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2018-01-21T16:21:57.245Z
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It’s a fast-moving world out there, and busy professionals need to juggle projects, data, and ideas like never before. In a typical workday, hours can be lost managing tools or doing data entry. Add in all the personal components of your online life, and it can feel like you spend more time hopping between apps than actually using them.

That’s why we love Zapier, a service that automates tasks by connecting more than 700 apps and tools in custom workflows (they call them Zaps). A lot of Evernote fans agree with us: Evernote was one of the 10 most popular apps among Zapier’s users in 2017, along with popular web tools such as Trello, Google Suite, and Slack (all of which can integrate with Evernote).

“If a team member makes a new comment in evernote, my Zap notifies me.”

The idea is simple: when information is added to one app, Zapier can use it in another app — or multiple apps — in ways you define. Any time you create a new note for a meeting or project, for example, Zapier can add a task to your to-do list, send an email, add a link to your CRM platform, or all three. Zapier can also create notes, notebooks, and tags in Evernote, or append new information to an existing note.

Austin...

Have you dreamed of having éclairs at an outdoor café in Paris, or seeing the northern lights in person? Have you ever imagined gasping in wonder as you photograph wild giraffes in Africa? Or do you just want to see the tiny village where your grandmother was born? If you dream of far-off destinations and adventures, don’t keep them in your head. What if this year, you made your travel dreams a reality? What if 2018 is the year you make your trip of a lifetime happen?

With careful thought, research, and planning, your trip of a lifetime can go from pipe dream to boarding the plane. Whether you’re taking your laptop with you on vacation, or are traveling light with just a phone, put everything together and ensure a smooth trip with Evernote.

Special offer: 40% off Evernote Premium* »

We talked to travel experts to get tips for using Evernote before, during, and after your trip. And, we teamed up with Barbara Fuller from Simplify Days to provide you with the perfect templates to imagine and plan.

Lefkada, Greece. Photo:...

It’s the season for New Year’s resolutions. Wharton School researchers say we’re inclined to look forward to new and important goals around significant points on the calendar, such as the start of a new year. They call it the “fresh-start effect.” The bad news is that the effect doesn’t last very long.

According to one poll, four in ten Americans usually set resolutions at the start of the year. Another two in ten do it at least some years. But fewer than ten percent actually succeed. Most of us can keep our resolutions a few weeks, but not even half are still going by midyear.

There are a lot of reasons for the drop-off. For one, resolutions are usually vague. Goals like get healthy, lose weight, and save more money are too abstract to mean very much. Absent the saliency of the “fresh start effect,” it’s tough staying emotionally connected to these goals.

Another reason is that sometimes our resolutions are oughts, not wants. They’re things we’re supposed to do, but really don’t desire. We want other things more, so our resolutions fall by the wayside.

Resolutions fail because we don’t really believe we can succeed.

There are a half dozen other reasons just like these, and they all have an effect on our ability to stick to goals. But one reason that often gets overlooked is this: We don’t really believe we can succeed.

Beware the goal toxin

According to the poll I mentioned above, vastly more people in...

You’ve got a secret.

You may have a great job, and you’re good at it, too. But deep down, you want to start a business of your own. You have a hobby you want to turn into a side hustle or an idea you want to grow into a product. You’ve spent some time gathering inspiration, collecting tips, and thinking about ‘someday maybe.’

Yet you haven’t made the leap. Fear, not knowing where to start, feeling disorganized—there’s definitely no shortage of things holding you back.

But 2018 is the year you can make it happen. In fact, you’re further along than you think. We’ll show you why, and give you tips for using Evernote to find everything you need to transform your business idea into reality.

What’s holding you back

A survey showed that about a third of Americans find the idea of starting their own company scarier than skydiving. And this fear holds them back. While 57 percent of Americans have had at least one new product or business idea, the survey found that only about two in five took steps to make it happen.

It’s not hard to understand why. There are estimates that anywhere from 50 to 80 percent of small businesses fail in their first year. But what else is driving this fear?

Maybe you don’t feel organized enough or experienced enough. Perhaps you say things to yourself like, “Once I have...

It’s 4:45 p.m. on Wednesday afternoon, and you have one question on your mind: what should I be doing right now?

