I’ve been an Evernote fan for a few years now, but in my fandom I’ve been hiding an awful secret: I hardly use it at all. The truth is that I want to love Evernote, but I just can’t.
On the surface, Evernote seems like the perfect tool. Just brain-dump all your information into it and you can look it all up later. You can use it to take notes, create event reminders, store important files, draft blog posts, manage to-do lists, etc. The list goes on and on.
For some people, this is why Evernote is so awesome. For me, this is a huge flaw. It tries to solve so many problems that it doesn’t end up solving any of them very well.
I know I might not be clearly articulating my point here, so let me illustrate what I mean by using an example of a tool that I love without reservation: Remember the Milk.
I use Remember the Milk for my to-do lists, and it works perfectly. I literally cannot think of a significant way to improve it, and I’m not being hyperbolic when I say that finding RTM changed the way I live my life. Managing tasks is just so much easier now.
The difference between RTM and Evernote is critical: RTM doesn’t try to do everything. It is simply a task manager; nothing more, nothing less. Evernote tries to do too much, and in doing so, it overreaches and becomes too much of a hassle to maintain.
Sure, Evernote’s fine for taking notes, but I don’t need to use ten different fonts. I don’t need to organize those notes using categories and tags. I don’t need to geo-locate them either. If you ask me, this sort of thing makes Evernote too complex to bother with.
Boats are awesome for traveling on water, planes are perfect for air, and cars are great for driving on roads. But when did you last see a combination boat-car-plane? Never.
Simpler is better. “Do one thing and do it well” is better.