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.


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.


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
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:


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!


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.


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

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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
Auto Accident Report

Auto Accident Report

Recently I found myself sitting in my car, waiting for a tow truck after having been rear-ended on a highway.  For those of you unfamiliar with the process, calling a tow truck bestows upon you the gift of time.

My adrenaline was starting to dissipate and with my head clearing up from the accident I realized I need to start recording everything.  I had exchange information with the other driver, and taken photos.  Now I needed to recall the events before I forgot anything.

Using Evernote for Everything

I pulled out my phone and opened the Evernote App (my go-to for note taking).  I opened a new note and stared at the blank screen.  Where do I start?  What do I record?  How do I link all the information I have from photos to contact info?

Eventually I bumbled my way through it, but in times of crisis, it is helpful to have a guide.  What if I hadn’t remembered to document the location of the accident and now the other driver and I have conflicting reports?  What if I forgot to get the insurance information of the other driver, or their phone number?  

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.

Auto Accident Report Template

The result of that accident is an Evernote Template for Auto Accident Reports.  I developed this template to help other Evernote users avoid the situation I was in.  This report is to help you identify what you need to know and document.  It is your tool to account for the events of an accident.

Safety First
Address injuries and move vehicles to a save location before filling out this report.

The key here is to download it now so you won’t have to worry about it if the time ever comes. 

Save the template to your Evernote Account.  For those with the Plus, Premium, or Business license of Evernote, you can save a template for quick select. For those using Evernote’s free version, duplicate the note each time to need a fresh copy.

Don’t have Evernote? Get Started Using Evernote.

By saving as a template, you don’t have to search for it.  If you find yourself in an accident, simply open a new note and select “Templates”.

Walkthrough of selecting a template with Pro version of Evernote.
Quick selecting a template in Evernote on a mobile device.

Here is what the Accident Reporting Template includes:

  • Location of the accident
  • Weather and Road conditions
  • Description of the accident from your point of view
  • Damage sustained to vehicles
  • Contact information of any other drivers
  • Police contact information in the accident jurisdiction
  • Personal injury of all passengers and parties
  • Insurance claims and area to continue follow up on reporting and claims

We never want an accident to happen, and so the unplanned nature means we can get caught off-guard if they do occur.  While this template won’t prevent an accident, it can help you mitigate the fall out.

Accident Report

Use this Evernote template to record details and easily make accurate claims.

As always, drive safe and remember people come first.  

Photo by takahiro taguchi on Unsplash

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How to Organize Recipes & Create Meal Plans with Evernote

How to Organize Recipes & Create Meal Plans with Evernote

How do you organize recipes you find online? From low-fat vegan health blogs to southern comfort food, you can find a recipe for anything. Combine the love of cooking with the potential for a career in cooking and you get a plethora of online food blogs.

This makes it easy when you are searching for a new recipe to bring to your favorite holiday party.  Looks delicious?  Bookmark it!

Except, how do you find it again on your phone when you are in the grocery store trying to buy ingredients?

Let’s say you are on Pinterest and see a recipe that looks great for the summer and want to save it for later. But who are you kidding?  Your Pinterest board (Food!) has thousands of pins.  Good luck finding that one again!

The question isn’t ‘where do I find recipes?’.  The question is, ‘how do I save and manage all the recipes I find?’.

This article will help you organize recipes using Evernote.  At the end of this walkthrough you will be able to:

  • Easily search and find any recipe you’ve saved
  • Edit recipes so they fit your taste or ingredients
  • Add your own photos so you know what the recipe really looks like
  • Create meal plans from your recipes
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.

Setting up Evernote

Quick Note

Start by setting up two notebooks: Inbox and Recipes.

The first notebook is your Inbox notebook.  An Inbox notebook is your dumping ground of notes before being processed. Exactly like a physical or email inbox, actually.   

We will use the Inbox notebook as a way to test recipes before adding them to the Recipes notebook.  Then you know which recipes you haven’t tried yet.

The second notebook should be your Recipes notebook.  This will be where you put all the recipes you’ve tried, liked, and want to use again.

This walkthrough will use Evernote for Desktop, but you can also use Evernote in your browser.

