My New Years Resolution & The WPG “Let’s Get Organized” Contest!

Happy New Year 2012Today's post is a little bit special.  To celebrate the New Year I'm giving away a copy of the Evernote Essentials ebook to one lucky reader!  Read on to get the details…

2011 is coming to a close.

Thinking back, 2011 was a wonderful year for me.  I achieved some pretty big goals — one of them, of course, was to launch this blog and connect with fellow photographers who have a desire to shoot weddings. So yeah…I'm glad I'm writing this post on this blog and I'm glad you're reading it!

But this post isn't about the past year, it's about looking forward to 2012 and making sure we're improving ourselves to give us the best chance at reaching our goals.

That's right – it's time for some New Year Resolutions!

This year I'm going to stick to one of my most elusive (and thus recurring) goals – to get more organized.

And I read somewhere that you're more likely to stick to a goal if you share it with others.

Something about accountability, I guess.  :)

Ah heck, let's just make this thing official then…

I, Ryan Oakley, resolve to use Evernote, a tool I know and love, to help me organize my ever expanding digital life.

EvernoteHere's just a small list of things that I plan to use Evernote for to help me get more organized:

  • Blog post ideas and research
  • Client information – names, addresses, and testimonials of course.
  • Wedding venue information
  • Tax stuff (income and expenses)
  • Stuff my kids say (Uber important to write this stuff down!)
  • Things to do around my house
  • Photo post-production workflow documentation
  • List of photography websites and images I like

Like every good resolution, I need a plan.

Step 1: Download Evernote (it's free!) on all my machines – Mac at home, PC at work, iPod Touch and Blackberry) and browswers.  Done! (Think I did this when Evernote first came out quite a few years back, actually)  :)

Step 2: Buy and download the Evernote Essentials ebook to really learn how to make Evernote work for me – fast!  Done.  (I actually bought this ebook a month ago, and it's what got me jazzed up to make a solid effort to get more use out of Evernote in 2012)

Evernote Essentials, by Brett Kelly, is a juicy 97-page guide that I highly recommend to those that are serious about learning how to simplify and organize their lives through Evernote.  It's jammed packed with great tips and tricks…and it's very well written.

Turns out that not only is Brett a talented writer and a serious Evernote Ninja, he's also a really nice guy.

When I emailed him thanking him for writing his ebook, I told him about my blog and how my readers would probably appreciate knowing about Evernote and his guide.

And just like that, Brett gave me a copy of his ebook to give away to my readers.

Isn't that awesome! (Thanks Brett!)

Only one problem…how do I choose who get's this free copy?

Why, a contest of course!  :)

The Evernote Essentials “Let's Get Organized” New Years Resolution Contest!

Evernote Essentials ContestThe winner of this contest will receive a copy of the Evernote Essentials ebook — a $25 value — for FREE!

In order to qualify to win, all you have to do is leave a comment on this post by midnight on January 4th 2012 explaining the area of life you'd love to get more organized.

That's it.

One entry per person, and I get to choose the winner.

I’ll announce the winner on this post and on Twitter the next day (Jan 5th)  and email the winner details on how to their hands on the free ebook.

I’ll choose someone who I feel will actually put this stuff to good use.


Good luck!

But I can't wait…I need to get organized NOW!

If you just can't wait…or if you're reading this post after the contest has closed…

You can go ahead and get Brett's Evernote Essentials ebook right now for just $25.

Happy New Year to You and Yours!

Update: Congratulations to Donna Harding for winning the Evernote Essentials ebook! The selection was extremely difficult, but in the end, Donna's plead to help a “starving artist” could not be ignored. :)

Thanks to everyone who took the time to comment. I hope you've had a chance to download Evernote and put it to good use.  Here's to a fulfilling, profitable, and more organized 2012!


  1. Enjoyed every bit of your article.Really looking forward to read more. Much obliged.

  2. Thanks, Ryan. I love the way you handle all the responses to your blog. AND I love that I won. I can’t wait to get my life organized and move past starving artist mode. (-: Thanks soooo much!!

  3. This looks like it may be my solution for mobile note taking and more.

  4. I have One Note, but not sure of all the uses for it. I’m a homeschool mom teaching my 4 kids. I create custom curriculum for their career interest, covering herpetology (yep, we go snake hunting), marine biology (yep, sea turtle patrols), architecture (green buildings for the snakes and turtles), and cosmetology (makeovers for me to practice photography), and they all love photography, so I’m learning and teaching them.

