5 Reasons Students Will Love Using Evernote

Today, something a little different. I want to introduce you to Jordan Collier. Jordan, the author of Evernote Student Handbook, has agreed to share with my audience some tips on using Evernote for your children.

My daughter, who is in 8th grade, received a Fire Kindle for Christmas. She asked me to teach her Evernote, and as much as I love Evernote I had a hard time telling her how she may be able to use it.

So off to the web I went and I there I found Jordan. He shares with us some great tips that we can pass on to our kids. And if you like what you see make sure you check out his ebook.

Now join me in welcoming Jordan.


I surveyed my 8th graders to see what tech devices they could use at school if needed and the results were astounding:

98% of my students had at least one device.

The overall ratio was 2.1 devices/student.

If this is true, then why do students still prefer to hand-write assignments? Why do students lose notes and assignments? Why do students lug around bulging backpacks and have one unorganized notebook for each class?

I use my phone and iPad for just about everything. If it works for me, wouldn’t it work for the digital natives who think an iPhone has always been around? Students could use their phones and tablets to help them at school and stay organized, right?

But they don’t.

It’s not because they don’t want to; it’s because they don’t know how.

So this year I’ve tried my hardest to teach students (and other teachers) how using Evernote at school will help them stay organized, be less stressed, and be better prepared for school. I hosted a workshop, wrote a handbook, started a blog, and I use Evernote daily in my class to teach my students the benefits of digital organization.

Here are five reasons reluctant students may try using Evernote:

1. Search notes instantly. This is by far the coolest feature of Evernote. Type a note, snap a picture, or scan a handwritten document into Evernote and it becomes a searchable document (even handwritten notes). For students, this is a complete time-saver and great when studying for tests.

2. Keep a digital notebook for every class. By using Evernote, students no longer need a 3-ring binder for each class. Instead, by creating notebooks and notebook stacks for each class, students can keep all of their notes, assignments, and class papers in one place– Evernote. Say goodbye to this:

Use Evernote to stay organized

Use Evernote to stay organized

3. No more lost or misplaced papers. If students complete notes or an assignment on paper, they can snap a picture of it (or scan it) and save it directly to Evernote. I’ve had several students this year lose an assignment, but email me their scanned document when the assignment was due. Storing assignments digitally definitely saved their grades!

4. Share notebooks. When students work in groups, inevitably the student who has the group’s folder is absent or goes on a “unexpected” family vacation. It always happens. Using a shared notebook allows students to have one location to save and share information regardless of their physical locations. Whether they are working from school, from home, from Starbucks, or from Disney, each group member always has access to the shared notebook.

5. Text papers in class. Students are FAST at texting– ridiculously fast– and most of them hate handwriting anything, especially essays. So instead of physically writing an essay in class, many of my students use their phones instead of pencil and paper. They open an Evernote note, text their paragraph or essay, and then email me the note. If they don’t finish in class, their note is automatically saved and synced on Evernote, and the next time they open the note, they can pick up where they left off. No flash drives or computers needed.

Even though the digital natives are very tech savvy, they still lack confidence and know-how when it comes to using tech at school. At first, many of them feel it’s more work or takes too much time, but like anything, the more they try, the faster they become.

To get more ideas about how students could use Evernote at school, download the free ebook 19 Practical Evernote Ideas for Students.

Click below if you’d like to purchase the Evernote Student Handbook– a how-to guide I created for my students.

Not getting your to-do list done each day, here is why

Often I run into agents who want to talk about how they never get anything done. They think all they need is a new system or a new program to make it all better.
More often than not the problem is not with the systems, the problem is with the work they are doing.

If you find yourself failing to get things done, I’m fairly certain that one of two things is happening. Either you are trying to do to many things, or you really just don’t like what you are doing.

If it is the later, if you really don’t like what you are doing, you have two options. You need to either learn to outsource or delegate the items you don’t like to do, or just don’t do it, and find something else to do. Life is to short to spend most of your day doing something you dislike.

But what I want to focus on is the person who has to many things on their plate. The person with the to-do list with hundreds of items that grows more than it shrinks each week.

Stop, just stop

Here is a little exercise I want you to do. It is similar to the Warren Buffet way to success with a little twist of my own.

First thing I want you to do is write down a list of everything you want to accomplish. Vacation, new business, run a marathon, get a promotion, launch a project, get a certification, finish school… Whatever you can think of that you want to accomplish over the next year, two years or five years.

Now look at the list and boil down a top ten. What are the top ten things you want to accomplish on that list if you could only do ten.

Now that you selected ten write them down on a desperate sheet. Look at them, study them, pray about them, really think about them.

