Has the time and effort of building and using an illustration file caused you to stop using yours? Is that the reason you haven’t bothered to put an illustration file together in the first place?
Yet the merits of having illustrations filed away can’t be overstated. Having them on hand is much easier than thinking them up.
Is there a way to build an illustration file that’s easy to use?
With Evernote, there is. Evernote is an application that allows you to store text, video, and audio content, and access it fast, either offline or on the web.
Evernote makes it easy to store illustrations
Let’s say you wanted to put an online article into your illustration file. Evernote gives you three easy ways to store it.
1. Store stuff from your menu bar. When you install Evernote, choose to put the Elephant icon in your menu bar. Simply select and copy text you want to store, click the Elephant, and choose “Paste to Evernote”.
You can use this feature without even opening the Evernote application. That’s like being able to put something in your filing cabinet without opening the drawer. Pretty cool.
2. Store stuff from your web browser. If you want to store an entire online article in Evernote, you can even skip the select, copy, and paste part. The Evernote team has designed a plug-in for web browsers, which allows you to clip the whole page with a couple of clicks.
3. Type it directly into Evernote. You can always go the old fashioned route and create your own note by hand. I’ve been known to pull out my mobile device and enter illustrations during movies, while listening to sermons, or while generally out and about.
Getting your illustration stored is only half the battle. The game-changing question is when I’m in the heat of sermon prep, can I go to Evernote and find an illustration fast.
Evernote makes it easy to find illustrations
Finding illustrations (or any other content, for that matter) in Evernote will capitalize on how well you’ve organized your files in the first place. The following three ways to find your illustrations are based on how I have set up my files. You can use this system, tweak it, or invent a better one.
1. Check the topical file. Each of my illustrations are divided topically in separate files. When I need an illustration, I scan the topics I have illustrations for to see if I have one that I can use.
2. Check the tags. Another way to categorize your notes is with tags. I use tags similarly to topical files, only the file folder name is more general, and the tags are more specific. Additionally, I include book and chapter tags if I think an illustration works well for a certain passage.
3. Perform a search. If you strike out on both topical tiles and tags, the last resort is to do a search. Evernote has powerful search capabilities. It will give you results even for partial words.
Learn more about Evernote
If you want to learn more about how to use Evernote, check out Michael Hyatt’s posts on Evernote, or watch demo videos at Evernote.com. Also, watch my friend, Nate, demonstrate how he uses Evernote in ministry.