SLT017: Evernote Simplified (Part 1), & A Focus on Fitness
Play • 45 min

Today’s show is about focus…from two very different perspectives. First, we’re going to focus on how to use Evernote, and then shift the focus to fitness.

Dan’s Topic: Evernote Simplified (Part 1)

  • OK so unless this is your first time listening to the podcast, you might know that I’m an Evernote fan. And one of the most requested things I’m asked to talk about is Evernote. So, by popular demand, my topic for this show and next week’s will be Evernote!  Read more…

  • Today I want to cover the basics and next week I want to hit some more advanced tips and some use cases. Like most things, it takes a little playing around with Evernote to get the full hang of it, so after this show you can dive right into Evernote if you haven’t already, and then you can send in some questions that I can cover on next week’s show.
  • Here’s what I’m going to cover today: What is Evernote, Why I like Evernote, some  Evernote Basics, Searching in Evernote, and finally Sharing in Evernote. So let’s get started.

So what is Evernote?

  • Well, you’ve heard the saying “an elephant never forgets” right?
  • Evernote is that little square green app you see almost everywhere with the elephant in the middle.
  • Most often you hear of Evernote being described as your “external brain.”
  • Evernote makes it easy to remember things big and small from your everyday life using your computer, phone, tablet and the web.
  • With Evernote, you can take in info in tons of ways and it synchronizes it across all your devices so it’s there when you need.
  • So..think of Evernote as a synchronized database of all your important information that’s there for you when you need it and how you need it.

The Evernote app is free for your desktop and all your devices, and so is the Evernote program on the web itself.

  • You can also upgrade to an Evernote Premium premium account for $5 per month or $45 per year.
  • We’ve been Premium users for about 4 years now and it is worth every penny.
  • There really is very little difference between the free and paid versions, but we wanted to support the company, and I’ll get back to that in a minute.
  • So some of the benefits of a Premium account are increased ability to share, bigger file sizes, some other faster functions that I’ll cover later.
  • If you’re just a casual user, you’ll be fine on a free basic account.
  • But if you’re a power user or just want to support the company, you’ll want to upgrade to Premium.

Why I Like Evernote

  • Ubiquitous Capture…
    • One of the tenets of Getting Things Done, by David Allen.
    • Very simply, ubiquitous capture means capturing all your important thoughts or “things to remember” thoughts in a way that you can recall them when needed.
    • Don’t let them float around in your head, where they will likely be forgotten. Capture it now, before it’s gone.
    • I’m not a user of GTD…but ubiquitous capture is a fantastic habit to cultivate…if you’re into that sort of thing, like me.
    • Get info into Evernote by…
      • Typing text
      • Recording your voice
      • Dragging in files
      • Email it to your account (even video)
      • Taking pictures
      • Scanning things in
      • Using the web clipper
      • Even use automated ways to get things in. We’ll talk about that next week.
  • Evernote strives to be a 100 year company
    • Tech companies and their products come and go
    • Many like to bring a product to market, then sell for the big bucks
    • Evernote plans to be a 100 year company and make a difference in the world. I heard this directly from their CEO, Phil Libin when I was at Evernote in San Francisco at their first ETC…and I believe him. It was a pleasure talking with him and everyone I met at Evernote.
  • There’s a great community around the Evernote product line (links in the show notes)
  • Security concerns? I love their article Three Laws of Data Protection
    • Your Data is Yours:
      • “We do not own your data. Putting notes and other content into Evernote does not change its ownership or copyright status. If the data was yours to begin with, it remains yours after you put it in Evernote.”
    • Your Data is Protected:
      • Private by default. “We never look at it, analyze it, share it, use it to target ads, data mine it, etc.”
      • “Our business model does not depend on “monetizing” your data in any way. Rather, it depends on building trust and providing a great service that more and more people choose to pay for.”
      • Multiple redundant servers
      • Physical and virtual safeguards in place
    • Your Data is Portable
      • There is no data-lock in Evernote.
      • “We are committed to making it easy for you to get all of your data into, and out of, Evernote at any time.”


