In Praise of Evernote

I find that most apps that are recommended to help improve my life – make it more efficient, effective, etc. – just end up stressing me out.  Last year I was at a conference and the keynote speaker pitched herself as “your nerdy best friend,” the person who would tell you which apps were really worth it.  One of her top picks was Evernote.  I realize, I’m pretty behind the times on this one, but it’s been a revelation to me nonetheless.

The intro text on Evernote’s website is pretty  accurate about what the app does and why it is useful: “Inspiration strikes anywhere. Evernote lets you capture, nurture, and share your ideas across any device.”  Basically, it’s a highly organized, easy to search, note taking app that allows you to remember and find information.  If you can upload documents, pdfs, take pictures of documents and turn them into pdfs, make checklists, record audio notes…the list goes on.  I paid for an upgraded membership and with that comes the ability to make notes on/annotate PDFs.  So useful for meetings.  I now use Evernote exclusively to take notes for work and volunteer meetings, and to capture quotes that resonate with me, life hacks that catch my eye, etc.  It’s been a game changer for making information I need and want to access easily available.  And since it syncs across all devices, I have access to my information on my work and home computers, my iPad, and my phone.  Brilliant.

So Evernote is the shit, but why am I writing about it on my 101 Blog?  Because it helped me fix one of those nagging problems that has always been in the back of my mind, causing the kind of background, low-level annoyance that can be, as my spiritual guru, Gretchen Rubin would say, “a happiness stumbling block.”  That stumbling block – my gift stash.

I think most women have a gift stash.  It’s comprised of things we run across that are little and cute and we think, “that would be a great little gift to have on hand.”  We see ourselves giving them as little hostess gifts, a silly treat for friend’s birthday, a shower gift for some yet-to-be-conceived baby.  For me, the list goes on and on.  The gift stash is definitely a symptom of my both my over-buying and pack rat tendencies (sister says hoarding, but that’s just because she’s mean).  The result was, though, that I had great little gifts squirreled away in a few spots, but no recollection of what I had purchased.  So every time I had just the kind of situation the gift stash was envisioned to address, I went out and bought something new.  Whomp whomp.

During the complete cleanout I did in the first six weeks of my 101 (as required by #59 and to be written about in more detail later), I vowed to get a handle on the gift stash.  Enter Evernote.  I created a note called Gifts, and as I cleaned things out, I took a picture of each item and added it to the note.  At the end of the cleaning out, I sorted the stuff and created three storage solutions: one for stocking stuffers for my immediate family, one for smaller sized gifts, and one for larger items.  Then I went back to the Evernote and added info about where each item was stored.

And I’ve already used the system.  Saved money, saved time, solved that nagging problem.  Thanks Evernote!

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