Productivity

4 Time Management Techniques You Have To Try

4 Time Management Techniques You Have To Try

Disclosure: Guess what? Otters eat over 10 pounds of sashimi a day! To help offset the cost of food (and running this website), we receive a commission if you click on a link and purchase something.

When it comes to time management techniques, the whole concept is laughable when you’re buried in work. Wouldn’t it be better if you had more hours in the day?  What about better focus during your work hours? 

The trick is to find a technique that doesn’t take MORE of your time – and that works to help you get things done. Office Otter staff have tried almost every productivity hack, strategy, and workbook to unlock the secret of “time management”.  What did we learn? 

There isn’t one perfect technique – you need to find what works for YOU. 

But, some tactics are better than others.  For example, holding out for sheer willpower isn’t going to help you if your problem is procrastination.  Therefore, we’ve narrowed the field to time management techniques that we’ve used, or know have helped others.

Here are four time management techniques you should try:

Eat The Frog

This one is our favorite.  Long-standing as a technique to overcome procrastination, the concept originated from a Mark Twain quote. 

“If your job is to eat a frog, it’s best to do it first thing in the morning.  And if it’s your job is to eat two frogs, it’s best to eat the biggest one first.”

Mark Twain

The concept is simple: do the thing you are dreading the most, first.  Then, everything else is easier.  This item is also likely to be the most important, or hardest task.  Funny how that works?

What Problem Does it Address?

Often we aren’t bad at time management, we are just procrastinating.  Procrastination stems from a number of things: fear of the unknown, lack of appropriate resources, or even dread over the amount of work or effort something might take.  These concerns are largely assuaged once you dive in, but it can be hard to get to that point. 

Symptoms of procrastination include:

  • Doing everything BUT the project you should be doing
  • Neglecting all work to try to avoid the project
  • Expanding the scope of the project (planning phase) without actually starting the work
  • Convincing yourself the project will be easier / different if delayed

Why Does it Work?

Eat the frog takes away your excuses to “put off” a project by making it the first thing you must do.  It uses the reward system of knowing that the rest of your day/week will be EASIER when you finish the project.  Besides, after you’ve eaten a frog in the morning, how bad could the rest of the day be?

Wanna learn more about the Eat The Frog technique?  There is a whole book about it.

The Pomodoro Technique

If you are looking for literal time management, it doesn’t get more specific than the Pomodoro Technique.  It works like this:

  1. Set a timer for 25 minutes (one Pomodoro)
  2. During that time, work singularly on a project (total focus, no distractions)
  3. After the time is up, take a short break. (3-5 minutes)
  4. Repeat for a total of four Pomodoros, and follow by a longer break.

What Problem does this address?

This technique is perfect for those who have trouble focusing or getting distracted by things like email.  It is especially helpful for those who fear a project will consume their time because it sets a time limit.

Why Does it Work?

It gives you an “out”.  You don’t have to try to convince yourself to sit endlessly.  You know when you’ll be done – 25 minutes.  Then, if the project was really that bad you can take a long break or do something different in the next 25 minutes.  However, many people report that the time flies and they are able to get so much done! 

Folks say that it can become a game to try to finish something within a “Pomodoro” – increasing focus.

Tip
If 25 minutes doesn’t work for you, try a different amount of time. Maybe you can only stay focused for 15 minutes, or maybe you like a full hour. Just don’t forget to take breaks!

Interested in Pomodoro? There are variations, strategies for taking advantage of productivity, and even an app!

The Eisenhower Matrix

Are you the type that isn’t sure where to start or how to prioritize all the work in front of you? Feel like it ALL needs equal attention? That isn’t always true, and this tool will help.

The Eisenhower Matrix (also called the Urgent – Important Matrix) is a 4 square grid in which you place all tasks to determine their importance on your time.

Eisenhower Matrix of Urgency
Eisenhower Matrix

After you’ve added all your tasks, start by doing the urgent and important tasks. Then, schedule all the not-urgent but important tasks in your calendar (or task management program). Delegate the urgent but not important tasks, and eliminate (delete) those that are neither urgent nor important.

Read Also: Asana For One: Project Management When You Are Running Solo

Deleting might seem a bit harsh, but the truth is: if it isn’t urgent or important, why are you doing it? And, if a task turns out to be either of those things in the future, it will find its way to your to-do list. They always find a way…

Why This Works

This matrix opens up a lot of your time by identifying (our favorite quadrant) what you should eliminate.

Tip: Having trouble moving things out of the “important” column? Try repeating the process on your “important” quadrants to further identify priorities. Then, start with the REALLY important “important” tasks. You might find the secondary ones are less important once you’ve finished other work.

Understand Your “Prime Times”

This is less of a hack or exercise, and more about becoming more aware of your body’s natural proclivities toward alertness, focus, and recovery at different times of the day.

The theory is based on ultradian rhythms of the human body and identifies when you might find you are more productive.

Take some time over a week and track what time of day you feel the most focused, when you get tired, and when you are more creative. Here is an example of a day:

  • 8 AM – Woke up and felt really focused while reading news
  • 11 AM – Feeling restless
  • 2 PM – Starting to get tired
  • 4 PM – Felt focused while working on an art project

Once you get a feel of your natural rhythms, schedule your time based on what you are naturally inclined to be good at.

How To Work It

Based on how you are feeling, here is a list of the types of tasks you should take on (and what to avoid).

  • Feeling focused/alert:
    • Great time for writing or big projects
    • Avoid: emails, meetings
  • Restless / Unfocused but awake
    • Tackle those small things that only take a couple of minutes. Email, dropping something off at a co-worker’s desk, or doing some copying. We don’t recommend multi-tasking, but this is a good time to take on simple tasks.
    • Also, a great time to plan out your other time management techniques
    • Avoid: Anything that requires attention to detail
  • Tired / “Braindead”
    • Exercise. If you can’t take a gym break, get up and stretch at your desk. Take a walk around the block. Something to move your body.
    • Nap. Nothing beats a 20-minute power nap if you are capable. A great way to recharge.
    • Avoid coffee. This feeling is often in the afternoon after you’ve expended energy and caffeine will just disrupt your sleep cycle.
  • Creative
    • Creativity doesn’t need to include “art”. You may not consider yourself an artistic type, but you will likely still have moments of creativity. This can include any innovative ideas you have, high-level or lofty projects, or finding new ways to do your job.
    • Avoid databases. You’ll hate it.
  • Bored / Daydreaming
    • Sometimes we are bored because we’ve been doing the same thing for too long. Try mixing up your day with a quick standing/walking meeting with a co-worker (beats another email).
    • Avoid web surfing. It simply isn’t productive. If you need a break, take an actual break.

