Evernote Revisited: Perfect DIY Companion


Back in early March, I revisited Fluid for Mac OS X. Today I’m making the rounds with old software friends again (well, not that old), this time with Evernote. I tried Evernote when it first came out for Mac. I was most excited about the ability to free-text search business cards, receipts and other docs that I had snapped with my iSight camera. Alas, I could never quite get that to work well for me, and it was more a hassle than help. This one problem caused me to reject Evernote entirely. I tried again when the first iPhone version came out, but it was buggy and yet again, didn’t take hold in my daily workflow.

I recently started a massive landscaping project at my house. It involves removing a lot of plant material, moving some plants, and adding new ones. It also involves putting in a new driveway, parking court and patio, as well as a new privacy fence. To get everything we want, I’m serving as general contractor, and I needed a single place to store notes, shopping lists, links to websites with products or inspiration, task lists, and more. On a whim, I launched Evernote and got the latest update. It fit the bill perfectly.

To manage all of this project’s information, I set up a notebook in the sidebar for the whole project, and I’m using individual notes for sub-projects. For example, we want a privacy fence that fits the historic character of our neighborhood (1880-1930) but also reflects our own, more modern sensibility.

This is a challenge, so I’m collecting links and photos of various fence designs in a single note, along with names, phone numbers, and price quotes from materials suppliers and installers. Getting info into Evernote via the menu bar icon and keyboard shortcuts is a snap, and I can organize and format to improve readability and findability. I’ve also linked external files, including the Numbers spreadsheet I’m using to track expenses.

Perhaps the best thing about my re-introduction to Evernote, especially as it relates to this project, is the iPhone version. Often, I’ll find myself near a nursery or other supplier, and I can call up Evernote to show an example of what I’m looking for or a shopping list for plants and supplies. I also love the photo and voice note capabilities.

A few times recently, my wife and I have seen examples of something we like that we might want to incorporate into our landscape, so I simply create a Snapshot note to add to the project notebook. The current version of the iPhone app is not buggy like I remember earlier versions. I have to say, I’m really looking forward to using Evernote on my iPad 3G, especially since all my notes are automatically sync’d to all my devices.

I’m glad to have become re-acquainted with Evernote. It’s making it easier for me to create, store, organize and retrieve notes when and where I need them.

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