Evernote fans are a passionate bunch. But then there’s Vladimir Campos, an Evernote enthusiast in Brazil who turned his affection for organizing notes into a full-time job. As an Evernote Certified Consultant, Vlad helps entrepreneurs make the leap to organizing paperless offices. On top of that, he has a popular YouTube channel to teach Evernote tips and tricks to the public. He also hosts a weekly Evernote-themed podcast, called An Elephant’s Journal, and he’s the author of Organizando a vida com o Evernote, (Organizing Your Life With Evernote), a best-selling book in Brazil.
Some of the tips he offers his listeners and readers may already be familiar to long-time Evernote fans, but to those just starting out, Vlad’s recommendations are a revelation. One of his favorites is a simple naming convention that helps him remember which notebooks to send emails to. “I can email directly to a notebook, but I have to remember the name of the notebook to do it,” he says. “So I keep the notebook names as simple as possible. One word. This is especially good for companies, where many people are emailing information into the same notebook. I keep notebooks called ‘Health,’ “Clients’, ‘Public,’ and so forth. I don’t have to remember so many notebook names.”
On the Road to Paperless
Vladimir has a simple strategy for building his business—giving his knowledge away for free. That’s the model behind his podcast and videos, which leads to both consulting jobs from business customers and increased book sales.
“Business clients come to me when they realize they can’t find things, and they know things are not working,” Vlad says. “Realizing they need help is often the hardest part of the journey.” Once Vlad starts with a new client, he starts by figuring out how best to integrate Evernote into the company’s existing workflow. Or, if the company doesn’t have one, he collaborates with his clients to build a workflow for them. “I let the clients do most of the work because they have to learn how to do it on their own,” Vlad explains. While he works with management, he makes sure that all team members take his online course, Evernote for Beginners. The goal is to make his business teams as paperless as possible.
“I’m not against paper,” Vlad is quick to point out. “It’s just that it’s harder to find information that way. It’s so much easier to have things stored electronically and then do a search from wherever you are. That’s what I teach my clients.”
“I’m not against paper. It’s just that it’s harder to find information that way.” —Vladimir Campos
Tag, you’re organized
Before Vlad comes along, the businesses he helps often find themselves repeating tasks needlessly, lost in the paper trail. “If you have several calls with the same customer, and they talk to different employees, sometimes it’s hard to find records of the previous calls. So often, the information is scattered. If you have one shared notebook, and everybody’s working in it, everyone can see the information and pick up where they last left off.” Vlad describes a scenario in which each client has a notebook, and everyone who deals with that client adds to it. “Set up a simple system of tags, and after each contact, tag the notebook with the stage of the sales process each client is in,” he says. “Then everyone will be in the loop all the time.” Vlad notes that many of his clients are surprised how quickly they can find the document they need, even if their new system hosts over 10,000 items.
The keys to a finely-tuned search
Though his business clients are often newcomers to Evernote, Vlad sometimes uses his blog and podcast to geek out over more advanced Evernote features. His favorite trick involves search syntax. “These are words you can use to create a more powerful search combining different needs in one, Vlad enthuses. And if you want to exclude certain items like tags, just use the minus symbol (-).”
An example of Vlad’s syntax formula might look like this: notebook:Health -tag:appointment. That would open all the notes in the notebook you’ve named “Health” except for the ones tagged appointment. It sorts through notes for you and helps you find what you need faster. “This syntax isn’t limited to two items, as this example shows,” Vlad advises. “The beauty of it is that you can combine as many parameters as you like.”.
Vlad uses variations of this trick for his own life. “Once you set this search syntax, you can save it to your shortcuts so you can use it again,” he says. “For example, I travel a lot. I set up a rule in Gmail to automatically send travel-related email to my default notebook, called ‘Archive.’ In Evernote, I saved a search for the word “ticket” in the Archive notebook minus the tag ‘done,’ like this: notebook:Archive ticket -tag:done. I use the minus sign to filter out the word “done” so that I don’t see trips I’ve already taken. That will bring up the tickets for all my upcoming trips, all in one click.” When Vlad returns from a trip, he tags the notes from the trip “done” so he can filter his completed trips in or out of future searches.
Producing vast amounts of content for a blog, a book, a podcast, and his increasingly popular live workshops calls for a constant influx of new ideas. Vladimir says that ideas come to him just by going about his daily life, solving productivity problems for his clients or promoting his work. He often says that a successful business means to “change or die,” so he now looks to gain more knowledge about human behavior and machine learning.The more he knows, the more he can teach, but from new editions of his book, more podcasts, and a growing calendar of live workshop dates, he knows that Evernote will be at the heart of it all.
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