Productivity with Evernote: Use One Tool for Everything | Lindsey C. Holmes | Skillshare

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Productivity with Evernote: Use One Tool for Everything

teacher avatar Lindsey C. Holmes, Productivity and Business Consultant

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
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Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

    • 1.



    • 2.

      Find Your Pain Points


    • 3.

      Create Your Core Hub


    • 4.

      Solving Common Pain Points


    • 5.

      Expand Your System


    • 6.

      Final Thoughts


    • 7.

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About This Class

Unlock your productivity with Evernote in this short, straightforward class!

Learn to use the ultimate productivity tool with Evernote Expert Lindsey Holmes. Whether you're a solo freelancer looking for one place to handle everything you do or a member of a large corporation looking to solve complex problems with simple solutions, this class will give you tools and techniques to manage every aspect of your work and personal productivity. Key lessons include:

  • Solving productivity pain points
  • 3 ways to manage your to-do list in Evernote
  • Evernote Asset management and reusable templates
  • Integrations and automations to improve your system

In just 25 minutes, you'll learn a whole new approach to productivity focused on simplicity and longevity. After taking this class, you'll be able to create a custom productivity system, allowing you to spend less time managing your work, and more time getting work done.


Evernote is a platform that helps individuals and teams create, assemble, nurture and share information, enabling their community to manage information overload by helping them remember everything, turn ideas into action, and work effortlessly with their teams.

Lindsey Holmes is an Evernote Entrepreneurship Ambassador/ Evernote Certified Business Consultant productivity consultant and an award-winning usability, digital and tech strategist with 15 years experience in Writing, Marketing/ Digital PR and Business.

Meet Your Teacher

Teacher Profile Image

Lindsey C. Holmes

Productivity and Business Consultant


Lindsey Holmes is a productivity consultant and an award-winning usability, digital and tech strategist with 15 years experience in Writing, Marketing/ Digital PR and Business. She has used her self-taught programming skills and a strong passion to empower through tech, to become a key player in the Web 2.0 industry. 

Lindsey is the Evernote Entrepreneurship Ambassador/ Evernote Certified Business Consultant, proud alumna of The Madeira School and Sarah Lawrence College, and the mom of a shih tzu named Banks. 

