I am pretty convinced at this point in my life (age 43) that my brain is full. I have noticed that with each new piece of information, something old disappears. Sort of like culling cows. Low producing information gets culled to make room for fresh information. The problem is, I don’t have control over which information gets culled like I do on the dairy. Fortunately, there is a way to increase your information capacity even if your dairy is capped.
Enter Evernote, a digital notebook that helps you remember just about everything in your business and personal life. You can capture and store documents, typed notes, voice notes, photos, videos, and more in one central place across all your devices. Evernote can be used on mobile phones and the web, and has desktop applications for Windows and Mac. You can also share notes with other people which means Evernote is a great collaboration tool.
Evernote allows you to organize information using notebooks and tags so your data is easy to find. Here are a few ways I utilize Evernote every day on the dairy and farm:
Feed: Every time I make a feed purchase or agree to a contract I follow up with an email to create a paper trail. I forward emails to my Evernote account and store them in my Business:Dairy:Feed notebook.
Employees: Inside the Business:Employees notebook I keep a note for each employee. I track job performance, reprimands, bonuses, vacation days and other details in there. When an employee is written up for something like a safety violation, I will scan and attach a reprimand form with their signature to their Evernote file.
Equipment: Each piece of equipment gets its own note in the Business:Equipment notebook. These notes contain information like a PDF version of the owner’s manual, filter numbers, and a history of service and repairs. I share this note with my farm manager.
Fields: Tillage passes, seed purchases, fertilizer and herbicide applications, yield data, and pest problems are all kept in my Business:Farm:Fields notebook. Occasionally I’ll record a voice note about some idea I have for next year’s crop.
Special projects: Recently we installed a return pump in a new field. I used Evernote to take pictures of the project site, store brochures and clipped websites of potential equipment purchases, keep bids and email from the contractors, and the spreadsheet I created for cost analysis. Once I had fixed on the equipment and contractor, I simply forwarded them the pertinent information I had collected right from my Evernote account.
Thanks to Evernote I am free to stuff my brain with worthless information (like watching “The Bachelor” with my wife) without fear of giving up something important (like remembering her birthday)!
Third party tools to extend Evernote’s functionality. These apps and many more can be found in the Evernote Trunk.
Skitch is a drawing and photo annotation tool that lets you sketch an idea, add notes, arrows and more to photos, maps and screenshots.
Web Clipper is a great bookmark replacement. The little green elephant icon sits in your toolbar and you can clip sections of a Web page, just the URL or the entire page. As you clip it, you can add tags, place it in a specific notebook, and make comments.
EchoSign lets you electronically sign documents and keep them in your Evernote account.
ScanBizCards does what the name says: it scans your business cards and extracts the contact information.