You might also enjoy: How to Organize Evernote Notebooks for Ultimate Productivity

Saving a Recipe

Find a recipe you want to try.  If you are using Pinterest, be sure to open the recipe to the webpage where the content lives.

Online recipe blog example
The kind of deliciousness you might find on a recipe blog.

Using your Web Clipper tool, save the recipe to your Inbox notebook.

Evernote Web Clipper drop down in dark mode
Drop down of the web clipper tool in Dark Mode

Select the notebook where you want it to go (Inbox) and select Article.  You will see a green outline of the area that will be clipped.  By selecting “Article” instead of “Full Screen”, web clipper won’t capture all the banner ads on a site.

Side Note
The Web Clipper tool has this fantastic feature where you can set it to “Smart Filing”. This means it guesses where the bookmark should live based on the content. You can override this feature in settings, or by manually selecting a notebook.

Now let’s take a look at what ended up in our Inbox.

Cleaning Up Notes

The content in the main body of the article will be in the note. A link back to the original blog post is at the top so you won’t forget where you found the recipe.

Source of the clipped article appears at top of Evernote note

At the time of this writing, this link is only seen on the desktop version, not in the web version of Evernote.

Also included in this note are all the photos, the author’s description, and even some in-line ads.  

Clipped recipe article with banner ads

I recommend deleting extraneous photos and resizing text so the note is easier to read.

Now you have a nice and tidy recipe note you can reference in the future.

Organized Recipe in Recipe Notebook in Evernote
Nice and tidy!

Using and Editing Recipes

If this note is for “sometime in the future” it may live in your Inbox for a while.  But, if you want to try the recipe soon, set a reminder to use the recipe.

Step One:

Add a reminder to Evernote note to help organize recipes.

Step Two:

Reminder set in Evernote to return to recipe

Now comes the fun part – making the recipe!

Like most recipes, you may find that you need to make alterations.  Because Evernote is the ultimate note-taking tool, it is meant for just this purpose.   

You can make notes as you cook, or go back later and make suggestions for the next time you make the recipe.

Types of notes to include:

  • Substitutions for ingredients that you use
  • Extra steps to help make a recipe clearer Removing instructions you find misleading or unnecessary for your preferences
  • Instructions on when to serve or what plates you like to serve it on
  • Versions of the recipe (for example, a spicier version for her, or more mild version for him)
  • Notes about cooking this recipe in tandem with another recipe (such as a side dish).
  • In Evernote, you can create a link to another note!

Organize Recipes

Once you’ve tried a recipe, it is time to make a decision.

Should you save that blog recipe? Pinterest image decision tree.
Should you save the recipe for later?

Do you see yourself making this recipe again?  Was the recipe tasty?  Could you edit the recipe to make it better?

If you answered “Yes” to any of the above questions, it is time to move it into your Recipes notebook.

At the top of the note, click on the Inbox notebook.  From here, you can move this note to another notebook.   

Notebook selected in Evernote

You can repeat the above process to organize recipes from all your favorite blogs.  Clip, edit, and save to your Recipes notebook.   

Creating Meal Plans

Meal planning is easy with your Recipes notebook.  It is like having a cookbook with only your favorite, tested, recipes!

Go to your Recipes notebook and create a Meal Planner note.  Don’t reinvent the wheel – Office Otter has a Meal Planner template you can use for free!   Download and add it to your Recipes notebook.

meal planner on ipad in evernote

Meal Planner

Save your recipes each week with this Evernote template.

You can change up the days of the week in the left column so they start on any day that works for you.   

If you plan snacks or eat 4-6 small meals, add columns by clicking on the (+) icon between columns.

When you have the Meal Planner grid set up, save the note as a template so you can create it over and over each week.

Office Otter Meal Planner Template for Evernote Instructions to save Template

Open the Meal Planner note in another tab within Evernote.  Then you can switch between your meal plan and your recipes.

To open another tab, click right-click (Mac: 2-finger click) on the meal plan note and select ‘Open Note in New Tab’.

Start adding recipes to your meal planner.   Search your Recipes notebook and find a recipe you want to add to the meal plan.

Right click on the recipe note in the note list and select “Copy Note Link” In the Meal Planner note, place your cursor in the cell you want to include the recipe.  Right-click and select “Paste” or Ctrl+V (Mac: Command+V).  This will paste both the link and the name of the note (recipe name).