You’re busy getting things done, but the notification count on your email inbox is climbing by the minute. You really should get back to Tom on…what was it again? Now the phone is ringing—it’s your kid’s teacher, informing you that your daughter’s grades are low and she needs some extra attention. You have an emergency meeting at 5:00, which kills your plan to finalize the agenda for tomorrow’s offsite. You’re starting to get texts from the attendees because you’re late sending out the logistics. You have a strategic plan that’s been almost finished for weeks, but you’ve been waiting for a board member’s input. And through it all, there’s a tickle at the back of your mind that there may be an even more important priority lurking somewhere, but you can’t remember what it is.

Welcome to the era of information abundance, which has created in many of us a scarcity of attention.

David Allen’s best-selling book Getting Things Done* (known affectionately by fans as GTD) proposes a simple 5-step approach to managing the complexity of modern work. It has sold millions of copies in dozens of countries around the world and stands on its own as a practical guide to...

In the west, we’re ushering in a new year. Break out the champagne and celebrate! But this is also a great time to reflect and survey the months ahead. What do you want to do with them? If this is your year to do big things, your goals might include improving your health, acquiring a new skill or habit, or even writing a book or starting that winning blog. But as many of us know, making a resolution to change is one thing. Making those changes stick is another.

Research has shown that we abandon one-third of all new year’s resolutions within the first month, and fewer than half survive to the six-month mark. Can we do better than that? Of course. Here’s how.

According to experts in psychology and productivity, there are three keys to making resolutions that stick:

  1. Be smarter about how you make resolutions. Choose the right goals for the right reasons.
  2. Implement new behaviors in ways that make it likely you’ll turn them into habits.
  3. Plan how you’ll find the willpower and support to stay motivated and on track.
Step 1: Get SMART

Let’s start with the resolutions themselves.

It’s not enough to have a good idea. Your idea also has to be actionable and attainable.

Sociologist Christine Whelan described a well-crafted resolution as “SMART”—it’s...

‘Twas the season for gift giving—to the tune of $967.13 per person, according to the National Retail Federation. And while this year’s most popular gifts for kids were perennially favorite toys, the…ahem, big kids looked to high tech to make their holiday dreams come true. Instead of sugarplums, many grown-ups had visions of Apple iPad, iPhone, and Apple Watch, and Amazon Echo (a.k.a. Alexa) dancing in their heads. If you were lucky enough to receive one of these gadgets this year, we have some good news for you: they all play well with Evernote. Thanks to some handy integrations—and a little help from our friends—you can capture and search your ideas wherever you go.

To make sure you’re getting the most out of these devices, here are a few tips to get you started.

Have a tête-à-tête with Siri

If you received an iPhone or iPad as a holiday gift, you probably want to take all its bells and whistles for a test drive. One of the most powerful features is Siri, Apple’s virtual assistant. Evernote is integrated with Siri so you can stay productive even when you’re busy doing other things.

Create a shopping list on your iPad while you’re making breakfast. Add to-dos to Evernote on your iPhone while you’re stuck in traffic. Use your EarPods while you’re working out to tell...

There’s never a bad time to consider how you can raise your productivity level and improve your life, but the end of the year presents a natural opportunity to reflect on your progress over the previous year. It’s a chance to adjust your sails and refocus, to lead you to even greater success in the year to come.

Evernote’s goal is to help you to become your most productive self. Along with building a product that empowers you to take control of your life, we aim to share actionable tips and wisdom from the world’s foremost performance experts to help you achieve more. Here, then, is our list of the 12 best productivity books published in 2017. Each is filled with practical life-changing advice and will be a valuable reference for you in the coming year.

Finish: Give Yourself the Gift of Done by Jon Acuff (Portfolio)

As Acuff says, “The first few steps are critical, but they are not the most important. Do you know what matters more and makes the start look almost silly and easy and almost insignificant? The finish.”

For many of us, starting a big project is not the problem; finishing it is. In this book, Acuff takes a look at what causes us to adopt self-defeating strategies, and provides simple tools for overcoming the obstacles we place in front of ourselves.

The Happiness Hack: How to Take Charge of Your Brain and Program More Happiness into...