Final Note

These techniques are not meant to replace the importance of sleep, exercise, diet, and stress management. The most creative time management techniques can’t make up for neglecting our physical and mental health.

Make sure to take care of yourself before trying to take care of your to-do list!

Have a technique you like? Share with us below in the comments!

Featured photo credit: Photo by Luis Villasmil on Unsplash

Posted by Amanda Parsons in Productivity, 0 comments
Asana for One: Project Management When You Are Running Solo

Asana for One: Project Management When You Are Running Solo

You are likely here because you are interested in a project management program, but you either don’t have a team, or your team doesn’t currently use specific software. Maybe you don’t have a job that requires project management, but do have a home life, kids, or extracurriculars that could use some organization. We could all use a little personal task management.

This article will cover how to use the popular Asana program for just one person.

What is project management software?

Basically, it is a to-do list on steroids. Take all the things you need to do, break a project into smaller pieces, assign each piece to a different person or different due dates, and track progress. While programs like this are wildly helpful in corporate or team environments (where you can see what others are working on), you can benefit from this software even by yourself.

Why Asana?

Because it is really popular and really easy to use. We wouldn’t say it is “the best” or even the best for one person. However, it has a free plan so you can get started quickly. And no, we at Office Otter don’t receive any kind of kick-back, sponsorship, or commission from Asana.

Wanna try a different program instead? Check out How to Pick a Task Management Software.

Whatever personal task management software you choose, make sure it has an app. Unlike office work environments, if you are using Asana for your life you won’t always be in front of a computer. Having an app version that syncs across devices can be helpful when wanting to add a task or check one off your list.

This article won’t cover the basics for how to use Asana, so be sure to follow the getting started instructions when you create an account.

Features, Adjusted

There are some features that will simply function differently (or not at all) when you are using the program by yourself.

Here are some adjustments:

  • The assignee is likely always you. Get used to selecting your own face – a lot.
  • Just because you aren’t trying to give a status update to anyone else, doesn’t mean you should skip the “comments” section! Leave notes for yourself so you remember where you left off on a project, or if you have something saved somewhere.
  • Stop using your email inbox as a file storage system – save the file to a project so you can set a deadline
  • Download the app – we mentioned this before, but feel it is worth restating. DOWNLOAD THE APP!

Features you won’t need?

  • Reports. Who are you reporting to?
  • Conversations. Comments are one thing, but you don’t need to send an email to a team.

Not Just For Work

The great thing about using a project management system for yourself is that you can add your whole life to it. Personal task management is, well, personal! This is especially helpful if you are trying to accommodate different areas of your life to ensure you don’t burn out.

Here are some example “projects” you can create:

  • Home Projects
  • Errands / Chores
  • Side Hustle
  • Regular Ol’ Work
  • Hobbies
  • Exercise
  • Kids
  • School

By creating separate projects, you can view everything together for that project while working on it. Additionally, all tasks assigned to you will show up on your home feed (from every project).

Different projects may need different layouts. Home projects may be lists upon lists:

Personal Task Management perfectly listed
Example of Creating List Sections

Whereas your exercise goals project may do better as a calendar:

Asana Project in Calendar View

One of the great things about Asana is that you can set the default view of each “project”. This way exercise always shows as a calendar, chores in lists, etc.

Get Detailed

As mentioned before, project management software is basically a glorified to-do list. But what if the items on your to-do list need their own lists?

Maybe you want to clean out the garage – but it is a huge undertaking! Break down each of the tasks needed to accomplish this goal, and even set due-dates across several Saturdays to complete.

Detail of a task with sub-tasks (and sub-tasks can have sub-tasks!)

The best part: you get to set the tasks and the schedule because YOU are the boss.

Start a side hustle (or other goals)

Say good-bye to “someday”. Now that you have a personal task management software under your belt, you can use it to help you accomplish your bigger dreams. Want to start a business? Thinking about completing a novel? Use Asana to create tasks and track your progress.

Share with Your Family

It takes a village, right? If your garage clean-out isn’t a solo act, share your project with your family and become your own family task-driver. Or, something more friendly. 🙂

How do you use Asana? What is your favorite project management software for one? Share in the comments below.

Posted by Amanda Parsons in Productivity, Technology, 0 comments
How to Pick a Task Management Software

How to Pick a Task Management Software

If you are interested in learning more about how you can use software or an app to manage your tasks and to-do list, you are in the right place!  Here will will be discussing task management software programs.

What is Task Management Software?

Task management software is an application built to help you and/or your team organize tasks and track the status of a task within a project.  This application may be web-based (accessed within your browser), or can be downloaded as an application on your computer or mobile device. 

Generally, a task management program will allow you to enter a task, provide some context for the task, possibly set a “due date”, and then allow you to mark the task as “complete” when it is done. 

There are hundreds of task management programs, all with the goal of helping you organize your work and life.

Enterprise Project Management Solutions

While some task management programs can also be expanded to include large teams and manage multiple projects, some software is specifically designed to support mid- to large-sized businesses.  These programs are project management applications.  They deal with “tasks” and broaden them across teams to allow groups to collaborate and accomplish parts of a whole. 

For this article, we are focusing on the solutions that fit the needs of individuals or small teams. 

Common Features in a Task Management Program

What should you look for in your digital to-do list?  That depends entirely on you, but here are some common features to keep an eye out for:

Organization and Structure

Something a paper to-do list can’t do: reorganize items.  Many software options allow you to move around tasks, put a task within a certain category, or adjust its placement in a hierarchy. 

Let’s say you want to clean out your garage.  Creating a task that is: “Clean Out Garage” is both vague and overwhelming.  Try creating the task to clean out the garage, and within it break down all the subtasks you need to accomplish.  These might include: sell sports equipment, move wood pile, return tools to dad, and sweep floor.  By breaking down your tasks, you can work toward the goal, all while knowing what it is for.

Setting Reminders

A task program is no good if you don’t use it, and remember to look at it.  Too often we create “systems” to keep us organized and then never look at them again. 

Don’t rely on your memory or willpower.  Use a program with a reminder setting. 

Want to send an email to your mom after work, but keep forgetting?  Create a task, then set a reminder.  Reminders may be notifications on your phone, or emails.  Whatever will help you remember.

Assigning Responsibilities

This feature is more useful for teams, but can also be applied to households.  When creating a task, you can choose a “user” to assign the task to – they will be responsible for the task and it will show up in their task list when they sign into the program. 

