When I started my business a little over two years ago, I told myself that I needed to do everything possible to practice what I preach in terms of cutting back on paper. Not paperless, mind you, because I deal with too many other people in this world that still need it for a variety of reasons. Not to mention that many times it's just easier to pick up a stickie note than to whip out the iPad. But when I started using Evernote in 2013, I found it gradually transformed the way I interact with information from all kinds of paper sources. I now use it for everything from family trip-planning, to organizing client information, to collaborating on projects, to research for articles and presentations.
The array of features Evernote provides makes it workable for a wide variety of businesses - the possibilities really are endless. In the coming months, I'll chat with professionals about what they find most helpful about Evernote, and share their most productive tips with you. Recently I talked with attorney Rachel Schaffer of Schaffer Law Firm PLLC to get a feel for how she puts Evernote to use in her practice:
SS: How did you discover Evernote, and what version do you use?
RS: I had heard Evernote being tossed around by some of my colleagues now and then, but I really did not fully grasp all that it could do until I saw a presentation you did that included Evernote for productivity. I hopped right onto the free version as soon as I got back to my office that day!
SS: Did you first use it for personal or business notes? Or both?
RS: I have only used it for business purposes, although I would like to use it for recipes in the future. I have found when I have to do research on a complicated legal question it is very helpful to clip web articles and save them in a notebook I create for it. I also use it for research for my book which has been extremely helpful. By far the best use I have found for it has been when I attend Continuing Legal Education (CLE). I usually bring my iPad and keyboard and create a new notebook for the day and new notes for each topic discussed. I just like keeping all of that information in one place, especially if I come up with ideas for the practice while in the moment.
SS: What features of Evernote do you utilize the most right now?
RS: Definitely the notebooks and web clipping features. I like taking notes during CLE and when I am researching I like to be able to refer back quickly to whatever page I was reading. I also like highlighting portions of the web clips.
SS: What features do you hope to explore more in the future?
RS: Probably the to do list function and possibly the ability to take notes on the special Evernote note pad and have them scanned into Evernote seamlessly (SS: Moleskine and the AmPad Shot Note are two such note pads).
SS: What advice or thoughts would you give other attorneys who are new to using Evernote?
RS: My advice would be to calendar some time to play with it. It definitely takes some time to learn it and especially how it is going to work in your practice. I would also maybe recommend using it for something personal like recipes or organizing a trip before you bring it into your office so you can explore all of the features without getting stressed out.
Many thanks to Rachel for sharing her insights! If you're using Evernote, whether for personal or business use, I'd love to know about some of the creative ways you put it to work for you. Share with us in the comments, and look for more tips and tricks in upcoming posts.
Sara Skillen - Certified Professional Organizer®, Certified Organizer Coach®, wife, mom, and serial list-maker. Learning to trust my intuition more every day. Shall we work together?