This post is part of the Time Management in Youth Ministry series. Evernote is one app that has truly changed the way I work. Not only that, but since I started using it about two years ago, it has saved me a considerable amount of time, energy and frustration. In a previous post I discussed 3 great ways to use Evernote in youth ministry. Today I’d like to show you how Evernote can change the way you work.
A year and a half ago, my husband and I decided to go paperless as much as we could. We bought a Fujitsu ScanSnap, a portable mobile scanner that scans all paper formats like crazy (take note that we own the Mac version of the ScanSnap, there’s another ScanSnapfor pc users).
And we tested it to the limit, feeding it every bit of paper we could find: policies, official correspondence, college notes, readers, conference proceedings, newspaper or magazine clippings, handwritten summaries from books, handwritten notes from sermons, courses and conferences, recipes, correspondence from friends over the years, bills, business cards, minutes from meetings, old spiritual diaries, mind maps I’ve made over the years, copies of important documents (passport, driver’s license, birth certificate) and much, much more.
By now, we have scanned over 35,000 papers and every time something new on paper comes in that we want to keep, we scan it. We’ve only kept hard copies on paper of the most important things (like current insurance policies) and everything else we’ve simply thrown out. I. Love. It. The ScanSnap (we affectionately call it Snappy) isn’t cheap, but it’s been worth every dollar so far.
Info is always and everywhere accessible
As youth leaders, we don’t just work from one place. We may have an office, but we also work from home, we go to meetings in other people’s houses or in the church building, we meet in Starbucks or MacDonald’s. With Evernote, that means you never have to carry around bulky files or binders, all you need is your notebook or a smart phone. All your stuff is in one place, no more searching for conference notes, business cards, contact info, correspondence, or minutes from meetings. And if the pastor wants to know how you’re doing budget-wise, you’ll be able to tell him on the spot instead of doing the whole ‘I’ll have to get back to you’ dance.
Order instead of chaos
Evernote is the number one reason why my desk is nearly always clutter free. No more post its or notes, because all my to do items go directly into Evernote. No more papers lying around, because they’re all scanned and stored into Evernote. It’s just me, my Mac and Evernote (and Snappy of course J).
No more losing things
You’ll need two piles: one with stuff you’ll need to scan and the other with stuff that is scanned and can be thrown away. If you just keep up with both, you’ll never lose time by having to search for anything ever again. And the days of losing paperwork are over.
In another post I explained some basic principles of the Getting Things Done method, which I am a big fan of. One of those principles is that you create as few inboxes as possible to collect all your ‘stuff’, everything that you need to look at. Well, Evernote is my one inbox. Everything I come across that I have to deal with in some way, I put into Evernote. I forward emails that require action, scan documents I need to read or do something with, etc. It allows me to have complete overview of my to do lists in one app.
Okay, enough said. I’ll climb off my Evernote-horse now and let you decide for yourself.