Now number them in an order of importance to you from 1–10. Take a night and sleep on it if you need to. Make sure you are happy with your order.

Now split the list into two. On one sheet put the top five things you want to accomplish. After that you can stop. Yup, stop there.

Now you have your priority list.

What next

Now that you have your priorities you are going to focus on them and forget everything else on you list. Yes forget them. Why?

Because that’s your problem, you are spreading yourself to thin as it is. You have to much going on. If you add them back to your to-list you are going to end up right back in the same place. Wondering why you never get anything done.

Now you need to start working on that list ever day. And only with what is on your list.

The next step

Don’t get bogged down in your long lists though. Ask yourself every morning, what are three things I want to accomplish today. What are three outcomes I want to achieve. Not necessarily three to-do items, but an outcome that you want to achieve or complete.

That is your to-do list for today. Achieve those three things, achieve them first before you do anything else. Then if you have more time move onto other tasks.

The key is though, stay on task and don’t do anything that moves you away from your top five list.

Your takeaway

If you are not happy with your productivity:
* Stop doing things you hate to do, even if that means finding a new line of work
* Write down everything you want to do and accomplish
* Pick the top five things from that list
* Eliminate everything else
* Every morning pick three outcomes you want to achieve that move you slowly towards your five
* Do those three first, before anything else
* Rinse and repeat and win!


Photo credit Flickr creative commons

Start using Evernote to get ready for 2013 taxes today

2013 is here and many of us are starting to get organized for our taxes for 2012. We only have 4 and a half months, which will go by quicker than we want.

Are you organized and ready? I am. And I have already started getting ready for 2013 taxes using my favorite productivity app, Evernote.

My tax organization is easy, let me tell you about it quickly and see if there may be something you can take from it to help you be more productive and organized in 2013.

There are two different ways to go about this. First I will discuss if you do your own taxes, second how to set it up if you have someone else prepare your taxes for you.

Do-it-yourself tax preparation
For the do-it-yourselfer I recommend using tags. Set up tags for each category in which you will take a deduction for. Below I will use an example of different categories you may use and the tag I would use in Evernote:

  • Marketing – 13marketing
  • Travel – 13travel
  • Charity – 13charity
  • Meals – 13meals
  • Supplies – 13supplies
  • etc, etc, etc

Have a tax preparer
The first thing I do is create a new notebook called Taxes 2013. The reason I have a notebook here is because I am going to share it with my tax preparer.

Inside the notebook I will put all my receipts and use the following naming technique for my receipts 13–01–01 $240 Marketing

That example is a receipt I received on 1/1/13 for the amount of $240 for marketing.

The reason I use this naming technique, because now my tax preparation person knows what was added since the last time he looked at the notebook, how much it was for and what catagory I’m thinking it may be under.

I never have to tell my tax preparer when I add anything. Any time they log in, which could be weekly, monthly, or whatever works for you, they will see what was added.

For both groups
Here is the key I have found to make this system work for me. This will be the third tax season I have used Evernote to track taxes, and the second one I have done it for the complete year.

I have found this to be the key, as soon as I get a receipt it goes into Evernote immediately. If I get a receipt handed to me I take a picture of it with Evernote app on my phone. If receipt is emailed to me I forward immediately to Evernote. Doing so as soon as you get the receipt saves you from having to recreate things down the road.

I also highly recommend you get emailed receipts as much as possible. It really does make your life easier. When forwarding emails to Evernote I find using Powerbot a very useful tool.

Now is this the only way to track receipts, no, but it is what I have used for the last two years and I am very happy with how much easier it has made my tax preparation at the end of the year.
Photo credit rangerholton on Flickr

13 productivity apps for 2013, Day 1: Everbot

EDITOR’S NOTE: Everbot is now Powerbot!

2013 is 13 days away. So for the next 13 days I am going to release one app/program a day that helps me with my productivity. This is Day 1 and today I’m going to introduce you to my newest app, Everbot.

If you have ever taken one of my Evernote classes, or seen my video on how I manage my task management in Evernote, you know I forward numerous emails a day from Gmail to Evernote.

Over time I have become very efficient at doing so. I have mastered the short cuts of adding @NotbeookName and #Tag to send the note directly where I want.

But now there is a new tool that will do that for me, and more.

Introducing Everbot!

Everbot is a browser extentension that works with both Google Chrome and Firefox. I hear it works with Safari too, but I have not confirmed it. And if you are an IE user… time to move on.

Everbot works directly with my Gmail account. I have the Google Apps version of Gmail and have heard some people have had problems installing it. It took me about 3-4 times of opening and closing Google Chrome, but eventually it installed.

