How I use Evernote | BEDA [11/30]

Today is another student-y post, but today, I’m focusing on the academic side of things. This is a brief introduction to how I use Evernote – and why it’s become a crucial tool for me while I do my postgrad.

If you’ve never heard of it, Evernote is an app and a website that is predominantly used for note-taking and organising documents. I use it on my phone, and then in browser, both on my personal laptop and on the various computers I use at uni. You log in, and your information is right there, just as you left it – its the epitome of convenience.

Firstly, your documents are divided into ‘notebooks’, in which are various ‘notes’ that you can curate as you wish. If like me you are working on a dissertation, or something similar, I recommend having a few different notebooks for different purposes – at the very least, one where you keep the actual drafts of your work, and one where you keep notes from your readings. I also have one for film notes, and for any online journals and articles – obviously, depending on your subject, you can adapt this as you wish.

In my first notebook, I keep all kinds of different drafts of various chapters of my dissertation. This is where Evernote really comes into its own; I can be working on something on my laptop, leave for uni, and when I get to the library all I need to do is log on and that work is there immediately. I know there are a bunch of different cloud storage systems that do similar things, but this has the added benefit of everything being in one place, without worrying about syncing, or opening multiple files. It’s just so clean and user friendly.

In my second notebook, I keep notes. Dissertations, especially postgraduate ones, require so much reading, so here, I put any notes and quotes I need from the millions of resources I need to use. If you want to break them down, you could have separate notebooks for different topics; find what works for you, and roll with it until you perfect your system.

My last few hints and tips are in bullet point form, because I’m too lazy to actually write this bit up properly:

  • Take photos of your books! If there are whole paragraphs that you think are useful, Evernote has a wonderful feature that will make taking pictures of your notes clear and readable. It integrates them easily into your notes.
  • Use bullet points. This tip isn’t exclusive to Evernote, but you can write general bits here, then
    • something a bit more specific here,
      • followed by any really gritty details here,
    • and so on.
    • As an aside, the formatting in Evernote makes this look so sleek. It satisfies my inner organisation nerd every time.
  • Take notes using your phone. If you’re having trouble getting motivated, grabbing a book and using the speech-to-text function on your phone is a really good way to be lazy while maintaining some kind of productivity.
  • Put the full references for all your resources in your notes. Take notes of the page numbers, always. Don’t get into a last minute referencing panic and for god’s sake, don’t accidentally plagarize.
  • Create a new note every time you change, edit, or write more of your drafts. Put a new date on them every time. That way, even if you cut something and change your mind later, you’ve still got a copy of it somewhere.

 

I’m sure there are dozens of other tips I could come up with, if it weren’t 23:48 and I didn’t want to catch up with Broadchurch. Sorry.

Basically, I really recommend Evernote, and I hope you’ll give it a try if you haven’t already. It’s incredibly easy to get a good note-taking system going, and it’s so flexible, I think almost anyone can make it work for them.

 

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