The first thing you notice when you arrive at The Workshop is the cold. You expect it to be dark; it’s pretty far north, and it gets dark earlier the further north you go. My host points out a sudden glow of green light in the sky. The Northern Lights pulsate and glisten and turn the snow a reflective green so that the whole place looks, for a moment, like a glow-in-the-dark toy. It’s a resemblance that all of the employees there cherish.

It’s mid-November, and the entire company is in high gear. Their busy season begins in June when the days are long, and the customers are few.

The Workshop depends on the holiday season, with little to no time for late shipments. With such short, precise production time and a tight delivery schedule, working in harsh conditions, you’d expect tensions to be high and tempers short. But this workshop depends on Evernote to keep business communication and production running smoothly, so all is calm, all is bright.

How the boss manages email himself

My companion, a bearded gentleman who looks significantly younger than the age he claims, invites me into his office, pulling off his red outdoor gear and hanging it on the back of the door. (“Gore-Tex,” he whispers. “LL Bean has us on that one.”) Once behind the desk, he whips open his laptop and shows me the vast amount of email he receives daily. He seems to scroll endlessly...

It’s ten o’clock, and I glance up from my first (okay, second) cup of coffee, only to lose my train of thought. That’s because there’s a visitor in the office. When our recruiter brings new candidates in, she gives them a quick tour, always zipping by my table. “And over here is the marketing team,” she points out. “You see we have an open office, which is really great for collaboration.”

A big part of life here at Evernote is our open work environment. We find that it helps us work more collaboratively, develop relationships, and cultivate a transparent culture.

And we’re not alone—open offices are everywhere these days. In fact, around 70 percent of US offices have some form of an open concept, according to the International Facility Management Association.

But not everyone is a fan. Critical headlines range from “9 Reasons That Open-Space Offices are Insanely Stupid” to “The Victims of Open Offices are Pushing Back.” Taking shots at the open office is as much in vogue as the open layout itself.

I have to admit, even though I’m a stage 5 introvert, some of this pushback seems a little harsh. It’s not that bad, right?

So instead of extolling the virtues of open offices or writing a manifesto on why they don’t work, we’ve drawn up...

Feeling a little groggy? Hitting the coffee first thing in the morning to jolt yourself into alertness? Maybe you aren’t getting enough sleep. When we don’t get enough shut-eye, we have trouble concentrating, working, making decisions, remembering things, and being our best selves. We get crabby, tetchy, and unpleasant to be around. But the problem is more serious than just being in a bad mood. The National Sleep Foundation (NSF) says we’re 12 percent more likely to die prematurely if we don’t get the recommended seven to nine hours a night.

A lack of sleep can be costly—in more ways than one

Lack of sleep can also cost companies real money. A 2016 study by the RAND Corporation found that because of sleep deprivation, the U.S. sustains economic losses of up to $411 billion a year (or 1.23 million working days), nearly three times the $138 billion Japan loses.

A 2007 Harvard report showed that the effects of a lack of sleep include reduced efficiency and productivity, more errors, and accidents. These consequences can even be deadly. The Harvard report noted that preventable medical errors, many of which are the result of physicians and surgeons not getting enough sleep, cause more than a million injuries and between 50,000 and 100,000 deaths each year. On a more significant level, the Harvard study showed that some of the deadliest accidents in recent history...

Quick question: Who, in a typical company, knows every person in the office? Chances are, the person you thought of works in Human Resources (HR). Even in the largest organizations, the HR department is responsible for the personal well-being and professional success of everyone who works there.

Your company may not have the luxury of a dedicated HR department. In fact, as a small business owner, you probably wear many different hats: CEO, sales director, marketing guru, and, yes, human resources manager. This comes down to necessity—when you’re building a business from scratch there often isn’t the budget to hire someone for each of these roles. The problem is that, for many business owners, people management becomes an afterthought, taking a back seat to the primary goal of ‘getting s$!$* done.’ Or, if you don’t have any expertise in HR, you may not know where to start. As a result, the task of managing your company’s greatest asset becomes a challenging, and potentially overwhelming, aspect of growing the business.

The good news is that with a little planning, and the right organizational tools, you can eliminate much of this pain and demonstrate your commitment to effective human capital management. Let’s look at six of the most common HR challenges your small business is up against today, and how Evernote can help you minimize potential issues in the future.