Add a link to another note in Evernote.
This is how to add a link to another note in Evernote.

In the end, your meal plan should look like this:

Grocery List

Once you have the week planned, add ingredients from each recipe to the Shopping List.  

Combine any duplicate ingredients to get your grocery list for the week.  

Cross-reference your grocery list with what you have on hand.   

And there you have it!  An organized recipe book you can use over and over and an easy way to produce a meal plan for the week or month.

Leave a comment below and share how you like to organize recipes.

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The Diary Note – 4 Ways to Use it in Evernote

The Diary Note – 4 Ways to Use it in Evernote

We all have things we need to keep track of. Whether it be important conversations, or tracking our exercise, we benefit from recording important information.

Bullet journals are great, but what about the stuff you want to track over a long period of time? Something you reference quickly?

This article covers four types of records you need to keep, and how to use a style of note taking called the Diary Note.

A diary note is simply a singular note that I keep adding to with dated entries. This is in contrast to separate notes on the same general topic.  

Benefits of a Diary Note

  • I don’t have to search through multiple notes to piece together information
  • I can read a history of information easily and track a story
  • It lets me know where I left off on a project or conversation
  • I can use it to link to additional content and provide context to other notes

Now that we’ve established what a diary note is, here are four examples of how to use it (IRL).

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.
Quick Note
We love Evernote for note taking. Get started using Evernote.

School Notes for a Single Class

You are so excited because you just signed up for Advanced Aerospace Engineering!  

The class is notoriously difficult and the last thing you want is to drop any balls while you are balancing the rest of your course load of Symbolic Dance of Native Cultures, Post-Modern Scottish Literature from 1943-1952, and Russian.

To keep everything organized, create a note and title it with the name of the course, course number, and quarter/semester you are taking the class.

Advanced Aerospace Engineering – AERO 445 – Spring 2019

Include the following information:

  • Class Schedule
  • Copy of the Syllabus
  • List of all homework and projects/tasks
  • List of exam dates and expected material
  • Lecture Notes
Access Class Notes on Evernote for iPad

Notes Template

Keep your lecture notes and class assignments in one place with this Evernote template.

Landlord Communications

It doesn’t matter how great of a relationship you have with your landlord – this is a CYA protocol.  You never know when something might go south and the “we’ll get to those repairs” turns into 6 months of deferred maintenance and you have to file a legal complaint.  

Having detailed records goes a long way toward helping your position as a tenant. 

Here’s how to track these conversations:

  1. Start each entry with a date and topic or subject line
  2. Write a description of the interaction.  Include the name(s) of those you spoke with and all details you can remember.  Especially include any conclusion or decision made.
  3. Include a link to any supportive documentations, like an email or maintenance request receipt.

This note type can be used for any important communications, such as with debt collectors, lawyers, accountants, or important and repeat customer service.  

Health Records

Many health care delivery systems and HMOs have complete health records for individuals.  

If you live in a country without single-payer insurance programs (like the United States) you may find yourself with disjointed health records.  

A health record note is one way to keep a lifelong diary of your health.  It provides you with a helpful overview of your medical history. That can be helpful for your doctors as well!

Follow the same instructions as above for logging descriptions and dates. Include copies of prescriptions and links to notes with doctors.

Hiking (or tracking exercise)

Like millions of other individuals around the globe, I enjoy outdoor recreation from time to time.

My Hiking Diary note will be a list of all the hikes I’ve accomplished.  

I create a new entry (same note) as such:

Date – Trail/Park Name – Miles Covered

Description should include the following:

  • Route taken (trail head started/ended and any changes in trails)
  • Start time and end time of the hike
  • Elevation gained or lost
  • Conditions of the trail (muddy, washed out, crowded, closed in parts)
  • Wildlife spotted
  • Opinions of trail and whether you would return or recommend

I also upload maps of trails to Evernote and link to them from the diary – creating an easy reference to where I’ve trekked.

And now you know how to create a diary note and how it is a great tool in Evernote.

How do you use a diary style note in Evernote?  What do you track? Leave your comments below.

Photo by Joanna Kosinska on Unsplash

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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:


  • 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.


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!


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:


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


  • 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


  • 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.

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

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Posted by Amanda Parsons in Productivity, Tutorials, 0 comments