Evernote is most useful when it’s not used as a junk filing drawer, but as a resource for collecting, managing, processing, and reviewing notes and documents. A new online resource called Reflectapp may help you get more out of Evernote and remind you of what you collect and save.
Evernote and other third-party apps make it pretty easy to import documents and notes into the digital file drawer, but it doesn’t have a useful process for reviewing your content, which means lots of valuable information can be forgotten. So, let’s check out a few possible solutions to this problem.
Recall, Review, and Rethink
Reflectapp connects with your Evernote account and allows you to set up a schedule to review all of your content, or filter selected notebooks and/or tags. It then organizes your content into a flashcard-styled presentation for reviewing individual notes.
Reflectapp will email you a daily notification to review compiled notes based on the schedule you set. The scheduling part of the process is what you will want to pay attention to. You decide the contents of which notebook(s) you want to review, and perhaps filter it by one or more tags. You can also decide how many times you would like each note to appear in the schedule, the maximum number of flashcards you want to review each day, week, or month, and what time you would like to be notified.
Reflectapp allows for more than one schedule of card sets, and because it’s a browser application, it can be viewed on portable devices — though a dedicated and optimized mobile app would be better. Native apps are expected soon.
You might be wondering how is this different from reviewing individual notes in Evernote.
In Reflectapp, individual cards can be browsed like a slideshow, by clicking or tapping on the navigation arrows. On a computer, the right and left arrow keys can be used for the same purpose, and in mobile web browser, you can swipe between notes, which makes them easier to browse and review.
Reflectapp is useful for reviewing selected folders of individual notes or random notes from your entire notebook. But the tool is particularly useful for reviewing book-related notes, notes for academic courses, and notes and documents for a long range project.
If you use the Kindle e-reader, Reflectapp works with another online tool called Clippings.io. That service can import all your annotations from your online Kindle account, and then export them as individual notes to Evernote, PDF, Word, or plain text file.
You can then create a Reflectapp schedule to review your book notes and annotations, which is the best way to remember the content of what you read. Of course, annotations can be reviewed in the Kindle app itself, but Reflectapp and Clippings.io might make the browsing a little easier.
Though both online apps do practically the same thing, the flashcard slideshow format of Reflectapp may be easier to navigate than the linear Clippings.io format. Clippings.io however, does allow for editing notes and highlights, and even sharing them online.
One drawback to Reflectapp is that flashcards can’t be starred, edited, or even highlighted, which might not make the format as useful for content studying purposes. The setup is great for a simple review of notes, but annotation tools would be useful.
Reviewing in Evernote
If you would rather review your notes directly in Evernote, there’s a few possible ways I can think of. On the PC and Mac version of Evernote, you could select a notebook, and review individual notes using the Evernote Presentation Mode, which also allows for navigating between notes using the arrow keys. It is a premium feature.
You could also set Evernote reminders to review notes on a daily or weekly basis, as well as set up and save a search of notes based on a specified time period, tags, and/or notebooks.
The advantage of reviewing notes in Evernote, is that the app includes features for highlighting and tagging notes, and the ability to further sort and manage notes for different purposes. But in comparison, Reflectapp makes the process of reviewing a little easier and manageable. Throw in the spaced repetition benefits with a schedule and you can be a smarter learner.
Your Ideas for Reflection
No doubt other features, and perhaps premium services, will be added to Reflectapp, but in the meantime, since it’s free, it’s definitely worth trying out to see how it can fit in your daily Evernote productivity workflow.
Let us know what you think of the service, and what suggestions you have for improving it.