    I help them edit a Sea Turtle newsletter for kids, to get kids helping, work in our children’s church, and help with a photoclub, among other hobbies. I need lots of help getting organized and keeping organized. I have Lists to keep up with my lists!

    The kids and I also volunteer with a few parks, helping them find, id, and photograph wildlife for education and conservation purposes.

    Thanks for the opportunity to get organized, Ryan!

    • Ryan Oakley says:

      Hi Kathy – sounds like you have the kind of busy life where a little organizing could really help. I use OneNote at my corporate job and really like it in that environment. Evernote allows for a bit more “mobile” flexibility, which is why I’m using it for business and my home life. Thanks for comment! (Glad it finally worked for you) :)

      • @Ryan Oakley I had to close our school lesson window. No clue why, but once it was closed, I could comment. Maybe Chrome is helping me stay focused on one task at a time?? Thanks for the help.

  5. I actually have Evernote but have never gotten around to figuring out how to use it. And boy do I need it. I’m a prolific photographer and an avid networker but it seems all my great ideas and great leads get lost on pieces of paper strewn everywhere. Since I KNOW the fortune is in the follow up it’s no wonder I’m a starving artist instead of a very successful photographer! I truly believe it is essential for you to choose me to receive “Evernote Essentials”. And I’m feeling lucky. Thanks in advance! (-:

    • Ryan Oakley says:

      @donnahde Hi Don, Thanks for leaving a comment. Sounds like you and I are in a similar boot on this one. Regardless of whether or not you win, I hope you can put Evernote to good use in 2012. Good luck!

  6. I LOVE EVERNOTE! Makes life so much easier! And they even have a voice recorder thingamajig that you can take voice notes on. How cool is that?! Good luck on the organizing! P.S. I’m glad one of my co-workers is now following you. He can learn a lot from you!

    • Ryan Oakley says:

      @k_shenz Hi Shenz…thanks for the comment. I used the voice recorder just the other day. Super handy! PS…who is your co-worker, and where do you guys work? :)

      • @Ryan Oakley@k_shenz CVStudios is his company name. We work at a local engineering firm in California. He’s following you on twitter right now – and I forwarded your blog to him a while back. Hope all is well!

        • Ryan Oakley says:

          @k_shenz All IS well, thanks! I’m an engineer too….so many of us get hooked on photography as a creative outlet. So cool. Thanks!

  7. I need to get a lot of paperwork eliminated in my work as a teacher. I read this terrific tip this morning about using Evernote in combination with ifttt:

  8. Ryan;

    What a coincidence! I just checked my e-mail and I received a monthly newsletter from the folks at Evernote. It appears they are finding ways to diversify their product to help idiots like me figure out ways to use it. They have a new iPhone food app and a couple others. Google Evernote Food, Evernote Clearly and Evernote Hello. I may download them and report back to you.

    Have a great New Year.


    • Ryan Oakley says:

      Hi Chuck…yeah, Evernote does a great job at integrating with other services too…check out their “Trunk” (you’ll find the Evernote Essentials ebook in there too).

      Would love to know what you think of those other apps.


  9. Ryan Oakley says:

    HI Chuck. Thanks for the compliment on my site. Yep, it’s still a work in progress. I’m trying out this Livefyre tool….and I’m not totially sold on it yet. Anything that makes it difficult for people to leave a comment is not a good thing. Sorry it too you two attempts.

    Regarding Everntoe — same as me, on again off again. Here’s a tip: make sure you leave it open on your computer. You’ll have a better chance of using it on a daily basis if you do. :)

  10. Ryan Oakley says:

    It’s perfect for blogging and the Evernote Essentials ebook has a whole chapter on “Evernote for Bloggers” :)

  11. I would use this to keep track of my housekeeping and bill paying, my tasks in my day job, my article ideas, my daughters events. And would sync it between all my devices

  12. LivingRawVegan says:

    I am a huge Evernote fan and use it daily for both my personal life and for my home business.. First of all, I love the fact that whatever I enter into it, (text, documents, pictures, etc) it automatically syncs between my iPhone, my iPad, my Windows PC, and my MacBook Air. Second I love the text recognition (OCR) functionality. You can take a picture of a document (a bill for instance) and it will automatically upload to an Evernote server and perform text recognition which becomes searchable after a few minutes. I know it sounds funny, but Evernote has essentially become an extension of my brain. :) I also use it to record recipes and any other ideas that i may have. I have a website ( where I post raw and vegan recipes that I’ve cooked myself and comment on them. It only takes a minute to quickly type in the recipe (or use Siri on my iPhone which makes it even faster) then take a picture of the final product on my iPhone, and then go to my MacBook Air and pull up the recipe (which has automatically synced) and create a blog post from it. Great stuff! I love it.