If you are using the task manager for just yourself, this may not be a necessary feature.  However, if you are a project manager, this tool usually comes accompanied by the ability to filter tasks by an employee.

Changing Display of Tasks

How you look at your tasks can be an important element of choosing a program.  For example, if your tasks are very time-oriented (Task A must be done on Monday, Task B on the third Wednesday, etc.), you may appreciate the ability to view tasks in a calendar format.

Or, you may prefer a long list, in order of due date.  Or by the project.  Changing the display and visual setting of tasks is a helpful feature in a task management program.

Adding Context to Tasks

Tasks may require more information to accomplish.

  • Description or notes: providing more information or background on what the task is and how/why it needs to be accomplished. 
  • Comments: timestamped ways to provide a status update, or leave more context about a task.  Comments are also a way for teams to communicate on a task or project.
  • Attached documents: attaching a document, spreadsheet, or note can be a great way to provide supporting information, or even linking directly to a document to be edited in the task.

How to Choose a Program

Choose a task management program can be overwhelming.  However, knowing what you need and how you work can help narrow down your options.

Cost and Pricing

Your budget may play an important role in choosing a software program.   There are plenty of free, or free trial options, however.  Many solutions also have a tiered pricing structure based on the number of users or additional features.

Number of Users

Are you looking for a task program for just yourself, or for a team?  If it is just for you, you won’t necessarily need features like “assigning user”. 

However, choose a program that has the capacity to grow with you if you are a budding start-up or small company.  The last thing you want to do while onboarding a new team is to change an existing task management software!

Work Flow

The way you interact with a task management program is very personal.  Some people are more visual and want to see tasks laid out on a dashboard.  Others prefer lists or the ability to “check off” finished projects.

Here are some ways you may interact with a software program:

Task List

Create a task or to-do list.  Check off when complete. 

It can also be helpful to be able to add details about a task, such a link to a document, commenting for status report, or other notes.

Asana Task Creation
Creating tasks in Asana

Status Flow

Also called “kanban” or “boards” this is a layout that shows where a task resides in relation to time or status.  A task is placed in a category, and as pieces are completed, the “task” moves to another category.

This flow type is common for tasks that go through phases, or editorial calendars.

MeisterTask Kanban View

Hierarchical Systems

If you like to create a lot of subtasks, down to the minutia of a task, this is for you. 

Create a task and then add subtasks to break down what needs to be done to accomplish the main task.

ToDoist Task Add Screenshot
Adding a Task in ToDoist

Calendar or Timeline

This is a display type that requires a “due dates” feature.  Then, you can view tasks as they relate to a calendar.

If you are interested in a Gantt chart view, you will need a task management system that A) supports conditional task formatting and B) has an integrated Gantt chart view.

Or maybe just a way to plan one day at a time…

Marvin Productivity Diary
Placing a task in your calendar with Marvin

Final note on work flow: if you have never used a task management software before, you may not know what your preferred work flow is.  Therefore, we recommend trying some free programs and see what you like!  There is no one right way to be organized and productive. 

Device Support

Part of your workflow includes the device you use.  If you need a task manager to help you when you are running errands, a desktop-only program won’t be of help – you need a mobile interface or app!

Task management software can come in the form of web-based, computer downloadable, or even an app for iPhone or Android devices.

Now what?

Time to find a program and try it out!  While there are too many to list, Capterra has a great database of software programs.  You can filter by your desired features, and sort.

Want some recommendations?  Here are a few of Office Otter’s favorites:

Disclosure: This is a totally biased list based on what we’ve tried and liked, companies we consider friendly on the customer support side, and owners/developers we know.  We have not received any payment for inclusion and do not get a commission for posting these.

MeisterTask

Near and dear to our hearts, MeisterTask has a simple and fun interface that makes getting into task management super easy. 

Our favorite part: customizable colors and icons for easy visual sorting.

Who would like it: those into kanban/boards style list management.

Asana

This feature-packed program makes it easy to see why it has gained in popularity.  Great for a solo-adventurer or crew.

Our favorite part: the celebratory rainbow narwhals splashing across the screen when you check off a task.

Who would like it: those who like creating lists within lists.

(Amazing) Marvin

Power to the female developers out there!  Created by Christine Willner, Marvin is the task manager for those who want to create their own systems, all while housed in a beautifully clean, minimalist aesthetic. 

Our favorite part: creating your own day-planner by picking from a list of existing tasks

Who would like it: the DIYer who wants something full-featured they can design themselves

What program did you end up downloading?  What do you use now?  Share with us in the comments below!

Featured photo by Glenn Carstens-Peters on Unsplash

Posted by Amanda Parsons in Productivity, Technology, 0 comments
7 Ways to Make Breaks More Meaningful

7 Ways to Make Breaks More Meaningful

Hint: It isn’t about being more productive!

In countries like the United States and Japan, productivity and “hard work” are core values in defining the success of individuals.  However, it is unrealistic to expect people to run constantly – we aren’t machines!

We all know taking breaks is important, but a break from work a few times a day may not be giving you the benefits you need (you know, a break). 

Those in office environments may fill a break getting coffee, standing around the water cooler, or even skip it altogether in favor of a conference call.  For those working from home, it wouldn’t be uncommon to find your break hijacked by household projects, or simply spent standing in front of an open refrigerator – wondering if you are hungry or not.

On the flip side, you may find yourself wanting to use your breaks “productively”.  Maybe you want to spend your lunch break running errands.  Or schedule appointments between two conference calls.  While this can feel productive, it doesn’t provide you with the break you need.

If you are starting to feel burnt out, or need to shake things up, here are a 7 ways to make your breaks more meaningful.

Take a Walk

The benefits of walking are immense.  Besides the physical health of this fat-burning exercise, walking increases good mental health. 

Walking also gives you an opportunity to walk away from your desk (and the work distractions). 

By walking outside you can get away from the fluorescent lights of an office or warehouse environment and enjoy the health benefits of sunshine.

Connect with a Co-Worker (Personally)

Building relationships with our colleagues can include getting to know someone personally.  While professionalism is encouraged, knowing your financial director has a child that just started college, or that your marketing admin is getting married this year, can help you form friendly bonds. 

Take a walking break with a co-worker and check-in with how they are doing.  As a result of getting to know your colleagues, you may find that you enjoy your work environment more and the team works better together.

Journal

Journaling is an awesome way to “talk out” things you are thinking or feeling and find a way to connect with yourself more.  Journaling can be used to organize your life (such as bullet journals), exploring yourself through “freewrites”, or jotting down reminders so you don’t lose track of thoughts.

