For a while now, you’ve been able to add basic tables to your Evernote notes. These tables have never been powerful, and they’ve always been pretty clunky. But things are starting to change. Very recently, Evernote launched a much-needed update to its tables function, breathing new life into this often overlooked feature.
At the time of writing, these updates are available to all Windows users, but only via a beta version of Evernote for Mac users. If you’re a Mac user and want to download the beta version, go to Evernote > Preferences > Software Update > Update to beta versions when available.
Using Evernote Tables
First off, Evernote’s tables are no replacement for Excel or Google Sheets. These are just tables, not full-blown spreadsheets. Great for displaying and organizing data (including images), but not manipulating data. That means they can’t handle formulas. With their new redesign, however, they are less visually dull, and far more intuitive than the old tables — and they have plenty of uses.
With the new redesign, you can now add new columns and rows simply by clicking the dots where you want to expand the table.
You can also drag and drop entire rows and columns to reposition them within the spreadsheet, merge cells, and set background colors.
But that’s enough about how to create and customize these tables. That’s all pretty easy to figure out. A far more useful question is what can I use these tables for?
1. Kanban Boards
The Kanban technique is a Japanese productivity system, based around a Kanban board.
A Kanban board is essentially a linear way of managing tasks and projects. On the left is a backlog of tasks that are still to be done. Then, as tasks are tackled and completed, they are moved toward the right, to the corresponding column.
There are plenty of places where you can create Kanban boards for your own projects. But if you already use Evernote, why introduce another app?
The table above is a Kanban board in its most simple form. For your own workflow, you should include whichever, and however many, columns you need.
2. To-Do Lists
If you like to keep your to-do list pretty simple, a template like this could serve you well. Keep the list up to date with the task status and priority column. And you can easily re-order the list by dragging and dropping rows to a different location.
If you want a more feature-rich solution including integrations with other apps, reminders, commenting, and tagging, you probably want to look into an app like Todoist, Wunderlist, or Any.do.
3. Habit Tracking
The table above is just one example that would help you track habits over the course of a week.
If you want something different, check out Evernote’s list of calendar templates, which you can download straight to your account. These include weekly, daily, monthly, and yearly calendars, so you’ve got all your bases covered. All you’d need to do is add checkboxes, as above.
4. Workout Planning and Tracking
For an easy way to plan out and/or record your workouts, a table like the one below would work.
If you need something much more complex, however, you probably want to use a dedicated app. Alternatively, create your own spreadsheet that can make any calculations you need.
5. Household Chores Calendar
To limit those household arguments, how about creating a simple household chores calendar so everyone knows what they’re responsible for?
Once created, you could print this out so everyone can keep it up to date. Or if you’re strangely organized, and all of your family use Evernote, too, you could share the chore calendar with everyone so they can access it from their own account.
6. Pack Lists
We’ve all gone on vacation only to find out we forgot to bring something obvious. To stop this ever happening again, create your own pack list(s). You might just have one master list, or you could create a few for different types of trips: day trips, Winter vacations, weekends getaways, etc.
Split the list into different categories to help you keep everything organized. This also helps to make packing more streamlined, and your vacation more enjoyable.
7. Meal Planner
Many health professionals agree that creating meal plans in advance can really help you keep up with your healthy eating and weight-loss goals.
A simple template like this one offers pretty much everything you need. Photos to get your mouth watering, and links to recipes.
If required, you could also include the nutrient content of meals to help with food intake tracking.
8. Manage Your Collections
This is a very broad suggestion, but we all have lists of things we want to keep on top of. From books to read and movies to watch, to albums to listen to, and projects to start.
Whatever list it is that you want to keep track of, an Evernote template could help to keep you completely organized.
9. Keep Your Own Time Sheet
Use a template like this one to keep track of the hours you’ve been working each day.
This can really help you to double check that your wage slip at the end of each month is correct.
10. Track Your Time
To help you find out where you’re wasting time, and where you could be making improvements in how you spend your day, time tracking is invaluable. It’s also fantastic at helping you discover your most productive hours. Or perhaps you just want to track your time to help you bill clients each month.
Whatever your reason for time tracking, for some people, the simpler the solution, the better. Simply collecting data, as above, won’t give you too much insight on its own. But it’s a great way to record that data. It’s then ready to export to another app (such as Excel) when you’re ready to drill down and uncover some findings.
11. Gift Ideas
If you ever find yourself flailing around, trying desperately to locate the perfect gift for the next birthday celebration, you need a gift ideas list!
Create a list like this, and whenever you come across something you think would be a fantastic present for a specific person, add it next to their name. This way, you’ll never run out of gift ideas again!
12. Event Checklists
Organizing an event can be stressful. It’s all to easy to find yourself inundated with tasks, things falling behind schedule, and everything collapsing into disarray.
The solution? A checklist, of course.
The checklist above is obviously oversimplified. If you were tackling a wedding, the list would be 10x this size. But the concept works for events of most sizes. Split your tasks into things to do before, during, and after the event, and you can’t go far wrong!
What Else Can You Use Evernote Tables For?
Evernote is a powerful tool, with plenty of features to help you store notes about every aspect of your life. And as you start to use Evernote more and more, you’ll begin to sort your notes more meticulously. This is when the app becomes even more powerful. You’re able to pull up highlights of articles you’ve read online, receipts from years ago, and much more.
On top of those ideas mentioned above, what else do you think Evernote tables could be useful for? And do you think you’ll be using them from now on?
Image Credit: ljsphotography/Depositphotos