1. Finding...

Evernote fans, rejoice! You’ve been asking for them, you wait for them every year, and now the 2018 Evernote planner templates are here! This year, thanks to the new tables feature, the planners are more versatile, easier to work with, and more fun than ever before.

For those of you who are new to Evernote planners, we hope these become an end-of-the-year tradition for you. Keeping your planner in Evernote means you can organize your life, link appointments to other notes (think: the hair appointment links to the photo of the hairstyle you clipped, or the Tuesday meeting entry links right to the agenda). Not only that, your calendar can follow you on every device, and you can even share it with coworkers and family so they know when it’s okay to book a meeting, or when you’re free for Happy Hour.

Color your own planner templates

Starbucks did it around the world this year: they let you color your own holiday cup. So why not color your own Evernote planner, too? We’ve presented you with some color suggestions, but you’re not bound to them. Customize them to your favorites. Here’s how to do it:

Or, if you love Evernote’s green planners, you can get a beautifully-designed set of templates in green, too.

Ending Calendar Wars

Does the week start on Sunday or Monday? We’ve heard from so many of you about this, and the verdict is in:...

You’re at a holiday party, and invariably, someone asks what you do. You respond, explaining that you work remotely. Cue the raised eyebrows and polite nods.

That’s because when remote work gets mentioned, it can conjure up all kinds of notions. People working in their pajamas. Workers slacking off. A disconnected, maybe even dysfunctional team culture. Some people still have this idea that you need to be sitting in an office from 9-5 to get things done. A few companies such as IBM are even bringing all remote workers back into the fold of the office.

But then there are other companies like GitLab, Buffer, and Zapier, which are ‘remote only,’ with everyone working out in the wild. They find a range of benefits, including the extra flexibility and increased productivity that comes from avoiding a commute and covering more time zones (not to mention the work-life balance for employees and the overhead savings for the company).

Most companies aren’t fully remote yet. But we all experience remote work and collaboration in some way, whether we have an occasional ‘WFH day’ or work virtually with teammates and other offices that are scattered across the globe. In fact, a 2015 survey found that 37 percent of US workers have fulfilled their job duties from...

Sometimes it seems we’re surrounded by music. It’s hard to walk along the sidewalk, enter a building, or even sit at work or in a public place without being exposed to some type of music. A car drives down the block sharing the song of the moment. The coffee shop has something playing in the background. That jogger’s headphones allow us to hear the faintest hints of what they’re listening to.

Music—and our access to the tunes we like—is so ever-present that it’s almost second nature to have it playing when we’re trying to do something else. But is that a good idea? The answer is that it does—and it doesn’t. It all depends on what we’re doing and what the music we’re listening to is. It’s not even a matter of “the more complicated the task, the less we should listen.” A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association showed that brain surgeons who listened to music while operating outperformed those who didn’t. What does seem to be clear from most research, though, is:

Music can improve our mood

While there are times when we want to sulk and listen to something gloomy and self-pitying, in most cases, when we’re listening to music, it’s something that makes us happy. Music energizes us, so our moods naturally improve. A study by Dr. Teresa Lesiuk revealed “the value of music...

The nightmare begins something like this:

The Writer is in her groove, typing or scribbling away. The words are flowing beautifully, then, suddenly… nothing. The Writer has hit a wall. All momentum vanishes. She can’t focus. She can’t think. The frustration boils over, and the words are abandoned.

Pretty scary, huh?

Every writer has moments like this, especially during National Novel Writing Month, a.k.a NaNoWriMo. Maybe you’re stumped about what comes next, unsure of how to move forward. Or perhaps your motivation is gone and you can’t make yourself move forward.

Writer’s block is a common complaint. And although some experts, including Grant Faulkner, Executive Director of NaNoWriMo, say it isn’t real, that it’s just an excuse we give ourselves once the going gets tough, it sure feels real when you’re in the middle of it. And it can be demoralizing. But there are ways out.

Problem 1: Not sure how to proceed

In our Writer’s nightmare, the woods ahead are dark and scary. There are are many paths forward, but it’s impossible to tell which ones lead to “happily ever after” and which ones lead to fetid bogs of bubbling quicksand and Rodents of Unusual Size. It’s easier to make no choice at all than to make the wrong one, so the Writer freezes in place. Not good.

