I love finding the perfect tools to make my life more productive. One of my favourites is Evernote—I actually wrote the first draft of this article in my Evernote app while in a hospital waiting room.
I wrote a few weeks ago about the danger of idolizing life hacks. Technology shouldn’t be a way for us to become obsessed with our own comfort. But that doesn’t mean it’s all bad. There are plenty of ways I’ve found to use Evernote to enhance my Christian life, not distract me from it. Here are four ideas.
Using prayer newsletters
What do you do when you get a prayer newsletter by email from a missionary, church or charity? While I use a binder for other prayer points, I can never keep up with printing physical copies of newsletters. If I file them away in my email, I rarely get around to opening them again. I’ve even found that using an app like PrayerMate caused too much friction, as it requires multiple steps to save and upload them. Perhaps, I’m sinfully lazy, but nothing else seems to work very well.
The best solution I’ve found is to clip the newsletters from my email into my Prayer notebook in Evernote (using the web clipper feature). When people are sharing prayer points at Bible study, I type them straight into that notebook too. If you’ve got a paid Evernote plan, you can download the notebook on your phone so you can access it offline. This allows me to put my phone on airplane mode and prayer without distraction. I save the notebook to my phone home screen, so I can see all my newsletters with one tap.
I follow dozens of Christian blogs. When I like an article I’ve read, and think it will be helpful to reference again, I save it into Evernote. I clear out my Evernote inbox twice a week, tagging the article with any relevant topics so they’re easy to find later. I can then browse articles by tag when I need advice on writing a youth talk, improving my prayer life, or counselling someone on a particular issue.
Taking notes from books
I usually take notes when I read a Christian book, or at least jot down some memorable quotes. I can type these notes straight into Evernote (on my laptop, or using the widget on my phone), or if I handwrite them I can snap a photo and store those in Evernote.
This makes the notes easily searchable, and I can browse my ‘book notes’ tag to see all the insights I’ve recorded. The reminders feature is also helpful. If I want to take action on a certain book, but not immediately, I set up a reminder which emails the note to me at some point in the future. I can get the most out of every book I read by taking notes and having them handy for review.
I love collecting words. As well as capturing more detailed notes like I just described, I’ll often come across specific quotes I want to save while reading (or even browsing Twitter). I clip or copy them into Evernote, and tag them with any relevant subjects. When I’m trying to remember the quote, or just want to browse some beautiful and insightful language, I can search by tag, keywords, or author. For example, if I filter my notes by the tags ‘quotes’ and ‘Spurgeon’ I come across gems like this:
What a bright light may shine within us when it is all dark without! How firm, how happy, how calm, how peaceful we may be, when the world shakes to and fro, and the pillars of the earth are removed!
These are just a few ways I use Evernote regularly. Ask me about it in person and I’ll talk for an hour. We don’t need tools and technology to flourish as Christians, but God has been generous to give us these blessings. I hope you find them helpful too.
What are some of the ways you leverage technology in your Christian life? Let me know in the comments below.