Decluttering is the new black! My social media feeds and real life interactions are peppered with discussions about decluttering, ridding ourselves of the extraneous and the unnecessary. I’m jumping on the bandwagon. I’m bang up for clearing out the house and my office and simplifying life. But perhaps more urgent is the need to declutter our brains.
Filled to the brim with ideas, information, and random useless trivia, our brains are becoming fogged and our memories clogged.
I wrote recently about using Evernote to capture ideas before they’re gone. Today I’m going to share 10 other ways I use Evernote to declutter my brain and make sure important information is corralled where I can retrieve it easily whenever I want.
1. Capture Client Information
As a service business, I work with a lot of clients and each has a range of information associated with their projects. In Evernote I have a Stack called Clients and within it each current Client has their own Notebook. I keep copies of meeting notes, a copy of their project brief, notes about their project and any information that I might need to draw upon later. This means I can access any of the information on any device at any time. When a project is finished, I move that client’s notebook into an Archive Stack so that it’s always available.
2. Park Content Ideas
When I come across great content to share across the various social media platforms I manage, I clip it directly to the relevant content notebook. Within my Content stack I also have notes capturing quotes that I would like to share, contest ideas and potential blog topics. When I get closer to writing specific blog posts, I create a note for that post where I can save links to reference material, relevant quotes, potential images that I come across – so that when I come to write the post, a considerable chunk of information is there ready for me to get stuck in.
It’s all captured in the one place and can be easily searched.
3. Archive Design Inspiration
I spend a lot of time surfing the internet – both personally and professionally – and I come across some incredible websites, images and designs that acts as a real inspiration for the work I do. But when it comes to remembering where I saw these great examples – whether to show a client or to inspire my own work – do you think I can remember where they were?
So I have a Design Ideas Notebook where I clip links to those great websites, or capture screen shots of outstanding design, photography or marketing imagery. And on those days when inspiration is low, I can flick through and fire up the creative juices.
4. Collate Information For Reporting
Collating my numbers at the end of each month is one part of my business reporting, but I also want a broader picture of what was achieved. I keep track of the work I’ve done, promotions I’ve completed and any extra information in a Notebook for each month of the financial year.
5. Document Processes and Systems
I absolutely believe that the best way to scale and manage a business is to have solid processes that can be duplicated and communicated across the team. I’m still pulling together many of these processes, but as I do I’m keeping them in a Systems & Processes Notebook in Evernote. From my client on-boarding process to design management to the Project Wrap Up – they are all kept where I can access them. If/when my team grows, these notebooks can be shared with other members of the team so that the same procedures are followed no matter who is “doing the doing”. It also means that as I go through the processes and learn new things, I can update them quickly and easily.
6. Manage Expenses / Receipts
I scan all of my receipts into Evernote into a “Financials To Process” notebook. As I process them and reconcile my accounts for the month, I file them into notebooks (by month), and tag each receipt in ways that make it easy to retrieve them if needed.
7. Save Details For Upcoming Events
Invitations to events or meetings can often be received weeks or even months before the actual event. To stay on top of upcoming events I usually RSVP immediately and then scan/send the invitation to an notebook in Evernote named Upcoming Events. Whether it’s a large event like the upcoming Problogger conference, an invitation to a launch or a 5th birthday party my son is attending, they are tagged and filed so I can search for them on any device. No more scrolling through past emails trying to find the start time, dress code or address of an event. When the event has passed, I delete it from the folder so only upcoming events are included.
8. Track Competitor Analysis.
While I recommend running your own race and not worrying too much about what your competitors are doing, it’s important to understand what’s going on in your industry and how you differentiate yourself from your competitors. So when I’m doing some competitor analysis I clip relevant website links or information to a “Competitors” notebook in Evernote so that if I need to review any competitor activity it’s easy to source and access.
9. Archive Image Licenses/Copyright
There are so many sources of images – both paid and free – when you’re creating visual marketing content or website images. However when it comes to the free images, you need to be absolutely sure the licenses and copyright allow you to use the image for commercial purposes in the format and environment you’re planning.
Even when you believe you’re doing the right thing, down the track the image might be purchased by one of the larger stock photo libraries or the license terms might change. As a butt-covering exercise, whenever I download an image from a free image source, I screenshot the image license and put it into a note in Evernote and tag it with the date of download. I also make a note of the website and blog post in which I use the image. If my right to use the image is ever called into question I can access the information with an easy search.
10. Support Your Networking Strategy
Evernote has also become a pseudo-CRM (customer relationships management) tool for me. I scan all new business cards that I receive into Evernote, and put any notes about the person or our meeting as comments on the note. This helps me build up a library of useful information about people I meet, which lets me network in more effective ways. I also have a list of people I would like to meet / work with, plus list of potential partners.
So these are just 10 ways to use Evernote for business. As David Allen says “the brain is for having ideas, not holding them”, so let Evernote hold the information for you and it will be available at your fingertips whenever it’s needed.