As CEO of PureMatter, a digital marketing agency based in San Jose, California, Bryan is an expert on using technology to make thoughtful, transparent connections. Every day, he helps brands and entrepreneurs understand the importance of embracing #human2human contact. But while working on the book, Bryan realized that his connections with data needed that same simplicity and openness. Here’s how Evernote became a major part of a simplified, efficient system he uses to manage his businesses and accomplish more productive writing.
The write kind of productivity
As Bryan was assembling Shareology, he faced a tidal wave of information—the research, source material, and interviews that build the foundation of the book. All of it needed to be wrangled fast while he managed all of his other business commitments. No easy task.
“I needed a way to organize all my thoughts as I was writing. I was capturing so much information—over 250 interviews that I did for Shareology—and I had so much coming at me at once. There was no way that I could store it in a to-do list,” Bryan recalls.
Things got especially out of control when the research and writing started bleeding into his speaking engagements and managing aspects of his business. Essentially, he needed to scale back and evaluate his system.
“It got really noisy,” Bryan said, dealing with the influx of information and the lack of a system to manage it. “I needed a way to pull in all this information as it was coming at me, and then later go back and sort it, and then put it into a to-do list and make it actionable. I needed a digital brain dump.”
Unlocking the perfect system
Bryan discovered the beauty of simplicity and applied it to Evernote using a spartan, three-notebook setup modeled after his email workflow.
That system breaks down to this:
- Inbox—The catchall basket for everything that needs to be processed and either moved to the cabinet (action) or the trash (deleted).
- Cabinet—All notes live here forever and are searchable.
- Trash—The stuff that doesn’t need to be remembered forever.
Every couple of days, Bryan goes through and assigns tags and moves content to the cabinet where it becomes searchable and sorted by action item.
Before he implemented this system, Bryan left ideas in email drafts or forgot them outright.
“I’ll be at a store, watching TV, or talking to someone that sparks an idea and I go make an Evernote note about it—jot the idea down, save, and move on. Then, two or three days later when I write a blog piece, I have things tagged as blog ideas,” Bryan notes.
Now bookmarks, ideas, book research, and all the content he needs form a massive repository sorted into little actionable items through tags.
Ideas saved for posterity are the important pieces of content Bryan needs to be successful. It’s the ideas that are resurrected from forgotten emails that pack the most punch later.
“I recovered several hundred in the last year—ideas that turned into some kind of creative output that then turned into a blog post, a book chapter, a share, or a product idea,” Bryan said.
Recommendations for Success
For the best success, Bryan recommends finding and perfecting the right style. And, for beginners, he says you need to embrace the idea of using Evernote everywhere.
“Make sure Evernote is integrated into all your devices, then go into notebooks and tags and set it up the way that will work for you. If you don’t do those two steps, you’re probably not going to be successful. You’re taking your clutter and moving it to another space,” Bryan says.
- Find the right system for you, and embrace it.
- Embrace simplicity.
- Use Evernote everywhere you do and install it all those places.
- Find a way to siphon the content you need using Web Clipper and email to Evernote.
- Bryan Kramer uses a three notebook system comprised of an inbox, cabinet, and trash.
- Your most fleeting ideas can be the most profound. Find a way to catch them quickly.