  • Notes: Everything in Evernote centers around notes which we get into Evernote as I mentioned, by:
    • Typing text
    • Recording your voice
    • Dragging in files
    • Email it to your account (even video)
    • Taking pictures
    • Scanning things in
    • Using the web clipper
  • Notebooks:
    • Just like when you were in school, when you take notes you typically had a different notebook for each class or subject…same with Evernote
    • You can have up to 250 Notebooks…I don’t know why anyone would want that many but…
  • Tags: 
    • Some people get confused by Tags.
    • Tags are simply addition descriptors that you can use to give you incredible flexibility.
    • In the physical world, we grew up using file trees. Think of physical notes or documents organized in a filing cabinet
    • The note or document is kept in a folder and the folders are labeled, either by subject or relationship, etc
    • So if I have a note or document that deals with my car insurance, do I file that under Car or do I file that under Insurance? And when I want to retrieve that, how do I remember which one I used. Or do I make two copies of the document and file one under Car and the other under Insurance?
    • You see the dilemma
    • With tags, which are digital, you can “tag” the note car, insurance, bill, policy, whatever! And it all remains with one note, not copies of the note.
    • When we “evolved” from physical filing to digital filing, most people stayed with the “file trees” method. When they filed a doc and they needed another copy in another file, they simply made another digital copy…causing digital clutter, redundant files, the opportunity for conflicting files, duplication of effort for updating, etc…
    • Tagging eliminates all of that.
    • That’s the superpower of tagging and we’ll talk about how to use that superpower in a minute.
  • A Recap of the Basics with another analogy (adapted form Brandon Collins’ book The Evernote Bible, link in show notes)
    • Picture a town as being like your Evernote database
    • Towns have lots of houses, each house has people that are grouped, typically by family
    • So Houses are like Notebooks
    • Well, houses are for people, usually related, but each unique
    • So People are like Notes
    • Each person in that house has different relationships…people they go to school with, friends they hang out with…you know Relationships
    • So while it’s just one person, they have lots of relationships. The same goes for Notes. It’s just one Note, but it can have lots of different relationships.
    • So Relationships are like Tags
    • And you can have up to 100K different relationships, or Tags, in Evernote!


  • So let’s start off with Searching in Evernote
  • For a basic search in Evernote you just type what you’re searching for into the search bar
  • Not too tough, huh?
  • But just like we talked about way back in Episode 2 when I talked about getting the most out of search in Google, you can do some things to refine your search in Evernote, too!
  • This way, it will narrow down your search results significantly
  • Just like in Google, if you put your search in parenthesis then Evernote will do search to match that exact phrase
  • Again, just like we talked about in Google search in Episode 2, you can also use what are called “operators” to narrow your search even further if you have thousands and thousands of notes.
  • I have thousands of notes, but honestly, I haven’t felt the need to search by these operators. But, I’ll link to an Evernote cheat sheet that has them all listed in case you want to incorporate them in your search habits
  • Earlier I mentioned taking pictures with Evernote’s mobile app or dragging pics into your notes.
  • Evernote uses optical character recognition (OCR) so it makes text in your photos searchable! OCR works with handwritten notes, too! How cool is that?
  • So, say you take a picture with Evernote of a great wine you had with dinner and your favorite restaurant
  • Once you snap your picture into Evernote, your note will sync with Evernote’s servers, be processed for OCR, and the text will become searchable!
  • So later, depending on how you named and tagged your note, you can search by;
    • Name of wine
    • Date
    • Wine in the Tag
    • Wine in the Subject
    • Any text you remember on the label (company, type of wine, etc)
    • You can even view your note by the location in the Atlas view on the desktop version or the Places view on mobile
  • Let me sum up search this way…the basic search functions in Evernote are terrific. But, if you add a little bit of information during the “capture” phase, search will be a whole lot easier. And that’s really why you’re using Evernote, right…so you can recall information, not just hoard it?
  • So, let’s move on to our final area of the topic today, and that’s Sharing.


Sometimes, information is just too good to hold on to…you need to share it!

  • With Evernote, you have lots of sharing options. You can share by:
  • Individual note or by entire notebooks
  • Probably the most popular is sharing by note
    • Just shares that note, one time via a link, email, or on social networks
    • Right at the top/right of your Note there’s an arrow that lets you share your note and which method you want to use to share it
    • Couldn’t be easier!
  • You can also share entire Notebooks
    • Share with one person, many, or make it public
    • Everyone it is shared with will have access to all the notes in there now and those you add after it’s shared, so caution is in order
    • You can limit what the can do with the Notes in the Notebook
      • View only
      • Allow editing
  • Don’t worry, if you decide you no longer want to share a Note or a Notebook, you can “Stop Sharing” at any time
  • So, to adapt another analogy from Brandon Collins’ book, think of today’s episode like your car’s owner’s manual. It tells you lots about your car, but doesn’t teach you how to drive. Next week’s show will cover the “how to drive” Evernote lessons. We’ll even talk about some cool stuff to up your productivity and have you driving Evernote like it’s a Formula One.

