I make lists. Top 10 lists, lists of things to do, and lists of things that I ought to do and haven’t gotten around to doing yet.
Recently I started using Evernote – a cloud-based note-taking system available on my iPhone, web, and elsewhere – and it’s made a huge change in the success rate of note-taking and completing those notes. In fact, it’s become my “cloud brain.”
Evernote helps me with three key problems that I struggled with before:
I need to remember something, and I don’t have anywhere to put it.
People can maintain 5-7 things in short term memory, and a few of those things are likely already in use ;). With Evernote, I can just open an iPhone application, add to an existing list, and not have to worry about forgetting … whatever it is that was.
I need to compile a list of things to share with a team.
At work, we have an all-team standup meeting three times a week – you have two minutes (or less) to give your status, tell the team what’s going well, and where you need help. Using Evernote, I can create a concise list to share with the team.
I maintain a weekly report.
Sometimes, I update it from my desk, and sometimes while I’m on the go. Evernote allows me to maintain the same document and synchronize it to multiple places. Not everything is perfect (editing rich text on the iPhone inexplicably doesn’t work) but it provides the perfect 80% solution to this problem. At the end of the week, if I’ve got all of my formatting right, I can just cut and paste into my report. Building the system in this way (before an automatic solution is available) also makes me think of better ways to automate it — and I can tweak the report when the development effort is cheap (cut and paste) rather than expensive (dev time).
My lists have moved to the cloud — this is great, as my cloud brain is great at maintaining information, retrieving it for quick recall, and for building a list of all of the things I did (since the last time). Thanks Evernote!