Saturday, February 27, 2010

3 Ways Evernote Can Boost Your Productivity

If you are tired of trying to keep track of every detail in your life, it’s helpful to look for tools that can help offload some of that mental overhead. One of the best tools I’ve found for doing this is Evernote ( – it’s a fantastic (and powerful) note-taking tool, which helps to capture all sorts of different types of information. I’ve implemented Evernote both in my own business and with my clients in a variety of ways to help them streamline some of their processes and save them time. Here are a few ideas for how you can do the same:

Snap your scraps. Instead of trying to rework how you do everything, try using Evernote in little pieces. Start by taking snapshots with your cell phone of all the scraps of paper that you have scattered around your office - your sticky notes, the backs of envelopes, scrawls on napkins, etc., and then put them all into Evernote where they can be searched later. You don’t have to stop using your written notes right away, but over time, you may find yourself needing them less and less as you transition to using Evernote more and more – especially as you discover how handy it is to be able to search your notes and actually FIND what you’re looking for!

Shoot the whiteboard. Meetings with other professionals can be productive, but taking notes can be a real chore. At your next meeting, instead of frantically writing down notes and trying to copy everything that’s written on a whiteboard, try snapping a photo of the whiteboard with your phone, and send that pic to Evernote. Since Evernote can read the handwriting in the photo, you’ll be able to easily search for and refer back to that whiteboard later on when you need it. You can also attach an audio note about the gist and the details of the meeting.

Share the love. If you work with clients and you’d like to share information with them, set up a shared notebook in Evernote dedicated to that client. In it, you can capture clips from web articles they might like, snapshots of resources that they could find useful, ideas for upcoming meetings or sessions, or links to online applications they may find helpful in their day-to-day lives. This can be a HUGE value-add to your clients and the people you serve – not only are you introducing them to a new tool (Evernote), but you’re populating their notebook with stuff they’ll be interested in.

Any one of these strategies can help gather your information in a central spot, and can definitely help save you time. Try a few different ways of using Evernote to boost your productivity – I think you’ll be surprised at how much it can help you!

Friday, February 26, 2010

The Cost of Disorganization

2010 is just getting started, and getting organized is on many resolution lists. Of course, this is a great goal (it is, after all, National Get Organized Month!). But beyond it just being timely, it’s helpful to really focus on the reasons why you want to get organized, as that can help keep you motivated throughout the organizing process. One reason people want to get organized is to save time and money. But just how much of these essentials are you losing from your current level of disorganization?

Whether you consider yourself super disorganized or just a little, you may have a sinking feeling that your disorganization is taking a toll on you - a financial toll. And you’re probably right - after all, any time that you waste looking for things that are lost in your computer, on your desk, or in your space is time that you’re not spending being productive – or just on true downtime. Anything that you can do to make you more productive is going to save you time and potentially money. Let’s look at a quick formula to see just how much disorganization is costing you:

Time it.
First, think about how many hours a week you spend being disorganized. Maybe half an hour looking for papers; maybe a few hours trying to search through your phone records and notes. Really think about all the different ways that you lose your focus, your “flow,” and your productivity. Be honest with yourself – this number is only for you. On average, how many hours a week do you spend being disorganized?

Charge it. Then write down how much your hourly rate is. This could be how much you charge clients per hour, or it could be your salary divided by the amount of hours you work in a week. Then, multiply your hourly rate times the number of hours per week that you are spending being disorganized. The result? How much disorganization is costing you every single week.

Multiply it. If you want a really scary number, take your weekly cost of disorganization and multiply it times 50. That number will give you how much disorganization is costing you over an average working year.

What did you come up with? Even if it is relatively small, wouldn’t you rather be generating that income rather than losing it by being disorganized?

In upcoming editions of the newsletter, we’ll be exploring strategies to help you get organized to boost your productivity. By implementing some of the ideas, you’ll reduce the amount of time you spend being disorganized, and instead will find yourself more productive and efficient. It can be done – and 2010 is the year for you to do it!