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Level: Beginner

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1. Introduction: My main aim is to get people to really just live their best lives. The formal term is productivity, but for me it is just really getting things done. My name is Lindsey Holmes. I own an integrated marketing and tech agency and I'm also a productivity consultant. The most important aspect of a productivity tool is to eliminate distraction. By having all of your project management, all of your needs in one place, you leave room for focus, clarity, and just an ease of life flow. I discovered Evernote in 2009. I was just in the throes of my new business and needed a way to organize my mind. Evernote was a great place to store those thoughts, ideas, and projections. I'm not going to tell you exactly what you need to do in this class. I'm going to give you some examples of what's worked for me, what's worked for my clients, and I'll give you some used cases so that you can apply our system to your own. This is absolutely your system, your hub, and I want you to do with it what you will. After this class, I hope you take just the first step to creating your own personal productivity system. I'm so excited you decided to take this class. Let's get started. 2. Find Your Pain Points: So, a pain point is really simple in the productivity space. It's something that is annoying, it is something that's repetitive and that can be automated, or it's something that detracts from spending time with your family, your friends, and doing the things you want to do. Retrieving your bank statements and bills can be a pain point, sending your 1099's or W-2s to your accountant, finding recipes to cook a meal for the day. Every day can be a pain point. People do try to create productivity systems without really sitting down and assessing what their needs are. That systematic productivity approach that I just completely disagree with. I think you need to know thyself. Spending the time to do this now will save you so much more time in the long run. So, it's really important to do this now, and then work to set up the systems that will resolve these pain points for you. The very first thing you should do in trying to identify and assess your pain points is get out a piece of paper or do this exercise digitally. Whatever works for you. Identify 10 pain points, 10 things that annoy you, 10 things that feel like minutiae, 10 things that you hate to do, and just jot those down. Be aware of your day. You may hit on some pain points as you go through a day. Just start being really aware of your actions, the things that are repetitive to you, even if they seem like it's something far fetched, and that there may not be a solution for it, let's just write those pain points down. Another thing that I do with my clients is ask them to assess the tools that they're currently using. You'll find that you may have some pain points in your tools. What tools work for you, what tools don't, and let's find what we can do to find a tool that will serve you better. And then the last thing that I will say to a client is, "What can you automate? What is completely repetitive about your day? Do you find yourself going to either the same site or different sites looking for recipes daily, even weekly? Is there a way that we can have those recipes come automatically to you, where you are, and prevent that 20, 30 minute step of finding what you're going to eat for the day?" In terms of prioritizing your pain points, I look at what's most painful. If you find that most of your time is spent looking for a file on your desktop, that lets you know that you need to put a system around storage, and organizing the content that you have and where it lives. Some people prioritize work versus personal, but to me it's really just about maximizing the time you have. So, I prioritize my pain points around what's taking the most time. Another way to prioritize your pain point is just really in the things that you can be completely hands off with, things that can be automated. For example, in retrieving my bank statements and bills, there are systems that I can use that will automatically retrieve that content for me, and because I use Evernote, deliver them to an Evernote notebook. I have completely automated that system, and once it's set up, I don't have to do anything else to it. So, those things, things that I never have to touch again, are typically pain points that I would target first as well. 3. Create Your Core Hub: I think using one tool or as few as possible is really the height of productivity. I'm not the most productive person. So productivity for me has to be mindless. If I have a task, if I have a need, knowing where to go, solves 80 per cent of my problems. So having this core hub that can do a lot of the things that I needed to do, from managing clients, to organizing my To Do List, to even allowing me to set a reminder around an event, truly makes for a very productive tool for me. It eliminates that distraction and it really makes this process very mindless, which I think is okay. I think that we should use our brains where we need to which is to be creative, which is to to have thought leadership, not to retrieve bank statements and look for a place to house our taxes. Evernote allows you to do all of those things fairly easy with a level of automation that saves your brain for the things that are most important. So we'll jump into Evernote. I'll give you an overview and then we'll start to work and build your hub. So, if you're new to Evernote, when you open it up, you see different levels of categorization. The core levels are your notebooks and your notes. Evernote is been typically thought of as a note-taking tool but a little more robust than your standard note-taking tool. This is really about your own workflow. So, if you're somebody that likes to jot down quick form notes, you're able to do that here. If you're somebody that sees things and numbered lists or with checkboxes, you have that ability as well. If you're somebody that likes spreadsheets, you have a table feature in Evernote. So people like to talk, so, recording audio in Evernote is really easy this way. So, the beauty in Evernote is really that you can categorize your content in a way that feels good to you. So, notebooks is a way to categorize your content but you can drill down and also include tags. What tags allow me to do is categorize things across multiple verticals. I may want to categorize something as an invoice, if it's from 2018, it may be helpful to do that as well. Another point of categorization would be even looking at your shortcuts. Say that I just need a quick at a glance access to a note or a notebook, I can just drag them over to my shortcuts and they live there and I can access them when I need to. I'll also tell you, I come across a lot of clients that are going to completely reject the notebooks and the tags. They find it easier to just use Evernote's really robust search capabilities. You can search an image, you can search a document by simply typing in a word, I can find the word invoice in everything that it applies to. So from being in the title, to being a tag, to even potentially being in my document. If this is how you see things, if this is the way that you would need to categorize your notes, you are more than welcome to. Everybody's system is not for everybody. Another client needed a marketing tools archives. We explored several ways to help them organize their content from naming convention, and that's simply what you title a note, to tags, and then we recap through their workflow. So for their naming convention, we titled The Note the project title use an underscore, month, dot, year. For their tags, they have two lines of business. So, Company A or Company B, and then a product line, whether it was a portfolio or of their at home group and then what type of document it was. Then we just recapped in this workflow. Creating this kind of document keeps the process seamless for everybody involved. 