Organizing your thoughts, tasks, and goals on a regular basis can be a daunting task in itself. Often, leaders and professionals have no single unifying framework that streamlines their efforts to stay organized and avoid merely treading water at work. During my almost seven years as a military leader, through multiple attempts in revolutionizing my organizational methods, I finally found success in this area: Evernote.

As a leader and professional, we have a considerable amount of responsibility and tasks assigned to us on a daily basis. Even as a company commander with a nine-Soldier headquarters staff, I needed to maintain personal notes and lists for my to-do reminders and tasks that required my attention. I began with a green notebook and even a fancy leather binder, but I found myself spending extensive time (almost every day) adding to these manual to-do lists and re-writing them to keep them consolidated and neat. I’ve watched senior leaders fall into the same trap. I came to dread the amount of time I was wasting just organizing my daily notes and thoughts.

I finally discovered the Evernote application. It is a web-based platform—accessible across multiple devices, ensuring constant synchronization—designed for note-taking and organization. You create “notebooks” for different categories with “notes” within those notebooks. I created a “command” notebook with numerous notes inside of that to include an immediate to-do list for tasks in the next two weeks, long term to-do list for things I wanted to accomplish in the next quarter, and specialty notes, like a to-do list for my Family Readiness Group (FRG). I also maintain a lessons learned notebook to consolidate leader development notes I record on my 3×5 cards, and even a personal notebook for home and hobby lists.

This is a highly versatile application. You can keep more than just text notes. You can add other media, like pictures or voice recordings. You are able to create group notes to share content with other users too. Evernote allows you the ability to set reminders on notes and so much more. The application is easy to use and simple in its layout.

My favorite feature is that you can access it on several different platforms, even simultaneously. I can have the website up on my work computer to reference from my office or at home. Through the smartphone application, I can pull my notes from my phone or tablet during meetings or when on the go. Employing this application as my leader organizational tool drove efficiency and saved me time each day.

I encourage readers to check out Evernote and add it to their arsenal as a leader. There are different account levels one can register for; there is a free account (that I use) or paid versions with increased capabilities.

If you have other methods that work well for you to stay organized, I’d love to hear about them. I always look for ways to improve my organization.

Image credit: https://twitter.com/evernote. I am not receiving any compensation from the Evernote Corporation for promoting their product. I merely aim to share a tool that I personally use and enjoy.

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