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Andy Helms

Best Practice Advice: Multiple Accounts for Work/Life?

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Hello, friends,

I started using Evernote exclusively for work purposes several years ago, and I live and die by it. I've never used Evernote for personal purposes, but I am slowly developing a desire to do so. At this point, I'm debating between creating a new/separate Evernote account for my life and using the same account for both work & life. I'm reaching out to the community for advice and opinions on this matter, because every time I think about it I change my mind. :)

Factors that make me want to use a single account:

  • I'm an Evernote Premium subscriber, but I'm honestly not interested in paying for a second Premium account. I've come to love some of those Premium features, so I'd have to live without them on my personal account.
  • I use the Evernote app on my iPhone very often. It seems like it would be a total pain to switch between two accounts on the iPhone app, but I hate the thought of giving up the portability of my content.
  • Similarly, I use the Scannable app on my iPhone often and fear the same thing as my previous point.

Factors that make me want to use separate accounts:

  • I'm not a solopreneur - or even an entrepreneur. I'm a mid-level manager in an office that rolls up to a division that rolls up to a planning unit that rolls up to a university. My work/personal life blend, but only to the extent of doing work in the evenings and occasionally taking a personal call at work. Being able to access medical notes or drugstore receipts at work seems like it would seriously blur that work/personal line and it makes me somewhat uncomfortable to have that type of information synced to my work machine.
  • My tags would mix, and I need my tags. I guess I could nest them all under a Work and Personal tag, but that seems unnecessarily messy.
  • Likewise, search results would mix. If I'm at work searching for notes related to travel (so I can find that hotel confirmation for the conference I'm about to attend), I don't necessarily want to see notes about a personal trip I took to Nashville a few months ago to see my college roommate.

Gah! Help me, Evernote experts! I started this post leaning towards one account and finished it leaning towards multiple accounts. Like I said, I change my mind every time I think about it. Any advice, words of wisdom, positive or negative experiences from one of the above approaches? Please, share your wisdom and experience with me! I will gladly accept any insight you have to offer. Thanks very much!!

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12 hours ago, Andy Helms said:

At this point, I'm debating between creating a new/separate Evernote account for my life and using the same account for both work & life.

I use a single account for work and personal data

For isolating search results
- I have work/personal notebook stacks
- Also work/personal tags
  I use the tag hierarchy feature on my Mac to organize my tags

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I started Evernote 9 years ago. My total note count is close to 45,000. 

I tried both methods. Eventually, I decided the single account is the best for my lifestyle.

Many of my notes relate to personal and work matters going back decades with significant overlap. Does a weekend dinner with friends (non-expense report) while on a business trip to Munich go into my personal account or my business account? It is a lot easier to throw it into a single account.

To easily filter the information, I rely on:

  • Detailed structured tags (com-Ford, ins-medical, gov-town, fam-DLB, 
  • Consistent title formats (YY MM DD Location Subject Person)
  • Search techniques such as the intitle search or the powerful negative search

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Hmmn.  Difficult call.  The big downside of using the one account for both work and personal life is:  that however hidden away it may be,  all your personal information is stored on your work hard drive,  and although it is highly unlikely to be viewed by anyone else,  someone with modest IT skills theoretically could browse your database contents without too much trouble - whether or not they are logged into your profile.

With a second account you could keep your personal stuff separate,  with one shared notebook going to your work account.  If you have records you might need at work,  copy or move those notes into the shared notebook so they can be seen there,  and move them out later.  (I use a variation on this to have offline notes on my mobile phone).  If you're using your mobile to collect data for the personal account,  save scans to the shared notebook and move them elsewhere,  if necessary,  later.

The drawback there,  as you already appreciate,  is sharing tags between the two accounts. 

It's down to your own comfort level with your IT department,  and whatever compromises you may have to make to get the work/ life information into the right account. 

SIde note:  you're right that switching accounts on mobile devices is not pleasant at all.  Switching on a desktop to and from a basic account is very easy in Premium.

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I use two Evernote accounts, one for work and one for personal. The personal account is premium; the work account is a free account. I don't need to switch accounts on any device that I own, because I operate by notebook sharing (which you didn't mention). I share specific notebooks from my personal account to my work account, and vice-versa. Mainly it's work --> personal, since I work from home a fair bit, so I can just access my work notebooks easily. On the flip side, I have a large notebook relating to software development and technology in my personal account that applies to any job I would have, so I share that to my work account. There are obviously notes in my personal notebook that I don't want on my work machine, so I segment my notebooks by what I need to share and what I should not share.

This all works out pretty well for me. There's no restriction on sharing based on account type. My work account is free, but I only have it installed on my work desktop, so device restrictions are not a problem. Tags, curiously, can exist in either or both accounts, which is a little odd; searching for notes with tag 'X' that exists in both accounts finds notes in both accounts. There is no way to specify one or  account or another's tag (unless you qualify the search with a notebook or stack term), which may or may not be an issue for your use case; it isn't in mine. I deliberately don't spend a lot of time managing tags, as I don't use them to do hierarchical navigation.

This should be an easy system to try out as getting a new free account is pretty frictionless.

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I do pretty much what Jef does. This allows me to have my work evernote account on my work computer without having to share any personal stuff with the clowns who look after security etc in big organisations. If I need access to my personal stuff on the rare occasions when I only have my work computer in front of me then I use my phone.

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To me, multiple accounts would work with people wanting to create a business account and a personal account to spread out the GBs. However, it would matter to the person using Evernote, does the user want to use a separate notebook, and limit GB count, or does the person want to create an other free account and be limited to 60MG per month, or go to basic/premium and go work with 1 GB- 10 GB a month or go with even more with business! Personally, I would use separate accounts.

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2 hours ago, J_Chi said:

To me, multiple accounts would work with people wanting to create a business account and a personal account to spread out the GBs.

For me, it is not about the "GBs" at all. Instead, it is about separation of work and personal information, with the ability to control information that needs to be shared.

 

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