4. Solving Common Pain Points: So, a Pain Point that almost everyone has when you talk productivity is how to manage your To-Do List. One way that I personally manage my To-Do's in Evernote is through creating a To-Do notebook that shows what I have To-Do this week and then I have what, it's completed and I move my notes between the two. So, here I may have to call Norma Willis or paying her invoice. To be as productive as possible, I've put her number right in the title or in the body of my note so that I don't have to look for her number, and even more helpful, maybe adding her invoice as a reference. When this is complete, I'll probably just move this right on over to completed. That's one way to manage your To-Do's in Evernote. That's pretty simple. Another way that people have done To-Do's is really just by simply creating a note either daily or weekly. So, I would write take out the trash, utilizing the Evernote checkbox feature. I tab down, I can add another task. I can also set a reminder to remind me, say tomorrow, in a few days, in a week, to remember to execute my To-Do's. The last way to do To-Do's in Evernote is through a third party integration. Sometimes, you'll find that integration set have built an interface that specialize in To-Do's, for example, are just a cleaner and a nicer way of viewing your To-Do's. So, you may prefer a tool like To-Do List that just manages To-Do. The beauty in a tool like To-Do List is that it integrates with Evernote, so you don't have to leave your Evernote hub to open the To-Do List app. You can stay right in Evernote, create your note, it will sync with To-Do List, and you can manage your To-Do's there. That will allow us to live distraction free. So, as I've mentioned, I'm not going to tell you how To-Do this. This is really about how you see things. These are three ways that you can approach To-Do's in Evernote. So, in building up your hub, you'll find that there are needs that you have over and over. Though you don't have any guidelines or restrictions in Evernote, one thing that you can do to simplify your note and hub building process is by creating templates. Here's a meeting notes template for example, and this just outlines the agenda of the meeting, I can check things off as they've been completed, some supplemental notes about the meeting and then some action items. You'll find that you will want to create templates for traveling, create a checklist of all the things that you need to take and add your travel itinerary at the bottom. There may be an image that speaks to a campaign that we've discussed, I'll just drag that there. There may be a book that would help, and I was going to view that as an attachment. So, one thing that you're going to want to remember when creating your templates is to leave everything in its original form and copy your template even to a notebook, that's called templates, or you can copy a few versions to the notebook that you'll be using it in. So, if you have a business notebook, maybe you'll copy a few versions to that notebook just so they can remain empty and serve as templates. There are also tons of templates on Evernote's website, from planning templates for 2018, to school, to project management, to real estate. You can easily download these templates and save them in a notebook, and this can solve a lot of your workflow needs. So, as we look at these templates, is there anything that you can potentially check off of your pain point assessment list? So, because you can add any kind of media to an Evernote note, Asset Management is also a really requested workflow of my clients. This is an example of a way to manage your stock art. Evernote has a another way to categorize your content which is through the way you see your list of notes. So, I can go from this card view which gives me the small tiles on the left or a big tile on the right. I can see this full card view which is called an expanded card view, and it really just gives me an added glance view of all of my assets. So, whether I have categorized them by notebook or tag, or I simply just want to scroll and look at all the assets I have, I have that opportunity. Then I go down and I have other views that will really help me if this is how I see things. So, to go back to this expanded view, this is the way most people look at their visible assets. You'll find that you can still categorize them by name depending on if you categorize them. You see these aren't categorized in any way. However, Evernote has some core features that let you categorize the notes. You can categorize them by date updated, by date created, by title, by the size and by where you downloaded them. Being able to easily view your stock art, whether you categorize it or not, intend them with managing your client files or your To-Do's, and not having to leave your hub makes this process all of the more productive. Whether it's managing your To-Do's or finding templates or creating an asset management library, pick one and start your hub. 5. Expand Your System: So, as you work to format your note, the core of your productivity system, then we can go to the next level, and that's really what you should look for in your productivity hub, a tool that allows you to expand on your core needs. So, Evernote has some features that allow you to go beyond the basic workflows that we've discussed. So, one of my favorite features of Evernote is the web clipper. This is really good for research. So, when I'm researching for a client or I put this in a client's workflow, they may stumble across a PDF, we'll go to our web clipper, they can save it as a PDF, as a bookmark snippet, or as a screenshot. Then right from the screen, I can organize this to prevent any potential of clutter. So, I will add it to a notebook, I can add a tag, I can even add a remark for one of my colleagues. Options allow you to go further. You can pre-tag or you can set the web clipper to automatically save your notes based on the context of the note. I click save and I'm done. One of my favorite use cases for the web clipper is simply for research. As I'm going through creating content for a campaign, I will clip some relevant images, some articles and other content that allows me to really get what I need to get done. Another really cool thing to do with Evernote is to utilize your custom Evernote email address. To find it, you're going to go to Evernote in the file menubar, click account info, more account settings which will launch the web browser and here you will find your custom email address. You can use this to email in notes, pictures, any sort of clips directly into your default Evernote notebook. So, many people ask me how you do some of the things that I explain that you can do in Evernote. They don't see a button, they don't see it in the feature lists and that's really because, through the use of third-party integrations, you can go much further with Evernote. If this then that is a great place to start, these are just some of the sample workflows that people have created that allow you to get more out of Evernote. A good if this in that integration allows you to create a note when an event is added to a specific calendar. So, for example, if you have a meeting, add it to a calendar. If this and that can create a note that has a name, an email, and a note section for you to take notes for that meeting. That's a way to automate your cataloging system for a meeting. Another really good integration using if this and that is to sync the new notes in a Google Drive folder with those of a Evernote notebook. What this does is really speak to the idea that you can replicate your workflow in multiple places. You may find that your colleagues want to use Google Drive but your hub is Evernote. So, they can create their content in their Google Drive folder but you can set it up to sync and go into a notebook of the same or different name. That allows you to keep your hub as Evernote and doesn't take people off of their workflows. One of the things especially as the owner of an integrated marketing agency that has been really powerful for me and my workflow are the sharing features in Evernote. To be able to create a notebook and share that content with someone else, and every time I drop something in that notebook to have them have access to it, has been really productive. I do this with co-workers, I do this with friends, I do this with clients and this just keeps my email flow at a minimum and allows me to really maximize the use of Evernote. The easiest way to share a notebook is by clicking on these three dots here and you just share that notebook. You can also share a note. The easiest way to share a note is by clicking share here, you can send it via work chat, an auto message or simply create a public link that anybody can use. You copy this, paste it, and send. So, as you can see, Evernote gives you the native features, the integrations, let you go beyond, but of all of this works to build out your most productive hub. So, we've identified our pain points, we've created our core hub, and now we've gone one step further. What's one thing that you can add to your current workflow that allows you to go further? Is it creating a automation system and if this then that, is it utilizing your custom Evernote email address to import your receipts? Figure out what you need to do to go one step further. 6. Final Thoughts: So, we've identified your pain points, built your core hub, and gone a little further. I hope I've inspired you to get started with Evernote or at least be a little more productive. I'd love to hear from you. Tell me your pain points, some integrations that you found, or just ask me some questions below. Thank you so much for taking this class, I really can't wait to see what you guys built. 7. More Productivity Classes on Skillshare: