Why Your Family Should Be Using Evernote Plus 5 Practical Uses


I absolutely love apps!  I love my Android phone, and the thousands of apps available to can help me be more productive, more organized, and entertained.

I’ve written in the past about a few of my favorite apps, but I’ve come to realize that one app surpasses them all for me.  That is my Evernote app!

I am borderline addicted to Evernote.  If you want to play a (really nasty) practical joke on me then lead me to believe the 3,000+ notes I have stored in Evernote have been lost or are no longer unaccessible.  It could probably end our friendship.  Seriously.  LOL.  No, seriously.

What is Evernote?

I forgive you if you are unaware of Evernote. 🙂  Basically Evernote is a cloud-based note taking tool, but you can do so much more with it.  When you set up a FREE account at Evernote.com, you have the ability to add notes, and organize your notes in notebooks and stacks (of notebooks).  Imagine your very own digital filing cabinet.  Notes are the files, notebooks are the folders you place your files in, and stacks are the drawers you organize your file folders in.

There are hundreds of uses for Evernote.  Create notes by typing directly into Evernote, clip web pages, capture snapshots, record audio notes, or attach files.  One of the best features is there is an app for almost every digital platform, and Evernote is cloud-based.  Desktop, Notebook, Tablet and Mobile devices.  No matter where you create and save a note, you can access and make updates anywhere. Create a note on your work computer, and you can access at the grocery store on the way home, then you can pull it up later on your home computer.

Why I use Evernote

When I first used Evernote I used it primarily as a note taking tool.  Then I learned many more practical uses.  Some of my top uses are tracking ideas for my blog posts, gift ideas for my wife and kids, goals and projects I am am working on, web content I want to access later, health and medical records, bible notes and studies, inspiring quotes, and any thought or note that I think I want to access later.

One reason it is so valuable to me is not only can I capture and remember anything that is important or relevant to me, but I can quickly and easily retrieve that info when I need it.  Evernote has a powerful search engine and tagging system.  Each note I create is placed in a notebook, which is inside a relevant stack, and I tag that note.  The combination of tags and Evernote search give me the ability to find the info I am looking for in a matter of seconds.

Why your family should use Evernote

As mentioned with Evernote you can capture any and everything that is important or relevant to the things in your life, and you can easily locate them later when needed.  You can also share it with your family. The share feature just takes Evernote to the next level.  It allows both spouses, and the kids if necessary, to have access to important information at all time, anywhere.

When you have the premium version of Evernote (only $5/month or $45/year) you can collaborate on notes created by either person.  So let’s look at some practical examples for you and your family.

5 practical uses of Evernote for your family

1. Grocery and gift lists. Create a grocery list, complete with check boxes, and share it with your spouse.  One of you happens to make an unexpected stop at the store, and pulls up the grocery list noticing some things are needed.  He/she can pick those up, and save you a trip later that day or week.

You can also do this with gift idea lists.  Anytime my kids (or wife) say they want this or that, or I come across something I want for them I take a picture and save it in an Evernote that I can pull up when trying to find the perfect gift.  It can be shared so my wife can access it as well.

2. Health records.  You have a sick child who needs to visit the doctor.  Mom usually takes the kids to the doctor because she is most familiar with the symptoms.  Something comes up and mom cannot take “Junior“, so dad has to take him.  With Evernote mom can create a note containing the symptoms he has been having, share it with dad, and dad can accurately relay that info to the doctor.  Without looking like he has no clue what is going on at home! 🙂

In addition to that, if you need to show an insurance card, prior to the visit mom could take a photo of the front and back of the insurance card and save it in Evernote, so the doctor’s office can verify any information they need to.

Side note: This can also be used for an elderly parent.  Create health record notes, and save all pertinent medical records, insurance info, billing, etc.

3. Recipes.  My wife and I are slowly moving toward complete plant-based/raw food eating.  Coming up with recipes is critical.  I constantly come across vegetarian and raw food recipes that sound and look good.  Each recipe can be captured by clipping from the web, taking a picture, or saving a file.

It can then be placed in a shared Evernote notebook and tagged with something like “Plant-based recipes“. Now when my wife is looking for ideas to prepare a meal, she can open up her Evernote account, and search for the “Plant-based recipes” tag.  Any recipe she has placed in there or I have placed in there will be available to her.

4. Receipts and tax records.  In our family I am usually the person who handles the finances, budges, and tax records.  In the past we ran into problems of purchases not being recorded in our financial software, or accounts being out of balance at the time I reconciled the accounts.  Many times that was a result of just not getting the purchase info/receipt to record the transaction.  It could be my wife forgot to give it to me, or she gave it to me and I lost it.  To solve the problem, we used Evernote.

If either of us made a debit card purchase which needed to be recorded then we took a picture, and emailed it to my personal Evernote email address, with a specific subject (this made them easier to search and find later).  The emailed photo of the receipt would automatically be saved as an Evernote, and I could access it using he search feature when I recorded transactions or reconciled our accounts.  If we changed roles she’d have the same info available.  Problem solved.

Side note: If your accountant needs to see business receipts this same method can be used to shared with your accountant via sharing a unique URL that allows him/her to view.

5. Scrapbook or Keepsake.  We are a family of five.  Which means there are five birthdays every year and plenty of cards to go with them.  Many times the cards we receive are special, and something we’d like to keep to be looked at sometime in the future.  Well 12+ years of that and you either have to say I am not keeping any cards or stack physical boxes in the garage, attic or something.  Overtime they can get lost, damaged, or you just run out of space.  Enter Evernote.

Take a pic of the card or whatever keepsake you want to remember and save it in Evernote.  Tag it, organize it in a notebook, stack the notebook, and it is there for you to look at anytime you want, without taking up any physical space.  Just think of your kids science projects and school projects.  This is great for keeping the memory of these items, without taking the space.

What can you imagine? You can put it in Evernote

These are really just a few great uses of Evernote for families.  The uses of Evernote are truly only limited by your own imagination and creativity.  They are endless.  If you are not using Evernote for your family, you should begin to immediately and begin to better organize your family life.

Whether you are just getting started with Evernote, or have been a long-time user, I suggest buy Brian Kelly’s awesome and very practical e-book, Evernote Essentials, Second Edition.  It is very much worth the money, and worth setting aside a couple hours to work through the 95 pages.  It will save you many hours and even days of learning Evernote and help you get the absolute max out of Evernote.

Question: Are you an Evernote user?  If so, what are some of the ways you have used Evernote? Please share in the comment section below.

Aug 16, 2012