I'd like to recommend a great blog called Unclutterer. Recently, it mentioned two of my favorite tools for reading and storing information I come across online: Evernote and Instapaper.

If something is part of an ongoing research project (like Unclutterer post ideas), I tend to save what I find to Evernote. If what I want to read later is interesting to me, but not necessarily related to a specific project, I’ll send it to Instapaper. I have both programs on my smart phone and laptop, so I can access all the documents on any device. When I know I’ll be traveling in the near future, I tend to “Read Later” a lot of documents to Instapaper so I’ll have many options to read on my journey.</p>

I generally use these two tools exactly the same way.

I found Evernote before I found Instapaper, and I initially used Evernote as a "read later" tool too.  But after using Instapaper for a while now, I much prefer it for reading web pages later -- primarily using the fantastic iPad Instapaper app.

Now, I use Evernote primarily to gather random web clippings for reference and also as a dumping spot for miscellaneous notes that may or may not turn into tasks or reference material. As Unclutterer notes, it's also extremely handy for gathering ad hoc project notes. Just recently, I used it while researching a car purchase.

In my mind tools like Evernote and Instapaper should be judged by 1) how easy it is to get information in and 2) how easy it is to get information out. For them to be useful, there should be virtually no friction on information entering and leaving.  Both of them perform well in these areas.


How I get information in:

  • Emailed notes
  • Web clippings using the Evernote Firefox add-on
  • Voice recordings from my smartphone (a Droid)
  • Notes created in the Evernote app on my Droid
  • Notes created in the Evernote app on my iPad
  • Notes created at the Evernote website
  • Notes created directly in the Mac Evernote application

As you can see, it's very easy to get information into Evernote. It's basically everywhere I am.

Getting information out is easy too.  If I'm near WiFi, I typically use either the iPad app or my Mac.  If I'm on the go, I can pull up all my Evernote information using the Evernote app on my Droid. Again, everything is accessible everywhere.


How I get information in:

  • Emailed links
  • Items from Google Reader
  • Items from Reeder, a fantastic iPad RSS app that integrates with Google Reader
  • Web links sent through the Read Later sharing service app on my Droid
  • Web pages sent through the Instapaper browser bookmarklet

You can see all Instapaper tools on their extras page.

Like Evernote, it's very easy to get information into Instapaper. This makes it an excellent "ultimate destination" for any web page I want to read later. Whether I get a link through email, stumble across a page online, or want to save a longer blog post for later reading, there are a variety of ways I can throw it into Instapaper in a single click or tap.

Nowadays, I use the iPad Instapaper Pro app almost exclusively to read articles in Instapaper. The interface of the iPad app is brilliantly designed and easy to use.

Feel free to share your own tips for capturing and storing information electronically.