Carry around a journal, or use a note-taking app like Evernote to log your thoughts.

Hang Out With Animal Companions

This is especially true for those who work at home.  Our four-legged friends need playtime and attention.  Take your 15-minutes to take your pup for a walk, tease the cat with a laser pointer, or brush the back of your turtle. 

You don’t need reasons to hang out with them – you already love them!

Complete a Simple Chore

Another item that is specifically relevant to those who work from home: chores!  To clarify, this about tackling home projects, or getting sucked into cleaning.  Any chores should be done in under 15 minutes.

If it isn’t about being productive, why spend your break doing a chore?
Gets you away from a computer screen and desk chair.  Sitting all day can take a toll on the body.  Completing a household chore forces you to move your body, even just a little bit.

Relieve stress at the end of the day. By having a chore done (or started) means less you are doing in the evening, freeing up your “free time” for more enjoyable activities such as spending time with family and friends.
Here are some examples of chores that would fit:

  • Empty the dishwasher
  • Start a load of laundry
  • Water your plants
  • Wipe down kitchen and bathroom counters
  • Vacuum one room

Text Your Mom

Or Aunt, Grandfather, or close friend.  Basically, take a few minutes to send a message in some form to someone you love and connect.  The best messages are the ones that are “just because” you are thinking of someone.  It doesn’t require a long phone conversation or an in depth email.  Just touch base.

Meditate

This one can seem daunting because meditation can seem difficult.  That is why we recommend using an app on your phone to guide you through meditation.  Calm or Headspace both provide guidance for mindfulness that can help you get centered in just a few minutes. 

Whether you work from home or in an office, get away from your desk or workspace and find someplace quiet to relax. 

Any other ways you enjoy taking breaks?

Posted by Amanda Parsons in Career, Productivity, 0 comments
What Should I Keep?  Going paper-free without losing anything.

What Should I Keep? Going paper-free without losing anything.

Disclosure: Guess what? Otters eat over 10 pounds of sashimi a day! To help offset the cost of food (and running this website), we receive a commission if you click on a link and purchase something.

Going “paper-free” is a personal or professional goal for many.  It means to transition from paper as a mode of storing information in favor of digital resources.

There are many reasons for wanting to go paper-free, such as less clutter, saving physical space, concerns for the environment, or a minimalist aesthetic.  What ever your reason, clearing out filing cabinets may mean scanning and saving files to keep a digital version. 

When deciding to go paper-free, you may find yourself with a few questions:

  • Does everything need to be scanned and turned into a digital file?
  • Is there anything I need to save a paper copy of?
  • If I scan everything, how do I avoid “digital clutter”?

This article will address what to keep in paper form, what can get digitized, and considerations of digital clutter.

Read: How to go “Paper-Free”: Step by Step Instructions

What You Should Keep as Paper

It may seem a bit counter-intuitive to suggest keeping paper in an article about going “paper-free”.  But the truth is, there are some things you will want to keep a hard copy for your records, for safekeeping, or because current systems do not allow digital versions of the document in question.

Documents you should keep in paper version are called “Permanent Documents”.  Permanent documents have at least one of the following criteria:

  • Irreplaceable or difficult/costly to replace
  • Items with ink signatures or stamps that will not be transactionally accepted digitally
  • Sealed documents (such as transcripts)
  • Documents that may need to be accessed by someone else at your time of death or in case of an emergency

For example, you may be asked to present a copy of your marriage license when applying for a mortgage.  If you have a stamped copy (depending on your state or country), keeping this document will save you a trip to your county courthouse – and any associated fees!

Another example of a permanent document may be a last will and testament.  While you or your lawyer may have a digital copy of this document, having the latest copy printed in your filing cabinet can be helpful for your survivors. 

Finally, have a small packet of items in a fire/flood safe box that gives you the information in case of an emergency.  Digital versions are great, but it can also be helpful to have insurance policy numbers, agent contact information, and passports in a place that is easy to grab if you have to leave your home immediately. 

Examples of permanent documents:

  • Title of a home or automobile
  • Certificate or an educational degree
  • Sealed transcript from higher ed institution
  • Bond / Loan certificates
  • Licenses
  • Birth certificates and social security cards
  • Wills or trust documents

Important Documents for Digital Filing

The next question to ask yourself when going paper-free is, “what documents should I scan and save as a digital file?”

Some people prefer to scan and save everything in case it is ever needed.  Others wish to reserve digital space and avoid digital clutter.  What you choose to save is up to you, but here are some items we highly recommend saving as a digital backup.

Financial Documents

While you probably won’t need to save your receipt for donuts from three years ago (unless you are deducting it!) there are certain financial documents you should hang on to.

  • Tax returns
  • Business receipts / deductions
  • Quarterly investment statements
  • Debt agreements and loan terms

Read: How To Process Financial Documents in Evernote

Employment Documents and Contracts

Keeping a copy of contracts is a no-brainer.  Having digital versions can be helpful in locating the information you need quickly.  These documents will be great to have on hand:

  • Employee tax documents (W-4s, yearly W-2s, or 1099s)
  • Employment contracts and job descriptions (the latter is an informal contract of services)
  • Rental agreements and leases
  • Contracts for services: lawyers, builders, developers, contractors of any type
  • Legal filings and agreements

Policies and Warrantees

Insurance companies may keep a copy of your policy on their website – just log in and download!  But make sure you download the latest version (and disregard a previous version unless making a claim during that time period). 

Why keep a copy?  Because you never know when their portal may change, or worse, the policy changes from the one you signed up for!

Additionally, keeping a scanned copy of warrantee information from products you own can be helpful if you ever need to make a claim against it.  Create a digital file for a product warrantee, including any instructions or manuals if available, and add details about the product – such as when and where you purchased.

Medical Records

Health care in the United States is not centralized or universally accessible.  Coverage and providers may change based on location or employer.  Therefore, we recommend keeping a digital copy of all medical records.
This may include:

  • Prescription information, Rx #, drug interaction/symptoms information
  • Test results and lab work
  • Doctor’s orders and any recommendations from appointments
  • Scans, x-rays, and other important information pertaining to your health
  • Medical record numbers, health insurance information, and provider information

Be Wary of Digital Clutter

Once you have scanned and filed the important stuff, it is time to take a hard look at what might not be so important after all, and how this can contribute to digital clutter.

Digital clutter is just like paper clutter, but on a computer, hard drive, or cloud system.  It may seem innocuous at first, but too many unnecessary files have drawbacks.  They may become difficult or complicated to organize.  Or, even if well organized, old files take up space.  It may mean buying a second, or larger hard drive.  Or spending more money for more space in a cloud-based system. 

