Since many of us receive PDFs from management, I found the ‘Search Text inside Office Docs and PDFs’ most valuable. I can access documents by searching for keywords within seconds instead of scrambling through emails or searching subject titles that may not generate correct results. I chose the Premium Plan as I knew that there was no way that I would go back to traditional note-taking, so I wanted to make the most of the app’s features.

My favourite Evernote features-

Customizable home screen

With a home screen that lets you effortlessly access your notebooks, recent work and tasks, Evernote allows you to customize its look through wallpapers, dark/light mode as well as quick access shortcuts to all of the information you may need in a hurry.

Creating multiple notebooks and stacks

You can create up to 250 notebooks in the free plan and up to 1000 in the Premium plan. You can add up to 100,000 notes in each notebook. Evernote has the capacity to store all your material without trashing it at the end of the year or having to go out and buy another bulky notebook. Notebooks of a similar genre can even be ‘stacked’ together for quick access.

Adding screenshots/pictures/attachments/tags to notes

When I attend a workshop online, I choose to take notes simultaneously on Evernote. I also find it especially helpful to take screenshots of parts of the presentation that I feel are relevant and add them to my notes. I enjoy changing the colours of fonts and format the document to make it streamlined and clear. I also assign tags to the document (bottom-Arpita, ATL). When you create a tag, you can store notes under that tag. This screenshot is of a workshop I was attending taken by my coordinator Arpita about ATL skills. The next time I want to take stock of all the wonderful workshops my coordinator has taken over the years, I only need to type in the tag ‘Arpita’ and all of my notes with her tag will instantly appear.

Editing screenshots/web clips

Evernote also allows you take snips of the web in the form of articles or pictures. You can also annotate anything that you add to your notes.

The Evernote Web Clipping Extension
Tasks with alarm reminders

One of the discrepancies between the free and premium plan lies with putting alarms on your tasks, as you can only access this feature in the paid version. I find this extremely helpful as we have deadlines to be met months in advance. In addition, it’s beneficial to have reminder alerts in the same interface where you work every day. You can indeed set reminders on your phone, but I find it helpful to have the data stored to access it easily. The free plan also allows you to assign tasks but without alerts.

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The takeaway

I am thankful that I have shifted towards a more sustainable lifestyle and my work-life is more structured than ever. My pressures are fewer since I have everything in one place with all of the required alerts. I am not an ambassador for Evernote, and I do not advocate solely for this app. Yet, I implore others to find ways towards sustainability and stretch themselves to try new things that may work out beautifully. If you have any questions, contact me, and I’ll get back to you soon. Happy organizing!

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