Friday, December 8, 2017

Evernote and the Cluttered Mind

Have you heard of Evernote?  If not, then let me open you up to an amazing app that is basically your brain in software form.    First, I will state that I have no affiliation with Evernote, other than being a very grateful customer.  I was not asked to give a review, nor do they even know this review exists...and it's really not even a review, more of a big THANK YOU to the company for keeping my sanity this holiday season.

Image result for brain clipart
See, to me Evernote is an online notebook that helps me capture and organize my thoughts, lists, web clippings, audio notes, etc and share them across different platforms.  I rely heavily on the Evernote for Windows app so I can create or refer to notes while at my desk, but then when I am on the fly I can open my phone app and have all of the same information right there at my fingertips.

I screenshot like crazy and save to Evernote.  I bookmark sites and save them to Evernote.  I forward emails I want to keep to Evernote - then if I have several emails referring to the same subject I can merge them all together in one note so I have a running history of everything I need to know about that subject all in one place.  It's amazing.

I discovered the software when I started to take on more and more orders for my crafting business, Joatmon Creations. I needed a way to organize my customers so I would know what they ordered from me before, or questions they asked, etc.  I tried several different programs but nothing really fit what I needed.  Then I discovered Evernote and played around with a few ideas.  I ended up creating a "notebook" within the program called Customers. Then within that I had individual notes for each person.  I added a table within the note that had the date of the order, what they wanted, a picture of the final product, cost, shipping fees, what was owed/paid, and when it was shipped.  As they improved their table function (thank you, by the way) it became so much cleaner to work with and it is invaluable to me now.  If a customer says "I love that ornament I got from you last year and I want another one for a friend" I can go and see exactly what they are talking about so I can recreate it.

To make it even more useful, I tag everything.  When I get an order I tag it "to be made".  When it is completed I change the tag to "to be paid".  Then "to be delivered".  Whenever I need to see what is in process or how many outstanding invoices I have, I just sort on the tags and I can easily see what is due.

But I use Evernote for EVERYTHING.  Not just my business. I keep track of gifts I have to buy, medical records, things I need to look up, my son's school work and class lists, etc.  I could go on and on and on. Everything I ever need to reference is right there at my fingertips.

My latest hack that has saved me this season is my Task note.  It compiles everything I need to do in one note with multiple links. I can do a quick glance to see what items need to be made, either for a customer or an upcoming craft fair, or what still needs to ship out.  I have links to my Christmas list so I know what stores I need to hit after work, or what online orders I am still expecting to be delivered (with links to the confirmation emails that I forwarded from my email program to Evernote).  My grocery list is also on that note so I can keep track of what I have to add to my Peapod order.  And once I receive payments from a customer I track it on that task note until I can enter it into my Excel tracking sheet.  With one look I can see if I am on track - or if I am overwhelmed!

Tomorrow I have my fifth craft fair of the season.  At most I normally do two a year.  To say that this year has been busier than ever for me is an understatement.  Just look at all the stuff I have to set up:

Plus tomorrow I will be offering my new Boston Sports ornaments which have already been a big hit on Facebook and Evernote has been instrumental in helping me keep track of my inventory so I know if I need to make more sets.  I also keep this picture in there as a point of reference for setting up.
If I didn't have this "second brain" to rely on, I'd be shuffling through post-it notes or paper files to keep track of everything I have to do.  Instead I can just concentrate on etching a few more wine glasses tonight.  Maybe I'll even fill one up for myself.....

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