Back-to-back conferences took me from Baltimore to Los Angeles to Denver and then back to Baltimore over a period of 2 weeks this fall. That led me to thinking about these 4 travel-related Evernote uses to enhance productivity: (1) keeping track of travel reservations and receipts, (2) catching up on reading while en route, (3) chronicling the journey, and (4) making the most of time spent in conference sessions.
1. Tracking Reservations and Receipts
One challenge of a relatively long, multi-modal trip is keeping track of reservations, e-tickets, and receipts. Having a system for tracking receipts is especially important if you will be reimbursed for incurred expenses or you plan to deduct them on your taxes.
As I made the reservations for my trip, I used the “web clipper” feature of Evernote to clip reservation confirmations from the web and from Gmail into Evernote. I carefully tagged each one with the tag I created especially for this trip, “>2017 Rally,” as shown in the note for Amtrak, below. (I discuss the web clipper and tags in more detail in this post
). Doing that ensured that if I wanted to quickly find all of the information related to the trip, I simply had to search in Evernote for that tag. I also used a “who” tag, “*ns” and a “what” tag, “.travel_conf_training” to be able to quickly find everything related to my travel for my nonprofit, NeighborSpace, for budgeting purposes. Finally, I put the note in my “Receipts” notebook, for easy access and analysis when it comes time to do my taxes.
After I had made all of the hotel and transportation reservations, I created a new note in Evernote containing my itinerary. Because every note created in Evernote has a unique URL, I was able to link the notes containing each separate travel arrangement back to the itinerary note. So, for example, to create the link to my Amtrak reservations, I just clicked on “Share Note,” as shown above, to get the hyperlink. By blocking the Amtrak train information, below, and clicking on “Format” and then “Hyperlink,” I was then able to paste the URL creating the hyperlink that you see below.
In the Android version of Evernote on my smartphone, I next highlighted the itinerary note and on the options menu selected, “Add to Home Screen.” In this way, all of my tickets, reservations and destination addresses were just a click away, as shown below.
Evernote is also great for tracking travel receipts, particularly if you will be reimbursed for ground transportation and meals or you are planning to deduct these items on your taxes. In the screenshot image above, you can see that I have what is called an Evernote “widget” on the home screen of my smartphone. If I click on the camera icon within the Evernote widget, Evernote will use my smartphone’s camera to capture an image, as shown below. I can then add appropriate tags and save the new note to my “Receipts” notebook as shown below. I do this before I ever leave a restaurant because it can be accomplished quickly and prevents me from junking up my wallet with a lot of receipts.
2. Catching Up on Reading
Often when I’m reviewing content for posting on social media or going through email, I’ll come across something that I really want to read at a later time. Evernote can be a great tool for capturing these items and storing them so that you can easily find them later. Once again, the web clipper comes in handy. After you have clipped the item into Evernote, you can tag it for purposes of being able to find and use it later. I place all of my reading in an Evernote notebook called “READ LATER.” One example of the kinds of things I frequently clip is articles related to future posts on this blog, as shown below. Another Evernote feature I make use of with “read later” items is that I sync the “READ LATER” notebook locally across my devices. This means that if I am sitting on a plane without access to the Internet, I will still be able to access all of the items in the “READ LATER” notebook and make the best use of idle time.
3. Chronicling the Journey
I like to take a break from work when I’m traveling on business and get out and see new places. And I find I enjoy myself more when I document my travels. What do I mean by that? I keep visual notes, including some images and some text. Evernote is the perfect tool for this.
I store photos taken on my smartphone in Google Photos and I’m pretty fastidious about organizing them in subfolders. Using the method described above for creating a hyperlink in Evernote, I can link my Google Photos folders back to Evernote, as shown in the note below containing information about my recent trip to Los Angeles.
I find these notes particularly helpful when I visit a place more than once as a way of refreshing my memory about what I saw previously and where I might want to go next.
4. Making the Most of Time Spent in Conference Sessions
Getting the most out of a conference session or field trip is all about paying attention, taking good notes, and reviewing the material later to consider how to put it to use in your own work. Evernote is perfect for these tasks. I typically create one note for each session or field trip stop. Within that note, there will be photos taken with Evernote camera feature, notes I’ve written using the handwriting to text feature of Evernote on the Samsung Galaxy Note 8, and even recorded audio. This combination of features makes for very rich notetaking, as shown in the note below. As session presentations or handouts become available online, you can download them or just create a link to them in the same note you used while attending the session.
A final thing I like to do at the end of a conference, typically on the plane while returning home, is to create a “Postcard from [name the conference]” in Evernote for my board members and colleagues. The “postcard” is simply a table of contents with links to the notes from all of the sessions I attended, as shown below. Because this table of contents note also has its own URL, I can easily share it with my colleagues in an email.
As you can see, Evernote is my trusted companion. In fact, it’s my other brain. There are free and paid versions of Evernote and you can learn more about them here
. If you’re ready to become an Evernote user, click here
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