And while it was a pain to get working the first time, it is a pain I would gladly go through again to get the final results.

What does Everbot do?

Send threads or individual emails

As you can see in the image above, Everbot will add two new buttons to your Gmail account. With those buttons you can either send (1) a full email thread or (2) just a single message from an email thread straight to Evernote.

Everbot will bring up all of your Notebooks and allow you to pick which you want to send the message to. You can also add tags and notes as seen below.

My one complaint about Everbot, I am not sure what they are using to order your Notebooks when they give you the list. I think the newest Notebooks are at bottom, but I am not 100% certain that is always the case.

The one thing they should change with the next release is at least putting the Notebooks in alphabetical order.

But wait, there is more…

Another great feature with Everbot is the ability to add a Note from your Evernote account into an email you send from within Gmail.

Insert Notes from within Gmail

As you an see, when you hit Compose you now have the option to Insert Evernote Notebook/Note.

Many times I will email a note to a client or cross agent or my broker from within Evernote. One of the drawbacks from this is Evernote does not have my email signature inside the program.

Now I can just go to my regular email account, select insert and select the note I want to send to someone.

This feature is fantastic for sharing!

Linking Everbot to your Gmail and Evernote account

If you are like me, you may have multiple Google Apps Gmail accounts. One of my favorite things about Everbot is it will link to all of your accounts.

When I was linking Everbot to my Evernote account I had to open Evernote.com in one tab of Google Chrome and log into my account. This was the only way I could get it to accept my account. Also I had to shut down and restart Chrome completely once during the setup, your results may vary.


So getting Everbot to work the first time was not the easiest thing in the world. But after a few little stuggles I have to say it was well worth the effort. I have only had Everbot for two days as I am writing this post, but already it is becoming one of my favorite apps.

Also Everbot is new, and with new comes some performance issues. If you run into any give a shout out and maybe the guys from Everbot can help.

Are you using Everbot? If so let me know if you are doing anything out of the ordinary.


Full list of 13 apps for a more productive 2013

If you are an Evernote user and a real estate agent you will want this

Have you heard I have this little Evernote crush? Unless this is your first time here then of course you have.

One thing I really have not explored is signing documents in Evernote.

Sure I can pull them out on my iPad, open them up into PDFExpert and sign then get them back into Evernote. But there should be an easier way right?

There is. Let me introduce you to SignEasy.

SignEasy is an app for your iPad, iPhone or Android device.

As you can see in the picture below SignEasy does not only work with Evernote, but also Dropbox and Box.net.


When you first log in you will want to set up your signature and initials for your own use.

Also in the image below you will see the settings wheel in the top left corner.

You are going to want to click on the settings wheel and enter your Evernote email address in the auto-forward signed files. This way whenever you or a client sign a document it will automatically be sent to your Evernote account too!

SignEasy will save your signature, and if you are concerned you may lose your device and an app has your signature saved, you can add a passcode for added security.


To sign a document you head to the My Documents section on the main page.

You will notice a few sections on the left hand column. “Add a document”, “Original Documents” and “Signed Documents”.

We will get to them all, but let’s start out with Add a document.

From here it will ask you if you want to grab the document from Dropbox, Box.net, Evernote or from your email.

When you select Evernote it will give you a list of your Notebooks.

When you pull in a document it will save it into your Original Documents section.

Notice in the upper right hand corner is the “Sign” button.

When you click on Sign, if it is a multi-page document it will ask you what page you would like to sign.

Once the page is selected in the upper right you will see a pen, that is your signing options icon and you can enter

  • Signature
  • Initials
  • Date
  • Text
  • Checkbox
  • or an Image
When you select Signature or Initials it will ask you if you want to enter your signature (the saved one you have for you), signature of a 2nd person, or signature of a 3rd person.
When you select Text, enter your text, select done and it will place the text on the top of your document, from there you drag it to where you want to place it. Notice below, if the text is not the size you want, there is a button you can drag left or right to increase or reduce the size of the text.
Also when you select text notice the clock icon on the bottom right here. That is a history icon which will show you the last 25 things you entered for text. Great time saver!
While we are on the topic of timesavers take a look at the person icon in the image above. That is a short cut for saved information. In the settings sections of the application (mentioned earlier in this post), there is a section for Personal Details and Custom information. In the Personal Details section you can add your name, email and company and with this section.
In the Custom Information you can add any text that you may use on a regular basis that you want to save time typing. some examples may be cell phone, office phone, fax, real estate license, office address, or anything else you may need often. This can be a great time saver.


When you enter Text and click on the person icon for personal information here is what you will see. Notice the information in the drop down menu is the same as the information I entered above.