So how do you decide which way to go? Look at the writing and planning you’ve already done. If you don’t know where the story is...

Chris Hardwick is everywhere.

You may know Chris as the founder of The Nerdist, which has grown from a podcast and blog into a media empire. Or maybe you know him from @midnight, the off-color Comedy Central game show that poked fun at social media for 600 episodes. Or from his festival-headlining stand-up act. Or from Talking Dead, the AMC TV show where Chris and friends chat about a fictional zombie apocalypse.

What you may not know is that Chris is a longtime fan of Evernote—even offering product feedback on Twitter—and he’s also someone who purposefully re-organized his life, changing his habits to become the person he wanted to be.

For the season finale of our podcast, “Taking Note,” we sat down with Chris to get his thoughts on creative productivity, motivation, and organization. We also discussed the evolving state of social media, nerd culture, and what the world of comedy can teach us about building up small ideas into something worth sharing.

Want to know more? Listen below or read on for a partial transcript of our conversation.


Taking Note: Episode 12 — Chris Hardwick

Length: 45 minutes
iTunes | SoundCloud | Overcast | MP3 | RSS


 

On designing a career

You are involved in so many different projects all at once. Is this your natural mode?

Yeah, it is. I’m sure there’s a little bit of...

Do you remember your parents or grandparents staying in the same job for their entire lives? Or at least staying with the same company? Though it seems odd today, there was a time when it wasn’t uncommon for a person to begin a job with a company and retire from that same company decades later with the ubiquitous parting gift of a gold watch. Business teams work much differently now. Business moves far more rapidly than ever before, and the workforce is changing at a similar pace. In corporate America, up to 40 percent of employees are now contractors. A recent study commissioned by Upwork and the Freelancer’s Union predict that the global workforce will be more than 50 percent freelance within ten years.

Even for full-time “permanent” employees, the average tenure in a single company dropped to 4.2 years in 2016. With so many employees coming and going, and an increasing trend toward remote workers, it’s often hard for teams to maintain continuity across projects, organizations, and time. Even worse, something vital is getting lost: institutional knowledge.

What shared memory means to business teams

It doesn’t matter how big your business is. Whether you have four or 400 employees, and whether they’re with you for a few months or a few years, they all have a piece of the puzzle that keeps business humming. In the old-world style company, those...

Office holiday parties can be a great way to cap off the year and let everyone know that their hard work is appreciated—but someone has to plan them. And this year, that someone is you.

While there are some fun aspects to party planning, you’ll also face an awful lot of nitty-gritty details to stay on top of. It’s daunting work, especially if you’re not a professional party planner or even the person usually in charge of events at your office. If organizing the office party is on your to-do list and you are feeling a little overwhelmed as you head into holiday chaos, don’t worry. We’ve put together nine templates to help you make this year’s party one to remember (in a good way). Get them all in one place here or just grab the ones you need below.

Haven’t tried templates in Evernote yet? When you see one you like, all you have to do to get it is click the link to a template and then click “Save to Evernote.” The template will be added to your Evernote account. You can then copy, move, rename, and edit the template note. See this guide to learn more about templates.

Project party

Think of the holiday party as a fun deliverable, and use the same project management tools and practices you would for any other...

Some things just go together. Peanut butter and jelly. Time and tide. Abbott and Costello. Web Clipper and Evernote.

Adding the Web Clipper extension to your browser makes Evernote a more powerful and essential part of your day. Here’s why:

1) So quick, it’s kinda like cheating – If I think an article or piece of inspiration will come in handy one day, Web Clipper lets me make it mine. I don’t need to wonder if I emailed it to myself or saved it to my bookmarks because I know it’s in Evernote.

2) You can’t bookmark everything – So they’ve figured out how to sync bookmarks to mobile browsers, but whether you’re on your phone or on your laptop, navigating through the folder tree of all the things you’ve saved is still messy. And it can feel like you only have room for the really important stuff—bookmarking every good GIF I’ve found would probably break my browser. With Web Clipper, you can save it all, and easily organize and find your clips later on any device.

3) Sometimes you need to share – I don’t even like cats, but my friend sure would love this listicle of cat GIFs I just found. Bam. Sent. Right from Web Clipper. Sharing clips with friends is as easy as saving them for yourself.

4) It’s permanent and it’s yours –...