Truthfully, just because you CAN save a file digitally, doesn’t mean you should.  Here are some examples of files that can simply be skipped into recycling:

  • Old insurance policies that are no longer effective and no claim was made during the time of the policy
  • Receipts for products you no longer own or cannot return
  • Bills or statements to utilities from months or years past (the most recent version will do)
  • Brochures, catalogs, and mailer advertisements (record the information you need and dump it)
  • Outdated versions of documents for work
  • Scrap paper and notes if already recorded somewhere else

Anything else can be scanned, saved, or recycled at your own discretion.  Enjoy the paper-free lifestyle!

Featured photo by Sear Greyson on Unsplash

Posted by Amanda Parsons in Productivity, 0 comments
How to go “Paper-Free”: Step by Step Instructions

How to go “Paper-Free”: Step by Step Instructions

This article will walk through what “paper-free” means, and how to achieve it in your own home.

Disclosure: Guess what? Otters eat over 10 pounds of sashimi a day! To help offset the cost of food (and running this website), we receive a commission if you click on a link and purchase something.

What is “Paper-Free”?

Paper-free is the concept that a workspace can be free of paper and rely on digital documents and processes. Paper-free is also aesthetic – no more filing cabinets, printing hard copies for records, or saving old documents in a physical space. It is a means of opening up space and getting rid of clutter. Technology supports searching and accessing important information from anywhere, at any time.

For many, going paperless is a stance to protect the environment by reducing the consumption of paper products and the subsequent processes of recycling or trash collecting.

What it isn’t

Going paperless in your home or workspace does not mean you will never interact with paper products again. It is the reality that paper is a major medium for communication. You will still receive paper in the mail. You will sometimes need to print and sign important documents.

Being paper-free isn’t about having no shred of paper in your home. It is about reducing your dependency on paper and finding digital alternatives to access information.

Tools You’ll Need

Before embarking on your paper-free journey, you’ll want a few tools to get you started:

A Computer

You don’t need a dedicated computer for scanning, but you will want a place to start uploading files. If you have a laptop, it will provide you the flexibility to scan and import documents from anywhere!

A Scanner

There are a lot of scanners on the market. Some integrate with note-taking apps, making your import process easier. Others allow you to scan multiple pages, or front and back, with the push of one button. This can save you time by making the process somewhat hands-free.

There are also scanners that are bluetooth, portable, or extra small. It is important that you find one that fits your needs. For example, if you have a lot of 8.5″x11″ multi-page documents you may want a feeder instead of a flatbed scanner.

For more information on choosing a scanner, check out this list.

Document Organization Software or Note App

This isn’t required, but very helpful. If you are scanning documents and saving as PDFs, you can keep them on your computer in the folders your computer likely has already.

However, there are many benefits to having a note app or cloud-based software:

  • Access your documents from any device at any time
  • Digital backups mean no worries about lost information if your computer dies
  • Ability to tag and search documents
  • Scalability – you can add more documents than you may have space for on your computer
  • Ability to collaborate on documents with family or team members

Here are some so software options we recommend checking out:

Evernote

This is the go-to for Office Otter, and holds a special place in our heart. Evernote has a robust list of features and provides a great way to organize documents.

The most impressive feature is its ability to scan and read PDFs – making it easier for you to search for the content you need!

OneNote

A top contender, especially for PC users, is OneNote. This application comes standard on any Microsoft Office package. Arguably, it has more features than Evernote with its ability to act as a digital notebook in both function and form.

Draw, highlight, add tabs or chapters – this application is great for tablet users. Plus, OneNote can be backed-up with the Microsoft OneDrive cloud system.

Google Drive

If you have a Google / Gmail account, you have access to Google Drive. This is the online file database with a limited amount of free storage each month.

This is a great option if you are also looking for software to create documents. Integrates with Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides.

Dropbox

A big hitter in the cloud-storage market, Dropbox has been around for years. With their tight security measures and massive server capacity, Dropbox has become an enterprise icon for businesses looking to support remote employees.

Depending on the plan you sign up for, this may also be the most expensive option.

Bins or cardboard boxes

You will want to sort your paper workflow as you go. Having a few bins or cardboard boxes can be helpful. This doesn’t need to be fancy – and we don’t recommend going out and buying bins specifically for this purpose.

The Process

Step 1: Create Physical Station

The first step for going paper-free is to create a station or system for processing paper in your environment. This means having a place to put paper that needs to be processed, and then paper that has already been processed.

Where to set up this station

We recommend placing your station in a workspace, near your desk or a table. Having it visible during your regular activities reminds you to work through paper processing.

The process of scanning papers can take months, depending on how much time you have to dedicate each week. Therefore, we do not recommend converting your living room into a station unless you don’t have much paper to process.

Setting the station up in a way that majorly disrupts your life will leave you feeling frustrated and overwhelmed.

Have “bins” for storing your various stages of paper.

  • Inbox – The paper that hasn’t yet been sorted at all. If you have many boxes, bins, and file cabinets, your inbox bin will be a place to put 1 stack, drawer, or box at a time.
  • File – A set of items or papers that you definitely want to keep. This may include birth certificates, social security cards, marriage licenses, college degrees, etc. If you are unsure what to keep, put documents in this bin and then go through again at the end of the process. You may find you’ve changed your mind on some things!
  • Shred – Papers you’ve processed that has personal or sensitive information that you should shred for your protection before disposing of.
  • Recycle – Papers you’ve processed that can be recycled. Includes items already shredded.
  • Trash – Anything that cannot be recycled.

Step 2: Sorting Papers

This is the activity of going paper-free. You will be taking items and papers from your inbox, and processing through the various steps of scanning and to bins.

When you take an item out of the inbox bin, make a choice of where it needs to go. Ask yourself the following questions, in order, moving down the list:

  1. Do I need a digital copy of this document/file?
  2. Do I need to keep a paper copy of this document?
  3. Do I need to shred this document?
  4. Can I recycle this paper?

Tips for sorting papers:

  • Don’t try to sort and process all your papers at once. Work in batches. This will leave you with space and a feeling of accomplishment!
  • Immediately process paperwork from inbox. Don’t create additional processing steps (like “to scan” or “to have partner look at”). This creates more time and work for each document and is a form of procrastination.
  • Understand that not everything needs to be scanned. There is such thing as digital clutter. The more you scan the more digital files you will need to organize.

Step 3: Scanning Papers

This step isn’t very exciting. We highly recommend setting up a temporary scanning station in front of a Netflix enabled device.