When you are entering text, after you place it on the document you where you need it to be you will press Save, then click the pen icon if you need to enter more text.

After you are completed with any text and signatures needed you will click on Finish in the upper right corner.

You will be given the option of completing signing or saving as a draft. This saving as a draft is a great feature if you happen to be somewhere without an internet connection. This way you can save it, then when you have your connection it can be saved and emailed out and placed in your Evernote or Dropbox account.

Original Documents vs Signed Documents

Under the Documents section I mentioned there is an Original Documents and Signed Documents section.

Notice above I now have a “3rd party” and a “listings” document in both sections. Think of the “Original Documents” section as a template section.

The “listings” document you see above is a MLS printout of some houses. Am I ever going to reuse that with new clients? No, not those same houses. I can then hit edit, select “listings” and delete that from Original Documents.

Now the “3rd party” is a document I will use with multiple clients.  I want to save the 3rd party in my Original Documents so each time I use that it is waiting for me right there, and after I have my clients sign it, it will save to Signed Documents.


When I save the signed document I just did, notice it saved it named as 3rd party in the Signed Documents section. What I need to do now is in the lower section do a long press, or a press and hold on 3rd party and rename it. So next time I use the 3rd party it will not overwrite the one I just did because it has the same name.

Also you will notice when you hit the Edit button and select a file you will have the option to either delete the file or send it via email


The app is currently on sale until the end of 2012 for $9.99 a year. I highly recommend if you are avid Evernote user and you need to sign documents from your Evernote account often (like me) you get it now!

No, I do not make a penny off you getting it, I just love the service and think you will too!

Can you see yourself using this? If so, how?

My new favorite reason to go with Evernote Premium

Most of you probably know I consider myself somewhat of an Evernote-a-holic. I have looked for 12 step plans to cure this addiction, but I have not found any yet online that I can clip with my Evernote webclipper and add to my Evernote to-do list.

There are two versions of my favorite app, a free version and a premium version. The premium version is $45/year or $5/mo. I would gladly pay significantly more than that, but dont tell Evernote founder Phil Libin that :).

So what do you get for only $45/year?

  • 1GB of upload a month vs. 60mb on the free version
  • Access to your Notebooks offline
  • Your PDF’s become searchable (worth it for this reason alone)
  • Your processes jpeg images are searchable quicker
  • The customer support inquiries receive priority responses
  • You get a PIN lock for your iPad and phone
  • The service is add free
  • The sharing Notebook functionality allows others to edit and collaborate better

But wait, don’t order yet because you will also receive…

Clearly text-to-speech!

Have no idea what I am talking about, well then read on because it is worth it.

Evernote has a program called Clearly which is a browser extension that allows you to clean up a page so when you save it to your Evernote account it is a lot cleaner. Here is an example of the same story before and after Clearly was applied.

Before Clearly applied

After Clearly applied

Same story from the same site, but obviously the second one with Clearly is much easier to read.

Now enter text-to-speech.

You will notice on the right of Clearly there are controls to hit play, fast forward and rewind.

After you hit play Clearly starts to read the article to you, you can go do something else while listening to it, or just sit and listen.

I am very much an auditory learner, so for me this is huge. I am in love with this new feature and just one more reason I am willing to be a premium user of Evernote.



Evernote as a to-do task manager

The most common questions I get about my Evernote book for real estate revolve around my to-do and task management systems in Evernote.

The more I try to explain what I do, the more I realize the best way to demonstrate it is to show it live.

When I try explaining the most common reaction is blank stares and confusion. When I demonstrate it lights seem to come on.

I have used many great to-do apps such as Wunderlist and Clear, but none have the power and flexibility as Evernote does with tagging.

So here is a video of me using my to-do system. Let me know what other videos you would like to see.

IMPORTANT NOTE ON VIDEO BELOW: If you are having a hard time seeing it, make video full screen and allow it to play for about 15-20 seconds and the video will clear up nicely.

How to create Evernote templates

Evernote is an amazing product, but it is not perfect.

One thing that is missing in Evernote, is a create notes from templates.

Often times there are notes that you want to create that are similar. An example may be a note for phone messages, a note for your buyer transaction or a note for your committee meetings.

While there is no create note from template, that does not mean it is not easy to create and use templates.

Once you create a note that you want to use as a template just copy and paste into a new note each time and just like that you have a note created from a template.

I do a video walk-thru below to show you how quick and easy it is to create a template, then create a note from the template I created.

I double-dog dare you to prove me wrong

I don’t care what you think, you are not a good multi-tasker. I am even going to give you a chance to prove me wrong.

I remember when I used to pitch my services to people a decade ago and they would ask me my strengths there were two things I always said. Getting the job done and multi-tasking.