Vanessa’s Topic: A Focus on Fitness

Dan and I talk frequently about the 5 Important Pillars in our lives: Faith, Family, Finances, Fitness and Future, and how we try to make sure we stay focused on each of them as we make decisions in our day to day lives.

Well, I remember briefly talking about about my fitness journey back in Episode 05, “The One Secret To Accomplishing Anything,” but I thought that I would go into a little more detail about my journey and how I continue to make it an important part of my life.  I’d like to share with you my struggles, reasons for staying fit and give you some tips on what worked for me that you may find helpful if you want to make fitness part of your life too.

After all, that’s what this podcast is about…sharing ideas…and simplifying our lives to focus on what’s important.

So…my fitness journey probably officially started in January 2001, but of course there’s a back-story of how I got to the point where I needed to start a fitness journey.  

Growing up I had a pretty active lifestyle.  My siblings and I almost always played outside, we went camping a lot and we really enjoyed the outdoors…exploring, horseback riding, hiking, fishing, etc.).  I also started playing sports in the 6th grade (around 11/12 years old) and continued in high school where I played Varsity sports 9-12th grade…throughout the entire school year (volleyball, softball, track).   So…I was definitely an athlete.
And was all fine and dandy and working great until the end of my senior year when my knees started to give me issues and I decided not to finish the last half of the track season.  Then whoosh….on came the pounds. Let’s just say I gained my college “Freshman Fifteen” a little early.  

But, you know…it wasn’t that big of a deal…but over the course of the next 4 years I gained another 10 or so pounds.  It didn’t really bother me too much because I didn’t look too overweight and I was still kicking butt on my Air Force ROTC fitness tests…one of the top female performers actually. So my weight wasn’t really holding me back…that is until I got on active duty and started my career in the Air Force.

Well, reality slapped me right in the face!  All of a sudden was now in charge of a whole lot of folks and had a ton of responsibility dumped in her lap.  I worked long hours, slept little and ate terribly.  Fitness was the last thing on my mind.  So over the course of the next 4 years on active duty I slowly but steadily gained the weight to where I was about 40 pounds heavier than when I graduated from high school.

Now…maybe 40+ pounds doesn’t seem like much…but the bigger issue for me was that I was terribly unhappy.  I was stressed out, moody, borderline depressed, and definitely didn’t feel good about how I looked or how I felt.  It was like I was completely uncomfortable in my own skin.  On top of that, my fitness scores (although still good) were drastically declining and even worse…I was over my weight standards in the Air Force. I think I was over my maximum weight for a few years but thankfully I was able to barely inch by (literally) on my body tape measurements (explain weight and fitness standards).

So, I definitely was living an unhealthy lifestyle and I certainly wasn’t setting the example for my troops as their leader because fitness and weight standards are pretty important in the military.  Well, just when things were starting to spiral out of control as far as my self esteem and dissatisfaction at work, I got lucky and deployed to Saudi Arabia in January 2001. Now, most folks wouldn’t think that was luck…getting deployed to the Middle East

Anyoos…there wasn’t much to do but work…and work out.  One day a troop of mine asked if I wanted to be her workout partner.  I said, “Um sure…why not?  What have I got to lose except some weight right?”  Well, lemme just say…it was the best thing that happened to me!  I started working out and lost 20 pounds in 3 months!  And the funny thing was…I had fun doing it!

After I got back from my deployment, I continued to lose and extra 20 pounds over the next 8 months.  I got addicted and there was no turning back!  I loved the way I felt, how comfortable my clothes were, how much easier it was to concentrate and be productive at work plus I was absolutely fascinated by how I was able to transform my own body…because for years I thought there was nothing I could do about it…in my mind I was a victim of faulty genetics and poor circumstance.

So, 12 years, 5 smaller dress sizes, 2 full marathons, 5 half marathons, several team sports competitions, and many juice fasts later…I’ve kept it off (minus that little 9 month stint when I was pregnant and gained 35 pounds…but quickly shed it in 4 months).  So there is no doubt that fitness is part of my life and will continue to be.

Over the years I’ve had friends and acquaintances ask me how I did it and what the secret to my success was.  I realized that the secret to my success wasn’t just one thing…or one secret ingredient.  It was a combination of things that helped me.  So, I thought that I would share with you the thing that helped me…and maybe they’ll help you too.

