Last week we looked at three apps that have helped me to overcome weaknesses in work and communication.

This week, I’ll be sharing three apps that have helped me with maintaining access to information that I need.

General Data Archiving – Evernote

Evernote is, without question, my second brain.  I use this amazing piece of software more than any other app, on my phone or computer. I use it for writing, studying, archiving, and brainstorming. Essentially, any piece of information that I may need to access again in the future, gets dumped into Evernote.  There are many ways to use this app (see ‘Evernote Essentials’ for a start…), but here are the main ways I use it.

  • Documents and records I need to keep get saved and tagged here. Closing documents on our home? Check. Photo of the replacement cartridge for our water filter? Check. Snapshot of my passport and photo ID? Check.
  • Upcoming blog posts, team emails, and other document drafts usually start here.
  • Team Collaboration–if I am collaborating with a team on a project, I will nearly always set up a shared notebook for us to all access. This lets us brainstorm, clip info from the web, attach files, and share links–all in a central location that everyone on the team can access.
  • Daily Log – at work, I carry a half-size legal pad and keep notes throughout the day. At the end of the day, I snap a picture of the sheet and then shred it. The picture goes into Evernote, where my handwritten notes become searchable text for later reference.

For me, the real beauty of Evernote is that you can be as organized, or disorganized, as you choose to be. The power of their search system (including text and handwriting inside of snapshots), means that information is easy to retrieve later.  ….which is important, because information you can’t find is of no help to anyone.

Receipts & Expense Reports – Expensify

I am without a doubt the world’s worst receipt-saver. The fact that I make purchases for our home, my business, my full-time job, and our church, means that receipt-saving is not something I can afford to drop the ball on.

Enter…..Expensify. This awesome little app lets me snap a photo of my receipt before I even leave the register, and then forget the paper copy ever existed. The photo gets scanned by the app, which automatically fills out the vendor name, date, and dollar amount.  Once a month,  I go through the saved receipts and tag them with AP codes, which organization they were purchased for, and any other information I need. The sorted receipts then get converted into PDF expense reports, and sent off to each of the accountants for the various organizations.

Documents & Files – Google Drive

There are many cloud-based file storage options, and many cloud-based document editing options.  Few of them tie both parts together so seamlessly as Google Drive though.  Being able to edit a document or spreadsheet collaboratively with team mates in real-time is so much easier than emailing an ever-more-complicated document back and forth successively for revisions and comments.  I can also dump files into Google Drive for sharing with others, such as ZIP files, video clips, PDFs, etc.  Note that Dropbox is also a great option for this (and I still use it as well), and may even be a little cheaper per-GB for storage…..however, I am moving more and more toward Google Drive for the simple reason that I hate having to remember which cloud drive I saved a particular file into.  Having the magic combination of collaborative editing and file sharing in one service, makes Google Drive the clear winner for me.

Thanks for reading, and don’t forget to check out Part 1 and Part 2!