The funny thing is, if someone said to me now that their strength was multi-tasking, I would say to them thanks for your time, we are going in a different direction.

Cant happen

The problem is, and it has been proven over and over, your brain cannot do two things at once.

Your brain will jump back and forth between tasks, but it cannot think about two tasks at the same time.

Now for the test, go grab a piece of paper and a stop watch. Any clock/timer like on your computer or smart phone will do. I will wait right here.

Did you grab them? Because I can wait, I am not going anywhere.

OK great so now let’s begin with the test.

I want you to put the paper in landscape mode so it is long from left to right.

Now put a line across the middle of the paper. We are going to work on just the first half of the paper for now.

Put one more line across the middle of the top so you have two sections to work.

When I say go I want you to hit the timer, then write out “Multitasking is worse than a lie” above the top line then drop below the line and write out the numbers 1 through 27 across, so 1, 2, 3, 4, 5… all the way to 27.

Dont forget to time it!

Ready, set…. go.

What I should do is hire an official Olympic timer to time people, they are mostly unemployed for the next 4 years and I can probably get them cheaply. Wow, talk about lack of job security… sorry back to task at hand.

Ok you done? You have your time?

Great now below on the bottom half of the page you are going to do the same thing, so make a line for your two sections.

This time though what you are going to do is multi-task. You are going to jump back and forth between the two. So do your first letter “M” then your first number “1”. Then your second letter “U” and then your second number “2”.

You are going to do this all the way down to “E” and “27”.

Ready. Set. Go.

When I do this in class the average person takes nearly twice as long to get all 27 letters and 27 numbers down on paper.

Your first time is your brain, the second is your brain on multi-tasking.

Any questions?

This is one of the reasons I ended up developing the system I did for running my business in Evernote. I was jumping from system to system and it was time to get cut back on my systems I was using and get everything in one place.

With my position at Thompson’s Realty I help our agents who are looking for help put systems into place so they can try to avoid multi-tasking as much as possible. If you are looking for help shoot me an email and we can see if there may be something I can help with.

If you are looking to help your agents in your office with productivity systems like iPad for real estate, Evernote or a general productivity class contact me and we can arrange me coming in and doing a class.

I am having an amazing Monday, hope yours is even better!,

PS – If you are a Phoenix agent make sure you click here and get moved to the Phoenix list.

The perfect productivity system

Stop looking, it doesn’t exist.

I spent years and countless hours looking for the perfect systems to make my life more productive and organized in my real estate business.

The used dozens of task management, to-do, productivity systems. I was always looking for better ways to do things.

Don’t get me wrong, I still try many new programs when they come out and I still tinker, But that is mostly because I want to be able to talk intelligently about these services when I am talking at conferences, in classes and with consulting clients and working with real estate agents on growing their business.

What I want to stress to you is the constant search for a better program or app could be killing your productivity. 

For about a two year period my constant search for the ultimate, easiest to use, most powerful program out there kept me spinning my hamster wheel like crazy, but getting nowhere.

Simpler is better

One of my biggest discoveries was the more specific the app was for a certain function, the more advanced options it had, the less productive it actually made me.

An example would be a kick ass to-do list with great reminders, tons of features and more power than any other to-do app out there.

Sounds great right?  Well you are right it is.

My problem is this app with all these features made it more complex to use and on top of that all it did was manage my to-do list.

I would develop a great workflow system inside this app, but the systems I set inside the app were not transferable to my other programs.

End result 

The end result was me having a killer to-do list, a great system for managing my consulting clients, another great system for me managing my short sale negotiations, a yet another system for my prospect and even one more system for my transaction management.

So many great systems, none of which actually worked well together.

When I spent all day working in all these different programs I can’t tell you how many times a day I would jump from one, to another, to another and back again. I have to assume it was well over 100.

I don’t care how well you “think” you can multitask, the truth is you can’t. it took me many a moon before I finally accepted that as gospel truth.

So what’s the solution? 

Stop looking for the perfect apps and the perfect programs to manage things. Instead look for simple, flexible programs that are easy to use and can be customized to fit your workflow.

That is what I did with Evernote and why I wrote my Evernote real estate book.

I know, I know… I’m an Evernote fanboy. It doesn’t have to be Evernote it can be anything that works for you. Spend time figuring out ways to make less programs work in more ways and I think you will be pleasantly surprised.

Spending to much time trying to become more productive with more programs will usually result in the opposite results.

KISS- Keep it simple stupid!

I have had people asking if I teach classes or do 1-on-1 consulting. The answer is yes I do both. If you are interested check out my speaking page and shoot me an email.