Evernote is a big part of my workflow. I use it to hold my ideas until I’m ready to do something tangible with them. I use it in conjunction with Todoist all the time, and I even used it to build my CreativeLive course.
And I also use Evernote for meetings.
Now I know there are plenty of services out there that you can use for meeting organization. But there comes a time where you need to decide whether you want to use a service for only one thing or whether you can use something you’re already using for many things. Sure, a meeting organization tool or service is going to be useful right out of the gate without any sort of manipulation, but you still need to learn how to use it effectively. But if you’re already using Evernote (or are a user but don’t use it enough), why not modify it to serve your meeting needs?
It doesn’t have to be an all or nothing solution, either. You can use a meeting tool alongside Evernote if you want (or need) to. For example, the meeting service Do has integration with Evernote that allows meetings to be exported for easy access. Meeting minutes are exported to a notebook dedicated exclusively to Do content. (Do is free to use in its most basic iteration and you can sign up for it here.)
But you really don’t need to use a service like Do (or even LessMeeting) to use Evernote as a meeting information hub. I decided a while ago that for most of my meetings, I don’t need such a tool. In fact, my wife and I dive into Evernote every time we have the one meeting I strive to have weekly: The FFFing Meeting.
Evernote Meetings Case Study #1: The FFFing Meeting
The FFFing Meeting is one where my wife and I discuss Finance, Food, and Family. We schedule these meetings so that when we have time to spend together we aren’t sprinkling our casual conversations with important discussions revolving around these three important areas of household management.
The FFFing Meeting is also a play on words because meetings can often be a source of complaints rather than a time of constructive collaboration. But let’s just stick with the idea that the three fs stand for those areas I mentioned above, okay? 😉
So… where does Evernote fit in?
- Finance: When it comes to the Finance part of our FFFing Meeting, I integrate a form of Zapier automation into the Evernote mix. With Zapier I’m able to connect Xero (where our incoming invoices are generated) to Evernote and bring in details of any invoices that we have drafted up. Then we can discuss them and look at when we can expect payment on them, which gives us a decent understanding of our finances. Once the invoice is paid, I can delete the note – but I usually wait until getting confirmation from Anne on that and then delete it during our next meeting.
- Food: I’ve been storing recipes in Evernote for years and this has made integrating the Food component of our meetings very easy. When we are planning our meals for the week, I can refer to any recipes we have in Evernote – usually clipped by me with the Evernote Web Clipper after my wife Anne sends them to me via Facebook Messenger. Then I can either print them off if she wants or break out my iPad Mini when cooking so I can see them there. I’ve also taken to scanning recipes with Scannable, especially when choosing recipes out of our existing recipe books. It doesn’t happen all the time, and the main reason I do it is to keep track of the recipes we’ve made before. Another benefit of using Evernote for storing recipes is that I can copy and paste ingredients we need to purchase into a new note that houses our grocery list. Then I can print that note off for Anne to use when she goes shopping. (I’d go and do the shopping, but I tend to buy more than we need when I do, so Anne likes to keep my grocery shopping to a minimum.)
- Family: The final aspect of the FFFing Meeting involves planning for Family items, and Evernote doesn’t factor in as much here. There are occasions where I’ll have information stored in Evernote that I can find when needed – things like my son Colton’s t-ball schedule and the inventory of the storage totes that we keep our camping gear in – but I spend more time in Evernote with the first two parts of The FFFing Meeting (Finance and Food) than with Family matters.
But I don’t just use Evernote for personal meetings…
Evernote Meetings Case Study #2: Productivityist Coaching
Every time I have a session with a Productivityist Coaching client, I use Evernote in some form or another.
I record all of my notes on paper as the call progresses, which allows me to focus more on the call and less on the keys. When a coaching call is over, then I scan the page from the notebook (using Scannable) to get it into Evernote.
I don’t use the full names of clients in Evernote due to privacy reasons, so each client has a corresponding number along with my initials next to that number so I know that they are my client (as we expand Productivityist Coaching to new coaches I want to be able to differentiate clients by coach as well – that way I’m future-proofing the system for scalability).
I’ll forward email correspondence with clients to Evernote as well (deleting personal information once the emails land in Evernote the first time). This allows me to gather all of my information on clients in their own notebook. All of my Productivityist Coaching clients’ notebooks are stacked into the broader Productivityist Coaching notebook stack, with non-client notebooks having an asterisk placed in front their names so that they appear prior to any client notebooks in the stack.
I create agendas in Evernote with checklists to mark off what we discussed during a call and then use that to craft the follow-up Recap Email I send to each client within 24 hours of a session. I can keep track of when items were discussed in our session history in Evernote as well. Every piece of information related to Productivityist Coaching that isn’t personal sits in Evernote, allowing me to create better meetings with my clients.
The Staggering Versatility of Evernote
With aspects of Evernote like Work Chat (which can be useful for meeting preparation, among other things), companion apps like Scannable (which now resides on my iPhone’s home page), and its ability to integrate with many of the other apps and services I use (Scrivener for my long form writing, Drafts on iOS for capturing ideas, automations galore through IFTTT and Zapier), there’s good reason to see if Evernote can handle whatever your needs may be. When it comes to meetings, Evernote is all I really need. Is it all you really need too?
I’d say it’s worth a try.