I have a habit that may horrify some of you, and to which others will relate. I write in, dog ear, and highlight my books with complete abandon. Whenever I find a good quote, illustration or sermon idea, I keep a note of it. Then, months later when I want to reference those notes, I find myself staring at a bookshelf full of equally marked up books trying to remember which book holds that one quote that would bring out the Gospel message on a particular Sunday.
To combat my office floor from being littered with books every time I desperately try to remember that one specific sermon quote or illustration I have adopted cloud-based notekeeping. Evernote is my platform of choice, but Google Keep, and One Note are also great options and provide similar functionality.
Evernote is a cloud-based cross-platform application. It syncs across multiple devices so I can take notes on my phone or tablet and access them later from my laptop. I can create a text note, an audio note or even snap a quick picture. I can include attachments to my notes and even can set a reminder to alert me when the note might be relevant. Say, the beginning of Easter, or before the sale ends on the item I just snapped in a store.
Being able to store and search my notes easily gives me the freedom to take notes wherever and whenever I want without worrying about losing them or remembering to look them up when necessary. And, since my notes are on the cloud, I can share them with people; from sharing service ideas with clergy colleagues, to a shopping list with my wife. As much as I love post-its, they just can’t compare.
Evernote certainly hasn’t stopped me from marking up my books, but it has helped me organize my thoughts, sermon illustrations and seasonal ideas in a quick searchable notes that I can quickly access wherever I am. And most importantly, it has helped me avoid stubbing my toes and tripping over yet another pile of books in my office.