Evernote is a well-known application for note-taking and general organization. The easy-to-use interface and seamless synchronization between web, desktop, and mobile makes it the best choice for anyone looking to store and organize day-to-day information. In this article, we will be taking a look at Evernote as a project management tool.
I starting using Evernote when I was in college and quickly found that it was an exceptional note-taking tool. Since then, I have continued to use the app for storing day-to-day things like to-do lists, sketches, late-night ideas, and oil change records. Sometimes you just need a quick place to store a bit of information for later and Evernote is the perfect solution.
The Evernote Structure
I’ve recently been experimenting with how well Evernote performs as a project management solution. I know there are other exceptional applications that are built to address this specific problem, but I was interested to see if the same app I use for general to-do lists can just as easily organize my work projects. There is something intriguing about storing everything in a centralized place with the same organizational structure throughout.
Evernote organizes your data in an easy to understand linear structure. Everything you enter is saved in snippets called notes, notes can be labeled with tags and grouped into notebooks, and notebooks can be organized into groups called stacks. This structure is totally optional and for years I kept all of my notes in a single notebook. However, if you use it to your advantage, Evernote’s structure can be helpful for organizing details within your project. Next we’ll take a closer look at how each of these elements in the Evernote structure can be used to manage our work projects.
Notes are the foundation of everything in Evernote and can be used to store a variety of datatypes such as checklists, web links, documents, and even photos. The ability to create and store many types of content is what makes Evernote so versatile. It is also the reason why you can use Evernote in so many different areas of your daily routine.
In the case of project management, notes can be used to store just about anything related to your project. I tend to create one master note for each project and use it to store deadlines, to-do lists, and other important data related to that project. Depending on the size of your projects, you may need to create multiple notes for each one. The key is to find a systematic approach that works for you. Evernote is easily scalable to fit your needs, you just need to set your own parameters for storing your data.
Tags can be used to label individual notes for better searchability. Typically notes of a similar topic are stored together in a notebook, but you may run into cases where need to search for notes across all your projects. tags are a great way to add another level of organization to find things quickly.
I currently use a single note for each project and group those notes into one of three folders depending on what stage they are in. Those notebooks are named Current Projects, Past Projects, and Leads/Prospects.
As you might guess, my Current Projects folder is where I keep track of all my current projects. The notes in this notebook are currently changing as project develop and typically contain key details and to-do lists. If you are an Evernote Premium user, you can even share these notes with others on your team and update the collaboratively.
It is important to keep a detailed record of past projects. This is especially true if the nature of our work includes regular maintenance or updates. The Past Projects notebook is where projects can be archived for future reference.
This notebook helps me keep an account of the prospects I have contacted. It’s important to follow up with prospects on a regular basis, so I use the reminders feature to help me remember when I need to reach out again. I can also add tags to my notes to further categorize based on things like level of interest or nature of work.
Stacks are helpful for separating your project notebooks from other notebooks within Evernote. There is a lot of value in being able to navigate to the desired notebook quickly and the stacks feature aids in this process by separating your notebooks on a visual level. I’ve found that this layer of separation keep your notebooks organized while allowing quick access to other important files that you may have in another notebook.
Evernote is an incredibly powerful tool that can be used to manage all your projects. There are features you would expect to find in a project management system that Evernote does not currently support – features like comments and time tracking. However, if you are looking to break the mold and explore creative project management solutions, I suggest giving Evernote a try.