Caroline Beavon is a freelance information and infographics designer – get in touch for more details

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I wondered – could I use Evernote to manage my emails?

(this post requires a basic working knowledge of Evernote – have a free months trial of Evernote Premium here)

It is no secret that I am an Evernote fangirl. I love the fact I can send pretty much everything I find online, into one huge vat of stuff.

Recently I decided to take this one step further and use Evernote to read and process all of my emails.

The Method

  • Use the FORWARDING feature in Gmail to send all emails to Evernote
  • Tell Gmail to keep the email, but mark as read (this means I can still access the messages via Gmail if I need to, but they won’t show as unread in my inbox on my phone)
  • Within Evernote, you can SHARE notes, so simply paste the email address into the SHARE facility, and reply to email.

The Positives:

  • EASE – Evernote is far less clunky via desktop than Gmail
  • IT WORKED – I had been having problems using Gmail through Thunderbird and other desktop email apps, but Evernote worked
  • TIME – I was forwarding so many emails, it seemed to make sense to forward them all, and delete the ones I didn’t want.
  • ATTACHMENTS –  You can merge notes so send several attachments to one person (easier than adding attachments via normal email)
  • INTEGRATION – Sending my emails into Evernote immediately puts them in the mix with my documents, PDFs, articles etc  – where they can be easily searched and grouped.
  • TAGGING –  being able to integrate your email with other information I had stored, documents etc meant I could group project information together, and tag items that required action.

The Negatives (and why it eventually failed as a process for me)

  • SPACE: I use Evernote premium (which allows you 1GB of uploads per month) and for normal usage, this is perfect. Unfortunately, this month I have found receiving a much higher volume of emails (due to several projects and the subsequent discussions). I have already used a quarter of my upload quota and I’m only a few days into my month.
  • REPLYING: when you receive an email in Evernote, it shows the SENDERS email address, which means you simply need to copy this and paste it into the SHARE box. Simple. Unfortunately, as Evernote is not an email system,  it does not show when the email has been CC’d, so they would miss out on any replies. In the end I was having to use my old system for replying to group emails
  • UNRELIABILITY: Several times emails have simply not arrived.
  • SPAM – Some of the emails were ending up in spam, and some users were not spotting this – so the email was not received.
  • CLUTTER – Again, as Evernote is not an email system, it does not have an UNREAD facility so I was often missing emails in my inbox, as it was in amongst the posts, tweets etc that I was sending.

The Solution

If you have any suggestions of how I could overcome the above problems, I would love to hear from you, but for now, this is my solution:

  • Download the new version of Thunderbird which seems to be coping with Gmail right now. (I am also trying a free trial of Postbox, although this is £30 if I want to use it beyond a month)
  • Forward emails into Evernote that require action (I could potentially use IFTTT.com to autoforward anything I tag with TODO in Gmail, but I have found IFTTT.com strips too much formatting from an email rendering them often unusable)
  • Forward emails into Evernote that need archiving – articles, information etc.

 

 


 Caroline Beavon is a freelance information and infographics designer – get in touch for more details

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