How I use Evernote for work

screenshot of Evernote and how I hit 1,000 notes

A majority of the notes (out of 1,000) are used in a work journal. Every day I write just about everything that happened that day while at work.

It’s hard to describe how incredibly useful it is to keep a work journal. It gives you the power to confidently answer all questions about what you did last week, yesterday, or an hour ago, and to defend yourself if a problem or discrepancy ever arises.

The journal is also a personal development tool and helps to keep you focused doing what you need to get done. It helps you be accountable for your own actions. It also helps you to know where you made mistakes and where you succeeded. It also helps you to write weekly reports.

Here’s how I format my daily work journal entries:
Title = Today’s date, fully written out. The Windows version takes the first line of your note for the title, so I make my first line of the note the date.
Second line = blank.
Third line = First thing I did that day. Notes contain times, people, phone numbers, quotes from sent and received emails, times of sent and received emails, email addresses, URLs, and details of completed tasks. I only use common abbreviations; I don’t abbreviate names. I want to be able to search for it. Like a web developer, I throw in extra keywords so that I can always find the note even if I don’t remember exactly which word I chose.

I write in the past tense. I know I completed these tasks because 1) they’re in the list, and 2) I wrote about them in the past tense.

After the day’s notes, I insert another blank line. On the next line I write “TODO” (to do). What follows is a list of things I need to do. I usually start this list at the beginning of the day and it contains things I need to do that day and the following days. Since I return to Evernote quite often to update the day’s journal entry, I’m always looking at the TODO list.

I write items here in the present or future tenses. I often start items with “Need to…” As I complete tasks in the TODO list, I cut the text and paste it at the bottom of the main note above. When I paste them, I convert present and future tense words to their past tense form so I know for sure I completed the task.

Since I look at my current note and notes in the recent past on a daily basis, I tend to put lots of ideas, random thoughts, and general note taking (non-journal or diary material) in the daily note. To separate these, I create categories within my notes and capitalize all the letters (like TODO, or IDEA, or PARK DISTRICT). I put them in all caps so I can easily spot them as category sections.


6 Responses to “How I use Evernote for work”

  1. 1 tim morrison January 20, 2010 at 12:24 pm

    Thank you for this Steven…been wanting to incorporate this in Evernote for a while.
    Id be doing this on my device as I’m up and a out all day.
    is it possible that you could send me an example of a typical note(s) in this format?

  2. 2 tim morrison January 21, 2010 at 10:33 am

    Hi been trying to visualize how to do this with evernote.
    Need to journal on the go on my device.
    Could you send me a few examples of your notes set up this way?
    appreciate it
    tim morrison

    • 3 Steven Vance January 21, 2010 at 7:26 pm

      I realized when writing this that without a visual demonstration, it would be hard to understand my method. Working on sending you an example note.

    • 4 Steven Vance January 22, 2010 at 10:09 am

      Tim, here’s the link to the example note:

  3. 5 Karolyne | EmpoweringTech February 19, 2011 at 6:51 am

    What a simple, useful idea. Thanks for sharing. I switch back and forth between two jobs and this will also help to bring me back up to speed when I restart.

  1. 1 Example Evernote journal entry for work « Odds and ends Trackback on January 21, 2010 at 7:51 pm

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