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How Evernote can change the way you work in youth ministry


Going paperless is completely possible with Evernote

This post is part of the Time Management in Youth Ministry seriesEvernote is one app that has truly changed the way I work. Not only that, but since I started using it about two years ago, it has saved me a considerable amount of time, energy and frustration. In a previous post I discussed 3 great ways to use Evernote in youth ministry. Today I’d like to show you how Evernote can change the way you work.

Go paperless

A year and a half ago, my husband and I decided to go paperless as much as we could. We bought a Fujitsu ScanSnap, a portable mobile scanner that scans all paper formats like crazy (take note that we own the Mac version of the ScanSnap, there’s another ScanSnapfor pc users).

And we tested it to the limit, feeding it every bit of paper we could find: policies, official correspondence, college notes, readers, conference proceedings, newspaper or magazine clippings, handwritten summaries from books, handwritten notes from sermons, courses and conferences, recipes, correspondence from friends over the years, bills, business cards, minutes from meetings, old spiritual diaries, mind maps I’ve made over the years, copies of important documents (passport, driver’s license, birth certificate) and much, much more.

By now, we have scanned over 35,000 papers and every time something new on paper comes in that we want to keep, we scan it. We’ve only kept hard copies on paper of the most important things (like current insurance policies) and everything else we’ve simply thrown out. I. Love. It. The ScanSnap (we affectionately call it Snappy) isn’t cheap, but it’s been worth every dollar so far.

Info is always and everywhere accessible

As youth leaders, we don’t just work from one place. We may have an office, but we also work from home, we go to meetings in other people’s houses or in the church building, we meet in Starbucks or MacDonald’s. With Evernote, that means you never have to carry around bulky files or binders, all you need is your notebook or a smart phone. All your stuff is in one place, no more searching for conference notes, business cards, contact info, correspondence, or minutes from meetings. And if the pastor wants to know how you’re doing budget-wise, you’ll be able to tell him on the spot instead of doing the whole ‘I’ll have to get back to you’ dance.

Order instead of chaos

Evernote is the number one reason why my desk is nearly always clutter free. No more post its or notes, because all my to do items go directly into Evernote. No more papers lying around, because they’re all scanned and stored into Evernote. It’s just me, my Mac and Evernote (and Snappy of course J).

No more losing things

You’ll need two piles: one with stuff you’ll need to scan and the other with stuff that is scanned and can be thrown away. If you just keep up with both, you’ll never lose time by having to search for anything ever again. And the days of losing paperwork are over.

One inbox

In another post I explained some basic principles of the Getting Things Done method, which I am a big fan of. One of those principles is that you create as few inboxes as possible to collect all your ‘stuff’, everything that you need to look at. Well, Evernote is my one inbox. Everything I come across that I have to deal with in some way, I put into Evernote. I forward emails that require action, scan documents I need to read or do something with, etc. It allows me to have complete overview of my to do lists in one app.

Okay, enough said. I’ll climb off my Evernote-horse now and let you decide for yourself.

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0 thoughts on “How Evernote can change the way you work in youth ministry

  1. I have been using Evernote more and more each day. I am still learning new ways to use this great tool in my daily youth ministry world.

    When you talk about knowing how you are doing on your budget in case your pastor asks, can you explain this a little more? How are you tracking your budget in Evernote?

    Thanks for the great advice!

    1. Hey Jason, thanks for stopping by…Glad to hear you have discovered Evernote as well! Here’s how I use Evernote to keep track of my budget: every seperate expense is logged in Evernote, either as a direct note, a scanned bill or receipt, a forwarded email bill/receipt or in whatever way is practical. In my notebook Youth Ministry I have a subfolder for all ‘management stuff’ (finances, action plans, statregic plans, that kind of stuff) and I have an Excel file in there with my budget overview. Every time you update it, Evernote automatically updates the file as well. That way, I always have quick access to my budget stuff. Now if I want to update my budget, I simply open the file from Evernote, check all the seprate notes with expenses and log them. I can then choose to delete them (because for the most part I need to keep a hard copy for tax reasons) or to keep them. In the last case I tag them and throw them in my general youth ministry notebook and I’m done. Hope that’s helpful!

  2. […] I come across that I have to do something with goes into my inbox. My digital inbox is in Evernote. If I have something digital that requires action, I put it into Evernote. Even emails that take me […]

  3. […] I hope by now you have an idea of what Evernote can do for you. I’ll devote another post to how Evernote can change the way you work in youth ministry. […]

  4. Hey Rachel!

    Your website is sooooo stinkin helpful! Thank you so much!

    I had a quick question tho. Is there anyway you could post a picture of your evernote notebooks and stacks and such where it shows all of the areas you try and keep organized. I think a visual would really help me out!! Thanks so much!

    1. Thanks Dustin, glad to be of help…I could make a picture, but since I’m Dutch part of my Evernote-organization is in Dutch so I doubt that would be of much help to you 🙁

  5. haha definitely wouldnt help very much but thank you anyway! But Im sorry to bother you again but could you kind of give me the run down on how you have yours set up! For instance, I know you said you had one for every month, one for next week, one for everyday of the week, but I was just wondering if there were any other sections/headings that you found to be the most useful in what you utilized for student ministry!

    Thank you so much for your help!!

    1. But if you would like to post a picture, I’m sure I could somehow translate the meanings of the words! haha THANKS!!

  6. […] audio, or even an image. There are some great posts about using Evernote in student ministry, but here is one I would recommend you taking a look […]

  7. […] never lose valuable time by having to search for something, I never lose stuff (also thanks to Evernote!), I can have people over for coffee or a meeting at anytime without having to do an emergency […]

  8. […] You can even send them straight into Evernote if you want (just go to your Amazon Kindle page, select the right book, view the highlights and then use the webclipper to clip into Evernote). […]

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