The Best Evernote Trick Few People Know

Evernote is the one tech service that you have almost no excuse not to use. In fact, there’s a pretty good chance you’re already playing around with it — if not using it everyday.

Though this sounds like common sense, using a digital notebook service like Evernote does not mean you have to take notes digitally. Yet, former Evernote CEO Phil Libin told the Tim Ferriss Show that the one feature he found surprisingly underutilized was Evernote’s ability to turn photos of text and handwriting into searchable notes.

If we are being honest, trying to take notes digitally is a double-edged sword. If we are fast and accurate typers, we can capture most of the information in a very usable format. But when you handwrite, there is infinite freedom to use shapes, layouts, sizes, arrows, doodles, you name it… This kind of spatial freedom aligns better with how we think and process.

Plus, as Libin notes in the interview, using a phone, a tablet, or even a laptop in meetings or conference sessions is the universal sign for “I’m not paying attention,” — even if you’re taking great notes! On the flip side, handwriting in a notebook is the universal sign for “I’m paying the most attention possible!” — even if you’re playing tic-tac-toe against yourself.

So, Libin’s tip is to handwrite your notes and then use the Evernote app to snap a picture. Evernote will take a little bit of time to process the image, but soon you will have a page of handwritten notes that is completely searchable. Note: you do need decent handwriting…

And how often have you wanted to search for something, you don’t remember enough about the content, but you do remember the location or rough time frame? Libin recommends taking the photo with the app before you leave the meeting, session, etc. Evernote can record the date, time, and location (if enabled in your phone/tablet’s settings). The 30 seconds or less it takes to snap those photos will greatly increase your ability to find what you’re looking for later.

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