READ: How to import documents scanned documents into Evernote

Tips for scanning papers:

  • Keep all papers for a single document in the same file. Separate files for each separate document.
  • Scan all your documents to a single folder (SCANNED FOLDER) you can sort through when you are done scanning.
  • If your scanner app allows you to name the file you are scanning at the time of the scan – do it! It will make sorting easier. Make sure to use the same naming convention for all your files.
  • Scan in batches. Either choose a single pile or bin, or just what you can finish during a movie. Don’t overwhelm yourself.

When you are done scanning a document, decide where it needs to go next (filed away again, shredded, or recycled) and move to the appropriate bin.

Step 4: Digitally Organize

Open the folder or notebook where all your scans are saved. The SCANNED FOLDER, mentioned above.

One by one, rename the file (if not previously named in Step 3), and then move it to the folder or notebook that is appropriate. Continue until your SCANNED FOLDER is empty.

READ: How to Organize Evernote for Ultimate Productivity

We recommend doing this step in batches as well. At some point, you may find you need a change of pace from scanning or shredding. This is another activity that can be done on a laptop in front of Netflix.

Tips for digital organization:

  • Don’t skip this step. It is much harder to find what you are looking for if your document is named “scan_00_043829.pdf”.
  • You may come across a document that doesn’t fit into any of the folders or notebooks you originally set up. It is okay to add new ones!
  • It is easier to remember how to name a document, and what it is, after you just scanned it. Integrating this process with scanning will make it less daunting at the end.
  • If more than one person needs access to documents, grant access in your document storage as appropriate.

Step 5: Physically Organize

Once you have scanned your whole life into a digital platform (yay!) you will likely find that there are still some papers you can’t part with. These will be the items you put in your “to file” pile.

This pile may include movie ticket stubs from a first date, child’s artwork, or important documents like a birth certificate.

Only you can decide what you should keep. However, if you find you are adding a lot of things back into the “to file” pile while sorting, go back through after you have finished processing all your other paperwork. Treat this pile like an inbox and make the decision again whether to keep or recycle. You may find that some things aren’t as important the second time around. Or, you may find that your child’s artwork can be scanned and treasured as a desktop background for years to come without the need to take up space in your cabinet.

Take time to physically organize the remaining items. If it is sentimental, add it to a box and label it “Memories” so you can go through it from time to time. For things like marriage licenses and birth certificates, we recommend putting them in a fire box so they are secure in case of an emergency. Copies of insurance policies and contracts can be saved in a small filing box.

Maintenance of Paper-Free

Don’t be discouraged when you realize that the stream of paper doesn’t seem to end. You will still get the mail or have contracts to sign. Paper is a major medium for communication in our society.

Here are some ways to maintain a paper-free space:

  1. Keep a small inbox on your desk to collect all the things that need to be scanned and sorted. Continue the process above daily or weekly and you will find it stays manageable.
  2. Recycle or trash junk mail immediately before adding important mail to your inbox.
  3. Don’t accept brochures or business cards. Instead, take a photo of the information you need, and hand it back!
  4. Choose paper-free billing. Some companies will offer you a discount if you opt-in to paper-free billing for credit cards or utilities. Instead of receiving a bill in the mail, you will get a statement or reminder emailed to you!

Enjoy a tidy home and office!

Featured photo by Andrej Lišakov on Unsplash

Read these next:

Posted by Amanda Parsons in Productivity, Tutorials, 0 comments
How to Import Documents into Evernote

How to Import Documents into Evernote

This article provides instructions on how to import documents into Evernote.  This can be helpful as a way to use Evernote as a document manager and keep everything in one place. 

Disclosure: Guess what? Otters eat over 10 pounds of sashimi a day! To help offset the cost of food (and running this website), we receive a commission if you click on a link and purchase something.

You can do more than just take notes with Evernote.  Evernote has the capacity to be a document manager, as well.  Add files to an existing note to annotate, tag, or sort for reference later.

There are three ways to add files to Evernote:

  1. Add an attachment
  2. Scan to Evernote directly
  3. Take a Photo with Evernote Phone App

Add An Attachment

This option is for importing a file that already exists on your computer. 

  1. Open Evernote in a browser, or on your desktop.
  2. Create a note and add a note title.
  3. Add attachment using the paperclip icon for a document, or the shutter icon for a photo or image.

Select the document you want to upload.

Important Notes:

  • Multiple attachments can be added to a single note. 
  • Document Files, spreadsheets, and presentations will display as a bar and name (screenshot).
  • PDF documents can be viewed in full. 
  • Both formats can be downloaded at a later time to a different computer.

Scan To Evernote

This process requires you have the Evernote desktop version downloaded on your computer.  It also requires a scanner.

Scanning to Evernote is useful for converting paper files into digital PDF documents and uploading to Evernote without saving a copy on your computer. 

  1. Open your scanner software on your computer.
  2. In the “Scan To” option, find and select the Evernote Desktop Application
  3. Scan the item with the settings needed for your scan.
  4. Items will automatically be added to your default notebook.

For more detailed instructions based on software and scanner brand, see the following:

Epson - Document Manager
  1. Open the Document Capture software installed when you set up your Epson scanner.
  2. Make sure your Epson scanner is turned on and connected to your computer either hardwired or Bluetooth enabled.
  3. Select the “Manage Job” icon (paper with gear), or select Manage Job from the Scan navigation menu.
  4. Create a job function on the pop-up window. This will allow you to create individual settings for different scans, such as single-page text scans, or multi-page color and high-resolution scans.
  5. In “Destination” select Evernote, and the notebook you want scans to be added to.
  6. Save the job – and start scanning!

Take a Photo with the Evernote Phone App

You can add documents and images to Evernote using your phone.  This feature allows you to add to an existing note, or create a new note.

Add to an existing note

  1. Open the app
  2. Choose the note you want to add the document or photo to
  3. Place your cursor in the location of the note you wish to add the attachment
  4. Tap the Camera icon at the top. 
  5. If you are taking an image photo, tap the screen for the shutter button to appear and tap the button to take a photo.
  6. If you are capturing a document, place the document on a contrasting background and line up with the guides in the app.  The app will take the photo automatically when aligned correctly.  Continue taking photos to add to the collection.  Tap the green checkbox when done capturing.

Create a new note

  1. Android: tap the Add icon and options will appear above.  Select the camera.
  2. iPhone: tap and hold the Add icon for options.  Select the camera.
  3. Take photos of the the document or image you wish to capture.  Tap the checkmark when done.
  4. Label the note.