  1. I decided right from the beginning that it was a lifestyle change…not a quick fix.  I set forth to make it a part of my everyday life just like showering and brushing my teeth. This mindset I believe had the biggest impact on my success.  I don’t know why at that very time and that very place (stuck in who knows where Saudi Arabia) I made that decision (because honestly, I was always kind of an instant gratification/quick fix gal before), but I did make a lifestyle change and it stuck! Committing to a lifestyle change works, because quick fixes don’t last long.
  2. I didn’t expect instant results and decided to be patient.  This was very hard because I can be a pretty impatient person sometimes. I didn’t get on a scale for a whole month!  I just stuck with the program and when I noticed my clothes were getting loose I decided to weigh myself and was pleasantly surprised.  If you are starting a program, it’s best to be realistic about your goals.  Losing weight steadily over the course of several months is better than losing just a few and giving up because you weren’t losing fast enough.
  3. I stopped playing the victim! I decided not to feel sorry for myself…just because everyone else in my family was either petite or tall and thin…I couldn’t blame them for my short muscular physique. I also stop making excuses why I couldn’t work out.  I decided I was in control of my body, my circumstances and my time. 
  4. I embraced the body and gifts that were given to me. I viewed my body differently. First I figured that if I wanted to live a healthier, longer life, I needed to start taking better care of myself by eating healthier and exercising.  I also viewed my body differently in that I stopped comparing it to everyone else’s.     

So those were the mental shifts I made that helped me on my fitness journey.  Here are some things that worked for me. They may or may not work for you because everyone had different needs and different ways of getting things done:

  • Created a routine.  Oh no…there I go again talking about routines!  But creating a routine was critical in keeping me on track with staying fit.  It’s one thing to say that you want to work out more, but how exactly are you going to do that and at what frequency to make a difference?  I created a schedule and now I track my training using Google Calendars.
  • I took baby steps…one thing at a time.  I started doing weights first…then a little bit of cardio…then a little more cardio…then focused on my diet.  I’m sure that if I tried doing all of this at once it would have been too much to handle.
  • Ate more meals…with slightly smaller portions and healthier options.  I actually ate 3 times a day with a few snacks instead of only 1 time late at night (yuck)! Also started to choose healthier options like grilled versus fried, fresh salad instead of cooked veggies, less salad dressings, mayo, butters, syrup, etc.
  • Embraced weight training!  Instead of getting bulky I actually lost weight.  And even when I stopped losing weight I started losing inches and dress sizes.  It’s true what they say…muscle weighs more than fat but it’s denser/tighter.  The amazing thing about weight training is that it helps build lean muscle which in turn helps burn calories and fat!  It burns stuff while you sleep!
  • Realized cardio is good…Real Good!  After about a month of getting the weight training routine down I decided to step it up a notch and incorporate cardio. I started walking on a treadmill and stairclimber and then eventually started running.  Cardio is great for keeping the heart strong and blood pressure under control.
  • Got a workout/accountability partner.  I don’t know that I would be where I am today without that troop as my workout partner.  When you have someone else that depends on you, you don’t want to let them down and you tend to be more committed to your goals. That’s just how it is. 
  • Varied my workout routines.  I learned early on that if I changed my workout routines my body would respond faster to losing weight.  I would change up my cardio by doing different exercises (like step, swimming, biking, inline skating) or training for marathons.  I also tried different strength training routines…doing total body workouts 2-3 days per week…or fast circuit training.  
  • Still allowed myself to enjoy the good (bad) foods too.  I didn’t deny myself cheat days to eat greasy burgers, fries and shakes.  It’s all about portion control!

Additionally here are some tips that made maintaining my fitness lifestyle a lot easier and even fun!

  1. Joined a running group. I ran with a running group before my first marathon and it was great to have that peer support and accountability.
  2. Joined a gym. This can be intimidating at first but once you get used to things it’s really nice that everything you need is in one spot…and you don’t have to buy any equipment for your home! 
  3. Experimented with different meal plans. I experimented with different options. I ate Vegetarian for 6 months, Gluten-free for 2 months and have been juicing for over a year! Each has it’s pros and cons but luckily I’ve been able to adopt concepts of each to figure out what works best for me. 
  4. Challenged myself by training for marathons.  It easier for me to stay committed to something if there is a goal or challenge involved.  I actually have a tendency to sign up for a 1/2 marathons when I realize that I’m slacking in my workouts or lose my motivation.  Training helps me to focus on a goal and get motivated. Plus the races are a lot of fun! 
  5. Got my kids involved.  Instead of saying I couldn’t work out because I was watching our daughter, I decided to incorporate her into my routines. I got a running stroller that I used for 3-4 years.  I also had a bike trailer that I used to tow with her in it. She loved it and it was a win win for us both! 
  6. I prep my fitness clothes the night before.  No matter if I was headed to a gym or just working out from home, I always laid out my fitness clothes for the morning.  It’s no fun trying to stumble around for that stuff when you’re still trying to wake up.
  7. Created a fitness calendar.  Whether I’m training for a marathon or just keeping up with a strength training/cardio routine…I put it on my calendar, like I mentioned earlier. So I know exactly what I’m doing each day of the week.
  8. Use different apps.  

