I have recently become addicted to this app/online tool called Evernote. I decided it was finally time to consolidate some of my files stored on Dropbox, Google Drive, my personal file server, and my laptop. We have so many options these days when it comes to digital tools, we start to become overwhelmed with choices and it becomes time-consuming to actually find these documents, which are spread out across multiple tools and storage locations. It’s difficult to find your files, because you don’t actually know where to start looking.

Now, Evernote is a cloud-based tool, like many others (Google Drive, Microsoft OneNote, etc.). These are trusted companies that will keep your documents safe and sound, but you never know what will happen. I always recommend keeping a soft copy of your most critical files (photos and legal documents, etc.) on your personal hard drive. I recommend doing yearly backups of these files onto another hard drive, which you keep disconnected from your computer (and internet) and stored in a safe place. This is so that you have a backup in case your accounts are ever hacked (either your cloud accounts or your personal laptop).

Also note, you should always keep your data encrypted on these drives, in case the drives are ever physically stolen. Truecrypt (although now an abandoned project) was a great tool to encrypt entire disk partitions, keeping your data safe and protected. Windows has BitLocker, and there are other tools out there. Be sure to use one of them.

So I have decided to consolidate all of the files that I do not need access to daily/weekly/monthly from the various cloud services to my hard drive storage (in an offline format). There is no need to keep these files in the cloud unless you need to access them at any time and frequently. Leaving files that you do not need on the cloud, just increases risk. So I guess you can think of services like Dropbox, Box, and Google, as tools to store documents that you plan to work on in the near future.

Now here is where Evernote comes into the picture. Evernote is not only a fantastic note-taking application that syncs data across your account on multiple devices, but it can do so much more. For example, you can take audio notes, easily drag and drop images and files to your notes, you can even take FaceTime Video messages for yourself. Doesn’t that sound very 2020-ish. Hah!

Even better, with their premium service (which you are really going to want), you can search within attached documents and scanned images. So basically take a photo of something (e.g. a written document) and drop it into your Evernote note and later when you are searching for that file or image, your Evernote search results should bring it up. It really helps you to quickly and easily find the information you are searching for. Evernote also has a very cool app called Scannable. In fact, Scannable is what got me back into using Evernote after I initially signed up several years ago. I was able to quickly digitize my paper documents, notebooks, and photos.

So the first thing I wanted to do was digitize some of the documents I had stored in my filing cabinet. I had a lot of paper documents that I had been storing for quite some time. In the past 5 years, I don’t think I ever looked at them, however, I wanted to keep them for reference. With the Scannable app, I was easily able to scan in all my documents and have them immediately accessible through any Evernote connected device.

The other nice thing about Evernote is you can use it to store small bits of information. For example, I can create a note about something, tag it with “Check out Later” and then I can easily bring up these note files with a quick search. You can also easily share notes with others. I share notes all the time with my wife. Such as a To-Do list, a shopping list, or when we plan the activities we will do on our next family vacation. There are all kinds of possibilities, be creative and figure out how Evernote can make your life easier!

Backup your data, digitize it, make it searchable, and enjoy the freedom of having that data accessible, anytime and anywhere!

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