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Get More Out of Your Magazine Subscriptions with Evernote

I have a subscription to several magazines, including youth ministry magazines. I love reading these because they build me up and I get tons of great ideas for them. Lots of times there are articles, ideas for games or practical stuff I want to file someplace. But where do you file it in such a way that you can actually find it when you need it?

Before I had Evernote, I had tons of clippings from magazines and newspapers in a big box in my youth ministry office. Needless to say, I rarely ever used anything because who wants to dig through piles of clippings to find something? That’s if you remember you have anything in there in the first place. Most of the times, my magazines would end up being read just once, all that valuable material barely used.

I now have everything filed in Evernote, tagged with easy to find tags so I can find everything I need with a simple keyword search. If I need ideas for games, all I have to do is enter the right search term. I have scanned all articles, ideas, lessons, small group materials, everything from youth ministry magazines into Evernote, creating a database with tons of ideas I can access at any time. I guarantee you, you’ll get more out of your magazine subscriptions with Evernote. Here’s how:

Cut out anything you want to keep

Use scissors or just rip it, whatever you like. Just make sure it’s not too big, but most magazines are on a pretty standard paper size.

Scan it

I use the Fujitsu ScanSnap

for this (ours has the lovely nickname Snappy because it’s so fast). This is a lightweight, portable, fast scanner that can scan directly into Evernote. You don’t have to do any extra steps, just hook up the Scansnap to your pc or Mac and there’s the option to scan into Evernote. You can scan in black and white or full color and there are all kinds of options for the quality of your scans. The ScanSnap can scan anything from business cards to letters. There are different versions of the ScanSnap for pcand for Mac.

Yes, it’s a bit of an investment but one that’s absolutely worth it. Our Snappy has scanned our whole administration, every piece of paper we ever owned or received. We have now scanned more than 37,000 pieces of paper…and they’re all in Evernote.

Tag it

Normally, your newly scanned notes will appear in your Evernote inbox. Now what you need to do is tag them with relevant keywords so you’ll be able to find them later. You may find yourself tempted to create a notebook for each category of notes (eg ideas for games, small group studies, leadership articles, etc). I’d try tot resist that urge. That’s what tags are for. If you are consequent in tagging your stuff, you can trust you’ll be able to find it back.

Throw your paper away

Once you’ve scanned and tagged your stuff, throw it away. We’ve emptied two whole bookcases that were stuffed with admin files this way! It may seem a bit scary, but Evernote is completely trustworthy.

Find it

Need anything? Just enter the right search term. Let’s say you’re looking for ideas for games. Now if you’ve been a good tagger, you will have tagged all notes containing ideas for games with ‘game ideas’, right? So now you just type this in the search box:

tag:”game ideas”

And there you go, every note you’ve ever scanned with that tag is on your screen. You can also combine tags to narrow your search:

tag:”game ideas” tag:retreat

As you can see, you only need to use quotes (“) when your tag contains more than one word. Of course you can also search on keywords in the documents itself.

Share it

Once your stuff is scanned into Evernote, you can easily share it using social media. You can email directly from Evernote, or post to Facebook or Twitter. It’s a great way to share good articles and ideas with your team. Just remember copyright issues when you share articles from magazines!

As you may have gathered from previous Evernote posts, I’m a big Evernote fan. How about you, are you using Evernote yet?

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rachelblom@churchleaders.com'
Rachel Blom has been involved in youth ministry in different roles since 1999, both as a volunteer as on staff. She simply loves teens and students and can't imagine her life without them. In youth ministry, preaching and leadership are her two big passions. Her focus right now is providing daily practical training through www.YouthLeadersAcademy.com to help other youth leaders grow and serve better in youth ministry. She resides near Munich in the south of Germany with her husband and son. You can visit Rachel at www.YouthLeadersAcademy.com