– I use MyFitnessPal to track workouts and meals and the calories I burn.
– Nike Plus app to track and map my runs.  I like that it tells me when I hit each mile on my runs and that I can post to FB (another accountability tool).
– iTunes is great for listening to your music, audiobooks and of course podcasts during my workouts
– Tempo runs…programs that play music to specific beats per minute depending on the pace you want to run.

OK, so I know this isn’t earth-shattering information, but I know I find inspiration through other people’s experiences and thought that maybe I should share mine with you.  People I meet today have no idea, that I ever struggled with my weight!  Once they learn about I have…and especially when they see my before pictures…they’re instantly interested in learning how I got fit, lost the weight, and kept it off.

Let me be clear though….I’m not a fitness model or a skinny mini by any stretch of the imagination.  I’m not crazy fit and still have trouble spots and extra fat I don’t care for…but I know that I’m in a heck of a lot better off now than I was back then…both physically and mentally.

I think most people care about their health and fitness but struggle with making it a priority.  It’s all about defining what’s important to you and taking those baby steps to make it a priority.  Almost anything is possible if you put forth the effort.  Forget the quick fix and think long term sustainable lifestyle….that’s where you’ll experience success.

The “Thing” Segment:

Dan’s Thing:

Dan’s thing this week is He’d been looking for a meetup group about podcasting and surprisingly, there wasn’t one in our city. It’s kind of hard to believe that in the 7th largest city in the US, there’s not a podcasting group. So, he figured I’d start one. No guts, no glory, right?  But seems like such a cool resource. So, we’ll let you know how things go!

Vanessa: Joining our local “Y…M…C…A”

Well, Vanessa became a stay at home mom 5 years ago, we stopped our gym membership to cut down our expenses.  So for the last 5 years she’s been doing her own strength training, cardio and training at home.  Well, Vanessa’s been itching to change things up…so she checked it out and loved it!  It has a great weight room, cardio, fitness programs, daycare and fun zones for kids, coffee bar, free wi-fi, a rock climbing wall an outdoor pool with waterslides and of several other things…and all for $89…for the entire family. You can even put your membership on hold for up to 3 months and only pay $10….so like if you’re going on a long trip in the summer.  And the best thing…the times that I like to go…there’s like nobody there!

Edit & Forget It Update!

Lots of new folks to the Facebook Edit & Forget It page this past week! So if you signed up for Edit & Forget It, join the fun over on FB, too! It’s never too late to join the Challenge, it’s going on all year so if you’re ready to edit 2013 things from your life, head on over to and  sign up!

A special shout out to Former President George Bush for his support in the video he did for the Edit & Forget It Challenge Facebook page. Regardless of your politics toward the former Prez, it’s nice to know he supports our efforts at Simplificatin’.


Thanks so much to the following for leaving such amazing feedback!:

Bill, Alan and Trevor…you guys ROCK!!!! Thanks so much!

Closing Thoughts:

We’re blessed to be able to share some ideas and some of our experiences as we journey toward a simpler life in the modern world and we’d like to hear some of your experiences, too.

If you like the show, please subscribe and consider giving us a good review in iTunes. It takes less than 2 minutes to review the show in iTunes and that’s the best way for people to find us.

  • Go to
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  • Click “Submit”! It’s as easy as that and it really helps to get the word out about the the show.  Thanks for doing that.  

If you know someone else who might enjoy the journey too, send them a link to

Connect with us on Twitter, Dan is @DanielHayes and Vanessa is @GetSimplifized. You can find links to our Twitter and Google Plus profiles on the left side of the home page.

Be sure to leave comments below, send us a voicemail from the little microphone icon on the right side of the page, or you can go “old school” and email us!  Comments, questions, thoughts, ideas, suggestions…they’re all welcome and we’d love to hear from you!

Here are the links we mentioned in the show:


 Evernote Bible by Brandon Collins (my all-around favorite)

Evernote: The Unofficial Guide to Capturing Everything and Getting Things Done. 2nd Edition by Daniel Gold (best if you’re a GTD fan)

 From the Evernote Website:

Evernote Overview

Getting Started with Evernote

Guide to Evernote for Windows

Guide to Evernote for Mac

Guide to Evernote for Web

Guide to Evernote for Android

Guide to Evernote for iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch

 Other Evernote resources:

 Evernote Cheat Sheet 

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