If you make the commitment to start using Evernote daily, it will help you save time and get organized in your design business (and digital life). Getting started with Evernote is going to take some extra work in the beginning, but if you give it a chance I think you’ll see how valuable this tool can be.
To Evernote, or not to Evernote: It’s not really a question.
As with most things in life, it takes commitment to see results. And results are what are going to fuel your renewed commitment to something new. So you have to give the system a chance to work.
Can you do that? Can you commit to following along and giving Evernote your best shot?
“I’m committed to giving Evernote my best shot thanks to the Designer Guide to Evernote! #Evernote4Designers” – Tweet it!
Download the App
The first step to getting started with Evernote is to download and install Evernote on your computer. Yes, there is a web app which does come in handy, but to truly get the full experience you need to have the desktop app installed and use it primarily.
The most important benefit of using the Evernote desktop app vs. the web interface is the ability to access, write and edit notes offline (desktop-only for free accounts). When you reconnect to the internet, Evernote will sync automatically.
Another added benefit to using the desktop app is having an offline backup of your notebook. We’ll talk about this more later in the series, but if you use a backup tool like BackBlaze to keep an offsite backup of your Evernote then you’ll have a backup of your entire database there as well.
You’ll also want to download the Evernote app onto your phone and tablet (if you have one). It’s especially useful on your phone because you can create notes on the fly, add reminders, create voice memos, and check your to-do lists.
A Note about Passwords
Now that you have Evernote downloaded, I want to give a word of advice about passwords. If you store client passwords in Evernote (like me) then you must take password security seriously. I use 1Password to generate a 25-character password for Evernote, which I change once a quarter. Since I’m a premium subscriber, I can also rest easy knowing that there is SSL encryption for the account.
Premium subscribers can also set a 4-digit PIN on their mobile device to seal their notebook if they are sharing their device with others or in case their phone gets lost or stolen. This is a must as well! Check out this article from Evernote on how to get password protection set up.
A free account with Evernote is a great place to start. And if you’re still on the fence about committing to daily use, then by all means hold off on going premium. I’ve got to tell you though, I’ve been a premium Evernote subscriber since 2011 and it’s absolutely been worth the $50 per year to me. Here’s why:
Free accounts limit you to 25mb per note, and 60mb per month. Premium account holders are allowed 200mb per note and unlimited monthly uploads. Both levels offer unlimited storage of previous months’ data.
The extra space is particularly valuable when you start backing up client files, design elements, fonts, and personal items like your Instagram feed.
With a premium account, you can attach any file type to a note whereas free accounts are limited to audio, image, and PDFs. I like to zip-up client files and stick them in an archive note, so having the unlimited file type option is a key part to my system.
With premium accounts, the technology is smart enough to search within PDFs. So if you keep a receipts folder and stick PDF copies of your receipts, Evernote can search the PDF as if it were text.
One of the best advantages to going premium is the ability to review a version history of each note. You can also restore a previous version as a new note to grab what you need. This can come in really handy if you write blog posts in Evernote or want to keep track of when you wrote something within a note.
Consider the this comparison chart (source):
Now that you are committed to getting started with Evernote, I have some homework for you! Your tasks are to:
- Commit to using Evernote.
- Download the app on all your devices.
- Set a secure password and passcode for your devices.
- Consider trying premium for one month.
This is the first post in the Designer Guide to Evernote series.
Check back next week, when we’ll talk about important terminology and how I use notebooks and tags in my workflow.