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  • Michael Bolt

My productivity apps – Evernote


Being productive in 2014 requires a lot more planning and organising than it did 10 years ago. Gone are the days of locking yourself in a room, hitting the phone, dictating your letters or typing them yourself. These days, especially here at Need More Time, time moves far more quickly and with more demands and heightened expectations – I know I feel pressurized to give timely responses to requests. To help though, these new demands have also come with major advances in productivity tools. In some cases tasks that would take hours now take only minutes – although, choosing the right system to help you can be a nightmare in itself! I am in some ways a typical consumer, my love for all things gadget related are well known in our office but equally my lack of patience is also known well when working with technology that doesn’t match my own expectations on what should be done when. Over the years this has resulted in me using almost every mobile platform; Apple, Android, Windows and yes in the past Blackberry too. I simply love the thought of a new technology that will make my life easier and to help you do the same, in this Productivity Series I am going to share some of the apps which have stuck with me along the way. Note: The first thing I have found with any piece of technology is to do your research first to ensure its primary features meet your needs and then don’t only dip your toe in, because a half-hearted interaction will only result in poor analysis, results and/or frustration on your part. Instead, dive in head first and enjoy the true value of these modern productivity tools.

Evernote

To give testament to the note immediately above, this is a tool I used for many years but resisted the urge to commit fully and as a result didn’t have the best experience. I revisited Evernote about a year ago after seeing a colleague use it properly, committed fully to it and haven’t looked back. Evernote is packed with features but in essence is a very simple system to use. Once you have created your Notebooks (think of these as folders for your ideas, projects or just general subjects – I even have one for shopping lists – keeps my wife happy!) you can file Notes, set reminders for ongoing Tasks or To-Do’s which work across your web-login and mobile devices so you’re never missing anything you need to do or have set to remind you of. The voice record and photo features are all useful additions but I personally don’t use these that often. The main feature I use regularly is the Web Clipper which is a browser extension allowing you to easily clip web pages for later or to store research for projects. Another feature I use heavily is the Email Dropbox that gives you the ability to email an item to one of your notebooks. If I receive something that I may want to check later I’ll email it to my Evernote, safe in the knowledge it’s going to be available across all my other devices and in the cloud too through any web browser. For me, using Evernote for the last 12 months has been a revelation especially with the search feature that for my needs has just worked flawlessly – you can always search by ‘tag’ but I find the standard search so effective I rarely have to bother. It’s always at hand and more importantly reminds me of the tasks I need to do when I need to do them, regardless of where I am. In a world with so many options that often make the whole process of making things easier do the exact opposite, Evernote just seems to cover all the bases simply and efficiently. Ofcourse, for the personal touch you could also use an actual live PA or for the ultimate – combine both.

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