The Evernote Challenge (2023)
I have looked at many notetaking apps out there on the market. I have watched hours and hours of YouTubers showing off their Personal Knowledge Management Systems (PKMs) and how they spend their time with the application of choice. It’s interesting how people organise their lives. I’m under no illusion that their method might not work for others. Everyone has their way of doing things. I was surprised to learn that the author of Building a Second Brain, Tiago Forte, uses Evernote. His content, articles, newsletter and advice are inspiring, and Evernote is his choice. What? I have to be honest here. I was surprised because Evernote does not exactly have an excellent reputation as late.
After reading more of Tiago’s articles, part two of his book and more YouTube videos, I get it now. We create a knowledge garden where we cultivate our ideas and develop our own thinking. I have been running different ‘productivity’ apps, thinking they would make me more productive. In fact, it was quite the opposite because I did not give them time to develop and cultivate my own style of knowledge capturing and organisation. My digital collection was spread over five different apps, and I didn’t remember where everything is stored. So, I thought to myself, could I rely on one product and stick with it? You need at least 30 days to get the hang of the system and at least months of persistent use to understand how the system suits your needs. I have spent a week amalgamating my notes into Evernote.
Could I spend a year with Evernote?
If Evernote is good for Tiago Forte, it is good enough for me. Since Evernote’s acquisition by Bending Spoons, I have had a close eye on Evernote and what it has to offer. I’ve been switching between Obsidian, Notion, Logseq, Standard Notes and Amplenote over the past year. These are all excellent notetaking tools for the masses. However, I wanted to try something with enough tools to help me capture, organise, distill and express. Evernote has tools such as tasks, calendar integration, code blocks, templates and great attachment support. I seriously miss the Evernote web clipper because it was a tool I used a lot over the years, especially when I wanted to read an article on the go. Now I can add task reminders, so the article is noticed amongst all my notes. Reading Tiago’s explanation of notetaking styles, I am clearly a Librarian even if I think I am cool enough to be an Architect. I just want something to work without having to design it.
Evernote is a compelling and versatile note-taking app that helps you to keep your thoughts, ideas, and todos organised. With Evernote, you can capture, store, and organise notes, reminders, images, webpages, documents and more all in one place. The features are expanding with each version. They have recently added the ability to easily link notes together by pressing a keyboard shortcut or through the add menu.
Here are five reasons why you could consider Evernote as your note-taking software of choice:
- Sync Across Devices: Evernote automatically syncs your data across all devices and platforms, making it incredibly easy to access your information from any device. Evernote makes backups of all your notes and data.
- Organise Data: Evernote allows you to quickly organise your notes and data into notebooks, tags, and reminders so that you can easily find what you need. You can even collaborate with others on shared notebooks.
- Write and Capture Ideas: With Evernote’s powerful editing tools, you can quickly write and capture your ideas. And Evernote also has a robust search function, making it easy to find notes and data quickly.
- Keep All Important Info in One Place: With Evernote, you can store all your essential information in one place, making it easy to access and reference.
- Easy to Use and Free: Evernote is straightforward and free to use for essential use, making it one of the most popular note-taking and organising apps. Subscribe to personal or professional versions to unlock better features.
If you’re looking for a powerful and easy-to-use note-taking app, you should consider Evernote. Its power, versatility, and ease of use make it perfect for capturing, organising, and storing your data. However, I would suggest Amplenote as the best alternative if you want cross-platform notetaking that treats all devices equally. Amplenote, for me, has the best-unified experience over Evernote. And yes, it works on Linux and Chromebooks.
One reason people may not like Evernote because of its subscription-based pricing model, which has become complicated and pricier over the years. Evernote offers a free version, but users must purchase a monthly or annual subscription to access the app’s more powerful features. The free offering only allows up to two devices. Additionally, some users may find Evernote’s interface and feature set more complicated than other notetaking apps due to its numerous features. Finally, Evernote’s lack of real-time collaborative editing options can limit the effectiveness of its sharing and syncing capabilities.
In my opinion, Evernote hasn’t aged well, with more competitors coming out each year. When you look online for media coverage, the users are not exactly young. Maybe Evernote needs a new vision to attract a younger audience. Evernote has focused on locking people into the system instead of producing something people want to stay within its services. Unless things drastically change, I can’t see a future for the company, even with its vast fanbase. There’s too much choice out the now. I have been working with Evernote for a week currently. My annual review has been put in place, and I took in the experience of using Evernote for roughly two hours daily. Here is what I came across:
First impressions of Evernote
- The new features are superb. As of this writing, I am using 10.45.2 on my Chromebook, iPad and iPhone, which includes adding links to other notes and choosing what notes and folders work offline.
- There are plenty of shortcut keys to remember to make the experience fluid.
- The application is faster than a year ago (but enough).
- Tasks pack more features than ever, like recurring events and location reminders.
- Templates help guide users to better practices.
- Search looks for words within sketches and PDF files.
- You can now see attachments as titles or previews.
- Plenty of support in the community (Youtube, Discord, Twitter, and Facebook).
- Sync is still slower than expected, especially after using Obsidian and Amplenote.
- Unable to multi-select notes to merge on Android for ChromeOS.
- I’m not happy that the notes are linear. My brain and ideas expand and interconnect.
- Bi-directional linking is not available. Links can add it manually.
- Occasionally, the app has an unresponsive notepad on iOS and Android.
- I’m not impressed with the slowness of inputting into my daily jot. I press on the notepad, and it does not respond.
- There needs to be less reliance on GTD templates.
- No markdown support or markdown export options.
- Limited choice of pen types for sketches.
- No coloured syntax for code blocks.
- Limited PDF annotation tools and complicated to operate on Android.
- Quick note shortcut not available on Chromebooks.
- Full desktop experience only on Mac and Windows.
- Synchronisation is slow (like super slow)
- Upselling on all editions from the side panel.
- The file format is proprietary (.enex) and difficult to handle outside the Evernote software, unlike markdown or any other open standard.
- No synchronisation button to force recent changes (all versions)
- The Chromebook experience feels neglected.
- No movement on the Linux beta programme (silent community too)
- A professional subscription is needed to add page numbers to a PDF.
So far, the experience of switching to Evernote has been mostly negative. I’m not pessimistic. I can’t avoid the fact one of the world’s most popular, well-established productivity applications has fundamental flaws. I will love Evernote as I did many years ago.
Evernote with Todoist
Evernote can integrate with Todoist to enhance organisation, collaboration, and task management. By connecting Evernote and Todoist, users can easily access notes, tasks and reminders from within the Evernote platform. The integration makes organising ideas, collaborating with team members, and managing tasks easier. Additionally, users can set reminders within Evernote to be synchronised to Todoist. This integration also makes it easy to stay current on tasks and deadlines. Lastly, Evernote and Todoist make it easy to collaborate on projects with team members with shared notes, tasks and reminders. I will test it out, but for now, I will use Todoist for my main and reoccurring tasks. Evernote will be used for project tasks.
If the whole experiment is a disaster, I plan to move back to Amplenote unless another application improves by the end of 2023. I hope the experience with Evernote goes well and I don’t have to switch once again. I’m counting on the Evernote team and Bending Spoons to develop a robust and trustworthy contender in a busy marketplace for productivity applications. I will be blogging and tweeting about my experiences along the way if you choose to follow me through the journey.
My first impression on Youtube — Episode 1 of Switching to Evernote
Originally published at https://minimlr.com on January 1, 2023.