To attach an existing file from your phone, follow one of the steps above (add to existing note or create a new note) and instead of tapping the camera icon, tap the paper-clip icon to add an attachment.

Posted by Amanda Parsons in Productivity, Tutorials, 0 comments
How To Organize Evernote Notebooks For Ultimate Productivity

How To Organize Evernote Notebooks For Ultimate Productivity

You’ve heard of Evernote before – maybe you have even used it casually in the past to take some notes.  But you are now ready to actually use Evernote to its fullest potential.  Because I can tell you right now, Evernote isn’t just a note taking app.

At base, Evernote is a series of notes stacked together with a few different search features (notebooks, search, and tags), the utility of these functions is entirely dependent on how you organize Evernote notebooks.

This article will cover how to organize your Evernote notebooks so that you can make the most of the program.

When you are done with this process, you will feel so organized and productive and ready to take on the world!  Everything will fit into its perfect place and that will make you unstoppable.  

Disclosure: Guess what? Otters eat over 10 pounds of sashimi a day! To help offset the cost of food (and running this website), we receive a commission if you click on a link and purchase something.

Before We Start

Download Evernote for Desktop

While you can perform many of these functions on your phone or a tablet, I highly recommend downloading Evernote to your desktop/laptop for these steps.  It will be a lot easier for this set up.

No Tags – Just Notebooks

For this process, I’ll be walking you through how to set up your Evernote account using Notebooks and Stacks.  If you are new to Evernote, this is how to set up Notebooks and Stacks.

You can follow along with these instructions by opening your Evernote desktop application and creating notebooks along with this post.  At the end, you will be on your way to a better, more organized life!  

!Inbox – The Foundation

I can’t take credit for inventing this trick, but I have seen it repeated a lot among Evernote Community because the functionality of an inbox is so powerful.  I learned about this from Stacey Harmon, an Evernote genius, who has found a way to use Evernote to literally power her life.

An Inbox is simply a notebook with all the notes you haven’t yet processed, filed, and/or tagged.  They may be notes without proper titles or unfinished thoughts.  They may be notes that are sent to Evernote via your email inbox or a bookmark you pinned from the Evernote Web Extension.  

Evernote Notebooks Left Side Bar System
Your Notebook Layout will look similar to this when you are done reading this post!

The word “Inbox” says it all.  It is the first spot dumping ground for you to sort through.

Why the exclamation point(!)?

Because it makes the notebook show up at the top of your notebooks list.  The list is alphabetical with symbols taking priority, followed by numbers, then letters.  

Make !Inbox your default notebook.

Then, anytime you jot something down it will show up there for you to review later.  You will regularly go through your Inbox, just like you do with email, to find something you haven’t finished yet.

If you have been using Evernote for awhile and are looking to reorganize existing notes, move all your notes into !Inbox to sort later with this new organizational system.

.System – A Reference

The next notebook you should create is a reference notebook.  This notebook will include notes that specify how to organize Evernote notebooks.  

You are going to love your organizational system – until 6 months from now when you get your tax return and you can’t remember if you were planning on filing that under “finance” or “business”?

This is how .System helps.  It is a quick reference notebook with notes that help you remember your own filing system.

Create three notes in this notebook:

  • Notebook Categories
  • How To Title Notes
  • Evernote Tips

The Notebook Categories note will be a bulleted list of all your notebooks and stacks with a description of what goes into each notebook.  

Example of Notebook Categories Note to sort Evernote Notebooks
Pro Tip
Follow along with this article and fill in this note as you go!

The How To Title Notes note provides instructions for processing notes before filing.  I find this helpful for financial or transactional notes.  

Screenshot of how to title Evernote notes

Finally, Evernote Tips.  As you become more familiar with Evernote, you will start learning new tips and tricks that help you become a better user.  
Evernote is more powerful than it first seems.  Use this note to keep track of all the Evernote tips that are interesting to you.  

You can start by creating link to this article for easy reference!

1. Finances

Now we get into the numbered notebooks in your organization.  This is the location of all your financial documents, which includes the following:

  • Receipts
  • Bills
  • Statements
  • Tax Documents
  • Paystubs
  • Contracts

In this category you have two options:

  • Option A: Create a stack of financial notebooks
  • Option B: Create a singular financial notebook and rely on the title to specify the financial note item.

Choose option A of you are uploading most if not all of your financial documents and/or you have hundreds of financial documents you need to sort through.

If you choose option A, create notebooks for all the above categories and then join them together in a stack.

Choose option B if you are only using Evernote for a couple categories (such as Receipts for your business and the occasional statement) and you don’t need to sort through all the notes at a more granular level.

If you choose option B, you will want to make sure you follow the Title and Tag process carefully so that you can easily search your notes.

You might like: How to Process Financial Documents in Evernote

2. Work

You don’t have to use Evernote at work in order to include a notebook with work-related items.  For each job you have had, or currently have, create a notebook.  In each notebook, create/upload notes for the following items:

  • Resume you used to get the job
  • Job description with specific dates and location of employment and manager contact information
  • Performance reviews
  • Projects, documents, and emails you are proud of (portfolio)
update status of job application in evernote

Job Tracker Template

Quickly check the status of your job applications and never forget to follow up again!

Quick note...
I don’t actually use this set up for work, since I use Evernote for my business. I have a stack for each business (see Work A and Work B in notebook image above).

If you use Evernote for work, or use Evernote business, this section may look different for you, too.  

Let me know in the comments below if you are interested in an article on how to set up Evernote for your business (or how to use the ‘Evernote for Business’ product).

3. School

If you are in school, Evernote will serve as a great tool for you for many years to come.  

I recommend you create new note for each class you are taking, and treat the note like a diary of events and lecture notes.  As additional projects are added, link to them from your main class note.  

Read: How to Stay Organized in School with Evernote.

If you are no longer in school, but you have documents you want to save from school, create this notebook but give it a number lower down on the list.

4. Health

This notebook is a great way to easily reference your health history, experience at a doctor’s visit, details on your prescriptions, and more.  

I have a singular note for each family member in my household that contains an ongoing diary of health history.  

If you have regular prescriptions or a preexisting condition you need to track, it might be helpful to create a note specifically for each issue to track separately.

A diary note is a great way to include all information in one location.  Here is an example:

Health Diary Example in Evernote

Add to your diary by linking to additional notes in this notebook.  This cross linking will make it easier for you to reference additional materials.  

Using the example above, let’s say you want to include the specific prescription you received so you know what type of antibiotics you were prescribed.

