Just as many are using springtime as a reason to do a little cleaning at home, it’s equally important to get organized and energized at the office. Luckily for me, I’ve found the perfect tool to keep me organized at home and at work. You’ll never find me scrambling to find a document, a to-do or a password. You’ll also find my email inbox delightfully empty. That’s right, empty.
Never fear, PR pros, this magic tool is free, easy-to-use and works with anybody’s workflow. I’m talking about Evernote.
If I had to guess, I’d say 85 percent of public relations operates out of e-mail. From pitching to internal communications, significant portions of our days are spent in our inboxes. When email became a staple in my day-to-day, it was a priority of mine to keep it clean and thoughtful. Why keep spam glaring at you in your inbox when you’re never going to use it? Why keep one-off emails with one sentence that simply cloud your view?
Personally, I hate email. I know… too bad, so sad; good luck living another day without receiving an email when you work in the communications field. That’s fine. I’ve got a system that keeps my inbox clean but still provides me with all of the essential information I need during my day-to-day. With Evernote’s e-mail-to-inbox feature, I send all pertinent info to my Evernote dashboard, where it gets filed into the correct client or administrative notebook. Say goodbye to digging through past conversations for notes on a meeting, or a nugget of info sent from your client. Everything I need from my email is stored and searchable in Evernote.
That brings me to my next pillar of organization: notebooks. How many of you have one spiral notebook per client? Or worse… one notebook with random notes from random meetings? How many times have you spent too much time digging through past notes looking for one, tiny detail that you wrote down weeks ago? Handwritten-note-takers, don’t worry, I’m not asking you to suddenly start typing all of your notes. You can still handwrite as many notes as you want. Evernote has a handy-dandy search function that searches not just typed text, but handwritten notes. Simply scan your paper, file it away to your designated client folder and use the search bar next time you have to look up that pesky detail.
I use one designated Evernote notebook per client where I keep meeting notes, ideas, relevant articles and more that I can easily refer to from anywhere. Client notebooks are especially helpful for long-term projects that require consistent details you find yourself referring back to. Keep legacy information filed away to refer to later like presentations, meeting recaps and even new business meeting notes.
Whatever you need, wherever you need it
Perhaps the most functional aspect of Evernote, especially for a PR person on the go, is cloud storage. With consistent syncing, I can access any note, anywhere. I can use my phone or an iPad to take notes outside the office, sync and have them waiting for me at my desk. Or, let’s say I need to pull a detail while I’m on-site with a client or at an event. If I store it in Evernote, I have it at my fingertips wherever I go.
An organizational tool like Evernote can be extremely intimidating, especially for someone who is comfortable operating in his or her email or on paper. My tip is to always start small. Keep your to-do lists in Evernote. Or even simpler, a grocery list. Save a piece of paper here and there, and you’ll see it starting to make an impact.
Eventually, you’ll be asking your co-workers to get on Evernote. Maybe that’s just me.