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 with a client, vendor, or consultant, instead of frantically writing down notes from the meeting 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.
Wrangle the receipts. I work a lot with clients on financial organization – keeping track of the money is super-important in the world of business and in life. When you’re busy and on the go (and who isn’t?), it can be a challenge to keep track of your receipts and other expense items. Instead of losing your receipts or stuffing them into a box, bag, or drawer, try snapping pics of your receipts and send each of them to a “receipts notebook” in Evernote. That way, they’ll all be captured in one central area. You can then go back and tag them with the categories that correspond to what you use in your bookkeeping system. Depending on the advice of your tax preparer, you may even be able to get rid of the paper originals!
Tie up your travel. If you travel for your business (or even just for pleasure), create a notebook dedicated to each upcoming trip. In it, you can keep any notes you have about an upcoming meeting or trade show, along with the agendas, location, maps and any venue information. Also, this is a great spot to keep details about your travel – flight confirmations, hotel and car reservations, and the like. You can even collect clips about restaurants, local attractions, and other fun things that can help you enjoy your trip more.
Centralize your storage map. You can also use Evernote to keep track of the storage in your home or small office. Take snapshots of everything that’s on each of the different shelves and inside of the different drawers, cabinets and containers in your storage system. Now, instead of having to dig through a shelf, drawer or closet, you can just go on your computer and quickly scan and review what’s there – making it easier for you to access and retrieve those things that you actually want at the moment when you need them. If you have multiple people in your business, you can share this note or notebook with them as a team reference.
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!
If you’re wondering how to implement these strategies, we’d be happy to chat with you. Contact us for a complimentary strategy session by going to http://www.customlivingsolutions.com/Apply
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