Everything in Evernote: All Out

Today I’d like to discuss the initial results of my Everything in Evernote experiment.
In short: It has not gone well. Or it has gone exceedingly well…depending on your point of view.

The problem isn’t with Evernote, though. The problem is trying to use Evernote for so much more than what it really is for.

Evernote is ideal for notes. It can do a lot more than that, but in terms of what most people can (and will) use it for, it’s notes. Since taking on this experiment I’ve discovered a few other things about Evernote:

  • Once you’ve settled on a dedicated writing program (like Byword or Scrivener) for writing blog posts and the like, using Evernote for such things is impractical as it offers too much friction. The inability to write in Markdown alone turned out to be more of a hindrance than I’d imagined. I stopped writing in Evernote after two days — it just wasn’t working out for me. I could organize my writing, sure. But I couldn’t get it done nearly as efficiently or effectively.
  • Evernote is awesome for capturing moments. Evernote Food and Evernote Hello are awesome additions to the Evernote family — and the Smart Notebook is fantastic when used for mapping out ideas, taking notes, or for simple capture. I’ve taken to Evernote as a means to capture moments that can remain as moments or ideas that are simply in the initial phases. I can’t see Evernote as being mroe than that (i.e. turning those ideas into actions, etc.).
  • The new UI came at a bad time for me. Timing was an issue with this experiment. Trying to use The Secret Weapon system was problematic, and navigating my way through the new interface while trying to shoehorn in other things into Evernote made me start to hate Evernote on the whole. I decided to stop when that was happening because there’s a lot to love about Evernote. A whole lot.

So my Evernote experiment isn’t coming to an end, it just won’t be an “all in” approach going forward. Because it can’t be. It doesn’t do everything well, but it does do a lot well. I’ll keep using it for those things and find ways to make it do those things even better for me — and I’ll offer those updates throughout the rest of this month. And I’ll offer those updates with as much detail as possible, because I know many of you want to use Evernote as well as it can be used. While Evernote can be all you need to be productive — especially if you’ve yet to look at other options — it just simply can’t be used for everything once you have looked (and invested time) elsewhere.1

You see, a productivityist knows when to start and when to finish — and helps others do the same through taking on such experiments. Consider this one of those times where the finish line was much closer than I first imagined.

1 For those looking to dive in deeper in the meantime, Melanie Pinola at Lifehacker has put together an excellent post on Evernote that is well worth bookmarking for refereence both now and in the future.