    • Ryan Oakley says:

      @LivingRawVegan That’s awesome stuff. Sounds like you are really taking advantage of the power of evernote. Extended brain indeed! Nice work and thanks for the comment…

    • Ryan Oakley says:

      @LivingRawVegan That’s awesome stuff. Sounds like you are really taking advantage of the power of evernote. Extended brain indeed! Nice work and thanks for the comment…

  13. I think this might be right up my alley. I am looking to try and organize my photography business and streamline work from beginning to end. Hopefully, this program will allow me to organize myself well enough to allocate time for marketing, processing, communication with client and overall, make my business a success. Thanks for the information and I am downloading the program on my MAC as I type.

    • Ryan Oakley says:

      I think any business owner (photography or otherwise) needs to always think about streamlining work. It’s about sanity and it’s about the bottom line. Have fun with Evernote — start small and scale it up! :) @paliceag

    • Ryan Oakley says:

      I think any business owner (photography or otherwise) needs to always think about streamlining work. It’s about sanity and it’s about the bottom line. Have fun with Evernote — start small and scale it up! :) @paliceag

  14. johnbabineau says:

    I see the difference between OneNote and Evernote as being one of accesibility. I had a discussion with my boss a while ago about accessing my OneNote from a Blackberry. It just can’t be done!

    So if Evernote does infact work well in syncing my notes from meetings, projects, site visits, etc. onto a Blackberry that I may soon acquire, then I will look into the switch. But I must say that right now, OneNote is great. (I am of course talking about the program from the Microsoft Office Suite).

    Our lives can always be more organized, and if I use this new program, and so does my boss, success will come of it.

    Merry Christmas

    • Ryan Oakley says:

      @johnbabineau Hi John! Merry Christmas to you too.

      Onenote and Evernote are both digital organizers. And they both have their pros and cons.

      Sounds like you work in a corporate environment. If so, you might not have much choice in the tools you have access to.

      Because Evernote data is stored “on the cloud”, likely on servers in the U.S., you’ll want to make sure that you’re allowed to have sensitive corporate data stored on servers in that country (if you’re living outside the US, that is)


      I’d suggest sticking to OneNote if that’s what you’ve been using and you like it. I think you’re boss would agree.

      Thanks for taking the time to write a comment! (And yes, you’re still eligible to win the Evernote Essentials contest – which is a program you might decide to use at home)….Good luck!

  15. ShawnMcAfee says:

    Sounds like a very cool program! I have not used evernote, I use a todo list called Toodledo to keep track of new ideas and when I need to release new trail reviews. On top of that I use dropbox pretty heavily to keep pictures, videos, etc organized. comes in very useful.

    I think using evernote can help me to organize things even more clearly, and in more detail.

    • Ryan Oakley says:

      @ShawnMcAfee Hi Shawn – I have heard of Toodledo. Do you like it?

      I’m a huge fan of Dropbox. I’m still under the 2GB limit so it’s free! :)

      I hope you give Evernote a shot. The free version is likely all you need.

      Thanks for commenting!

      • ShawnMcAfee says:

        @Ryan Oakley@ShawnMcAfee I like that it is an easily checkable to do list. Something I can’t seem to find in Evernote. But I feel like it is lacking with notes and especially syncing.

  16. artofcomposing says:

    I’d love to get all my thoughts down into one place. Currently, I have a mind map, written notes on my phone, voice memos, scraps… it’s just too much. I’d also like to figure out how I could use Evernote for my composing.

    This is a great site by the way.

    • Ryan Oakley says:

      @artofcomposing Thanks! Evernote has some 3rd party apps that would allow you to do some awesome things from your phone….like record voice memos and stuff.Mindmaps are still an important tool too….

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