  1. Take a photo of the prescription bottle or prescription note using your Evernote App camera function.  
  2. Add the photo note to your Health notebook
  3. While viewing the note on your phone, tap Share (or three dots on Android) and tap Copy (Internal) Link.
  4. When writing your health diary, paste the link in text.  The title of the note will be the link text.

Besides doctor’s appointments and prescriptions, this notebook is a great place to include an exercise routines, vaccination records, mental health information, or gym membership information.

Health insurance statements and medical bills will be categorized under “Financial”.

5. Home

This stack is incredibly helpful for anyone as it serves to collect all reference materials for your home.  

If you plan on using Evernote to go paper-free, you will be surprised by how much we accumulate that we never look at but can’t bare parting with.

Most common culprit?  Product manuals.  

Create the following notebooks:

Housing

  • Mortgage/Rental documents (Contracts, rules, addendums)
  • Conversations with your landlord (link to diary note post)
  • Homeowners/renters insurance documentation
  • Inventory of household items for insurance purposes
  • Note with reminders to change filters, or a list of all the sizes and power of lightbulbs you use in different lamps and overhead lighting

Manuals & Warranty

Scan in all the manuals and warranties for everything. Evernote Premium can search PDFs, making this a scan and done task. If you are using Evernote Basic, be sure to title the note with the name of the product.

This comes in handy: I ran out to my local hardware store to get a replacement filter, but forgot to write down the filter size. Quick search for my product manual and there it was!

Don’t want to bother scanning everything? You can find most manuals on line with a quick Google search. Add a link to the manual next to the name of a product in a note.

Recipes

Find a recipe online you want to try?  Bookmark it with the Evernote app and it will add it to your !Inbox.  Tried it and liked it?  Move the note to this folder for repeat use.  Or, move and then edit to include any changes to the recipe.

Also great for scanning in Grandma’s Secret Recipe so it never gets lost.

Here is an in depth look at how you can use Evernote to organize and keep track of recipes.

Bonus: Template for meal prepping!

Auto

Maintenance receipts, title, warrantee information, and anything else you need to keep your baby running in tip-top shape.

Lawn & Garden

Can’t remember where you planted tulip bulbs last year?  Create a yard map and writing in what you planted and where.  Also, any instructions on plant care or vegetable growing calendars.

Have someone else manage your yard?  Scan maintenance paperwork so you remember the last time fertilizer was added or irrigation was tested.

6. Important Documents

This notebook may seem kind of silly – aren’t these all important documents?  

This location is for all the important documents that you don’t want to lose but don’t warrant their own notebook.  Examples include:

  • Marriage licenses
  • Birth certificates
  • Immigration documentation and/or Visas
  • Contracts and NDAs that don’t fit anywhere else
  • Last will and testament
  • Court paperwork
  • Certificates, Awards, and Degrees
  • Credit Reports
  • Voter Information

7. Collectables

Think of this notebook as your digital scrapbook.  You probably have a shoebox full of these things already.  Or an actual scrapbook.  But part of going digital and ditching paper is preserving these memories in another form.  

Ticket stubs, love letters, postcards from your traveling aunt – this are all the types of things that make it into the collectables folder.  Scan, title diligently, add your thoughts and feelings to the note, and save forever!  

Besides memorabilia, use Evernote as a “commonplace book”.  A commonplace book was a type of journal people used to carry around with them that would include quotes, poems, recipes, equations – basically any bit of information people didn’t want to lose.  More thoughts on a commonplace book by Evernote.

A thought on photos…

Photos are collectable, and something that most paper-free people move to digital.  But – and this is hard for me to say – I don’t think you should use Evernote to manage your photos.  

While Evernote can certainly work to store your photos – the whole point of photos is to look at them!

8. Hobbies

If you have a lot of involved hobbies, you can certainly create separate notebooks for each and then combine them into a stack to keep it tidy.

Here are some examples of hobbies and the types of notes you might want to create:

Boating

There is a surprising amount of paperwork that goes with boating.

  • Certifications (swimming, sailing)
  • Permits
  • Manuals for boat maintenance

Role Playing Games

  • Character sheets (create templates you can fill in and use on your favorite device!)
  • Maps and dungeon information
  • Links to favorite or upcoming campaigns

Knitting or Crochet

  • Use web clipper to create links to new patterns
  • Uploads and scans of your favorite patters
  • Gift List – a “who gets what” of your annual creations

Reading

  • Note with a list of books you want to read
    • Add it to your shortcuts list so you can easily pull it up when someone gives you a recommendation
  • Note with a list of books you DID/HAVE read and when you finished them.
    • Great if you have a reading goal and to look back
  • Book reviews that you write

Hiking

  • Maps – upload them online to save space and then make a map available offline for when you go outside of your data range.
  • Keep a hiking diary so you know which trails you hit and how long it took. Also great to note whether you saw any wildlife and the weather conditions.

The sky is the limit when it comes to tracking hobbies!  

9. Business Cards

The Evernote app has a cool feature where you can use your phone camera to take a picture of a business card. It will then add that contact to your contacts list as well as connect with them on LinkedIn (premium feature).  

Then, Evernote keeps a copy in this folder.  

When I’m handed a business card, I take a photo right away and set a reminder to connect with that contact on whatever it was we spoke about.  

Oh, and then I hand the card back – because, you know, paper-free. 🙂

10. Templates

At some point in your life with Evernote, you will find you create a repeat style of note.  Maybe it is a recipe note, maybe it is a weekly task list.  After creating the note a few times you will realize that a template is what you need.  

If you have plus, premium, or business-level Evernote accounts, you can right-click a note and save as template.

Note
This is a new feature as of 2019. Previously, all Evernote users had to copy existing notes.

For those with free accounts, copy a note into your Templates notebook and remove all body content you don’t want to replicate (basically, create a fresh version).

When you are ready to use the template, copy your clean “template-version” into the notebook you want it to go and fill in.

11. Notes

I admit, the title of this notebook is a bit on the nose.  However, this is your catch all.  The place where you put reference notes to something that doesn’t fit into any of the categories above. 

Our lives are not neat and tidy (as much as we would like them to be). Inevitably, there will be something that falls outside of the realm above.  

That is what this spot is for.  

Simply make sure the title and text are descriptive enough that you can search for it at a later time.

If the note is something you need to act on, however, it should live in !Inbox so you don’t forget it.   Or, set a reminder.

And that is how to organize Evernote notebooks.  With all your notebooks and stacks laid out, you have all you need to be organized in this digital world.  

how to organize evernote notebooks

Photo by Plush Design Studio on Unsplash

Read These Next:

Posts not found

Posted by Amanda Parsons in Productivity, Tutorials, 0 comments